PROZAC AND CRANBERRIES- A MARINERS THANKSGIVING by Harry CumminsIt's no secret that baseball's new economics govern today's marketplace transactions. Phrases like "luxury tax" and "service-time" are now permanent fixtures in the game's lexicon. After repeated and painful applications of these fiscal truths, long-suffering fans of the Seattle Mariners awoke this morning to yet another bitter taste in the mouth. The Thanksgiving week announcement regarding the departure of the team's best pitcher, James Paxton, also served to jettison GM Jerry Dipoto from most 'What I Am Thankful For' Thursday recitations across the region.
The Mariners have not participated in post-season play since 2001. They are one of only two teams never to have played in a World Series. Earlier this month at the general managers annual conclave, Dipoto was quoted as saying "We don't want to be trapped in perpetual mediocrity." After yesterday's bombshell announcement that the Mariners had dealt away their ace hurler, Paxton, to the talent-rich New York Yankees, 'Trader Jerry' may get his wish. Relegated now to a region somewhere south of mediocrity, a return to commonplace may be several seasons removed.
In exchange for Paxton, who is still under contract for two more seasons and author of a no-hitter this year to accompany a career best 208 strikeouts, the Mariners receive three prospects, two of which have yet to play an inning in the major leagues. LHP Justus Sheffield was the Yankees top prospect, but has already been traded twice while still in the minors and struggled to throw strikes in his late season appearances in New York this year. Pitcher Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams are solid, but not yet spectacular, prospects. All 3 are young, cheap, and measured with strains from 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow.'
"We're trying to re-imagine our roster here," says Dipoto. So are we, Jerry. Can you please pass the Prozac and a 2021 calendar... along with that turkey leg?