Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.

This post was written ahead of time, so if you were expecting to find commentary on how well the Bay Bridge handled last night’s earthquake, you’re about to be disappointed.

Oh, who am I trying to kid? If you’re reading this post, it means there wasn’t a quake large enough to affect the bridge. Anything else up to and including an asteroid impact, Google giving away self-driving cars, or bacon being found to prevent heart attacks, will have to wait until Tuesday.

Moving on.

As usual, I have many things to be thankful for–family, friends, health, the opportunity to pursue a career I love, etc., etc.–none of which I’m going to talk about beyond this paragraph. Instead, I’m going to blather on for a while about my newest reason to be thankful. If those of you who normally flee screaming from baseball posts will give me a moment…OK, my earplugs are in. You may begin screaming.

This off-season the Mariners have a new General Manager who has, of course, brought in a new philosophy of roster construction. I’m thankful because, to be blunt, the previous approach wasn’t working.

That’s not to say I’m totally thrilled with the new focus, but at least it’s different. For the past several years, the previous GM, Jack Zduriencik, seemed to be on an endless quest to find the one bat that would put the team over the top. Unfortunately, the Mariners live under a curse. With the notable exception of Nelson Cruz, players brought in specifically to provide offense mysteriously fall on their faces. The extreme example: more than a decade after his departure, the mere mention of Jeff Cirillo can reduce Seattle fans to tears.

So now we have Jerry Dipoto. His goal for the Mariners? “We see ourselves as a run-prevention club. You can create a lot of advantage playing good defense. We also see our overall team defense as our biggest area in need of improvement. We want to get more athletic and more defensive-oriented in the positions where we can.”

I can’t argue with that. Better run prevention, especially in the late innings, could have made a huge difference in the Ms’ record last year. They lost 27 games on their opponents’ last at-bat. Had they won six of those games–less than a quarter of them–they would have finished the year at 82-80. (Granted, that’s worse than 2014 and would still have only been good for fourth in their division, but finishing over .500 at least gives a veneer of respectability.)

But.

Jerry, please don’t forget about the offense while you’re beefing up the defense, huh? As I’ve said more than once, defense doesn’t win games, it just prevents you from losing them. To win, you have to score runs. Ask the Mets about their World Series performance. So, yeah, can we hold on to some of the bats that are producing? Thanks in advance.

Oh, and Jerry? It’s OK to take the day off. No need to pull off a Thanksgiving Day trade. Just kick back, eat some turkey, watch a little MST3K, listen to Alice’s Restaurant, give the Backyard Bunch a treat, and chill*. You can find us the right fielder of our dreams tomorrow.

* Yeah, that’s actually my plan for the day. So? I highly recommend it to everyone.

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