Editor’s note: J.A. Happ was a topic of discussion this past week, and I will take EVERY opportunity to make a (former) Mariner the main focus of my writing. It was mandatory that this entire article be filled with Happ puns… I’m sorry.

Since the World Series ended November 1st, we have officially hit the one month mark of the offseason. WOOHOO! One down and approximately two more to go. Wake me up when I land in Arizona, please and thank you.

When I started writing the intro to this post a few days ago I thought “the holiday made this a short week and I’m not going to have much to say”. That is a joke. I always have something to say. In case you were wondering, this was my original opening: “I declared last week that it was a “slow” week compared to what the previous weeks had brought (thank you Jerry), but I spoke prematurely. This past week was devoid of any predictable off-season awards or blockbuster multiplayer trades, but we have had a couple of notable free agent signings and that has definitely kept the stories buzzing”. WELL looks like the Boston Red Soxs took some offense to me calling their Craig Kimbrel trade the “second best” of the week. It turns out they want to go ahead and sign David Price for $217 million and 7 years and laugh at me as I struggle to think of a whole new narrative. Then the Minnesota Twins want to finally come to agreements with Byung “53 home runs a year is a normal thing” Ho Park. All within an hour of each other! Then a few hours later as I sat down to publish this article, Jerry does it again and trades Mark Trumbo. They all took my precious little short week story and threw it out the window. 

In all seriousness, I should stop complaining because I have to rewrite a few paragraphs. This is exciting! We’re finally starting to see where the biggest names in 2015 are going to find a home in 2016. We got teams waiting to build here! David Price has now set the market for pitchers looking for big contracts, and after Zach Greinke signs it will open the floodgates for the rest of the staring pitcher free agent crew to start signing their contracts. We’re thiiiisss much closer to seeing what 2016 is going to look like, and I would HAPPily rewrite a paragraph a day if that means we’re one more signing closer to opening day.

Without further rambling, your week 4 baseball news:

  1. I’m sure if you’ve glanced upon any website with a baseball on it or glanced at twitter in the past few weeks, you’ve seen a thing or two about Mariners 2nd baseman Robinson Cano. I’ve gone back and forth with my thoughts on this subject, choosing mostly to reserve judgement until I see him back on the field this season. Admittedly, coming from a team that has won historically to a team that has not, there is going to be some unHAPPiness. It’s the offseason and the rumor mills need something to pry their claws into. Bottom line is that he is staying, and everyone should (respectively) stop freaking out over rumors. Deep breath. It’s going to be okay.
  2. The Oakland Athletics acquire INF Jed Lowrie for Houston Astros for RHP Brendan McCurry.
  3. In the middle of last week there was a little buzz about the Mariners trading for Miami Marlin’s outfielder Marcell Ozuna. That sparked a minor frenzy on twitter, but so far there has been nothing since. The last time a twitter frenzy happened and it seemed like there would be no move made, we ended up signing Chris Iannetta.
  4. Danny Hultzen has officially cleared waivers (yay!) and is with Triple-A Tacoma. Hopefully the Mariners former first round pick still has a little bit left in the the tank. It would be absolutely heartbreaking to know he never played on a major league field with all that potential.
  5. A tale of a former mediocre Mariner: J.A. HAPPened to make his way back to the Toronto Blue Jays. He must have been so HAPPy to sign a 3-year $36million dollar contract with the team that traded him away last year for Michael Saunders *tear*.  
  6. The discussion of domestic abuse reared it’s ugly head this past weekend. Yasiel Puig was allegedly reported as the initiator of a bar fight with his own sister and a slew of bouncers in a Miami nightclub. This article (by a woman writer in baseball with an opinion, sound familiar?) calls attention to the culture of domestic violence inside baseball. I’ll grant the fact that domestic violence is never something that anyone wants to talk about, for fear of upsetting someone, hurt feelings, the overall uncomfortable feeling it warrants, what have you, but I promise you that this article is worth your time.
  7. Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann has agreed to a five-year, $110 million deal with the Tigers. If you’ll remember the Nationals gave Zimmermann an option to accept the qualifying offer. Since Zimmermann declined that offer and signed a deal with the Tigers, the Tigers have forfeited their 1st round draft pick for signing a player that was offered a qualifying offer by another club. You could imagine the Nationals were unHAPPy about losing a solid pitcher and a top draft pick.
  8. It’s important to point out with such full free agent class this year, what the increasing monetary value of a “average baseball contract” can mean. Jordan Zimmermann is only the first of the “big name” free agents/pitchers to be signed this offseason (sorry J.A. you just don’t HAPPen to be one), and the payouts will just get larger. There are quite few differing opinions on contracts like Zimmermann’s, as well as strong opinions on how contracts like this (with many more to come) largely influence the standing of professional baseball as a business. The following articles should give you some insight into this topic: Jeff Pasan of Yahoo Sports, Grant Brisbee from SB Nation and Ken Rosenthal from Fox Sports. Just for good measure, here is an article about contract value featuring J.A. Happ.
  9. The prodigal son is close to returning to professional baseball this week in the form of the Miami Marlins hitting coach. Barry Bonds, King of the asterisk, will help try to form the impressionable young hitters of the Marlins. He may be the face of steroids (and i’ll definitely get some hate for what I’m about to say), BUT I will give it to the man… He knows hitting. We can debate all we want if this is a good move or not. The true tell of this will be the production of the 2016 Marlins, and if some hitters not named Giancarlo Stanton start hitting… Well, I guess we’ll see.
  10. As I mentioned earlier, I was on my way to hit publish on this post when this little gem made its way into my life:

Mark Trumbo has been traded to the Baltimore Orioles for catcher Steve Clevenger. Supposedly there is another player going to Baltimore in the deal, but no official statements/news on that yet. Say bye to #TRUMBOMB everyone, he sometimes did cool stuff like this:

UPDATE: The other play going to Baltimore in the Mark Trumbo trade is acquired three-weeks ago pitcher, C.J Riefenhauser.  There is folks. I don’t know what to add. I’m just going to trust Jerry on this one.

As for the mainstay argument of this blog until Jan 6th: Vote for Griffey Jr. (#JrHOF) and Edgar Martinez (#EdgarHOF) for #HOF2016.

I could think of many other Happ puns, but i’ll stop there for your (and my) sanity.  I’m absolutely positively sure that this year’s winter meetings are going to bring all kinds of surprises, as well as some things that won’t surprise us so much. We’re only a week away, after all! The first month is always the hardest, so pat yourself on the back because we made it through the madness. Can’t wait to see what next week has in store for us. Thanks for reading, and as always… Go Mariners.

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