Let the final lap of a career marathon begin
A Happy New Year to the reader(s) of this blog.
Some of you (well, at least one) might have been wondering why there has been a lack of activity at Street’s Corner for the past month or so.
I would like to say it has all been about vacation time, but the truth of the matter, I have been on the 45-day disabled list — with high blood pressure that scared me, my family and my doctor, all of whom old me in no uncertain terms to back off from work-related activities for awhile.
So, as a good patient, I took everyone’s advice but kept abreast — from afar — the wheelings and dealings of the Z-man. He has pretty much done a roster turnover from the dreadful pre-Z-man days, from the first-round selections in recent First-Year Free Agent Drafts to the trades that didn’t work out (er, Erik Bedard comes to mind) and the plethora of free-agent signings that never panned out.
I doubt that the Z-man is finished his work and the next few weeks could be almost as busy as the post-Winter Meetings roster moves.
Adding another veteran starting pitcher and one or two productive bats should still be high on his to-do list. Getting ace right-hander Felix Hernandez’s signature on a long-term contract would be cheered throughout Mariner Nation.
Even so, the acquistions of Chone Figgins via the free agent market, along with left-hander Cliff Lee and left fielder Milton Bradley via trades, are positive moves. I had a telephone conversation with Ken Griffey Jr., who was on his way to Hawaii for the holidays, and he fully endorsed the swap with the Cubs that brought Bradley to the Mariners and sent right-handed pitcher Carlos Silva to Chitown.
Griffey stopped in Seattle on his way back home from the Islands and besides hoisting the 12th-man flag at Qwest Field prior to the Seahawks’ season finale on Sunday, was expected to have a physical — the final step in the one-year contract he signed in November.
The turning of the calendar page four days ago hastened the countdown to Spring Training. Pitchers, catchers, players coming off injury, and writers report to camp in Peoria on Feb. 17.
This will be my 40th — and final — Spring Training as a full-time baseball writer, and it seems like only 100 or so years ago that it all started in San Jose. Unless the Mariners get into the World Series — stranger things have happened, haven’t they? — my final day on the beat will be on Oct. 31.
The game plan is to dress up as Bobby Ayala and go trick-or-treating.
— Jim Street