Thursday, May 13, 2010

A brief history of Mariner relief

Last year, former first round draft pick Brandon Morrow decides he wants to be a closer, not a starter. Economists and baseball fans around the world start laughing at the Mariners for spending a top-10 pick on a reliever when they could have had Tim Lincecum. Yes, Washington state native and reigning back-to-back Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum.

In game 2, Morrow melted down and gave up a game versus the Twins. This scenario was repeated somewhere between 2 and 37 times in the first month and a half (I can't remember specifics). Morrow is demoted, David Aardsma takes over, throws hard, and saves a lot of games. Morrow decides he wants to be a starter again, but forgets to develop offspeed pitches or any semblance of control.

This past offseason, Seattle tired of Morrow, and traded him to Toronto for a new Brandon (Brandon League). Brandon League was a fastball and sinker pitcher who was billed as a late inning reliever who could take over for Aardsma in a heartbeat if his performance sagged this year.

That hasn't really happened. League's ERA was well over 3, and he'd blown 2 saves already in 16 appearances. Then today's 8th inning against Baltimore happened:
Home run
Runner reached on a strikeout and wild pitch
Fielder's choice
Grand slam

...and a 5-1 lead was a 6-5 defecit and, an inning later, a loss (League's 3rd of the season).

Moral of the story? Brandons don't perform in Seattle. As starters, relievers, mascots, anything. Someone wake up Griffey, the Trade Cliff Lee watch has begun in Seattle.