Mariners asking for “an impact bat” in deal for David Aardsma

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Responding to speculation that Colorado is interested in Seattle closer David Aardsma, Thomas Harding of MLB.com writes that “multiple sources with knowledge of both teams told MLB.com that the Mariners are in search of an impact bat and there isn’t a fit with the Rockies.”

Of course, the definition of “an impact bat” probably varies quite a bit. My personal definition tends to mean something along the lines of a legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter, and there’s basically zero chance of any team trading the Mariners someone like that for Aardsma.

Seattle shopped him prior to the trading deadline in July and didn’t find an acceptable deal, and with this offseason’s abundance of quality free agent relievers it seems unlikely that anyone is going to overpay for Aardsma this time around.

With that said, he’d be a worthwhile target for teams scared of handing out three-year deals to relievers. Aardsma is under team control through 2012 as an arbitration eligible player and figures to earn around $4 million in 2011.

His control is spotty, but Aardsma has 69 saves with a 2.90 ERA, .193 opponents’ batting average, and 129 strikeouts in 121 innings over the past two seasons. If the Mariners’ definition of “an impact bat” really just means “a useful bat” then quite a few teams should be interested.

Larry Walker to wear a Rockies cap on his Hall of Fame plaque

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I guess this came out the day he was elected but I missed it somehow: Larry Walker is going to have a Rockies cap on his Fall of Fame plaque.

While it was once solely the choice of the inductee, for the past couple of decades the Hall of Fame has had final say on the caps, though the request of the inductee is noted. This is done to prevent a situation in which a cap truly misrepresents history. This issue arose around the time Wade Boggs was inducted, as he reportedly had a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to pick their cap on his plaque which, to say the least, would’ve been unrepresentative.

There have been some mildly controversial picks in the past, and some guys who would seem to have a clear choice have gone with blank caps to avoid upsetting the fan base of one of his other teams, but Walker’s doesn’t seem all that controversial to me.

Walker played ten years in Colorado to six years in Montreal and two years in St. Louis. His numbers in Colorado were substantial better than in Montreal. His MVP Award, most of his Gold Gloves, most of his All-Star appearances, and all of his black ink with the exception of the NL doubles title in 1994 came with the Rockies too. Walker requested the Rockies cap, noting correctly that he “did more damage” in a Rockies uniform than anyplace else. And, of course, that damage is what got him elected to the Hall of Fame.

Still, I imagine fans of the old Expos will take at least some issue here. Those folks tend to be pretty possessive of their team’s old stars. It’s understandable, I suppose, given that they’ve not gotten any new ones in a decade or two. Add in the fact that Walker played for the 1994 Expos team onto which people love to project things both reasonable and unreasonable, and you can expect that the Expos dead-enders might feel a bit slighted.

Welp, sorry. A Rockies cap is the right choice.  And that’s Walker’s cap will feature.