BY John Hickey 12:39AM 07/31/2012

Hickey: League, Delabar dealt as rebuild goes on

Brandon League, fading in Seattle, goes to the Dodgers for two minor league pitchers; Delabar traded to Toronto, which lost to the M’s 4-1 Tuesday, for OF Eric Thames.

An All-Star last season, former closer Brandon League was dealt to the Dodgers after Monday's game. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Retooling of the Good Ship Mariner never ends.

Even with Seattle owning one of the best records in baseball since the All-Star break, the Mariners aren’t going anywhere. So in the wake of Monday’s 4-1 win over Toronto, in which Hisashi Iwakuma struck out 13 Blue Jays, the highest-scoring team in the majors, the club started dismantling its bullpen.

Brandon League, who started the season as the closer but lost the job and was struggling to get by as a set-up man, was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are hoping he can help them in their duel with San Francisco in the National League West.

Steve Delabar, who was rescued from nowhere after a broken right elbow in 2009 left him jobless, came in the clubhouse post-game to find he’d been traded to the Blue Jays, the team the Mariners had just beaten.

“I came in here thinking we were going to celebrate  Iwakuma’s great start and (Lucas) Luetge’s first career save,” Delabar said. “And they told me I was going to the other clubhouse.”

Seattle gets a minor league outfielder, Leon Landry, and a right-handed reliever, Logan Bawcom, from the Dodgers in exchange for League. For Delabar, part-time major leaguer Eric Thames (rhymes with tames) gets called up from AAA Las Vegas, where he was hitting .335. He will join the Mariners Tuesday.

“We like (League and Delabar), but these are probably the right moves for the ball club,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “Brandon is going to be a free agent at the end of the season. We’re getting Thames, a left-handed hitter with some big league experience who also has some options left.”

It’s possible, even probable, that the Mariners will make one more move before the non-waiver trade deadline hits at 1 p.m. PT Tuesday. Lefty starter Jason Vargas, 4-0 in his last five starts and the owner of a career-best 11 wins, is highly prized by contenders looking to shore up their rotation.

Kevin Millwood, at 37 eight years older than Vargas, is, unlike Vargas, due to be a free agent at the end of the year. He wouldn’t bring as much in return, but his upside is limited for a franchise where the rebuilding never stops. He’s been effective for most of the last three months.

Regardless, there will be new faces in the Seattle clubhouse today. Carlos Peguero, the outfielder who was given first shot at right field with Ichiro Suzuki traded a week ago, was packing his bags Monday after going 0-for-3 with three terrible-looking strikeouts. He’s 1-for-20 since the Ichiro trade with 11 strikeouts. Thames will take his spot on the roster.

Seattle has to get two relievers with League and Delabar gone. One is likely to be Stephen Pryor, a rookie who has been up with the Mariners earlier. The other could be David Pauley, who was traded by the Mariners this time a year ago but who could fill a gap in the bullpen now that he’s rejoined the organization and has a 2.35 ERA in his first five games with Triple-A Tacoma, including two starts.

Neither League nor Delabar wanted to be traded; for that matter, Vargas and Millwood don’t want to be dealt away, either. But baseball can be cruel that way.

“I expressed myself that I wanted to be here, that I love Seattle,” League said. “But I’m going to be a free agent at the end of the year. I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given here. In the end, you have to keep moving forward.”

As for Delabar, he gets a chance to pull an Ichiro. Just as the right fielder was traded to New York when the Yankees were in town, Delabar was dealt to the Blue Jays with Toronto in town. The next two games he can stay at home and pack when he’s not at the ballpark with his new club.

“I really have to thank the Mariners for the chances they’ve given me,” Delabar said. The Padres, for whom he’d played for a half dozen minor league seasons, cut him after his injury before the Mariners picked him up. “They’ve done a lot for me, and I’ll always be grateful. And I’m going to stay in the big leagues.

“How is that not a positive?”

For most of the last decade, the Mariners have approacbed the July 31 trade deadline as sellers. Seemingly every year, it’s a matter of building for the future.

It is not clear when the future will get here. It is clear it is not now.


YourThoughts

  • Steve Sage

    Great article!

    Steve Sage
    Petoskey, MI

    • Ralexbell

      It’s great to see someone still appreciates Unlimited Hydroplane Racing!  Detroit is a lot less today because of the loss of interest in this sport! Personally….I admire Seattle for its continued interest. I’m a fan and always will be!!  The innovators of this sport should remembered and praised for their insight and participation in this sport. 

  • Steve Sage

    Great article!

    Steve Sage
    Petoskey, MI

    • Ralexbell

      It’s great to see someone still appreciates Unlimited Hydroplane Racing!  Detroit is a lot less today because of the loss of interest in this sport! Personally….I admire Seattle for its continued interest. I’m a fan and always will be!!  The innovators of this sport should remembered and praised for their insight and participation in this sport. 

  • spudzDP

    The hydro’s have a great history, but sadly, nearly all of the drivers who would make up their hall of fame were killed while racing.  This bloody history was partially responsible for me losing interest in the sport.  That along with the advent of professional sports teams in Seattle made me realize that hydroplane racing was basically a fringe sport, about as relevant as water polo.  The fact that over 100,000 people crowded the shores of Lake Washington back in the 50′s to watch the gold cup was not a testament to the popularity of hydroplane racing so much as proof of what a crap sports town Seattle was back then.  

    • Michael Kaiser

      As opposed to now, when Seattle is known universally as a sports Goliath.  No, there is nothing in Seattle–sports-wise or just in its usual smug passive-aggressive manner–that compares with the roars of the Hydros.

      • spudzDP

        Yeah, the roar of the Hydros …  This is a sport where it is not unheard of to have a heat where the winning boat is the only boat that did not stall in the water.  This is a sport where the field is usually made up bunch of obsolete, un-sponsored thunder slugs that get beat by the same big sponsor boats every year.  This is a sport where most of its greatest drivers were killed while strapped inside their cockpits.  This is a sport where at least 90% of its spectators don’t have a clue or a care about who is racing, and who mainly attend to watch the Blue Angels who, BTW, also seem to be losing their relevance in a world where the skies are patrolled by unmanned drones. 

        • Michael Kaiser

          Sounds a lot like major league baseball to me, at least with regard to it being typically the same teams every year  in the hunt for the championship.  As for “90%” of spectators not knowing or caring about who is racing, you also could be describing the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, and a host of sporting events that typically come-around once a year and thus bring much more with them than just the event.  In fact, Seafair is arguably the only local event that occurs here that I feel the least bit of affinity for and I have lived here essentially my entire life.  As for the Blue Angels, they are the best part of Seafair.  Now what would really be cool would be if they crashed more often, eh?

          • spudzDP

            While MLB and the Indy 500 and perhaps all major sports probably share some of the bad aspects of Hydroplane Racing, none of those sports share them all.  Trust me, this sport is uniquely bad. 
            But the Hydros had their share of golden years.  They were the talk of the town for decades — but the time has come for this sport to speed up its half century of fading away.  We will always embrace our fond memories of the Thunder Boats, but like the Romans, who eventually had to turn their backs on chariot racing and gladiator fights, we will move on. 

          • Murphymule

            What the heck is your problem?

            Did a hydroplane run over your dog?

            I’m wondering what rock you’ve been living under the past five years, as the racing in the Unlimited ranks has been unparalleled. 2010 and this year have produced some of the closests heats in Seattle history, including the beloved Slo-Mo years.  

            If you aren’t interested in the sport anymore, that’s perfectly acceptable. Go to a Storm game or something. But shut the hell up.

          • spudzDP

            Opinions are like genitalia, everyone – well, maybe thats not a good comparison – but I respect your adolescent enthusiasm for Unlimited Hydroplane Racing.  And don’t let anyone change that very limited mind of yours.  It would be like trying to convince a Curling fan that their sport sucks.   I was thinking that perhaps I had been a bit callous. – maybe I should check it out again — pack up the family and visit the Hydro Museum in Kent …
            But then you dump on the Storm as if not being interested in UHR was not masculine or something.  Some one needs a timeout, mister.  

  • spudzDP

    The hydro’s have a great history, but sadly, nearly all of the drivers who would make up their hall of fame were killed while racing.  This bloody history was partially responsible for me losing interest in the sport.  That along with the advent of professional sports teams in Seattle made me realize that hydroplane racing was basically a fringe sport, about as relevant as water polo.  The fact that over 100,000 people crowded the shores of Lake Washington back in the 50′s to watch the gold cup was not a testament to the popularity of hydroplane racing so much as proof of what a crap sports town Seattle was back then.  

    • Michael Kaiser

      As opposed to now, when Seattle is known universally as a sports Goliath.  No, there is nothing in Seattle–sports-wise or just in its usual smug passive-aggressive manner–that compares with the roars of the Hydros.

      • spudzDP

        Yeah, the roar of the Hydros …  This is a sport where it is not unheard of to have a heat where the winning boat is the only boat that did not stall in the water.  This is a sport where the field is usually made up bunch of obsolete, un-sponsored thunder slugs that get beat by the same big sponsor boats every year.  This is a sport where most of its greatest drivers were killed while strapped inside their cockpits.  This is a sport where at least 90% of its spectators don’t have a clue or a care about who is racing, and who mainly attend to watch the Blue Angels who, BTW, also seem to be losing their relevance in a world where the skies are patrolled by unmanned drones. 

        • Michael Kaiser

          Sounds a lot like major league baseball to me, at least with regard to it being typically the same teams every year  in the hunt for the championship.  As for “90%” of spectators not knowing or caring about who is racing, you also could be describing the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, and a host of sporting events that typically come-around once a year and thus bring much more with them than just the event.  In fact, Seafair is arguably the only local event that occurs here that I feel the least bit of affinity for and I have lived here essentially my entire life.  As for the Blue Angels, they are the best part of Seafair.  Now what would really be cool would be if they crashed more often, eh?

          • spudzDP

            While MLB and the Indy 500 and perhaps all major sports probably share some of the bad aspects of Hydroplane Racing, none of those sports share them all.  Trust me, this sport is uniquely bad. 
            But the Hydros had their share of golden years.  They were the talk of the town for decades — but the time has come for this sport to speed up its half century of fading away.  We will always embrace our fond memories of the Thunder Boats, but like the Romans, who eventually had to turn their backs on chariot racing and gladiator fights, we will move on. 

          • Murphymule

            What the heck is your problem?

            Did a hydroplane run over your dog?

            I’m wondering what rock you’ve been living under the past five years, as the racing in the Unlimited ranks has been unparalleled. 2010 and this year have produced some of the closests heats in Seattle history, including the beloved Slo-Mo years.  

            If you aren’t interested in the sport anymore, that’s perfectly acceptable. Go to a Storm game or something. But shut the hell up.

          • spudzDP

            Opinions are like genitalia, everyone – well, maybe thats not a good comparison – but I respect your adolescent enthusiasm for Unlimited Hydroplane Racing.  And don’t let anyone change that very limited mind of yours.  It would be like trying to convince a Curling fan that their sport sucks.   I was thinking that perhaps I had been a bit callous. – maybe I should check it out again — pack up the family and visit the Hydro Museum in Kent …
            But then you dump on the Storm as if not being interested in UHR was not masculine or something.  Some one needs a timeout, mister.  

  • Ralexbell

    This is a great article, I would like to see more about the great races, drivers. and boats.

  • Ralexbell

    This is a great article, I would like to see more about the great races, drivers. and boats.

  • Michael Kaiser

    Fortunately, the Mariners” herculean efforts should be rewarded next year.  They will climb out of the cellar.  Houston is joining the division.  

  • Michael Kaiser

    Fortunately, the Mariners” herculean efforts should be rewarded next year.  They will climb out of the cellar.  Houston is joining the division.  

  • Eric K

    Is it too soon to point out that most of Jack’s trades have been horrible once the data is in?

    All he has to show for Morrow now is a couple low level prospects. With Smoak a bust Beaven is what he got for Cliff Freakin Lee? A couple worthless prospects for Fister? Montero may pan out, but he sure doesn’t look like an everyday catcher and his bat needs to improve to be a first baseman

  • Eric K

    Is it too soon to point out that most of Jack’s trades have been horrible once the data is in?

    All he has to show for Morrow now is a couple low level prospects. With Smoak a bust Beaven is what he got for Cliff Freakin Lee? A couple worthless prospects for Fister? Montero may pan out, but he sure doesn’t look like an everyday catcher and his bat needs to improve to be a first baseman

  • Eric Lane

    Retrospect is always 20/20. As far as Zduriencik’s trades are concerned, I’ve got mixed emotions. However, at the time of the trades Smoak looked like a future big league hitter at a young age and Lee was in a contract year with a team that was out of the playoff race. I’m sorry Eric K, but you’re missing the big picture here. Many of the players we’ve traded in the past were in contract years, or we were overstaffed in certain positions. I hate to say the same line we’ve been saying for the past 10 years, but, we’re rebuilding. Unfortunately, sometimes players you expect to get better or reach their potential…don’t. Therefore, I wouldn’t place all blame on Jack for our current situation; rather a combination of bad luck, lack of veteran leadership, inconsistency in coaching, as well as uninterested ownership. Looking ahead (an all to familiar tagline), I think that our minor league pitching staff is looking very impresive, with some bats here and there, and that we should expect nothing less than a wild-card run next year.

    • Michael Kaiser

      We have been “rebuilding” for at least 80 percent of the last 35 years.  And contrary to the way SportsPress Northwest likes to characterize it, our performance over that time has been substantially below “mediocre.”  

    • S45d14

      Nobody’s missing the big picture here: same old same old, including the reasons why the team sucks, still, and just can’t get rolling– it’s always any fault possible except competence in the FO. They don’t care about winning baseball games except to keep the franchise afloat until they sell for monster franchise-appreciation profit. No passion for, sense of, sensibility about or respect towards the game and the gem they’ve got some obligation to nurture and care for: A city’s major league baseball team. 
      Teams can rebuild, and can win ball games and can make baseball decisions; can be a matter of civic pride, can be .. we can be anything but a perennial laughingstock, if motivated at the top to do so. That’s really not debatable.
       We were a laughingstock for most of the Kingdome years, and the “ballpark” made it worse. The big hope came with the 95team, new ballpark, the building (not Rebuilding) , Pinella/Gillick were doing — which came to an abrupt end with Lincoln’s idiocy and “insubordination” rant when baseball people wanted –how ironic– baseball decisions.  The new stadium has not served the cause of baseball, nor served anybody well except the soon-to-be-richer-yet-when-they-sell ownership group, all cowards before Lincoln in baseball matters– or duplicitous in the extreme.  
      Making excuses for them– prospects don’t turn out, things happen, bad free agent market, poor draft year, etc etc– just empowers these guys to continue foisting their ‘rebuilding’ mantra on ticket buyers.
      Boycott, don’t excuse. 

  • Eric Lane

    Retrospect is always 20/20. As far as Zduriencik’s trades are concerned, I’ve got mixed emotions. However, at the time of the trades Smoak looked like a future big league hitter at a young age and Lee was in a contract year with a team that was out of the playoff race. I’m sorry Eric K, but you’re missing the big picture here. Many of the players we’ve traded in the past were in contract years, or we were overstaffed in certain positions. I hate to say the same line we’ve been saying for the past 10 years, but, we’re rebuilding. Unfortunately, sometimes players you expect to get better or reach their potential…don’t. Therefore, I wouldn’t place all blame on Jack for our current situation; rather a combination of bad luck, lack of veteran leadership, inconsistency in coaching, as well as uninterested ownership. Looking ahead (an all to familiar tagline), I think that our minor league pitching staff is looking very impresive, with some bats here and there, and that we should expect nothing less than a wild-card run next year.

    • Michael Kaiser

      We have been “rebuilding” for at least 80 percent of the last 35 years.  And contrary to the way SportsPress Northwest likes to characterize it, our performance over that time has been substantially below “mediocre.”  

    • S45d14

      Nobody’s missing the big picture here: same old same old, including the reasons why the team sucks, still, and just can’t get rolling– it’s always any fault possible except competence in the FO. They don’t care about winning baseball games except to keep the franchise afloat until they sell for monster franchise-appreciation profit. No passion for, sense of, sensibility about or respect towards the game and the gem they’ve got some obligation to nurture and care for: A city’s major league baseball team. 
      Teams can rebuild, and can win ball games and can make baseball decisions; can be a matter of civic pride, can be .. we can be anything but a perennial laughingstock, if motivated at the top to do so. That’s really not debatable.
       We were a laughingstock for most of the Kingdome years, and the “ballpark” made it worse. The big hope came with the 95team, new ballpark, the building (not Rebuilding) , Pinella/Gillick were doing — which came to an abrupt end with Lincoln’s idiocy and “insubordination” rant when baseball people wanted –how ironic– baseball decisions.  The new stadium has not served the cause of baseball, nor served anybody well except the soon-to-be-richer-yet-when-they-sell ownership group, all cowards before Lincoln in baseball matters– or duplicitous in the extreme.  
      Making excuses for them– prospects don’t turn out, things happen, bad free agent market, poor draft year, etc etc– just empowers these guys to continue foisting their ‘rebuilding’ mantra on ticket buyers.
      Boycott, don’t excuse.