Conflicts of Interest

Holland 7.30.09.jpg

Photo courtesy of the Texas Rangers, Tony Gutierrez/AP.

Admittedly, I was excited to see former LumberKings left-hander Derek Holland (’08) take a perfect game two outs deep into the fifth and finish with a win over a career-high 8.2 innings.  Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of the team whose minor league system I now cover, the Seattle Mariners.

I had Holland on the blog a while back for a phone interview when he was still just starting his Major League career.  It looks like he’s starting to settle in.  After struggling through June weith an 0-3 record, 6.46 ERA, Holland has solidified himself in the rotation with three-straight starts and a 3-1, 4.45 month of July.  Welcome to the show, permanently.

I wonder what he’d have to say if we did that interview again today.  The first year through the Majors has got to be a bit like your first year of school.  So much to learn, so many new experiences everyday.  Can I bother him for a phone interview every time he accomplishes something?  Probably not, but maybe I can catch him again following the season.

I did some digging and found my game notes from July 9, 2008…Holland’s last start in a LumberKings uniform at West Michigan.  I recall him getting the call up to Bakersfield following that start, a scoreless 6.0 innings of three-hit baseball along with seven strikeouts.  We all knew following that start that he had out-grown the Midwest League, we didn’t figure to this extent.  Check out my rather crude ’08 notes:  7.9.08 kingsnotes (Holland’s last start).pdf

Enough about Holland, on to the wheeling-and-dealing Mariners.  GM Jack Zduriencik traded young arms away in Nathan Adcock, Brett Lorin and Aaron Pribanic two days ago, but this morning he restocked.  Gone is Jarrod Washburn (a favorite of mine because he went to my college, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh), here are pitchers Luke French and Mauricio Robles.

I’ve seen both French and Robles pitch in this league, and both have shown shades of dominance.  French went 11-8 with a 3.72 ERA and 94 strikeouts over 157 innings with the 2006 Midwest League Champion Whitecaps.  Robles was here to start the season with the ‘Caps, going 4-4 with a 4.63 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 56.1 innings.  He left the league with the strikeouts lead.

Unfortunately, neither will be LumberKings.  French was bouncing between the Tigers and triple-A, while Robles was in the Florida State League, qualifying him for High Desert or higher.


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