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Breakfast Links: Mariners pay the King and ink Saunders, Curt shilling for publicity

The One Where The King Gets His Riches

Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Happy Friday, all.

Still working on the function and form of this whole thing, but I liked doing the bit of history/trivia here in the intro yesterday so I think I'm going to stick with that for a while.

On this day in 1587, Mary Queen of Scots, who had plotted to take over the English throne from her cousin Elizabeth I and reinstate Catholicism as the state religion, was beheaded after spending 19 years under house arrest.

Today's timely trivia question: Mary, Mary "quite contrary" ascended to the Scottish throne at just six days old upon death of her father, King James V. For whom was Mary forced to abdicate her crown 1567?

On to baseballing!

The Big Three

1. If Jack Z is going out this year, at least he's doing it with a bang. The Seattle Mariners agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension with Felix Hernandez yesterday, making him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history. The M's already had King Felix signed through the 2014 season for $35 million, so the new deal adds another five years and $135 million to their original agreement. The most amazing thing about the deal, for me, is that Felix will be a 15-year MLB veteran by the end of the deal, and yet will still be just 33 years old. The dude is young. Any deal over four or five years for a pitcher makes me squirm, but this deal leaves me the least squeamish of any I can remember. It could very well end up being a Johan Santana-esque contract, but for the time being M's fans should celebrate and bask in the glory of the King. There's plenty of time for doom and gloom at some indefinite time down the road.

2. Not content with just making their franchise player the wealthiest pitcher in the game yesterday, the Mariners also went out and signed free-agent left-hander Joe Saunders to a one-year deal. Saundo will essentially take over Jason Vargas' spot in the M's rotation as the token southpaw with a propensity for fly balls (though Saunders gets considerably more worm-burners). The Twins and Orioles were believed to be in on Saunders, and he also had a two-year offer from a mystery club, but the left-hander decided to take his chances in the friendly confines of Safeco Field instead, fences pulled in and all. Saunders isn't the missing link that's going to vault the Mariners into contention in the AL West, but he certainly won't hurt their rotation either. Good signing for the M's, and I'm glad to see the former Halo back on the West Coast.

3. Hey, look at that, Curt Schilling is in the news again. The B.S.* Man made a to-do in an ESPN Radio interview yesterday by claiming that he had been encouraged to use PEDs by a member of the Red Sox organization during the 2008 season. Despite what the last two sentences probably indicate, I do actually like Curt Schilling, but this just little nugget of information just screams "Notice me!!". If he can so flippant about potentially incriminating information now, what stopped him from coming out with it years ago? Could it be that he wants to piggy-back on the recent steroid scandal and get his name back into the limelight a bit? That'd be my guess. The Red Sox have said they are "looking into it," and it appears as though the person(s) in question no longer work for the club, so this will probably disappear pretty quickly once camp opens.

*It's an acronym for "bloody sock," I swear.


In Other News...

1. The Mets signed their second big-league free agent of the winter yesterday, inking veteran right-hander Brandon Lyon to a one-year deal. Lyon heads a horde of new bullpen arms -- which include LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Atchison, and Pedro Feliciano -- that should come in handy when Frank Francisco eventually implodes.

2. Kyle Lohse is the loneliest baseball player in the world right now. While King Felix was busy agreeing to his $175 million deal, Lohse was being spurned by yet another team. The Cardinals and Rangers already long passed on the free-agent right-hander, and now the Red Sox are joining the He Man Lohse Haters club. Cue sad Charlie Brown walk.

3. Despite wonderful rumors to the contrary on Wednesday, the Astros are not shopping right-hander Bud Norris on the trade market. I guess Houston needs at least one relatively-known pitcher they can try to market to their fan base.


Extra Innings

Required Reading

- Soccer is fucked (apparently). The world-wide betting scandal that FIFA is trying to push under the rug.


- Cricket gets a pretty bad rap in just about every part of the world the former British Empire didn't get it's hands on (or only did so briefly -- U.S.A.!!). I admit that I was pretty down on the sport for a number of years. After watching it live, however, I gained a serious respect for the sport. So... I guess what I'm saying is give it a chance:

Pretty dang good... but that catch has nothing on this one:

Trivia answer: Mary was forced to hand the crown over to her son, James VI, who eventually unified the Scottish and English crowns in 1603 when Elizabeth I died.