Sports Outside the Beltway

Seattle Mariners Outfielder Greg Halman stabbed to death at age 24

Reports are still early, but Halman’s brother has been arrested in connection with the murder. A very sad and tragic story. RIP Greg Halman.

Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death in Rotterdam on Monday and his brother has been arrested in connection with the incident, police said.

Halman, 24, was signed as a free agent by Seattle in 2004 and made his major league debut in 2010.

Police were called to a home in the Dutch port city early Monday and found Halman bleeding from a stab wound. The officers were unable to resuscitate the outfielder.


Winter League Manager throws punch at Umpire

Former Major League Baseball player Jose Offerman is up to his old tricks. From AP-

Former major league All-Star Jose Offerman threw a punch at an umpire during an argument in a Dominican winter league game Saturday night, the second time in 2½ years that he’s attacked someone on a baseball field.

Offerman, manager of the Licey Tigers, appeared to hit first base umpire Daniel Rayburn in the face or neck with his fist during a heated discussion in a game against the Cibao Giants. Rayburn fell to the ground.

Offerman was detained by stadium security and taken to a police station to wait until the end of the game to see if Rayburn would press charges.

The Giants were winning 6-0 in the third inning of the final game of the winter league semifinal playoff series when plate umpire Jason Bradley ejected catcher Ronny Paulino for arguing balls and strikes.

Offerman came onto the field to talk to Bradley, but ended up arguing with Rayburn.

It was the latest violent outburst by Offerman, an All-Star infielder with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995 and Boston Red Sox in 1999.

On Aug. 14, 2007, he was batting for the Long Island Ducks against the Bridgeport Bluefish in an independent minor league game when pitcher Matt Beech hit him with a fastball. Offerman charged the mound with his bat and swung at least twice, striking Beech and Bluefish catcher John Nathans.

At present Nathans is suing Offerman in Federal court claiming he suffered permanent injuries. Offerman’s displays of temper have probably kept him from a earning a Minor league coaching or managing job in the United States. If I were in baseball, I’d question his suitability for any job related to the sport. Right now he isn’t mature enough to hold any job given to him.


Pitcher Randy Johnson announces his retirement

I consider Johnson the best lefty that I personally saw pitch. My baseball viewing began in 1967, so I just missed both Sandy Koufax and Warren Spahn. The only lefty since 67 that was in Johnson’s class, was Steve Carlton. Johnson was a more dominating pitcher. Enjoy your retirement Randy.

Randy Johnson is retiring after 22 major league seasons.

The Big Unit, an overpowering lefty who last June became the 24th pitcher to win 300 games, made the expected announcement Tuesday on a conference call.

“I really wanted to go out on my terms,” Johnson said. “I just feel like there’s not a lot more for me to do in this game. I just think it’s a natural progression when you play this long. Eventually you have to say it’s time.”

A Storied Career

A five-time Cy Young Award winner, the 46-year-old Johnson accomplished just about everything in his remarkable career that a player hopes for in baseball.

He owns a World Series ring and co-MVP honors, and was a 10-time All-Star. He threw two no-hitters, including a perfect game, and ranks second on the career strikeout list.

The 6-foot-10 Johnson finishes with a career record of 303-166 and 4,875 strikeouts in 4,135 1/3 innings for Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, the New York Yankees and San Francisco. His strikeouts are the most by a left-hander and second to Nolan Ryan’s 5,714.

Johnson overcame several injuries to keep pitching at a high level into his mid-40s. He said before last season ended that he looked forward to going home to Arizona and spending time with his family before making a decision about his future.

“It’s taken this long into January because I definitely wanted to just kind of relax from the season being over and make sure I had a clear head when I made this decision, and that I would be making it wholeheartedly and would be sticking to it,” he said.

Johnson went 8-6 with a 4.88 ERA in 17 starts and five relief appearances for San Francisco last season despite missing more than two months with a strained left shoulder that also had a tear in the rotator cuff. He returned in late September as a reliever, a role he couldn’t see himself embracing in order to keep pitching.


Colorado Rockies sign C Miguel Olivo

He played for the Kansas City Royals last season. From AP-

The Colorado Rockies and catcher Miguel Olivo agreed to a $2.5 million, one-year contract Monday that includes a club option for 2011.

Olivo will share catching duties with Chris Iannetta. Free agent Yorvit Torrealba wanted to return to the Rockies but the sides couldn’t reach a deal this offseason.

Olivo hit .249 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs in 114 games for the Kansas City Royals last season, when he served as AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke’s catcher for 31 of his 33 starts. He threw out 18 of 74 base stealers, a 24.3 percent mark that ranked third in the AL.

The well traveled 31-year-old veteran plays good defense and has power which but doesn’t hit for average and has very low on base percentages. I see the one-year signing as a plus for Colorado


Chicago Cubs trade OF Milton Bradley to Seattle

Do not pass Go, and do not collect $200*. From ESPN-

The Mariners and Chicago Cubs have announced a trade that sends outfielder Milton Bradley to Seattle for right-handed pitcher Carlos Silva.

According to sources familiar with the deal, the Mariners will send a total of $9 million to the Cubs in the deal — about $3 million in 2010 and about $6 million in 2011.

That money could allow the Cubs to obtain a center fielder and move Kosuke Fukudome back to right field. They’ve expressed interest in free agents including Marlon Byrd, Rick Ankiel and Scott Podsednik.

But they’ve also explored potential trades for a center fielder — most prominently, Curtis Granderson, before he was traded to the New York Yankees.

Silva is owed $11.5 million for both 2010 and 2011; in 2012, he is due either a $12 million option or a $2 million buyout. Bradley is owed about $23 million on his deal.


Bradley batted .257 with 12 home runs and 40 runs batted in last season. He has a .277 career batting average, but his time in the majors has been beset by injuries and run-ins with teammates and fans. Through 2009, he’s played for seven teams in nine seasons, with 115 HRs and 439 RBIs.


Silva signed a four-year, $48 million deal with the Mariners after the 2008 season and has been a disappointment in Seattle, going 5-18 the past two seasons. He appeared in eight games last season, going 1-3 with an 8.60 ERA.

For his career, he’s 60-64 with two saves and a 4.72 ERA in 295 appearances with the Phillies, Twins and Mariners.

For whatever it is worth, reports from Venezuela say Silva’s arm is healthy again.

So why would Seattle trade him? Salary perhaps, or concerns about Silva’s arm may still be persisting. I see this trade as two teams wanting to rid themselves of high priced and risky property. Your guess is as good as mine if Chicago or Seattle make good from this deal.


MLB Catcher Kenji Johjima leaves Seattle for Japan

His contract had two more years to run. From AP-

The Mariners’ experiment of having the first Japanese catcher in the major leagues has ended two years early.

Kenji Johjima opted out of the final two seasons and $15.8 million of his contract, allowing him to sign with a Japanese team.

Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said Monday the decision came somewhat unexpectedly over the weekend, and that it was solely Johjima’s. Zduriencik said the Mariners did not pay any money to buy out their former starting catcher, who said last season he was struggling to accept Seattle benching him in favor of rookie Rob Johnson.

Johjima’s contract gave him the right to end it by Nov. 15 for the purpose of finishing his career in Japan. He gave up salaries of $7.7 million next year and $8.1 million in 2011.

“After lots of very deep thought and deliberation, I have decided to return home to resume my career in Japan,” Johjima said in a statement. “I have had a wonderful experience competing at the major league level. The last four years have been extraordinary, with great teammates and great coaches. I will always be indebted to the Mariners organization for giving me the opportunity to follow my dream.

“This was a very difficult decision, both professionally and personally. I feel now is the time to go home, while I still can perform at a very high level.”

Maybe Johjima misses Japan and is homesick. I haven’t read any reports of his being unhappy with his playing status.


Ichiro Suzuki Ejected for First Time from Baseball Game

He is in a close fight with Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins for the American League batting title. From AFP-

Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki(notes) was ejected from Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays for arguing a called third strike, the first time in his career he’s been thrown out of a game.The prolific hitter used his bat to draw a line on the outer edge of the plate, demonstrating that he thought David Purcey’s(notes) strike-three pitch was outside.

Home plate umpire Brian Runge immediately tossed Suzuki, who argued briefly before Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu walked him off the field.

Here’s the video of what happened.

Did Suzuki deserve being thrown out of a game for drawing a line in the dirt. I’ve seen players and coaches go apeshit towards an umpire and not get ejected.

GI at ROK Drop writes-

I have to say that has to be about the lamest ejection I have ever seen given by umpire for ejecting someone for drawing a line in the dirt. I am willing to bet the umpire was just trying to make a name for himself and it worked.

The ejection was lame but I don’t think Runge was trying to make a name for himself. He just overreacted, IMHO.


Ichiro Suzuki sets new hit streak record

He becomes the first MLB to record 200 hits in nine consecutive seasons. From AP-

Ichiro beat out an infield single to become the first player in major league history with at least 200 in nine straight seasons as the Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 5-0 to split a doubleheader after losing the opener 7-2.

In his second at-bat of the nightcap, Suzuki hit a slow roller to shortstop Elvis Andrus, beating the throw for No. 200 and driving in a run for a 2-0 lead.

Suzuki, who went 1 for 5 in the second game, received a standing ovation from the sparse crowd, stepping off first base and doffing his batting helmet to thank the fans.

The old record, held by Wee Willie Keeler, had stood for 108 years. I think its a foregone conclusion that Suzuki will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame one day. The only way he won’t is if some scandal overwhelms his accomplishments.


Derek Jeter becomes all time hit leading shortstop

He passed Luis Aparicio with a double today.

Yankees captain Derek Jeter has passed Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio for most hits by a shortstop.

Jeter hit an RBI double in the third inning of Sunday’s game against the Seattle Mariners. His 2,674th hit as a shortstop came two innings after he had singled against Seattle rookie starter Doug Fister leading off the game.

He had seven hits in his first 14 at-bats of the four-game series with the Mariners.

Jeter also has 13 hits as a designated hitter in his career.

His 2,687 hits as of the third inning Sunday were second in Yankees history, 34 behind Lou Gehrig.

Barring some scandal, Jeter will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame one day.


Seattle loses OF Endy Chavez for the season after suffering knee injury in collision

A torn ACL at thirty one years for a marginal MLB player is potentially career threatening. From AP-

Mariners outfielder Endy Chavez is done for the season after an exam revealed a serious right knee injury sustained in a collision with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt.

Chavez tore the anterior cruciate ligament and has other structural damage in his right knee, Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said before Saturday’s game against Arizona.

It’ll likely be another few weeks before Chavez can undergo surgery and the full extent of the damage is revealed. Surgery will occur once swelling in the knee goes down.

Chavez, who started at all three outfield positions this season and was hitting .273, was hurt when he collided with Betancourt chasing down a pop up in the fifth inning Friday night. Chavez flipped hard to the turf after the collision, although Betancourt held on to the ball.

Chavez is a career .270 hitter who has speed, but doesn’t get on base much(.312 OBP) or have much power. I wouldn’t be surprised if he struggles and fails to win a MLB job when he is healthy enough again to pursue his baseball career.


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