Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings: The Dawn of a New Era in Seattle Sports

By Marshall Cherrington

Wednesday Wanderings is a weekly column written by Editor-in-Chief and creator of the Sports Soup Network, Marshall Cherrington. He brings you all of his weekly thoughts pertaining to Seattle sports, and anything else for that matter.

There is no way to start this edition of Wednesday Wanderings in a clever way. There are too many options for me to choose from. Don’t you Cano what I mean? What a couple of weeks it’s been in Seattle sports and I’m sure my phone is not the only one that has run out of power before 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon because I couldn’t stay off Twitter. I love rumor season and it’s definitely that time of the year again. Who needs the Holidays when you have rumors? From coaching changes to a superstar signing with the Mariners for the first time in a billion years, the battery of my phone has hated Seattle sports for the past two weeks. Oh and rumor season isn’t even close to ending. There are still Choo many free agents left on the open market in baseball and recruiting mayhem is just around the corner, if it hasn’t started already. By the time this article is published, approximately 10 rumors have probably already come out, making me look like the least modernized guy on earth. I feel for the Seattle times. This past Friday, the day that will live down in history in Seattle sports, the front page of the Seattle Times sports section consisted of articles stating that the Mariners were meeting with Robinson Cano and that the Huskies were meeting with Chris Petersen. By the time most people read those articles that morning, Petersen and Cano had both agreed to contracts with their respective teams. Oh the dying newspaper industry… Very sad in all honesty.

There is too much information to talk about for just one Wednesday Wanderings column so my thoughts will probably continue to pour out about this past week’s events into next week’s edition of Wednesday Wanderings. Or they’ll just all pour out in this edition and you’ll have to sit through reading thousands of words on the computer. We’ll see how my brain feels. Clearly, I’ll be discussing the Mariners’ big moves, the Seahawks’ demoralizing loss, and a little bit about the new man in charge of the Huskies. Let’s dive in to the week that was in Seattle sports.

Every Mariners blog and website always publishes an article on moves the team should make in the offseason. Usually these articles are very well thought out and some writers put in lots of hard work on these pieces. I always enjoy reading these because it makes me dream big. Jason Churchill’s version of this piece always excites me and I think he is the man to talk to when it comes to Seattle Mariners baseball. The dude just gets it. But one prediction I didn’t see in anyone’s pre-offseason article was that the Mariners were going to sign Robinson Cano, the best second baseman in the game of baseball. Now, I don’t blame any of these writers because I probably wouldn’t have predicted this happening either. I just assumed that he and Jay-Z would sign back in New York. Well looks like I was completely wrong, once again. I can’t seem to predict anything right these days. But for once, I’m very happy I was wrong. Even though the Mariners overpaid for Cano, it was desperately needed. Cano brings a culture change to the Mariners’ team. It lets the rest of Major League Baseball know that the Mariners mean business for the first time in a long time. Jackson, a staff writer here, tried to argue that Dustin Pedroia is clearly the best second baseman in the Major Leagues. Well I have news for you buddy: he’s not. Cano’s WAR (wins above replacement) the past two years (2012 and 2013): 8.5 and 7.6. Pedroia’s? 4.9 and 6.5. We all know that WAR does not mean everything and that it’s getting to be a stat that is a bit overhyped, but this clearly shows something. Cano has been invaluable to the Yankees and has been the best on the team for the better part of the last five years or so. He doesn’t have as much support around him as Pedroia has had. Cano’s mainstay in the lineup has been hitting second, but he has also occasionally hit third. Pedroia’s mainstay in the lineup has been hitting third, while occasionally batting second. It is harder to put up stats and produce in the second position in the lineup than the third, and despite this, Cano still has the better WAR rating. Pedroia is a better fielder than Cano, but look who still has the better WAR rating: Robinson Cano. Both players are within a year of each other in age so that really isn’t an argument in this situation. While judging whether this Cano deal was good or not for the Mariners in the future, clearly it won’t be decided on how Cano performed versus how Pedroia performed. But a point needed to be made. The Mariners signed the best second baseman in the league and I don’t even think there is really an argument for Pedroia. And for all you haters out there who disapprove of this deal, talk to me when Cano is mashing pitching and bringing some much needed fame to the most dismal team in Seattle. He’s already brought enough fame for free agents to give Seattle a longer and harder look when deciding which team to sign with. Just ask Corey Hart.

Robinson Cano brings hope to a hopeless franchise.

Not surprisingly, the Mariners followed up the Cano signing by making two more moves this afternoon. They agreed to terms with ex-Brewers outfielder Corey Hart on a one year contract and then traded for Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison. At first glance, it might seem like the former might be a better move than the latter. And trust me, your first glance holds true. Hart is a proven outfielder, and even though he didn’t play last year because of knee issues, he’s put up All-Star like numbers in the past. What if Hart decided to turn back the clock on us this year? Say to 2010 or so, a year he hit .283 with 31 home runs and 102 RBI. We all know that this kind of production won’t occur this year, but say the Mariners get at least 3/4ths of that production. And what if Logan Morrison decided to turn back the clock as well? Say to the year 2011, a year he hit .247 with 23 home runs and 72 RBI. Morrison is much younger than Hart so it might be realistic to say that he could produce more this year than he did in 2011. Even if he gave 3/4ths of his 2011 production this upcoming year, like Hart might, both players would combine to hit around .265 for 42 home runs and 129 RBI. At the end of the season, Jack Zduriencik would probably look back and think to himself, “Wow, I made some good moves on that Wednesday afternoon in December.” All in all, I think the Mariners got better as a team this afternoon and that’s saying a lot considering they made moves for two guys with knees that probably look like strings by now. And the Mariners aren’t done just yet. They are rumored to be in on Nelson Cruz still and even though most people absolutely hate this guy for the Mariners, I think he would be a solid pick-up. Under one condition: the price has to be right. He’s been a Mariners killer in the past so as the saying goes (with a little adjustment to it), if you can’t beat them, buy them. If the Mariners signed Cruz and then added a number three starter to their rotation via free agency (Ubaldo Jimenez maybe?), I think they would be considered contenders this upcoming year. It’ll all workout in the end, as long as former Mariners employees don’t bash the team publicly anymore (shout out to Geoff Baker though for an amazing article).

Can Corey Hart return to his 2010 ways with the Mariners? The city of Seattle, along with the woman on his right arm, hope so.
Pro Sports Extra

Now moving on to the most beloved team in Seattle, the Seahawks. Actually, to illustrate how big the Cano signing was, I think the Mariners might have been the most beloved team in Seattle last Friday. Actually, on second thought, the Mariners probably still sucked in fans’ eyes. Fans will find ways to bash the Mariners at any point in time, even if they were to win consecutive World Series. It’s just how the pessimistic city of Seattle works. But moving on. I think the Seahawks lost a tough one at the hands of the 49ers this past Sunday. For the first time this whole season, it felt like the team really needed Percy Harvin. He would have helped the team to victory in my opinion, but of course, he was inactive, like he probably will be for the remaining three games of the season. Hey, at least the team will have him for the playoffs, that is if he doesn’t trip over a blade of grass again and hurt that glass hip of his. As we all know, Percy adds another dynamic to this team that just wasn’t there on Sunday afternoon: speed. Russell Wilson has speed, but he didn’t show it Sunday. It seemed like Russell was holding himself back for something. Maybe to save his body for the playoffs? Well he still got hammered early and often as Navarro Bowman absolutely destroyed him on the opening drive of the game. Wilson was pretty efficient through the air, but for the first time this season, I was worried that the opposing team’s defense was talented enough to stop the Seahawks offense. I guess you could call it a game of firsts for me because it was also the first time this season where I didn’t have overwhelming confidence in the defense. They looked slow out there and it didn’t help that the San Francisco 49ers completely took Earl Thomas out of the game by sending wide receivers downfield to block him on nearly every rushing play. That’s just good coaching. To stay on this subject, and to stay on the theme of firsts, it was also the first time on Sunday that I felt like the Seahawks truly got out coached. Darrell Bevell has had some questionable play calling in the past and you could count this as bad coaching, but the overall coaching of the entire staff did not impress me Sunday, Pete Carroll included. Richard Sherman called the game an “overhyped practice” during pre-game festivities. The coaches can’t let that mentality creep into the minds of these players. You get to play once every seven days of the week and it’s called “gameday” for a reason. It’s not a practice of any sort, overhyped or not. Sherman did not impress me on Sunday and hasn’t been very impressive the past couple of weeks. But maybe that’s just because I’ve come to expect so much from him. Opposing teams have to complete a pass on him sooner or later. It’s just bound to happen. I also really hope he does not read this. He could embarrass me in a heartbeat on my beloved twitter. Anyways, that being said, I think Sherman will be able to rebound this week as he faces an uninspired Giants squad, though they have nothing to lose. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks should provide some challenges for the Seahawks secondary, but not challenges that the Legion hasn’t seen in the past. I think the Seahawks win easy, despite the early start time. And I don’t think it’ll stop there. In fact, the Seahawks won’t lose a game for the rest of the season. Yep, that’s right, I’m predicting the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl. I know that’s a very bold prediction. Had to go out on a limb for that one! Let’s move on to the other football team in town.

I think the Huskies finally found the right guy to lead their program to the next level. Chris Petersen just isn’t like other coaches. 92-12? Unheard of. Turning a mid-level program into a consistent winner at Boise State? One of the hardest things to do. Coaching on a blue field without throwing up? Probably the biggest and best thing he has accomplished thus far in his coaching career. I see Chris Petersen retiring as a Husky with at least one National Championship ring on his hand. At least a Rose Bowl ring. I’m bummed I have to move away for college because I really want to see Petersen’s first year on the field in person. But hey, maybe it’s just a sign I need to attend the UW. It’ll be an exciting year, way more exciting for Husky fans than Steve Sarkisian’s first year as the head coach of the Huskies. I think Sark did great things at UW, but he always seemed like he had two sides to him. At times, he seemed like the nicest, most pleasant guy on the planet, but I could always tell that there was another part to him. Something shady. Shady may not be the right word, but sneaky to an extent. I’m not trying to insult Sark’s character in any way, but I’m just pointing out what I saw when the media interviewed him after multiple practice’s. But he’s not the coach anymore. Chris Petersen is. Petersen developed two and three star recruits so well at Boise State. Now just imagine what he will do at Washington with four and five star recruits. We’re talking about a lot of NFL talent coming out of Washington over the next decade or longer. Sarkisian was like the charger that revives your phone from a dead battery and I think Petersen is a special phone case that keeps the phone with power and battery life at all times. The Huskies have finally graduated from mediocre coaches in the past decade and have already stepped up a level under the control of Petersen without even playing a game yet. Can they take those next steps on the way to becoming elite? As usual, only time will tell. But the Petersen era has arrived. And it’s here for the long haul.

Husky fans hope Petersen's coaching is as perfect as his teeth are.
The Tacoma News Tribune

Well there you have it. Now you know what happens when my thoughts on Seattle sports are pent up for multiple weeks in a row. It’s like a dam coming down, my thoughts being the water that soaks up the dry riverbeds (also known as your minds). I know you’ve all loved my analogies today especially that last one right there. I’ll try to throw a few more of those in over the course of the coming weeks. It’s probably what will keep you up at night, thinking about my stellar analogies. On a serious note, I think the current state of Seattle sports is the best it has been in the past decade. The Mariners are on the rise, the Seahawks are at the pinnacle of the NFL and the Huskies are close to returning to national prominence once again. Throw in the Sounders and you have a city that’s been deprived of success in sports, now drowning in the championship possibilities of each of their beloved teams. Promising times are ahead and even though a few of these new eras (Mariners and Huskies) may get off to rough starts, the Seattle sports gods will straighten them out in no time.

It’s a hard transition to go from talking about the potential of a city’s sports teams to talking about Madden, but I’m about to do just that. It’s just how my mind works. Jumping from one train of thought to another in no time. Anyways, I’m destroying Jackson in the Madden series now. I don’t even know what the record of the series is, but I’m up on him by at least two games. I put up 67 on the scoreboard today with the Eagles. I was bowing down to Chip Kelley for once. You can all be sure that will never happen again.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read/suffer through this. It means a lot to me. Please comment below with any thoughts that are currently sticking out in your mind after reading this column. I will be sure to get back to you within 12 hours. I promise you. If I don’t, contact me and I’ll give you a pack of Skittles signed by Marshawn Lynch. Seriously. He signed a pack of Skittles for me. Probably the best day of my life. Have a good week Seattle sports nation!


Thanks for reading and follow us on twitter @seasportssoup! Like us on Facebook as well. Keep checking back for more updates!

No comments:

Post a Comment