Bermuda Triangle of British Columbia

How many professional ballplayers are from British Columbia?  I don't know.  Can't be very many, I imagine.  But somehow three of them have converged into a bizzarro vortex this December: Michael Saunders, Jason Bay and Tyson Gillies.

These three guys that we've all been spilling pixels over -- they're all from British Columbia.  I don't particularly care, it's just freaky-weird.

Saunders: I gar-ron-TEE that I was one of the first to tout the potential of young Mr. Saunders here or DOV or whatever it was at the time.  And I do remember one of the first things I said: left-handed (and Canadian) Cammy.  And I have also always said: learning curve.

I keep going back to his Canadian Olympic Team bio: "A solid hockey player when he was a child -- he was recruited by the Seattle Thunderbirds at one point -- Saunders has also dunked a basketball in high school and was also a notable lacrosse and soccer player as a youth. He gave up all of those sports to play baseball."

He raced up the minor league ladder much faster than I thought he would, and maybe Z thinks that, too.  Athlete he is; baseball player he is not quite.  Full time player in 2010 is a lot to ask, and more than I would ask.  But, for sure, a left-handed Cammy is a star at Safeco, and there is potential for more than that.

Gillies: If you can apply "position scarcity" to defense, can't you apply it to offense too?  If you view "genuine top-of-the-order hitter with high-OBP skills and game-disrupting speed" as a class of player, and if you view Tyson Gillies and likely to be one of that class, then, sure, I can see how you value him higher than a "generic" leftfielder prospect.

Gillies is genuinely fast and has gotten on base at a .400 clip so far in the minors.  If you think that will translate eventually into a game-changing leadoff guy, then he's a very valuable player.   I don't know if Z was being cagey or not, but I can see an org like the Phillies seeking out Gillies.

Bay: Here's the thing.  They can stay as currently configured, except adding a 1B/DH type, and Ken Griffey Jr. is your opening-day DH and Milton Bradley is your opening-day LF, and nobody is "handing" a major-league job to Saunders or Tui.  They are bench guys, role players, or in AAA.  Even though you know MB won't be your LF very often, on your "depth chart" to the world, Griffey and MB are "starters" -- your lead guys.  The fact that they won't either of them play full time gives you lots of opportunities to mix-and-match.  Both Saunders and Tui need this; and I expect that both of them might go up-and-back to Tacoma before it's all over: in which case you might be mixing in Langerhans or Hall.

Bay stomps that out, but adding a cheaper (in terms of $ and years) 1B (Branyan or whomever) does not.  If Luke Scott can actually play first, then maybe that's the best option of all.

Again, that doesn't make me anti-Bay.  It makes me against the loss of flexibility that winning Bay in a bidding war will create.  If Bay wants to come to Seattle without the bidding war and structure things in a way that preserves flexibility, then I'm all for it.  I definitely want some guys with SLG numbers starting with ".5"



Another sign that Z is not locking into youth.  Switch-hitting C Josh Bard signed to minor-league deal with ST invite.  Bard had two very interesting offensive seasons for the Padres in 2006 and 2007, but has been a non-factor on offense in 08 and 09.  Very good eye ratio all along.
Z sez: "We have two catchers, one who's experienced in Johnson and one, Moore, who's unproven, although we like him a lot," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "We thought it was important to shore up our catching scenario and see what happens.
"We had an opportunity to sign two guys [in Alfonzo and Bard] to create opportunities. Bard has been around, there have been spurts where he's been a pretty good offensive player and he should be a really good mentor as far as handling a staff. You always have a need for an extra guy you can bring up from Triple-A because you never know what can happen with injuries, and we saw that last year with [former Seattle catcher] Kenji [Johjima] and Rob."


As someone who travels a lot for work, I would love to make millions of dollars per year and be home 1/2 the season. The tug of war will be between Bay's fixation on earning "what he's worth" and Mrs. Bay's desire to see her husband at home a lot more often.
God bless, Michael

dixarone's picture

Also from Victoria BC...and had the Mariners signed Rich Harden, it's entirely possible that the whole Cliff Lee deal never gets properly started.
You're right though - pretty weird, considering the only other baseball player of note that I can think of off the top of my head from around these parts would be Larry Walker. Oh, and the relief pitcher, believe his first name was Jeff, Zimmerman (although obviously not in the same category as a Walker, Harden or even Bay).

dixarone's picture

Quite right, obviously.


Reportedly 4 yrs/$66M with easy-vesting option for 5th yr at $14M.  So, probably, 5/$80M.

Taro's picture

Well, thats another bad contract for the Mets.
Honestly, it was best that we didn't touch Jason Bay. Maybe we can bring him in for our bench or as a platoon DH once that contract is up.

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