If you are reading this, congratulations, you are one day closer to 2017. When I was little 2018 was the arbitrary point at which things started sounding inconceivably futuristic, so I can’t say I’m brimming with enthusiasm for this particular flip of the calendar, but sometimes the passage of time can be comfortingly steady and inevitable, even in a more positive sense than that espoused in Lookout Landing’s house words, “Death comes for us all.”
The passage of time means today is also the first full weekday of the MLB winter meetings in National Harbor, Maryland. The meetings began Sunday and should yield some interesting moves, though it’s unlikely the Mariners have many more big deals up their sleeve. Considering the movers and shakers of every front office will be gathered in a hotel that looks like the future victim of collateral damage in a Bond movie, there should be some intrigue regardless.
In Mariners news...
- Longtime Mariners manager Lou Piniella was not voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Today’s Game Era Committee, receiving seven of the necessary 12 votes from the 16-member committee. Piniella is 14th in MLB history in wins as a manager, with a World Series win as the coach of the Cincinnati Reds in 1990. He is, of course, the man who helmed the most successful stretch in Mariners history, as well as an excellent 18-year career as a player. While Lou didn’t get in this year, he seems a decent candidate to eventually get in, especially with 12 of the 13 managers ahead of him residing in the Hall (sorry Gene Mauch, you had a .483 winning percentage, I don’t know what to tell you).
- Yesterday on Twitter the SB Nation Snapchat account (sbnationsnaps) was, apparently, focused on the most important live sports news of the day: going through the 2001 Mariners Cookbook, which includes two favorite recipes from each Mariners player. The trifle pictured below, for instance, is one of 2017 MLB Hall of Fame hopeful RP Arthur Rhodes’ specials.
If you aren’t following us on snapchat (sbnationsnaps), you’re going to miss out on our Mariners Cookbook cooking show: pic.twitter.com/08JX31UEkZ— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 4, 2016
The books were illustrated by children, apparently, which adds to the charm. Considering this is not so much a link as it is a recommendation, follow sbnationsnaps ASAP, before their story cycles out. You should have until around midday. Alternatively, you can buy your own copy right here on Amazon and take your time.
- Speaking of gifts, the Mariners released their fan gift guide, which is a lovely medley of tickets, souvenirs, and other team-related activities. If you’re looking for a less chalk approach to the holiday season for that special M’s fan in your life, we at LL have you covered front and back alley.
- Former Mariners reliever Joaquin Benoit appears close to a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. While Benoit struggled in Seattle, he ended up putting together a respectable season in 2016 with a 2.81 FIP in 23.2 IP following his trade to Toronto for the similarly resurgent Drew Storen. Benoit’s ERA comically outpaced his FIP at a microscopic 0.38, and as a Blue Jay he managed to strand 100% of the runners that reached base on him. Good for you, Toronto, so happy for you.
Around the league...
- Apparently the willingness to work around the new international amateur rules for special talents is high. Japanese super-prospect Shohei Otani’s club, the Nippon Ham, appear likely to post him following the 2017 season, meaning he would be eligible to join an MLB team prior to the 2018 team. That is, of course, only if the MLB decides to bend the “Under-25” rules for a player with clear star potential.
- Ken Rosenthal reports the Miami Marlins are willing to offer former Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen a five year, $80 million deal, and give up their top-15 pick as compensation. For anyone interested in the value of Edwin Díaz right now, capable closers are clearly both expensive and highly valued.
- Pedro Gomez reports that the daily meal allowance for players will take a steep hit in the new CBA, dropping from $105 to $30 per day. Since much of the time MLB players receive catered food, Gomez notes that this shift may have an adverse effect most palpably felt by clubhouse staff who get by significantly on tips.
- In the same election that did not go Lou Piniella’s way, two longtime MLB administrators received approval for the Hall of Fame. Former Commissioner and Seattle Pilots relocator Bud Selig, and longtime Braves and Royals general manager John Schuerholz were voted in on Sunday. Selig oversaw the MLB from 1992-2015 and, while there are no shortage of questions worth asking about his tenure, oversaw a unique stretch of the game’s history. Some HoF voters see Selig’s induction as an endorsement of any players found or suspected of using steroids for inclusion as well.
Senseless to keep steroid guys out when the enablers are in Hall of Fame. I now will hold my nose and vote for players I believe cheated.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 4, 2016
Schuerholz was the man responsible for building the Royals powerhouse 1980s teams, after becoming the youngest GM in MLB history, then later took over the Braves front office in 1990 and led Atlanta to their unprecedented 14 straight division titles, including a World Series title. Schuerholz also plays a significant role in the video below, which details, entertainingly and tragically, the saga of outfielder Lonnie Smith, who admitted to considering killing Schuerholz at one point.
The above video, and the entirety of the Pretty Good video series, are my recommendation of the day. If you are an avid Twitter user you may know Jon Bois’ work, including the timeless Breaking Madden series. Based on the respectable but not explosive number of views on these videos, however, it is clear more folks need to get in on this train. Mostly sports related, informative, funny and occasionally very serious, they are very nice 10-20 minute videos on some things that are, well, pretty good. Below is the first episode of the ongoing series, on a forgettable relief pitcher named Koo Dae-Sung and his two MLB plate appearances in 2005. You won’t regret it.