Of Duos and Damon
It seems to be time for another “D” themed entry, as two more “D” topics have alerted my attention today. The first of these involves the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners improved a great deal last year, and have had a great offseason so far, acquiring both Chone Figgins and Cliff Lee. Cliff Lee appears to be stronger than ever after a fantastic postseason performance for the Phillies, and the possible combo of him and 2009 AL Cy Young runner-up Felix Hernandez was seen by many people as one of the best (if not the best) duos in baseball. The only thing left for Seattle to do to make this dynamic duo a reality was resign Hernandez, who filed for arbitration this year. Today, they accomplished this, signing Hernandez for $78 million and 5 years.
Despite the large price tag, this is truly a fantastic deal. Locking this ace up for 5 years means that even if something doesn’t work out with Lee in the next few years, Hernandez is still there to anchor the rotation. Most baseball experts agree that good pitching is just about the most important factor in being a successful baseball team. Hitting and defense are instrumental for sure, but an ace pitcher is probably the most valuable type of player on the field (an all-around star like Pujols would be an exception, but players like that are so rare). Therefore, Seattle has done a great job this offseason by strengthening a good pitching staff, with the Hernandez and Lee deals and the resigning of closer David Aardsma. The Angels, who are expected to wage war with the M’s over the AL West crown in ’10, lost their ace John Lackey, and did a little bit to add to their pitching. Certainly, they didn’t do as much as Seattle, and I believe that this will hurt them this season.
Not only is a good pitching staff a must, but a good duo is always something to be reckoned with, and Seattle could have the best in the MLB. Cain and Lincecum are a fantastic duo for the Giants, both having chances at the NL Cy Young last year (with Lincecum taking the award home); Halladay and Hamels should be very strong together for Philly; Beckett and Lackey (with the added bonus of Lester) will hopefully play above expectations and should make the case for being one of the better duos in the league; Sabathia and Burnett is another great one, both playing very well last year and helping the Yankees enormously; and several others are very formidable. Not only can a dynamic duo strike fear into the hearts of opposing lineups, but it can just about guarantee 2 games out of a 3 game series when both pitchers are at their best. Hitting duos are also a great luxury, but I think pitching ones are the most imposing.
Here in Boston, we certainly had trouble with this pair last year.
Seattle’s duo will help them in many ways, and I wish luck to them in 2010. Truly a job well done in the offseason as well!
The second piece of “D” news was that of the retirement rumors surrounding Johnny Damon. Having still not come anywhere near agreement with any MLB teams as far as we know, Damon seems to either have some kind of plan, or absolutely no idea what he’s doing. Honestly, I think it’s the latter. I highly doubt that Damon will really retire (although I’ve been surprised before by this guy, *hint, hint*), but I also think that he is still a long way from agreeing on a deal with anyone as long as he keeps asking for $13 million a year. I’ve never been in a situation like the one that every baseball player faces when they become a free agent: I’ve never had to put a price tag on myself. However, I think that Damon may be asking for too much. He’s still a very good player, but the Yankees need him less than they did last year (even though he would be a great asset). The Yankees are the team that is most interested in him at this point, and they are not yet close to working out a deal with Damon. It appears that he may be forced to lower his demands, or he may find himself without a club come April. I feel bad for any ballplayer that doesn’t have a game to go to each night when Spring rolls around, and I think Johnny will see this coming and may work out a deal with someone. I can’t say I wish him luck, but he’s not such a bad guy. I’ll be interested to see how this whole thing works out.
As for any Red Sox news, there has been a shortage of it in the recent days. I hope for more this weekend. I’ll try to post tomorrow night, but I may be unable due to the varsity basketball game I’ll be attending to support my school. Let’s hope they dominate and I’m able to get home early to blog!
Thanks for reading.
I think you’re right about the Mariners. They have made themselves a force to be reckoned with, not just in the AL West but in the larger scheme of things. That one-two punch in their rotation will be tough on everybody. I don’t know what Damon will end up doing. I guess the Yankees are hoping he’ll take the kind of deal Abreu got last year with the Angels – one year at $5 million.
The M’s are gonna be real good this season…… They are my pick to win the division. You have a cool blog!!!
I agree, the Angles got worst and the M’s will win the division.
I am just glad the Dodgers don’t have to face Lee.
As a Mariner fan myself, I couldn’t be happier with the King Felix extension. Jack Z has really turned our franchise around and I’m glad to see the rest of the league is noticing….I really enjoyed your piece.
Not to be too greedy, but I think Damon could actually be a solid fit for the M’s also. I’m betting we hear some rumors about him coming to Seattle in the next few weeks.
I agree the deal with King Felix was great! Mr Z is doing it again for the M’s and this Angels fan is nervous/jealous! Gosh this season is gonna be competitive in the west! Ahh competition never hurt anyone 😛
Speaking of duos now we have to face Lee AND Felix.. man one was enough!
p.s. So many rumors about Damon and the Yankees DO need a left fielder I say he’s gonna come back >.
I doubt Damon retires… this situation is getting a bit ugly though, ain’t it! I don’t really feel sorry for the guy… better to know one’s market value before sticking to one’s guns.
Great entry, but I’d say that a maturing Lester would be number two on the rotation, and Lester/Beckett would actually be the duo. In any case, the rotation is good.
I really like the Mariners and I too think they will be the team to beat.
MLB seriously needs a salary cap so these players can stop whining about earning more money. Anyways these pitchers are getting outrageously big money deals just to play baseball.
Jane- You are right as well, that one-two punch might end up affecting other divisions as well, as they will help the Mariners take 2 games out of 3 in decisive series. Damon is a big question mark right now but I think he’ll go back to NY.
Adriangonzalez23- I agree with you on that pick. And thanks!
10indians- Yep, that’s right on.
Emma- It’s always a nice feeling when an ace pitcher swaps leagues and you don’t have to face them anymore. That’s how I felt about Halladay when he went to the NL. Unfortunately, now you guys have him to face!
Marinerfanatic- I was reading one of the articles on Jack Z on mlb.com, and you’re right, he is doing a quiet but great job. During this offseason Seattle has been both busy and very effective, a job well done. You never know, and I think he probably would be a nice fit. We will see…
Mimi- I know exactly how you feel. It was the same way for us Sox fans when Sabathia and Burnett came to the Yankees last year. I think that although the M’s have had a more productive offseason than you guys, it will be a competitive year in the AL West, and I won’t count the Angels out until the end.
Jeff- I don’t think he’ll retire either. Yeah, can’t say I feel real sorry for him either…
Sun-Ui- Thank you! I see your point, we’ll have to see how Lackey fits with the new division and brand-new city. If Lester continues to show improvement, I think you’re right, he will move into that #2 spot. It’s great that we have 3 good starters anyway!
Cat- I agree with you, they’re a fun team to watch and they will be very good this year.
Matthew- I agree with you on this. No one likes a whiney athlete, and it’s important for them not to get cocky about their market value, as may be the case with Damon.
Thanks all for the comments!
-Fenway Bleacher Creature
I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle went farther than ever this season. They have done a lot this offseason to make their team better and stronger. As for the Sox, well, they have done some great things, like getting Lackey and Cameron, but have also lost a great player in Jason Bay. For Johnney Damon, he should retire or something. That guy has gone through a lot since going to the Yankees and apparently, the Yankees don’t see him as a big part of the 2010 team. Heck, he’s better off moving on.
I actually think I fear that Seattle duo more than AJ and CC because Cliff Lee is an ex-Cy Young winner, and we all know Felix Hernandez has the talent to be a future winner….maybe as early as 2010.
But I actually fear a duo from Chi-town also. Mark Burhrle and Jake Peavy have put a dynamic duo in the AL Central too. The you got a duo of Jon Danks and Gavin Floyd who might take over that mantel in a few seasons.
Teams are stockpiling the top 2 slots of their lineup all around the MLB.
In a three game series, these duos can decide or force a rubber match. that can be a great psychological edge that will be remembered when the teams meet again that season.
Holly- I would not be surprised at all either. While the Yanks really don’t need him that much or see him as a part of the ’10 squad, you never know, he may end up back in NYC. Or in retirement…
Rays Renegade- I would agree with you on that, however neither of our teams have to face Lee/Felix as much as CC and AJ, so they are fearsome because of that. Good point, I missed them but Chicago has a very good pitching staff, they will make some trouble for AL teams as well.
-Fenway Bleacher Creature