If you watched last night’s Mariner game, a 3-2 loss to the Oakland A’s in 12 innings, you likely noticed that home plate umpire Sean Barber was really, really bad. This was his first major league game behind the dish calling balls and strikes–he is a replacement umpire filling in for Tim McClelland, who is going to miss the 2014 season with a back injury. So, like it or not, Barber is probably here to stay, at least for the 2014 season. Still, if this is a “tweener” AAA/MLB umpire, I’d hate to see the guys that aren’t on the short list to get major league work.
Hear me out…
Thierry is one of the most prolific goal scorers of our generation, and of all time. Now I am not comparing the quality of Thierry
Henry to Lamar Neagle, in no offense to Lamar because I doubt Henry is any good at FIFA and Lamar is the champ. I’m talking about the role that Lamar can play for this team.
With nine official goals last year in all competitions while splitting time between wide midfielder and striker, Lamar became a quality finisher and valued strike partner to Obafemi Martins. Neagle averaged a goal every two games when playing as a striker and has real chemistry with a lot of his teammates. His best piece of quality is running at defenders with the option to cut inside and either shoot or play the ball off to a teammate and continue his run.
Lamar is selected to spend most of his time on the left side of the formation, and should be given the freedom to bound forward and combine with Oba and others. Lamar is very good in the air, and is very strong when thumping around with center backs. I think Lamar is an underrated passer in the final third, and has that creative side to him which you don’t really see with other players in the league.
Henry spent significant amounts of time on the left hand side of the formation for both Arsenal and FC Barcelona, while creating and finishing some of the most outstanding goals I have ever seen. Remember that loan spell in 2012 back with Arsenal in the F.A. Cup against Leeds? Classic Henry.
I truly believe Lamar has something in his play that is starting to slowly show to be something special. Whether it be a clutch goal at the right time, or a string of great performances, there will be a moment where Lamar will be celebrating with his Washington born teammate DeAndre Yedlin, while Sounders supporters and fans go crazy. Lets hope Lamar continues with consistent playing time, and wait for THAT moment.
Perhaps the best episode of West Coast Bias to date, I was able to land perhaps the best slew of guests in the show’s short history. First up is 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom Wassell talking Seahawks and Mariners with me. Then, I managed to get a few minutes of Seattle Times Reporter Geoff Baker’s time to get a more inside perspective on the M’s. Geoff is followed by fellow West Coast Bias blogger Jordon Grangruth talking about the Sounders’ hot start. Other topics are Kyle Seager’s 2014 projection, and WSU Baseball. Listen below!
Late last night, it appeared that the best defensive lineman from the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks was headed to Chicago to play football with his brother. It makes sense–after all, they were presumably one of two teams offering more money, and as you may remember, Bennett famously said that there were no home-town discounts because “This isn’t Costco.”
Well, apparently it is Costco, because Bennett inked a four-year, $28.5 million deal with the Seahawks today, with $16 million in guarantees. That’s significantly less than Vikings DE Everson Griffen’s recent five-year, $42.5 million deal with $20 million in guarantees. Bennett is three years older than Griffen, but his production is also significantly greater.
It’s odd to see Bennett receive nearly $1.5 million less per season than Griffen, given what Bennett did last season. He may have had just 8.5 sacks, a respectable-but-not-outstanding total, but that is more impressive when considering that Bennett played just 57% of the snaps on defense. Bennett wasn’t even technically a starter in 2013. Now, he’ll probably start at the 5-technique DE spot that Red Bryant occupied last year.
The run defense will likely suffer because of this, but Bennett may have been the second-best run defender at the end position to Bryant last season, so it’s not a huge drop-off. Bennett’s ability as a pass rusher should more than make up for any losses in run defense. In nickel situations, expect to see him slide inside to DT, where he’s even more disruptive. He generates interior pass rush, which is much rarer than outside pass rush. His versatility gives the Seahawks lots of flexibility–he’ll put pressure on opposing quarterbacks no matter where he lines up. This allows the Seahawks to use situational run-stuffers when Bennett is on the outside, and pure speed rushers when Bennett is shifted inside.
Multiple reports say that Bennett’s deal will count $4m against the salary cap in 2014. The Seahawks had roughly $14m in cap space available before signing Bennett, so this leaves them about $10m to re-sign Golden Tate and extend Earl Thomas. It’s possible that the release of Chris Clemons will follow Bennett’s re-signing. Cutting Clemons will save the Seahawks $7.5 million in cap space, and now that Bennett is in the fold, Clemons is expendable.
Michael Bennett was probably the Seahawks’ #1 priority this off-season. Extending Thomas is more important, but before those negotiations could begin, the Seahawks had to know where that money would be coming from. With Bennett back in the fold, the Seahawks are probably going to have to get creative if they want to bring back Tate and fit an extension for Thomas into the budget. The Seahawks have retained their most disruptive defensive lineman. With Bennett taken care of, the other dominoes should start to fall soon, perhaps as soon as the start of the unrestricted free agent period that begins tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Another episode of the show! We talk to Tom Wassell about the Mariners, I preview Logan Morrison’s season, Jordon Grangruth talks Sounders, and we look at the NFL. Listen below!
Hey guys! Last week, the show was pre-empted, so I had to do it online. This time, I had a workshop for credit that I had to do taking out the first hour of my show. But, I was still able to get in the studio and record something. I talk Seahawks, then Wassell comes on to talk a bit of Seahawks and Mariners.
Hello friends! Today was supposed to be the return of West Coast Bias on KUGR.org, but we were pre-empted by (an awful) Cougar Basketball team. So, I just recorded the show on my computer, minus the interview with 710 ESPN’s Tom Wassell. I’m attempting to reschedule that interview and put it up on the blog later this week, if possible. In tonight’s show, I go over the new guys on the Mariners, relive my experience at the NFC Championship game, and play you Steve Raible’s calls of the Super Bowl Highlights.