by Mike Salk
A couple of quick Mariners thoughts while you digest the Edgerrin James signing:
–Shawn Kelley is throwing the ball hard. That seems easy enough, but when he first returned from his oblique injury his velocity was down. Way down. Instead of sitting around 92-93 mph (and touching 95), he was in the mid to high 80’s. So what changed?
Kelley admits that maybe he came back a little early, but he also says that he couldn;t adequately prepare himself in the minors. He says the drop in velocity was mostly due to a mechanical flaw, not just residual pain in his side. And because the flaw was exacerbated when he would get amped up on adrenaline in the majors, the velocity drop wa more pronounced.
Also of note: the flaw really began in his legs. But the problem in his legs caused him to drop his head to one side, which in turn moved his arm into a different spot and eventually altered his arm slot and release point. He corrected it by watching video of himself from ealry in the year next to new video. Pretty cool. And another reason to love baseball.
-I really like Bill Hall and I love the trade that brought him here. I think he has decent power for a guy who can play four positions and I think he can turn his average around too. He was out for early batting practice today and spraying line drives. I like the way the ball comes off his bat with some topspin. And he made a few nice plays in right field tonight as well. Not bad considering the Brewers are paying all of his salry this year and most of it for nexct year too. We’ll be talking to Hall tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2:00. He seems like an interesting guy too.
-It’s weird walking into the Mariners’ clubhouse now and having to reacclamate myself to all of the new bodies. 10 of the 25 bodies are new acquistions (or call-ups) since June 1. But according to players I spoke with, it doesn’t seem that way to them. They believe the newcomers have all fit in well. And because some of the core leaders remained constant (i.e. Sweeney, Griffey), the chemistry was never interupted.
Still, I sensed some disappointment in the clubhouse. They legitimately could have gone 5-1 on the last roadtrip. Would it have mattered in the long run? Who knows. But this team doesn’t like losing.
And I love that about them. Any team that tells me they hate losing, they’re ticked off about it, but they still like each other? That bodes well for the future.
–Miguel Batista is still here. Weird, right?
-Spent a while chatting with Jack Zduriencik and Bill Kruegger about the economics of the baseball draft. I came away with two thoughts:
1. There are no easy answers. Every time you think you have solved one problem, another crops up.
2. “General Manager of a baseball team” is a tough job. Harder, I think, than any other sport. They have to make more decisions with less hard info than any of their football or basketball equivalents. In the draft they have high school, junior college and college kids from leagues of various levels in various climates. Throw in the international markets (including the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Japan, China etc.) and they are judging young players from ages 16-23 from such different backgrounds. Pretty incredible.