Seahawks still locked out

NFL doors are opened and players are allowed into team facilities, but are unable to do any conditioning or weight-lifting- except two NFL teams.

The Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills remain locking their players out of their buildings.

Seahawks RB Justin Forsett tweeted: “Just tried getting in the facility #Fail“.

Seahawks LB Anthony Heygood also tweeted: “Well us #Seahawks arent allowed back in the building either. So lifted? I dont think so. #imissvmac

WR Deon Butler and CB Roy Lewis also were not allowed past the parking lot in Seattle.

Currently the NFL is appealing the ruling of Judge Nelson’s in regards of lifting the lockout which came, Monday.

The NFL Draft kicks-off 8 p.m., Thursday, April 28 on ESPN and NFL Network.

Judge Rules Against Owners

Judge Nelson ruled today that the NFL Owners need to lift the Lockout and allow business to continue. This is a big win for Players and fans in the short term. The NFL will likely appeal the ruling.

If it holds up it gives the players a bit of power in the new CBA negotiations. This could be bad for both players and fans long term. How can it be bad for players to make more money you ask?

If the new CBA creates an economic atmosphere that fails to produce adequate profit margins for the owners they will invest their money elsewhere. Yes, they make a lot of money. But it’s important to remember how much money they have tied up in these franchises and the financial risks involved with having nearly 1 Billion Dollars invested in a single endeavor. There are a few owners like Jerry Jones for whom football is everything, but for the most part these are business men who have made billions making smart investments. If they are unable to make enough profit to make it viable as an honest investment, many will simply sell their franchise.

New ownership groups will be hard to find because even though players like to say they are the product, and they are irreplaceable, imagine how hard it will be to find people willing to invest a large fortune in an organization where they can’t turn a meaningful profit. What you will end up with will be the equivalent of slum lords who buy teams at a wholesale price and run them into the ground. New facility construction will halt, and overall conditions will decline. With that revenue will decrease, and ultimately that will lead to the players getting a larger percentage of a much smaller pie.

‘Hawks travel to San Deigo

The first week of pre-season football will host a nationally televised game for the defending NFC West Division Champions, Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks will travel to San Diego where they meet-up with the Chargers on Thursday, Aug. 11th.

With the lockout still being resolved there very well may not be a pre-season, but if there it is it could be a match-up of Charlie Whiterhust taking on the team that traded him to Seattle.

Matt Hasselbeck is currently a free agent as well as 3rd-string quarterback JP Losman. Nate Davis was signed back in January, but shortly was released. With those moves currently Whitehurst is the only quarterback on the Seahawks roster.

Remaining of the Seahawks Pre-Season Schedule:

Thurs. Aug. 11- at San Diego Chargers (ESPN)

Sat. Aug. 20- vs. Minnesota Vikings (a team that could be interested in Hasselbeck once free agency starts)

Sat. Aug. 27- at Denver Broncos

Thurs. Sept. 1- vs. Oakland Raiders (Tom Cable returns to Oakland since being fired after the 2010 season)

The regular season schedule most likely will be released the week of the NFL Draft.

The Minor League Baseball Season Kicks Off Tomorrow

The Mariners farm system had a terrific year last year, and it was actually the best year by the Mariners minor league affiliates in Franchise history. Only one affiliate did not make it to the postseason and two of the affiliates, the Tacoma Rainiers (AAA) and the Everett Aqua Sox (Short Season), each won their league’s title. This year’s minor league teams have some big shoes to fill but there is still a lot of great talent remaining and even more has been added to the system.

The reigning Pacific Coast League Champions kick of their season on the road against the Sacramento River Cats. Luke French will be pitching for the Rainiers tomorrow. The Rainiers don’t make their home opener until Friday, the 15th in the brand new Cheney Stadium. The biggest name to watch for on this team is Dustin Ackley who shouldn’t stick around at AAA for long. Once June comes around, Mr. Ackley should be manning second base on the big league roster.

The Jackson Generals, formerly the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, will be kicking off the season with a brand new name, logo, and everything else that comes with. Anthony Vasquez will be on the mound for the Generals as they start the season on the road against the Mississippi Braves. The Generals will be going up against one of the top pitching prospects in the league in Randall Delgado. Their first home game is on Wednesday, the 13th.

As we head down to the desert, the High A Desert Mavericks kick their season off on the road against the Lancaster Jethawks. The opening day starter has yet to be announced but I’m making a guess and saying that it will be right-hander Yoervis Medina. This league is known for its huge offensive numbers and we often see a lot of players really break out while playing here. Watch for the toolsy outfielder James Jones to really take off this year.  The Mavericks first home game is Thursday, the 14th.

The Clinton Lumberkings won the Midwest League West division title, but they fell short of bringing home the MWL Championship Title as they lost in the final series to the Lake County Captains. Forrest Snow will be on the mound for the Lumberkings as they kick off the season at home against Burlington Bees. I did an interview with Snow this offseason and he is a great guy.

He spent last year as a reliever in which he was very dominant but he has been stretched out and will now be working as a starter. This is a talented group of players and they should compete again for the division and league championship.

Make sure you follow me on twitter @Mike­_Schwartze for updates on all of the Mariners Minor League Affiliates throughout the season.

It’s Time

The wait is finally over! The Mariners kick off the 2011 Major League season against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland. The game is scheduled to start at 7:05 PT and we will see a great pitching matchup between the reining AL Cy Young Award Winner, Felix Hernandez, and right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill.

The active 25-man roster heading into the season look as follows:

Pitchers: Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Doug Fister, Erik Bedard, Michael Pineda, Brandon League, Chris Ray, Aaron Laffey, David Pauley, Jamey Wright, Josh Lueke, Tom Wilhelmsen.

Catchers: Miguel Olivo and Adam Moore

Infielders: Justin Smoak, Jack Wilson, Chone Figgins, Brendan Ryan, Luis Rodriguez, Adam Kennedy

Outfielders: Ichiro Suzuki, Milton Bradley, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders

Designated Hitters: Jack Cust

The rotation will be Hernandez, Vargas, Fister, Bedard, and Pineda.

Tomorrow’s opening day lineup will be as follows:

  1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  2. Chone Figgins, 3B
  3. Milton Bradley, LF
  4. Jack Cust, DH
  5. Justin Smoak, 1B
  6. Miguel Olivo, C
  7. Ryan Langerhans, CF
  8. Brendan Ryan, SS
  9. Jack Wilson, 2B

P. Felix Hernandez

Some more Opening Day Notes:

The Mariners have a few notable players starting the season on the DL, Franklin Gutierrez and David Aardsma. Both should be back by mid-April so we shouldn’t worry too much. Brandon League has been named the closer in Aardsma’s absence. Another thing to watch for is that Ichiro needs only 3 hits to tie Edgar Martinez for the franchise record in hits.

This is what we have all been waiting for, baseball season is finally here. Let us enjoy tomorrow’s game and hope for progress to be made this year.

Kolb heading to Seattle?

Last year Seattle went after Charlie Whitehurst- the quarterback they felt would be the future when Matt Hasselbeck was ready to retire or leave in free agency.

Despite Whitehurst never having any true NFL experience the Seahawks gave up quite a bit in draft picks for the unproven Whitehurst. To acquire Whitehurst the Seahawks had to swap second-round picks and send the Chargers a 3rd-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Whitehurst would appear in six games for the Seahawks starting two- including a Week 17 match-up with the St. Louis Rams. Winner takes home the NFC West Division crown and would earn the chance to host a home play-off game against defending Super Bowl Champions the New Orleans Saints.

Whitehurst would go 22-for-36 with 192-yards and a touchdown defeating the Rams 16-6 and giving the Seahawks their seventh all-time division title and fifth in the past seven-years.

Despite Whitehurs’s success the Seahawks still have their doubts as to whether or not Whitehurst is their future at quarterback. In only six-years in the NFL he’s appeared in eight games- starting two of them completing 57 passes for 507-yards and two touchdowns.

Now the Philadelphia Eagles are shopping former 2nd-round pick Kevin Kolb and according to Sports Illustrated Don Banks the Seahawks could turn out to be the top suitor for Kolb.

Unlike Whitehurst, Kolb has proven himself he’s played in 19-games- starting seven of them and passed for 2,082-yards and 11 touchdowns, but has also thrown 14 interceptions.

If Seattle were to trade for Kolb they most likely would have to give up more to the Eagles than they did for Whitehurst- a 2nd-round pick in 2010 and a 3rd-round pick in 2011.

It might cost them a 1st-round pick in this year’s draft (25th overall) and a conditional pick in 2012, but is that worth it?

Kolb could be a product of a system and he has yet to truly show his potential with the Eagles. He lost the starting job to Michael Vick after an injury, but prior to the injury he had thrown for six touchdowns and only four interceptions. Maybe all Kolb needs is a chance to prove himself.

I’m a strong believer in competition at the quarterback position and he would get that with Whitehurst, but is it worth giving up more picks to get him?

The biggest issue might be if no one is on the board come Seattle’s pick in the 2011 Draft than you make the trade, but if there is a player who will fill a hole or improve your team do you pull the trigger for Kolb?

It will be a question that will have to be answered fairly sooner than later, but two things are for sure- Kolb has proven himself and that is way more than Whitehurst had done when Seattle acquired him.

Finally Carroll is all about competition at any position and willing to take risks.

The uncertainty will be if Kolb is the next risk Carroll and GM John Schneider take on.


Mariners Re-Assign 5 to Minor League Camp Including Dustin Ackley

One of the biggest questions heading into spring training was where Dustin Ackley would start the year. Many projected that he would begin the year at AAA Tacoma (including myself) so that he could fine tune his defense at second and avoid Super Two arbitration status. Well the decision is final as the Mariners assigned him to AAA today. This will be a great opportunity for fans to see Ackley at the brand new Cheney Stadium to open the year. He should make his major league debut sometime in June.

The Mariners made a lot more moves today regarding non-roster invitees.

The Mariners announced that Gabe Gross will be assigned to minor league camp. He has had a very rough spring, hitting .077 in 26 at-bats. He could end up at AAA Tacoma or possibly be released.

Ryan Langerhans has been hitting .333 in 36 at-bats and has earned the role of reserve outfielder on the opening day roster. He was brought in to compete with Gross, and Jody Gerut for the job.

The Mariners assigned catching prospect Steven Baron to minor league camp as well. Baron had zero chance of making the opening day roster but he was brought up to provide some catching depth and work with the veterans. Baron is great defensively but he will need to greatly improve his offensive game if he hopes to one day reach the majors.

Fabio Castro gave up 5 runs in 7 innings this spring which wasn’t enough to keep him around. The very small, 5’7” 185lb lefty should stick around at AAA for some left-handed relief depth.

Sean Kazmar came into camp with an outside shot to compete for a bench utility role. He hasn’t helped his cause, hitting .130 in 23 at-bats. He may end up in Tacoma to serve as a utility player but we will have to wait and see.