Mariners Analysis

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sexson gone

One the biggest disappointments for me as a fan of the Mariners has been watching their handling of Ritchie Sexson. After his numbers plummeted last year, any organization with half a brain would have either-
1) Traded him (eating all of his salary if necessary, or getting something equally distasteful in return)
2) Kept him, but have a backup plan ready to go

The team picked neither of course. Instead of executing a plan, Bavasi rubbed his lucky rabbits foot and hoped and prayed last year was an aberration. When it proved to be a repeat of last season, a replacement was no where to be found.

All teams in professional sports deal with players who no longer produce- football, lacrosse, soccer... it doesn't matter. It's not even an age thing necessarily. Some young players (Yuni) regress even though they are not at an age where one would necessarily expect it.

Sometimes the best thing for a player to break out of a slump is a change of scenery. It's good for the player and it's good for the club. The more the pressure increases at home, the boos start, the kids start hearing about it at school... it's a game played by humans and we shouldn't act like these things don't matter.

But the Mariners chose a different path. While some might call it loyalty, I think it's a disservice to the player, the organization and the fans.

How much money did the Mariners "save" by waiting until now?

How much fun did fans have watching Ritchie strike out at the plate?

How much fun did Mariner pitchers have watching balls scoot by a statue at first base?

The team thought they were being loyal, but instead of dealing with a problem they ignored it. Like the mom who won't acknowledge dads drinking problem, the Mariners chose to ignore the history of 6' 8" first basemen who hit their thirties and lose what little bat speed they have. Their ignorance should not be commended.

I hope Ritchie goes on and plays well for a new team. I think there is little chance of that happening, but someone will give him a shot. I won't be surprised if he's out of baseball within a year.

What I would really like to see is the Mariner organization learn something from this debacle and not ignore the warning signs the next time it happens.