Monday, December 04, 2006

Sign waves

I'm not going to be done cropping/resizing/tagging the Hiroshima pictures tonight. But I like what I've gone through of the set so far. Hopefully they'll be up by Tuesday morning.

I try not to go too many days without writing something here, though, and hey, there's actually some Mariners news to talk about.

As several players and front offices are getting ready to dance to the arbitration tango, the M's have made (or are making) a few additions to their staff, some subtle, some not-so-subtle. None of them have been of the ridiculous tie-up-your-payroll-for-the-next-decade sort yet, which is the most encouraging part.

Lessee, I don't see an official link for it, but USSM says the Mariners signed Justin Lehr to a minor-league contract. At worst, we'll have another good pitcher on the Tacoma team, and at best he'll be someone who can help us out in the bullpen next year for cheap.

Then the other word on the street is that the Mariners are about to sign John Thomson to a one-year contract with an option for 2008. Thomson comes with an injury history, but he comes cheap, and general consensus is that it's a good risk to take. Jeff Sullivan also points out that his name is not spelled Thompson.

Then, the big news of the weekend is that the Mariners also appear to be on the verge of signing Jose Guillen, as either an outfielder or a designated hitter, or both, depending on who you listen to, and depending, of course, on how well he's recovered from his elbow surgery back in July. I'm personally pretty ambivalent about this -- I tend not to get that excited during the offseason about most signings. However, I realize that a lot of other people will be excited about it, for better or worse. For example, my mother lives in VA and is a huge Jose Guillen fan for some reason, even naming a teddy bear after him. Oddly, I suppose I could end up renaming my own Bearemy Reed (nee Teddy Beardado) to Fuzzy Guillen, given the likelihood of Reed being thrown overboard the good ship Mariner this winter.

The Jose Guillen story that most sticks in my head, of course, was from Sam Walker's book Fantasyland, which you should go out and read right this second if you haven't, as it's possibly the funniest baseball book ever written. Sam's Tout Wars team was headed into the last weeks of the season in dire straits and Guillen had gotten himself suspended for going ballistic when they pinch-run for him, so Sam took things into his own hands by staging a protest:

  In the nineteen hours since we landed in San Francisco, Nando and I have visited Kinkos, Staples, and The Home Depot. We've bought poster board, markers, stencils, duct tape, and wooden stakes, and made picket signs that say "Free Jose", "Reinstate Jose", "Fantasy Owners Are People, Too", and Nando's favorite: "Sciame on Scioscia."
  Calling ourselves the National Association of Fantasy Baseball Owners, we printed four hundred leaflets on fluorescent green paper. At the top, there's a smiling photo of Guillen, followed by our manifesto:

Last Sunday, the Anaheim Angels SUSPENDED Jose Guillen, without pay, for the remainder of the season. His "CRIME" was publicly expressing his displeasure after manager Mike Scioscia removed him from a game the night before. Rather than having his enthusiasm and passion for baseball REWARDED, the bumbling Angels tossed him out on the street. This RASH move was made without any consideration for the impact it may have on the FIVE MILLION people WORLDWIDE who play fantasy basbeall, including thousands of our armed forces serving in war zones. Many of us who drafted Jose, or acquired him in trades, take great pride in his ALL-STAR caliber season, in which he's hit .294 with 27 home runs, 104 RBI, 5 steals, and 88 runs scored. We believe that Jose Guillen has been unjustly STOLEN from us, and we DEMAND that Angels management reverse this RECKLESS course and restore Jose to the lineup.

Needless to say, Sam and Nando got a few "right on!"s from some other fantasy sports players, a chuckle from Scioscia, an "Um, no" from Darin Erstad, a "Shoot Jose" from an Angels fan, a disgusted look from Billy Beane, and from Troy Percival, an "I don't give a shit about your fantasy team. That guy's an asshole."

On the other hand, the usually-amusing-but-currently-defunct Ball-Wonk, in his Nats adventures, insists that Jose Guillen is kind to children and America's next supermodel. So who knows. I think this is much better than the Carl Everett risk last year; Guillen's much younger, at least, and has a much higher chance of actually contributing in the field.

And really, you should go read Fantasyland right now if you haven't already. I wasn't joking about that.

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