A GRIP ON SPORTS
One of the games Mariners fans play is titled "Name the Worst Trade." There has always been a lot of contenders, from the Heathcliff Slocumb deal to the Erik Bedard debacle, thanks in large part to the legacy of Bill Bavasi. But there is a recent one that is creeping up the list. Read on.
• By the way, the best trade in Mariners' history? I have to come down on the side of Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner. Not only did it solidify right field for a decade, it also was the only trade the M's ever made that was featured on "Seinfeld."
Frank Costanza (yelling): What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?!? He had 30 home runs, over 100 RBIs last year, he's got a rocket for an arm, you don't know what the hell you're doin'!!
George Steinbrenner: Well, Buhner was a good prospect, no question about it. But my baseball people love Ken Phelps' bat. They kept saying 'Ken Phelps , Ken Phelps'.
• OK, back to the negative. With Doug Fister on the mound for the Tigers last night, there was a lot of discussion in newspapers, on blogs and on talk radio about his trade to Detroit a couple years ago. It doesn't help that one of the key players in the deal, from the M's perspective, was recently released. Twice. That would be outfielder Casper Wells, who was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays this week. The only player the M's received for Fister and another pitcher who is currently in the big leagues is left-handed situational reliever Charlie Furbush. Meanwhile, Fister continues to do what he did with the M's, with one notably difference. He challenges hitters, works quickly and keeps his team in the ballgame. Oh, and with Detroit, he wins a little bit. When the M's dealt him to the Tigers he had one of the better ERAs in the league, though he was saddled with a horrendous won/loss record. But remember, when Felix won his Cy Young Award a few years ago, M's fans were quick to point out his won/loss record was something he couldn't control. Neither could Fister, who always had the Mariners in the game in the late innings. When he does the same for Detroit these days, he's got a much better chance to win. We all know how bad trading Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek for Slocumb (pictured) turned out to be and we know, no matter what happens to Adam Jones down the line, the deal for Bedard was just plain stupid. But the Fister deal still has many more years to climb the ladder around here. And it very well could be, in five years or so, when M's fans gather to enjoy an adult beverage, they are as angry as Frank Costanza about letting Doug Fister go.
• Washington State: It's funny. It's middle to late April and there is a lot of college football news in the paper. Christian Caple has his share, with a story on linebacker Tana Pritchard (pictured) – former WSU linebackers coach Chris Tormey told me when Pritchard was redshirting he had the biggest upside of any of the freshmen and had the physical tools to play in the NFL – and a summary of yesterday's practice. He also has a morning blog post, as per usual. ... A former WSU assistant has settled in nicely in Logan, Utah. ... Who will win the Pac-12's basketball race next year? Here's an early guess.
• Gonzaga: Nothing on the Zags, per se, but BYU coach Dave Rose looks back at a 24-win season.
• EWU: Speaking of football, Jim Allen is on a football-story-writing binge. He posted a look at the running backs yesterday on the blog, then followed that up with another on the quarterbacks this morning. He also has this story on the coaches' feelings concerning stretching spring practice another week.
• Shock: Spokane loves big receivers. Kamar Jorden fits the profile. Jim Meehan introduces us to Jorden in his Shock notebook this week.
• Preps: Jim Allen also has soccer duty at the high school level and he fulfills that requirement today with this notebook. ... U-Hi pounded out the hits and took control of the 3A softball race yesterday. Chris Derrick has the coverage.
• Mariners: Other than the Fister debate above, we also have news on his appearance at Safeco last night. Yep, the Tigers won in Aaron Harang's first start with the M's. ... Michael Morse (broken finger) and Franklin Gutierrez (just being Franklin Gutierrez) were back in the lineup last night. ... The M's made news off the field as well, buying a controlling stake in ROOT sports. This will make the franchise a bunch of money down the road.
• Seahawks: There is a changing of the guard at the Times when it comes to Hawk coverage.
• Sonics: This was supposed to be the week everyone found out the Kings' fate. But the NBA has too much to digest, supposedly, and will not decide just yet. Think maybe the other owners want to see if there is more money to wring out of Seattle or Sacramento? ... If Seattle ever gets a team, Key Arena will serve as an interim home.
• That's it for today. If you want to laugh a bit, I have decided to add a link to the "Seinfeld" scene referenced above. It brought back memories for me. Until later ...