Saturday, August 20, 2005

Spiezio Released by M's

Scott Spiezio, forever etched in Angels' history for his clutch game 6 homerun in the 2002 World Series, was released yesterday by the Seattle Mariners. Seattle GM Bill Bavasi made a monumental mistake by confusing Spiezio's role on the Angels as a cornerstone guy rather than a 'Super Sub'. The Angels did make Spiezio their starting first baseman but he was a stop-gap solution as most Halo first basemen are. The Angels seem to just stick whoever is handy out at first. But who can blame them, the Halos have not had a long-term solution at first since Mo Vaughn and we all know how that turned out Though the Angels may have their first base anchor in-house with Casey Kotchman and the rumor mill has been churning furiously with speculation of Darin Erstad being put back in the outfield to make room for the youngster.

Credit Spiezio and his agent with turning one mediocre season and a spectacular postseason into a $9.3 million contract that will keep Sandfrog playing the beach circuit for the next 10 years at least. In fact, the Mariners still owe Spiezio $3.1 million for 2006 plus a $250,000 buyout for 2007 meaning the Spiez will be the highest paid grunge rocker in the OC. Spiezio is a career .253 hitter and prior to signing with Seattle hit .265 for the Angels in 2003, just 12 months after his "career year" in Anaheim (.285 with 12 HR and 82 rbi). But Spiezio's numbers cratered in the Emerald City when he posted a .215 average with 10 HR and 41 rbi. Numbers so garish the Seattle Times noted that the normally frugal Mariners were compelled "to sign Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre fill two spots that Spiezio could not." While the signing was an obvious mistake in the Al Davis "trophy collection" manner of player acquisitions, Spiezio could end up being a pleasant memory compared to the $64 million the Mariners committed to Beltre who has provided little offensive justification for that amount of jack (.262, 17 HR, 72 rbi). The Mariners are like that guy who bought a ton of tech stocks right at their pinnacle and was left holding worthless paper when the market crashed.

Spiezio could still latch on with another club, but after struggling all season as a backup it is unclear who would be desperate enough to give him and his .065 batting average a job. If KC were to unload Sweeney on the Angels or another club they might take a flyer on him given it would only cost them the league minimum salary. According to the Times, the Seattle GM seemed "happy to be rid of a mistake."
"It was entering into the realm of a demoralizing situation and it was best to remove him and let the club move forward," Bavasi said.
My guess is that Bavasi being in Seattle is "entering into the realm of a demoralizing situation." Perhaps he will be the next one sent packing up north.

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