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Just for fun.

June 6th, 2006 [LL reaction]

Mariners Chose the Cheap and Local Route Once Again

A pitching heavy draft for the Mariners was frontlined by Tim Lincecum, controversially taken over UNC starter Andrew Miller, who was widely considered to be the top college arm in the draft. With a wealth of talent available (Cal flamethrower Brandon Morrow was also considered worthy of a top-ten pick), the Mariners played it safe in some regards, going for the local guy despite serious questions about his control and his durability. His mechanics have lead some scouts to believe that the walks may never come down, and some believe that they're violent enough to portend injury down the road.

That's not to say he's Willie Bloomquist, though. His stuff is nasty, with a wicked fastball and a frankly unhittable curve, although his changeup could do with some work. It's a little disappointing to see the Mariners refuse to open the pocketbook for Miller, but Lincecum might have higher upside than the pitcher who went a pick behind him; his pitches are just that good. Let's hope he develops well - I know you guys who've seen him play are enamoured of his potential. It would just be nice to play by Detroit's rules and get best player available once in a while. Lincecum is expected to sign for slot (around $2.5 million for the #5 pick).

Our next pick was less noteworthy, with RHP Chris Tillman...

June 16th, 2006 [Press Release]

Mariners sign first pick Tim Lincecum

Seattle Mariners Vice President of Scouting Bob Fontaine announced today that the Seattle Mariners have signed right-handed pitcher Tim Lincecum, the club's first selection (5th overall pick) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

"Obviously, we are very pleased to get Tim signed," Fontaine said. "We thought Tim would be a great fit for this organization all along. He's got a great chance to be a real, real good pitcher, and he gives us the versatility to start and relieve, to say nothing of the connection he has with the city and the franchise."

March 27th, 2007 [LL reaction]

Tim Lincecum

I guess it's my turn to weigh in on this.

I have to admit, I've been going back and forth on the issue - at first I liked it, but that's because my first impressions are always shortsighted, and the more I thought about it, the more I started to side with the "send him to the minors" camp. But then, imagining Lincecum as a kickass setup guy in front of Putz instead of the probably-horrible Chris Reitsma is so appealing that...well you see where I'm going with this. It's a really really tough decision, and one that I'm glad I don't have to make.

...

[I]t's the coaching staff (mostly the field manager) that's been leading the charge to get him on the Opening Day roster, and I can't help but appreciate the irony that someone as universally unpopular as Mike Hargrove is the most vocal proponent for one side of the debate. Hargrove makes a lot of bad decisions, and he makes them with considerable confidence, so I have to wonder why no one's really questioning his opinion on Lincecum. Hargrove might want the kid's stuff in the bullpen, but Hargrove's leash is so short that his decisions and opinions don't have an eye towards the future, and hence they may not be in the best interests of the organization. Mike Hargrove is not approaching this matter from a big-picture perspective, and so trusting him can be exceedingly dangerous.

Beyond that, as good as Timmy's stuff may look - and it does look good - we still have basically no idea how it currently translates against professional hitters. He's got less than 30 minor league innings under his belt above Rookie ball, and now 8.1 in ST, where a lot of hitters aren't going up to the plate with the same approach as they'll have a week from now. Raw stuff is great and hugely important, but there are underachievers with good stuff everywhere, so it's not enough by itself. You also need control, command, and a good idea, and right now we don't have much evidence for those other than Hargrove saying "he's been down in the zone," which, whatever.

April 28th, 2007 [LL game recap]

9-whocareswehaveTimmyandFelix

If you had told me an inning into this game that I would be writing about something other than the urgent need to send Jeff Weaver to the glue factory, I'd have laughed at or or assumed Ichiro had died or something. If you had told me that Tim Lincecum, who has had trouble hitting a barn door so far this year, would retire 23 batters while only allowing five to reach base in fewer pitches than his highest fastball velocity, I would probably have stopped drinking on the spot.

11 strikeouts. 3 walks. 2 hits. One run. 7-2/3 innings. Sure, we lost, but this was a hell of a way for the kid to make a name for himself. The pitch he struck Sweeney out on in the second was absolutely magical, a breaking ball every bit as good as the Royal Curve at its best. But it's going to be the last pitch of the night that we remember, the one with runners on the corners and two outs against a guy who'd already doubled off him earlier. It was the first time Tim really looked vulnerable, too, what with allowing an RBI single by Tony Pena after two straight walks.

Then David DeJesus struck out on a slider that hit him in the foot, and Safeco Field went berserk.

Welcome to the rotation, Mr. Lincecum. When Felix gets back, we are going to be scary.

July 29th, 2007 [Press release]

Mariners acquire right-handed pitcher Heath Bell from San Diego Padres
Seattle sends catcher Jeff Clement to Padres

...

"We feel we have added an experienced arm to go along with our current bullpen," Bavasi said. "He has a great ERA with the Padres this year, and we hope his veteran presence can give the bullpen some stability before the ball gets handed to JJ."

...

September 30th, 2007 [LL Game/Season Recap]

92-70

I don't know if you could've scripted a more satisfying conclusion to what was, overall, a hell of a year. Between Felix and Timmy looking every bit like the best young pitcher duo in baseball to AJ flashing his talent to Burke hitting the home run that we've been awaiting for so long to JJ slamming the door, this game featured so many of the things that we looked forward to throughout the summer. For a team that doesn't make the playoffs, it'd be difficult to end on any sweeter a note. I always want my favorite teams to compete for the championship, but at the end of the day sports are meant to serve as an entertaining diversion, and for six months this team was the lone constant in what was, for me, a time of significant change. So thank you, Mariners, for once again being an enjoyable and calming influence. Even when it felt like you weren't.

September 28th, 2008 [LL Game/Season Recap]

80-82

A lot of things went right for the Mariners this year. Tim Lincecum and Felix Hernandez finishing first and second in the AL Cy Young ballot, Adam Jones making a hell of a case for rookie of the year, Adrian Beltre putting in his finest performance in a Mariner uniform... these things should not add up to a below .500 finish, especially as the club was supposed to be a strong contender for the playoffs. While the young core performed miracles (with the exception of Yuniesky Betancourt, who is becoming a real problem), the rest of the team collapsed. JJ was hurt, and while Bell filled in admirably, Mark Lowe didn't fare well in the setup role. Kenji Johjima was extended and immediately decided to become a replacement-level catcher. Vidro's delusions of adequacy fell apart. Sexson collapsed and was DFA'd halfway through the season. We were actually forced to put Bryan LaHair at first base during September. Even Ichiro had a substandard year.

Fortunately, a lot of dead weight is coming off the payroll this offseason, and we might just have the best group of young talent in the majors (certainly the best young pitching). It's been a disappointing season, but the team will bounce back, and fast. Count on it.

October 4th, 2009 [LL Game/Season recap]

89-73, Closing Game Thoughts

I'm going to be kind of quick about this, because, I gotta be honest, the high of pumping out your final content of the season is unlike any other and I'm eager to drink.

  • Maybe it's just because none of my teams have ever won a championship, but I honestly can't remember ever enjoying a season's end as much as I did today. I'm not going to try to summarize the gathering on the field after the game. There's no point. I couldn't. There's no way I could do justice to an impromptu celebration that actually made me tear up. You'll just have to see it for yourself, if you haven't already. But...man, for a team that didn't win anything, this one was something special. A year ago, Carlos Silva was the prime suspect when it came to an anonymous Mariner player threatening Ichiro. Today he carried him off the field on his shoulders. Raul Ibanez was hugging everyone in sight. Adam Dunn could barely bring himself to leave the field an hour after it was over. Mike Blowers couldn't stop talking about how he'd never seen a whole team mill around like this before. These Mariners were as close as any team that's ever shared a clubhouse, and knowing that they were all enjoying themselves was a big part of what made this season so fun.
  • ...

Future Timeline

October 10th, 2009: Bill Bavasi stands down as general manager of the Seattle Mariners.

October 22nd, 2009: Lee Pelakoudas is appointed the new GM of the franchise.

December 8th, 2009: The Seattle Mariners sign 3B Chone Figgins to a 5 year, $55M deal.

December 23rd, 2009: The Seattle Mariners sign RHP Fernando Rodney to a 2 year, $12M deal.

October 25th, 2010: The Seattle Mariners lose Game 7 of the American League Championship series to the Tampa Bay Rays, having beaten the regular season powerhouse Yankees in the ALDS.

January 2011: The Mariners announce two time Cy Young winner and local favourite Tim Lincecum has signed a seven year contract with the club, buying out the remained his arbitration years and five years of free agency. The deal is rumoured to be worth well over $120M. Talks with Felix Hernandez are going nowhere.

July 2011: Felix Hernandez is traded to the Boston Red Sox for a package centred around CF Jacoby Ellsbury and second year starter Clay Buchholz.

October 2011: The Mariners slump in the final month, finishing behind Texas and Oakland in a competitive AL West race.

2011-2017: The Mariners make the playoffs once, in 2014, with Chris Tillman and Tim Lincecum combining to shut down the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS. The Mariners lose the ALCS to Boston in five games.

2013: The Mariners sign free agent closer Brandon Morrow to a five-year contract. Adam Jones signs with the New York Yankees as a free agent.

2015: Ichiro Suzuki retires. Chris Tillman joins the Chicago Cubs in free agency.

2018: Tim Lincecum leaves in free agency after two straight last place finishes, signing a long-term contract with the San Francisco Giants.