Mariners Insider

Archives: Nov. 2008


Tazawa looks like a Red Sox, not a Mariner

Reports in the Japanese media insist a deal for the 22-year-old right-handed pitcher, Junichi Tazawa, has been agreed to with the Boston Red Sox – disappointing but not devastating news to the Seattle Mariners.

From the beginning, the Japanese pitcher had made it clear the Red Sox were favored, in large part because of the success of Daisuke Matsuzaka. Interest from the Mariners, Tigers, Braves and Rangers didn’t change his mind.

In fact, the reports indicate the highest offer came from Texas – five years and $7 million total, but Tazawa apparently has accepted a three-year, $6 million

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Know a good outfielder? The Mariners could use two

As December creeps upon us, the Seattle Mariners can cobble together a pretty solid starting rotation, most of an infield – who’s on first? – and come up with more than enough catching.

What they can’t do is find an outfield that offers any kind of hope.

If you had to begin play today, there’d be Ichiro in right field, Jeremy Reed in center and Wladimir Balentien in left.


Reed is a fourth outfielder, a good-glove singles hitter.

Balentien is a prospect who became a suspect in a 243 at-bat audition. By the end

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A few Thankgiving leftovers – tidbits from a slow off-season

It just seems quiet on the baseball front. Look around hard enough, there’s always tidbits.

Here are a few of interest.

- Raul Ibanez remains high on the list of at least three playoff-caliber teams, with the Cubs, Phillies and Mets each talking to his agent this week. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik talked to Ibanez’s agent, but was returning the call, not making an offer.

That’s two things working against Ibanez coming back. First, he wants to win. Second, he doesn’t want to be a DH, so a National League team has even more appeal.


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Happy Thanksgiving: Here’s a taste of baseball in November

Being a certified medical miracle can make you a grateful man, and on this Thanksgiving, there’s a lot I’m thankful for – a wife that’s still the love of my life, a daughter that makes me smile and a couple of cats that make me laugh.

Good friends and great surgeons saved my life this year. The baseball in Seattle wasn’t great, but mediocre big-league baseball is still pretty damned good.

So here’s a thank you to the game and the characters who inhabit it. And a couple of baseball quotes to make you smile.

"The trouble

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Norm Charlton: A class act moves on

Norm Charlton was as big a part of the Seattle Mariners ’95 season as anyone, a walk-on closer who showed up in mid-July that year after Philadelphia had released him.

It wasn’t just his left arm that made an impact.

"Norm gave us a little swagger," Jay Buhner said.

Now 45, Charlton has seen the best of times and the worst of times in franchise history. He’s been a closer, worked with young pitchers in the Seattle minor league system and, last year, was the Mariners bullpen coach.

Over the years, getting to know him

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For Griffey, geography is no longer the issue

In Cincinnati, agent Brian Goldberg has been calling GMs and fielding a few in return, and said this week that Ken Griffey Jr. is open to playing anywhere.

The news there, he acknowledged, is that Melissa Griffey and family told Junior to go where he could play the most and perhaps win a ring.

According to Goldberg, the Griffeys don’t want to limit the teams he might play for by geography.

For Mariners fans who watched Junior demand a trade and leave Seattle to play closer to home – he lives in Florida – that news is

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The new-look Mariners will look a little newer by next week

When new GM Jack Zduriencik and first-time manager Don Wakamatsu open spring training in 2 ½ months, it will be with a completely revamped coaching staff.

None of the coaches from the 101-loss season of a year ago have been asked to return, and Wakamatsu and Zduriencik are interviewing candidates this week to succeed them.

Of the 2008 staff, Jim Riggleman, Sam Perlozzo and Eddie Rodriguez accepted jobs with other organizations. Four coaches – Lee Elia, Mel Stottlemyre, Norm Charlton and Jose Castro – had hoped to return.

Wakamatsu and Zduriencik decided to put together their own

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Wakamatsu to wear No. 22

Perhaps it’s a little mundane and not really too newsworthy, but hey, what do you expect on a Monday after a weekend of football? But new Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu will wear the No. 22 on his uniform.

If you remember, Wakamatsu was holding up a No. 16 Mariners jersey at his press conference. Well, that’s because it was the number he wore as bench coach for the Oakland A’s last season.

However, Wakamatsu decided to wear 22, which was the number he wore during his playing day at

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