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Thursday, February 26, 2004

The Jarvis Solution 

After I wrote that crazy post in which I claim that Seattle ought to be considered the team to beat in the AL West this year, I actually got a couple of emails telling me why I was probably wrong. I found this kind of awesome, since up till then I'd sort of assumed that nobody really read this stuff. Just goes to show you, all it takes is one tasteless rape-joke to get the people interested!

Among other things, I was told:

1. The Mariners are an old team that just keeps getting older.
2. The bullpen just ain't what it used to be (especially if Jarvis somehow survives the spring).

I'm not too worried about that first reason. In the starting lineup, there are only two guys (Edgar and Olerud) whose age seems to be a concern. Edgar's been held together with duct tape and superglue for a long time now, but he can still put the bat on the ball and jog to second. And that's all he has to do. Should duct tape and superglue stop working, there are plenty of designated hitters out there. As for Olerud, his performance last year was pretty scary, but they say it was his hamstring, and he's still young enough to heal. Anyway, there are almost as many first basemen as DHs.

As for the rest of the lineup, I can't see the number of 31-year-olds as a problem. I mean, young guys get hurt too. Experience is a good thing, right?

The worry about the bullpen is much more serious. I never really thought of Jarvis-in-the-pen as a strong possibility until it became clear just how sure Melvin was that Guardado was the closer. As David Sund wrote me,

"If the Mariners do not upgrade their bench, and Kevin Jarvis is still a Mariner on opening day, it's likely that we are going to see a repeat of Giovanni Carrara. The difference? Bavasi is going to be very reluctant to release a guy making over $4 million. If it took Gillick a month and a half to get rid of Carrara, how long will it take Bavasi to dispose of Jarvis?"

It's a fair question, especially since Jarvis is left-handed. If Guardado is the closer, that means the only lefties available for spot-work in the Mariner pen will be Kevin Jarvis, Ron Villone, and some guy named Matt Thornton. We all know how obsessive major league managers are about the lefty-lefty matchup. So now the question becomes, how can we possibly stop Bob Melvin from even having the option of bringing in Villone or Jarvis when Garret Anderson comes up with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning?

There's only one way! Sign Ugueth Urbina NOW. It'll cost less than half of the Sasaki money, and it will squeeze Guardado from the closer spot that he doesn't belong in anyway. Then, Kevin Jarvis becomes the odd man out, and we don't have to worry about him anymore.

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