Filling a void with a character

When GM Jack Zduriencik says he will fill a hole in the Mariners roster, he means it.

About 27 hours after telling the media (and all Mariners fans via the media) on Thursday that he wanted to add a right-handed bat, he did it — signing Eric Byrnes to a one-year contract.

Judging from the email I have received, Mariners fans wanted Jermaine Dye to be the guy, but he was too expensive. The $400,000 (MLB minimum) Byrnes gets does not push the player payroll over the top. If it doesn’t work out in Spring Training, so be it. There could be plenty of other players available as camps close and rosters are reduced to the 25-man Opening Day limit.

But it will be fun just to have Eric Byrnes around. He is one of the characters of the game, for sure. It’s only a rumor that he plugs himself into a power source before he goes to sleep.

Look up “hyper” in the disctionary and you’ll see his picture.

I actually was hoping the much sought-after right-handed hitter would be Mike Sweeney. He was such a good guy to have on the club last season and, during the latter part of the season, was as clutch as anyone on the team.

Byrnes definitely will bring enthusiasm to the ballpark every day, and that’s a good thing. He can play left field and share the DH spot with Junior Griffey against the toughest lefties.

— Jim Street

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