You might remember Mike Sweeney for having the best OPS on the Mariners. You might also remember Mike Sweeney for having the best OPS on the Rainiers. Which I guess makes sense. Anyway, he's been with Tacoma on a "rehab stint," but said "rehab stint" is over, meaning the M's have something like one or two days to make a decision on what to do with him. They can either bring him back and drop somebody, they can expose him to waivers in an attempt to trade him, or they can cut him from the roster. My feeling is that they'd probably like him back in the clubhouse and we could see Tui go away again, but who knows, maybe Casey Kotchman gets moved instead. If I knew every move the Mariners were going to make ahead of time, I wouldn't be a Mariners fan.
Anyway, the more interesting thing about all this isn't what Sweeney's done, or whether he's coming back. It's what he had to say today to the TNT's Doug Pacey. Two quotes:
I’ve felt fine for about 35 days now. It’s a little unfortunate that I’ve been on the DL this long. I’ve been healthy pretty much since the day they put me on the DL. Really, it’s pretty much out of my control.
I know for a fact that Major League Baseball reviews all potentially questionable DL stints as they're filed, and MLB has the power to veto such a move, but, man, has that ever happened? And can they punish a team retroactively? That threat seems more toothless than this hamper of dirty clothes I'm looking at right now. I do have to give kudos to Sweeney for some clever wordplay in there, even if accidental. "I've been healthy since they put me on the DL" is very different from "I've been healthy since before they put me on the DL." It would appear that Mike Sweeney made a sudden, rapid recovery!
Don, he’s the same manager he was last year. Last year we had a great team, great chemistry, great clubhouse. This year we haven’t had that. Don has been the same guy
The same people who were praising Wak last year are the same ones that are slinging mud at him now. That’s unfair. I support him.
I know Sweeney's had some major disagreements with Wak this year, so it's interesting to hear that he's put those behind him and given the manager his support. Maybe all the time away from the team has calmed him down and given him some perspective.
One could point out that maybe Wak shouldn't be the same guy, since he was given a different team. Different teams of different players may require different approaches. But while Sweeney's just one data point, and a data point who's hardly been with the team in two months, you can add his opinion to the list of reasons to believe that, when things go sour, everyone looks bad. Sure, it seems like Wak's been a bad manager with this particular team, but who would be a good manager with this team? What manager could've made these guys perform and kept these guys together? Teams that lose get frustrated. Frustrated individuals can make a clubhouse sound like a nightmare. That's bad, but it's also just a symptom of the fact that all these players still care.
So, anyhoo, we'll see what happens with Sweeney, but given what he represents, it's hard for me to imagine that the M's would let him go. For the sake of the clubhouse and for the sake of the young players on the team, he seems like exactly the sort of guy the M's are going to want to have around.