I haven't seen Cliff Lee introduced as a Mariner yet. Is there any reason for this and when will he be introduced?
-- Aaron B., Franklin, Tenn.
The trade that brought Lee to the Mariners was finalized on Dec. 16, just a couple of days before the star pitcher and his family were scheduled to begin a vacation in Puerto Rico. Therefore, the "introduction" to his new home team had to be done via a conference call with Seattle-area media.
However, plans currently are being made for him to be introduced later this month in Seattle, probably during the week of FanFest, which will be held Jan. 30-31 at Safeco Field.
Matt Tuiasosopo really impressed me last September, but I have not heard anything about him since the season ended. Can I get an update?
-- Harvey J., Portland, Ore.
It has been a rather quiet offseason for the Woodinville High product, who had hoped to be departed Adrian Beltre's replacement at third base. But the Mariners signed free agent Chone Figgins, who is expected to handle the hot corner duties.
Tui was stellar last Spring Training, batting .424 with seven doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs in 23 Cactus League games. It earned him a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he needed surgery on his right elbow and was on the disabled list from April 29-July 15.
My guess is that his best chance of breaking camp with the Mariners would be as a utility infielder.
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With the Mariners' recent moves, I see a trend on the offensive side looking for gap hitters, not necessarily always the long ball. What are your thoughts on the current available free agents on the market to complement Junior Griffey from the right side of the plate, assuming Milton Bradley plays mostly in left field? Would Miguel Tejada get a shot, with a .313 average, and 46 doubles for the year (fifth in the National League)?
-- Joe A., Boise, Idaho
General manger Jack Zduriencik is building a team that is best suited for Safeco Field and that calls for athleticism more than brute power. In the past two seasons, the Mariners have lost three of their top home run hitters -- Raul Ibanez, Adrian Beltre and Russell Branyan -- and replaced them with hitters that are good at working the count and spraying the ball around.
I perused the free-agent market and no one stood out. Sure, Tejada would be a good addition, but he would be far too expensive for the Mariners, who figure to reach their player payroll budget when the salary arbitration process ends.
I've had numerous arguments with friends over this, but have you heard anything about possibly moving Ichiro to the three-hole in the lineup? I think Figgins is much more valuable as a leadoff hitter than he is batting second.
-- Adam G., Mill Creek, Wash.
I sure hope they are "discussions" more than "arguments". Where Ichiro and Figgins are in the lineup is something manager Don Wakamatsu will decide, and as of a few days ago, the structure of his lineup was unknown -- even to him. He will use Spring Training to determine what lineup works the best and I fully expect Ichiro to be batting leadoff when the regular season begins in Oakland on April 5.
He is, after all, one of the best leadoff hitters in the game and has said many times that he prefers leadoff to anywhere else in the order. The Mariners would be, in my opinion, a better team with him batting leadoff rather than third because he might try to hit home runs, etc., and damage what he does best -- get on base and score runs.
Why do the Mariners not shoot off fireworks after hitting home runs at Safeco? I really liked the fireworks in the Kingdome and with an open stadium they are more appropriate than some of the songs they have played after a player hits one.
-- Cole W., Seattle
In conjunction with city of Seattle officials, it was decided before Safeco Field opened that the use of fireworks would be limited because of the stadium's proximity to Interstate-5 and Highway 99.
It would be extremely distracting to a driver when fireworks are suddenly booming overhead. The fireworks used at Safeco are similar in size to the ones used at the Kingdome.
I was wondering what the criteria was for being inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. Do you happen to know? Do you think Jamie Moyer and Randy Johnson will be inducted?
-- Ken H., Tacoma, Wash.
To be eligible for consideration, uniformed personnel (players, managers, coaches) should meet the following requirements: Spent at least five years in the organization and be retired for at least two years.
The Board of Directors, on the recommendation of the CEO and club president, shall determine who will be selected. The selection process will be conducted during the first quarter of each calendar year and if an individual is selected, it will be announced within the first months of that regular baseball season.
Alvin Davis, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and Dave Niehaus have been inducted so far, and others are sure to follow. I would think Moyer has a good chance because he is the all-time franchise leader in wins, and Griffey Jr. is a no-brainer. Johnson will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Cooperstown and I would think a likely choice to also be inducted the Mariners Hall of Fame, although his departure left hard feelings on both sides.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.