A GRIP ON SPORTS
The Mariners traded for a hitter. Just what we've been asking for, right? Then why does it seem so wrong? Read on.
• If you read this blog throughout the baseball season, you know of our man crush on Jason Vargas. Some of it was a joke, of course, but there is no denying Vargas is a solid, middle-of-the-rotation left-hander who eats innings. A little inconsistent, sure, but a guy who fills a niche that is hard to fill in major league baseball. Yesterday, the M's traded Vargas to the Angels, a team that seems to be a starter or two short of competing for a championship. So Seattle helped a team in its division get better. Why? Because the M's needed a middle-of-the-order bat. They got one in Kendrys Morales (pictured). Yes, the same guy who was probably the Angels fifth-best hitter (behind Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, in no particular order) will now anchor the M's lineup. Which tells you how good (or bad) that lineup is. Like Vargas, Morales has one more year of arbitration eligibility left, then will have to be re-signed to a long-term contract to keep him. If you look at the trade objectively, it probably is one of those rare ones that should help both teams. And that's my main objection. The Angels are so far ahead of the M's that a trade that helps both just leaves the Mariners outside looking in. If this same trade had been made with someone in the NL East or West, it would have made a lot more sense. And have been easier to digest.
• Washington State: The Cougars signed three junior college football players yesterday and received recommitments from two players who signed last year but decided to grayshirt. Christian Caple has a story and blog post on the news, along with holding a live chat yesterday and putting together today's morning post.
• Gonzaga: So, when you are in the last day of work before a vacation, do you always go full out, focusing completely at the tasks at hand before flying the coop? Or do you have trouble keeping in the moment, with thoughts of family, friends and fun dancing in your head? Exactly. So you probably understand why Gonzaga didn't play its best game last night in a 74-52 win over overmatched Campbell. The 14th-ranked Zags, who are off until returning to practice Christmas day, go into the break with an 11-1 record. Not too shabby. Jim Meehan has the story of last night's win along with a blog post. Jesse Tinsley also has these photographs. ... The GU women host Idaho this evening. Chris Derrick has an advance. ... St. Mary's men had little trouble avenging an early season defeat to Pacific. ... Portland picked up another win, defeating North Florida.
• EWU: Jim Allen is making the slow transition from football season to basketball, with a couple of stories in today's paper concerning the football team's future and one on the basketball team opening Big Sky Conference play tonight. ... The Wildcats are still trying to hit their stride offensively. ... Portland State found some much-needed JC help for its football team.
• Idaho: Paul Petrino was able to talk about his complete football staff yesterday with Josh Wright, who put together this story and blog post. ... There are always two ways of looking at things, as these two columns about Gary Andersen leaving Utah State for Wisconsin show. ... Is Utah State also the WAC basketball favorite?
• Preps: The basketball roundup follows the short Whitworth story on this link.
• Seahawks: It's a different Russell Wilson (and a different Seahawk team) than the one who showed up in San Francisco earlier this season. Thankfully, as Pete Carroll has yet to defeat a Jim Harbaugh-coached 49er team, though the first meeting this season was close. ... The 49ers might not have one of their key pieces on the defensive line, Justin Smith (pictured). ... The Seahawks might be missing a couple of players as well due to injuries. ... We can also offer you a Q&A with Earl Thomas.
• Mariners: Our poll today asks you what you think of the M's trade for Morales. We ask, because, as we read the stories from Seattle and the Los Angeles area, it seems to be a trade that everyone likes. The Seattle folks see it as a good thing as do the Southern California observers. ... Is there more to be done? Sure.
• That's it for this morning. It's time to fire up the snow blower and move the mountains of snow that piled up overnight. Should be nice and warm out there. Until later ...