Mariners expected to cut Jose Lopez at non-tender deadline

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A month ago the Mariners declined their $4.5 million option on Jose Lopez for 2011 and since then they’ve no doubt been trying to find another team interesting in trading for him with an eye toward taking Lopez to arbitration at a lower salary.

Not surprisingly there were apparently no takers for the disappointing infielder and Mike Salk of 710-ESPN in Seattle reports that the Mariners will non-tender Lopez prior to tomorrow night’s deadline.

Lopez looked like a promising all-around player early in his career, making an All-Star team at age 22 and flashing 25-homer power at times, but his overall game hasn’t developed one bit in seven seasons. He still swings at everything, canceling out the occasionally good power with a miserable .297 career on-base percentage, and has packed on pounds while moving from second base to third base defensively.

Despite seemingly being around forever Lopez is still just 27 years old, but the days of anyone viewing him as a potential star are long gone and after six straight seasons with at least 550 plate appearances he may have to settle for a part-time job in 2011.

Police are keeping reporters away from owners at the owners meetings

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The owners meetings are going on in Arlington, Texas right now and something unusual is happening: the owners are using police to shield them from reporters seeking comment.

Chandler Rome, the Astros beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, attempted to talk to Astros owner Jim Crane at the hotel in which the meetings are taking place. Which makes sense because, duh, Rome covers the Astros and, if you haven’t noticed, the Astros are in the news lately.

Here’s how it went:

This was confirmed by other reporters:

To be clear: this is a radically different way things have ever been handled at MLB meetings of any kind. Reporters — who are credentialed specifically for these meetings at this location, they’re not just showing up — approach the GMs or the owners or whoever as they walk in the public parts of the hotel in which they’re held or in the areas designated for press conferences. It’s not contentious. Usually the figures of interest will stop and talk a bit then move on. If they don’t want to talk they just keep walking, often offering apologies or an excuse about being late for something and say they’ll be available later. It’s chill as far as reporters vs. the powerful tend to go.

But apparently not today. Not at the owners meetings. Now police — who are apparently off duty on contract security, but armed and in full official uniform — are shielding The Lords of Baseball from scrutiny.

We live in interesting times.