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Another one bites the dust

I'm a little sad to see him go, but we have to add Justin Lehr to the list of players who are headed elsewhere. He signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners, and at least one savvy M's fan is excited about it:

Lehr lacks an outpitch and he's spent most of his career in the bullpen, but the Brewers were onto something when they decided to stretch him out in their Triple-A rotation. He doesn't have the dominant stuff to be an end-game reliever, but his sinkerball has enough movement to get him through 5 or 6 innings a game. If you want to see the prototype of this type of pitcher, check out Clay Hensley, who gave the Padres 200 good innings in the rotation last year by just throwing his sinker over and over.

Justin Lehr, on a minor league contract, is a terrific signing. He's better than Cha Baek or Jake Woods, and as a non-guaranteed invite to spring training, there's no risk here, and a decent amount of upside.

Whenever someone tells you that there's no pitching to be had on the cheap, point to Justin Lehr. Bargains can be found if you look in the right places. The Mariners found one, and now we just have to hope they use him.

Calm down, Dave! Granted, I felt the same way about Lehr at times last season. It seems like we imported every other minor league pitcher into the bullpen at some point or other, but Lehr never got a second chance. I agree that he's a good guy to take a flier on, but at this point, I wouldn't want him to be any more than my 7th or 8th starter. He certainly wouldn't have been any higher than that on our depth chart.

This also means we can kinda-sorta close the book on the famous Keith Ginter deal. Ginter was traded to Oakland for Lehr and Nelson Cruz. At that point, Lehr had been tried as the A's closer (and he didn't do too well). Ginter turned into a minor leaguer, and Lehr didn't turn into a major leaguer.

Cruz, of course, turned into Kevin Mench, which not only sounds like the plot of a late-night movie on USA, but suggests that neither team "won" the deal in the end. Unless, of course, Mench hits 25 homers, in which case I'll have to take back every nasty thing I've said about Doug lately.