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Link Roundup: Waner's Ceremony, Mariners News, and All-Star Tokenism

-P- The Pirates will retire Paul Waner's number before the game on July 21.

-P- SI points out that the Yankees are as far out of the playoff race as the Pirates are.

-P- The Mariners and Ichiro Suzuki are on the verge of agreeing to a five-year deal worth almost $100 million. USS Mariner likes the deal. Personally, I'd be concerned about the way Ichiro would age - so much of his value has to do with his spectacular baserunning. How's he going to be running the bases in 2011 or 2012, when he'll be 37 and 38? And how many of those Ichiro-special infield singles is he going to beat out? Even if we accept that this is a good deal based on Ichiro's performance now, I'd be concerned that he won't age as well as other players do. But the USS Mariner guys would know a lot more about this than I would.

-P- By the way, speaking of USS Mariner - I keep forgetting to post this, but it's a really cool story. A couple weeks ago, USSM wrote an open letter to the Mariners' pitching coach explaining why Felix Hernandez needed to mix up his pitches better in the first couple innings of his starts. Well, then Hernandez threw a two-hitter over eight innings against the A's - and credited USSM for his success. I guess I can continue to dream that baseball blogs do matter.

-P- More Mariners news: the M's will call up top prospect Adam Jones, who had a .963 OPS at Class AAA Tacoma, and he'll start in right field for them. The effect of all this will be that slow, slow outfielder Raul Ibanez will move to DH and DH Jose Vidro and his .698 OPS will move to the bench. This should be a big boost for the Mariners, who are only 2.5 games back of the Angels in the AL West.

-P- Royals Review has a good post that shows how little the 'at least one player per team' All-Star Game rule really accomplishes. Pirates fans will surely nod their heads in agreement. Brian Giles got one whole at-bat in 2001; Mike Williams (perhaps fortunately) didn't pitch in the 2003 All-Star Game; Jason Bay didn't play in 2005. What good is this rule?