Endorsing Bill Veeck’s belief that the high price of mediocrity is what does in baseball teams, the Mariners give us Brendan Ryan. Please . . .
Today’s only news of note: UW running back Chris Polk’s mom says he’ll return for his junior season (yay!) and Storm star Lauren Jackson tore her achilles playing in Russia (boo!).
Now, let’s talk Mariners.
I am an expert at buying crap. Looking around my small apartment I see a seat made out of a barrel, a four-foot-high model ship, and the book Pioneers of North Central Washington. All of these I will undoubtedly trundle from residence to residence until I myself am old enough to be regarded as a pioneer. Point is: I know a crap purchase when I see one. Committing $2.75 million to utilityman Brendan Ryan over the next two seasons makes my barrel seat look like the “Microsoft-stock-in-1986″ of purchases.
“It isn’t the high price of stars that is expensive, it’s the high price of mediocrity.” Former White Sox owner Bill Veeck said that a generation ago, and our local teams lived it over my lifetime. Whether it was the Seahawks overpaying for Deion Branch, the Sonics for Jim McIlvaine, or the Mariners for, oh, I don’t know — Steve Trout, Pete O’Brien, Greg Hibbard, Chris Bosio, David Segui, Heathcliff Slocumb, Jeff Cirillo, Scott Spiezio, Rich Aurilia, Jeff Weaver, or Casey Kotchman — my own generation has been robbed of dozens and dozens of wins by the propensity of local general managers to throw money at players who, at best, help you tread water.
When you find a true talent, pay them. I don’t begrudge Ichiro his $17M. But these million-dollar contracts to average players really add up. The Mariners will pay $5M to Jack Wilson this year, $3.5M to Miguel Olivo, $2.5M to Jack Cust, $1M to Ryan –that’s a combined $12M to four players who’ve never received an MVP vote and have one All-Star appearance between them. And it’s not like they’ll get any better: Ryan’s the youngest of the group, and he’ll be 29 on Opening Day. You know what you could do instead with that $12M? Get someone good!
Manny Ramirez is still a free agent. So is Vladimir Guerrero. Sure, they are old and might put up crummy numbers, but you know Wilson, Olivo, Cust and Ryan are going to put up crummy numbers. As a season ticket holder, I’d at least like the chance of excitement over the assurance of mediocrity.
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