O’Neil’s Week Sauce: Mariners win without trying, potential Hawk emerges big
This edition of Week Sauce is a little sweeter than normal. Maybe it’s that the Mariners haven’t taken the field in the regular season of what could be a L-L-L-L-ong regular season. Get it? Lots of L’s.
The Seahawks haven’t lost anyone in free agency, either. At least not yet.
In fact, it was hard to find something to complain about though the heaven knows I tried. Here’s a look at who had the best – and in one case the most predictably worst – weeks in sports:
Jerry Dipoto had a pat-yourself-on-the-back week.
The Mariners GM didn’t even have to make a transaction.
In Arizona, Mariners outfielder Jarred Kelenic cranked out the first Cactus League home run of his career and then starting pitcher Justin Dunn faced Mike Trout and then struck out Albert Pujols.
Meanwhile in New York, the Mets are hoping for a bounce-back year from Robinson Cano, but they won’t even commit to Edwin Diaz being their closer this season.
That trade could turn out to be a franchise-changer for the Mariners.
Yannick Ngakoue had an intriguing week.
Three minutes. That was the gap between Ngakoue’s Tweet that he had informed the Jaguars he was not interested in signing a long-term deal with the team and the report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Jacksonville intended to apply the franchise tag to its 24-year-old pass rusher who has had 8 or more sacks in each of his four NFL seasons.
The Jaguars are aware I no longer have interest in signing a long term contract in Jacksonville. Duval, I love you and gave you guys everything I got. I’m thankful for the journey and look forward to continuing my career elsewhere. -91
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) March 2, 2020
Jacksonville Jaguars will use their franchise tag on pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue, per league sources. The tag will allow them to try to trade him if that’s what they decide or are forced to do.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 2, 2020
That stalemate will provide an opportunity for a team – possibly Seattle – to acquire Ngakoue. It won’t be easy as the acquiring team will have to meet Ngakoue’s price on a new deal AND reach an agreement with the Jaguars on trade compensation.
Now we’re all waiting to see whether Seattle will swing from the heels as it must improve its pass rush.
Isaiah Simmons had a ridiculously familiar week.
In 2012, the Seahawks used a second-round pick to draft a 241-pound linebacker who had a 39.5-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot broad jump. It was Bobby Wagner.
This year, a 238-pound linebacker with a 39.5-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot broad jump is going to be a top-10 pick. That’s not to say that Isaiah Simmons will be as good as Wagner. Nor is it to suggest that had Wagner not been ill when he was at the scouting combine that he would have run 40 yards in 4.39 seconds as Simmons did at the scouting combine last week. (Wagner was timed at 4.46 seconds during his pro day at Utah State).
But the fact that Simmons is going to be picked a good 40 spots earlier than Wagner shows how much the rest of the league has learned from Seattle’s success, which only makes it harder for the Seahawks to find the kind of studs it regularly used to pull out of the draft.
James Dolan had a totally typical, not at all unusual week (at least by his standards).
Dolan is part of a two-man death race to see who will succeed Donald Sterling as the country’s worst owner in professional sports.
Dan Snyder isn’t making it easy on Dolan. The owner of the Washington Epithets refuses to consider changing a nickname that is a racial slur. He has alienated what was one of the league’s largest – and most loyal – fanbases.
But Dolan might have one-upped Snyder by having a public argument with his team’s most identifiable fan, a guy who has at this point spent millions of dollars on tickets. Dolan is fighting with Spike Lee over which entrance the director uses.
New York Knicks Statement on Spike Lee pic.twitter.com/19JcvhFKO7
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 3, 2020
What an awful owner.
Taijuan Walker had a turn-back-the-clock week.
What is this, 2014 all over again? Because the starting pitcher – who is now 27 – had his fastball clocked at 94 mph.
It’s encouraging for a guy who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues either of the past two seasons after suffering a torn elbow ligament in 2018.
He’s back with Seattle, the team that drafted and developed him, and while “The Big Three” are a distant memory at this point, that zip on his fastball provides hope for a one-man renaissance this season.
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