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Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 2015 Seattle Mariners! [04 Apr 2015|06:25pm]

kensmind
[ mood | happy ]

The 2015 Seattle Mariners season is about to begin, and the Mariners have announced their opening day roster. Seattle's 25-man roster is:

Starting pitchers (5): Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, J.A. Happ, Taijuan Walker

Relievers (7): Fernando Rodney, Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush, Danny Farquhar, Yoervis Medina, Carson Smith, and rookie Tyler Olson

Catchers (2): Mike Zunino, Jesus Sucre

Infielders (5): Logan Morrison, Robinson Cano, Brad Miller, Kyle Seager, Willie Bloomquist

Outfielders (6): Dustin Ackley, Austin Jackson, Seth Smith, Rickie Weeks, Justin Ruggiano, Nelson Cruz



And get this:

ESPN's Adam Virk and Doug Glanville both predict that the Mariners will be playing in the 2015 World Series and so does Keith Law.

Is anyone else really stoked that Monday is opening day?!

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Seth Smith to the Mariners [30 Dec 2014|01:42pm]

kensmind
[ mood | hopeful ]

EDIT: Since posting this story a couple hours ago, it is now a done deal!

Mariners Nearing Trade For Seth Smith
By Charlie Wilmoth [December 30, 2014 at 12:03pm CST]

The Mariners are close to a trade for Padres outfielder Seth Smith, Shannon Drayer of 710AM ESPN in Seattle tweets. The Padres are trying to get righty Brandon Maurer for Smith, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets.

Seth-Smith

The Padres, of course, have a surplus of outfielders after their recent string of trades for Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, and the Mariners lost out on Melky Cabrera and have been known to be looking for outfield help, so a trade involving Smith would appear to make sense for both sides. The lefty Smith would fit well in right field, where the Mariners can use a platoon partner for the newly acquired Justin Ruggiano.

Smith, 32, is coming off a strong season for San Diego in which he hit .266/.367/.440, [batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage] and in July, the Padres’ previous management signed Smith to a two-year, $13MM extension with a club option for 2017. After that, though, Smith tailed off in the second half, and in any case, the Padres’ current glut of outfielders makes him an obvious trade candidate — Kemp, Upton and Myers are all arguably best best utilized in the corner outfield spots, and Smith has played exclusively corner outfield in the Majors since 2008.

Maurer, 24, had a 4.65 ERA in 2014, but with fairly good peripherals (7.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9) and a big fastball (averaging 94.4 MPH). Maurer also got much better results pitching in relief (9.2 K/9, 1.2 BB/9) than starting. If the trade is completed, he could compete for the Padres’ fifth starter job, but he might ultimately be best suited for relief. He also has fly ball tendencies, which could make him a good fit for PETCO Park.

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The Offseason So Far [17 Dec 2014|02:43pm]

kensmind
[ mood | optimistic ]

Today the Mariners added another right-handed bat to their line-up when they acquired Justin Ruggiano from the Chicago Cubs in a trade. The Mariners sent minor league pitched Matt Brazis, a 25 year old right-handed relief pitched who hasn't played higher than AA ball so far. Ruggiano is 32 and previously played for the Rays and the Marlins. Last year in 247 at bats, he hit .281 with a .337 on base percentage and a .429 slugging percentage. He hit 6 home runs and stole 2 bases (and was caught stealing 4 times.) He hits left-handed pitching better than right, and may not necessarily play full-time, but may end up platooning with someone like Dustin Ackley, or with someone else not yet acquired.

seattle-mariners-introduce-nelson-cruz

This off-season the Mariners have acquired a power bat with the signing of free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz. They also traded the inconsistent and often injured Michael Saunders (a good Canadian kid) to the Blue Jays for starting pitcher J.A. Happ. They've lost Kendrys Morales to free agency, and may also lose outfielder Endy Chavez and starting pitcher (and comeback player of the year for 2014) Chris Young to free agency. My thoughts on these moves are:

Cruz: I was apprehensive about this move because of Cruz's prior suspension for using PEDs (performance enhancing drugs, but you probably knew that). But he had a great season in Baltimore last year while under the microscope of the commissioner's office. He managed to hit 40 home runs, drive in 108 runs, bat .271 with an on base percentage of .333. He won't hit as many homers in Safeco, but he will drive in lots of runs and make it so pitchers can't pitch around Robbie Cano as much. I think this will turn out to be money well spent for the Mariners.

Saunders for Happ: This trade saddens me. The Mariners are very deep in starting pitching (Felix, Iwakuma, Paxton, Walker, Elias, not to mention Danny Hultzen in the minors and talk of making Wilhelmsen a starter). They can always use another good bat in the outfield. I realize that Saunders was inconsistent, but I really think he had potential. I don't understand why Jack Zduriencik publicly criticized Saunders before using him as trade bait. Then again, I'm probably biased because Saunders is a BC kid, but I still think this is a case of trading something we need for something we don't need. Hopefully Happ's career is on the ascension and he'll prove me wrong.

Morales: No offense (pun intended possibly), but I'm not sad to see Morales go. He sat out half the season, snubbing a generous offer from the Mariners, and when we traded for him from Minnesota (for hard throwing, but often injured reliever Stephen Prior), he put up horrible offensive numbers when the Mariners needed his bat most.

So far, if the Mariners do nothing more (which I doubt they will), I predict the opening day lineup will look something like this (batting average/on base percentage/home runs):

Catchers: Mike Zunino (.199/.254/22) and Jesus Sucre (.213/.213/0 in just 61 at-bats)
First Base: Logan Morrison (.262/.315/11)
Second Base: Robinson Cano (.314/.382/14)
Shortstop: Chris Taylor (.287/.347/0) and Brad Miller (.221/.288/10)
Third Base: Kyle Seager (.268/.334/25)
Left Field: Dustin Ackley (.245/.293/14) and Justin Ruggiano (.281/.337/6)
Center Field: Austin Jackson (.256/.308/4) and James Jones (.250/.278/0, with 27 stolen bases)
Right Field: Nelson Cruz (.271/.333/40)

What's missing is a designated hitter. That role will probably be filled by Cruz or Ackley, with Ruggiano or Jones moving into the lineup. More likely, the Mariners will make another trade or sign another free agent to get another bat into the lineup.

While Mariner hitting has improved, it's pitching that really excites me. Consider this wealth of starters (wins-losses/ERA/opponents batting average/WHIP or walks and hits per inning pitched):

1. Felix Hernandez (15-6/2.14/.200/0.92 - a WHIP under 1.00 is amazing!)
2. Hisashi Iwakuma (15-9/3.52/2.44/1.05)
3. James Paxton (6-4/3.04/.223/1.20)
4. Taijuan Walker (2-3/2.61/.223/1.29)
5. Roenis Elias (10-12/3.85/.248/1.31)

and if any of them falter, we also have J. A. Happ (10-10/4.22/.261/1.34) and Danny Hultzen in the minors, but ready to crack the big leagues.

The bull-pen is also an embarrassment of riches:

Closer: Fernando Rodney (1-6/2.85/.244/1.34)
Right Handed Relievers:
Tom Wilhelmsen (3-2/2.27/.171/1.05)
Danny Farquhar (3-1/2.66/.221/1.13)
Dominic Leone (8-2/2.17/.217/1.16)
Yoervis Medina (5-3/2.68/.229/1.33)
Carson Smith (1-0/0.00/.077/0.60 in only 8.1 innings)
Left Handed Relievers:
Joe Beiml (3-1/2.20/.236/1.18)
Charlie Furbush (1-5/3.61/.247/1.16)

On paper, the Mariners will have a better team going into 2015 than they did in 2014. Yeah I know, that doesn't really mean much since they play the games on grass, not on paper. But when you consider that the Mariners were just one game away from taking the Kansas City Royals' place in the playoffs last season, can you blame me for being an optimist?

Is it opening day yet?

2014MStars

6 comments|post comment

A Decent Season!! [29 Sep 2014|02:10am]

seattle_mary
[ mood | contemplative ]

It's the end of another year of Seattle Mariner's Baseball and it's been a good year.  YES!!!  I wish we could have made it to the post season, but we were over 500 for a change-and that's a good thing!!  So I will say I am looking forward to 2015 with enthusiasm!!!  GO  M's !!!!

1 comment|post comment

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 2014 Seattle Mariner All-Stars [14 Jul 2014|07:50am]

kensmind
[ mood | happy ]

Four Mariners going to the All-Star game! This hasn't happened since 2003!

2014MStars

My worst day at Safeco is better than my best day at the office. -Me

2 comments|post comment

Opening Day Roster [29 Mar 2014|06:53pm]

kensmind
[ mood | optimistic ]

Announcing your 2014 Seattle Mariners:

# Pitchers B/T Ht Wt DOB

97 Joe Beimel L-L 6'3" 205 Apr 19, 1977
81 Roenis Elias L-L 6'1" 190 Aug 1, 1988
40 Danny Farquhar R-R 5'9" 185 Feb 17, 1987
41 Charlie Furbush L-L 6'5" 215 Apr 11, 1986
34 Felix Hernandez R-R 6'3" 225 Apr 8, 1986
31 Yoervis Medina R-R 6'3" 245 Jul 27, 1988
45 Hector Noesi R-R 6'3" 205 Jan 26, 1987
65 James Paxton L-L 6'4" 220 Nov 6, 1988
50 Erasmo Ramirez R-R 5'11" 200 May 2, 1990
56 Fernando Rodney R-R 5'11" 220 Mar 18, 1977
54 Tom Wilhelmsen R-R 6'6" 220 Dec 16, 1983
53 Chris Young R-R 6'10" 255 May 25, 1979

# Catchers B/T Ht Wt DOB

4 John Buck R-R 6'3" 245 Jul 7, 1980
3 Mike Zunino R-R 6'2" 220 Mar 25, 1991

# Infielders B/T Ht Wt DOB

8 Willie Bloomquist R-R 5'11" 190 Nov 27, 1977
22 Robinson Cano L-R 6'0" 210 Oct 22, 1982
5 Brad Miller L-R 6'2" 200 Oct 18, 1989
20 Logan Morrison L-L 6'3" 245 Aug 25, 1987
15 Kyle Seager L-R 6'0" 210 Nov 3, 1987
17 Justin Smoak S-L 6'4" 230 Dec 5, 1986

# Outfielders B/T Ht Wt DOB

13 Dustin Ackley L-R 6'1" 195 Feb 26, 1988
36 Abraham Almonte S-R 5'9" 205 Jun 27, 1989
27 Corey Hart R-R 6'6" 230 Mar 24, 1982
7 Stefen Romero R-R 6'2" 220 Oct 17, 1988
55 Michael Saunders L-R 6'4" 225 Nov 19, 1986

That's a lot of left-handed bats. The starting rotation looks a little thin. Let's hope Iwakuma and Walker come off the DL soon.

Comments? Predictions?

4 comments|post comment

Some Days It's Hard to Be a Mariner Fan [20 Dec 2013|02:59pm]

kensmind
[ mood | contemplative ]

I love the Mariners, but they make it really hard for me to be a fan sometimes, especially when I read stories like this one:

Mariners Could Be Nearing Payroll Limit
By Steve Adams [December 19, 2013 at 11:01am CST]

Mariners officials are signaling to agents and others in the industry that they could be nearing their payroll limit, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal opines that, if true, this makes the decision to spent the majority of their available funds on Robinson Cano shows that there was no plan in place for the Mariners.

Rosenthal adds that the Mariners could make exceptions "for the right player" and are continuing to discuss David Price with the Rays. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports noted in yesterday's 10 Degrees column that the M's are softening on their stance that righty Taijuan Walker is off limits.

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik appeared on MLB Network's Hot Stove this morning and addressed the issue directly when asked by Rosenthal:

"We're at a point where I think we are trying to do a few more things. I'm not sure that anything is going to be a huge splash. We have some options out there that we can either make a trade or could add another piece to it. I think that if we go for another large deal, that obviously is going to have to go above my head. And at this moment we are where we are, and we're trying to make things work with what we have."

In addition to Cano, the Mariners have also added Corey Hart on a one-year deal, re-signed Franklin Gutierrez and acquired Logan Morrison from the Marlins in exchange for Carter Capps. However, the addition of Cano and Hart certainly wouldn't seem to be enough to fix a team that finished 12th in the American League with 624 runs scored.

The Mariners have been linked to big-name free agents such as Nelson Cruz, Shin-Soo Choo and Kendrys Morales, but each of those players figure to command a sizable payday that now could be beyond Seattle's financial capabilities.


I'm very much afraid that the Mariners plan to put Robinson Cano in the lineup without anyone to protect him or hit behind him. I hope they don't think that Cory Hart is that guy.

Please give us a Christmas miracle! Here's what the Mariners roster for 2014 looks like so far (in my head):

*Stats which follow a hitters name are batting average-on base percentage-home runs-RBIs-stolen bases

ss) Brad Miller .265-.318-8-36-5
rf) Abraham Almonte .265-.313-2-9-1
2b) Robinson Cano .314-.283-27-107-7
lf) Cory Hart (did not play in 2013, stats are from 2012) .270-.334-30-83-5
3b) Kyle Seager .260-.338-22-69-9
DH) Logan Morrison .242-.333-6-36-0
1b) Justin Smoak .238-.334-20-50-0
cf) Dustin Ackley .253-.319-4-31-2
c) Mike Zunino .214-.290-5-14-1

Bench:
c) Jesus Sucre .192-.241-0-3-0 (likely to be someone else, but so far he's the only other catcher we have)
if) Willie Bloomquist .317-.360-0-14-0
if) Nick Franklin .225-.303-12-49-6
of) Franklin Gutierrez .248-.273-10-24-3
of) Michael Saunders .236-.323-12-46-13

Starting Pitchers: (stats are ERA-Wins-Losses-Opponents Batting Average)

Hisashi Iwakuma 2.66-14-6-.220
Felix Hernandez 3.04-12-10-.242
James Paxton 1.50-3-0-1.72
Taijuan Walker 3.60-1-0-2.04
Erasmo Ramirez 4.98-5-3-2.73

Bullpen:

Danny Farquar 4.20-0-3-.217 (16 saves)
Tom Wilhelmsen 4.12-0-3-.213 (24 saves)
Yoervis Medina 2.91-4-6-.201 (1 save)
Charlie Furbush 3.74-2-6-.199
Oliver Perez 3.74-3-3-.249 (3 saves)
Lucas Luetge 4.86-1-3-.296

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Dysfunction in Mariners' Front Office? [09 Dec 2013|07:34am]

kensmind
[ mood | disappointed ]

As a Mariners fan, I wasn't happy to see the following report in MLB Rumors:

Report Describes Dysfunction In Mariners' Front Office
By Aaron Steen [December 8, 2013 at 12:31am CST]

The Seattle Times' Geoff Baker is out with a new article that calls into question the leadership of the Mariners' front office just days after reports that the team inked Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240MM contract. In the piece, former Manager Eric Wedge and former Special Assistant Tony Blengino allege meddling by ownership, bullying by GM Jack Zduriencik and a unwillingness to support young players.



The article gives a withering depiction of Zduriencik, who Blengino says "never has understood one iota about statistical analysis." It's concerning criticism for the GM, who was hired in 2008 with a reputation for being able to incorporate both scouting- and statistics-based analysis. According to the article, most of the job application Zduriencik submitted to the Mariners in 2008 was actually written by Blengino, who worked with Zduriencik for the Brewers. "Jack portrayed himself as a scouting/stats hybrid because that’s what he needed to get the job," Blengino commented.

In an episode that's perhaps representative of the criticisms in the article, Blengino recounts a presentation he gave to baseball operations officials in 2012 on how the Mariners could make use of computerized hitting data. Sitting in on the presentation, Zduriencik "nitpicked about font sizes and column widths," according to Blengino. "He did what he always does and made fun of something he couldn’t understand."

Meanwhile, Wedge details a troubled relationship with President Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln, saying the executives frequently criticized the club's young players to him in meetings. Wedge described "a ferocious, venom-filled tirade" after the 2012 season about the club's coaches and players in which Armstrong said the club "sickened" him, was "disgusting" and "disturbing."

Given the chance to respond to the charges, Armstrong declined. Lincoln says comments by Wedge "mischaracterized much of what occurred over the past three baseball seasons," while Zduriencik refused to discuss specifics. "I don’t believe the airing of 'dirty laundry' should take place in the public arena," the GM said. Baker says he spoke with more than two dozen people for the article who questioned the direction of the club.


The full story by Geoff Baker can be found here. Comments?

2 comments|post comment

Robinson Cano a Mariner? [06 Dec 2013|07:43pm]

kensmind
[ mood | impressed ]

According to a number of sources on MLB Trade Rumors, the Mariners and Robinson Cano have reached agreement on a 10-year, $240 million contract. The contract will tie Albert Pujols for the third-largest deal in Major League history. If true, what do you think of the deal?

Poll #1946879 Robinson Cano

If the Mariners sign Robinson Cano for $240 million for 10 years, how would you rate this deal for the Mariners?

Excellent
1(7.7%)
Very Good
0(0.0%)
Good
3(23.1%)
Neither good nor bad
2(15.4%)
Bad
4(30.8%)
Very Bad
2(15.4%)
Horrible
1(7.7%)


robinson-cano-1206
2 comments|post comment

Lloyd McClendon Selected as Mariners Manager [05 Nov 2013|07:14pm]

kensmind
[ mood | curious ]

Below, cut and pasted, is Greg Johns' story about the Seattle Mariners naming Lloyd McClendon as their new manager.

Please comment about what you think of this selection.

For myself, I'm happy that we have a manager who knows something about hitting. For our young team, a manager who is a good teacher is definitely an asset. But I wonder why his own team, the Tigers, didn't select him to fill their vacancy? He seemed to be a logical choice for their vacancy, so what was it that they saw lacking in him? He has previous managerial experience, though he didn't accomplish much in Pittsburgh. Then again, he didn't have much to work with either. I really wish him will.

Here is the Johns story:

mcclendon

SEATTLE -- A Mariners team looking for a fresh start will turn to a skipper looking for a second shot of his own, as Lloyd McClendon was named Seattle's new manager on Tuesday night.

McClendon is the fourth Major League manager hired this offseason, but the first with any prior experience, as Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik went with a man who led the Pirates from 2001-05 before spending the past eight years as a coach on Jim Leyland's staff in Detroit.

The club made the hire official not long after an MLB source confirmed a report initially tweeted by the Puget Sound Business Journal. McClendon will be introduced at a news conference on Thursday at Safeco Field.

"Lloyd is a bright and articulate guy," said Zduriencik, who was the Pirates' director of scouting from 1991-93, when McClendon played for Pittsburgh. "He has Major League managerial experience and has served in a vital capacity in Detroit under one of the game's best managers. He is a tireless worker and is very respected by the players with whom he has worked. We look forward to Lloyd embracing our players as we move the Mariners forward."

Zduriencik just concluded talks with five finalists to replace Eric Wedge, with McClendon among the group brought to Seattle for a second interview. The other finalists were A's bench coach Chip Hale, Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, former Mariners second baseman and longtime White Sox bench coach Joey Cora, and Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach.

McClendon, 54, was the only one of those candidates with a track record of Major League managing experience, but the Mariners bucked this offseason's trend after the Reds promoted pitching coach Bryan Price, the Nationals hired former D-backs third-base coach Matt Williams and the Tigers opted for former catcher Brad Ausmus, none of whom has sat in the manager's chair at any level of pro ball.

McClendon's hiring leaves the Cubs as the only team still searching for a new skipper.

McClendon had a 336-446 record when Pittsburgh was in the middle of a 20-year run of losing seasons, then was immediately hired by Leyland and was regarded as a big part of the Tigers' success as they reached the American League Championship Series four times and the World Series twice during his eight years.

"I am extremely excited about the opportunity to manage the Seattle Mariners," said McClendon, who spent the past seven seasons as Leyland's hitting coach. "Seattle has a tremendous group of talented players and the fans and city should be excited about the club's future. I'm looking for this group to take a big step forward."

McClendon didn't have a tremendous record managing a young Pirates team, but his 72 wins in 2002, 75 in '03 and 72 in '04 were the most victories by any Pittsburgh team over an 11-year period from 2000-10.

McClendon will inherit a Seattle club featuring two of the American League's top pitchers in Felix Hernandez and AL Cy Young Award finalist Hisashi Iwakuma, as well as a promising group of young pitching prospects and position players looking to move forward.

McClendon interviewed with the Mariners in 2010, when they hired Wedge, and he was under consideration to replace Leyland this past week for the Tigers, who instead named Ausmus their new skipper on Sunday.

McClendon becomes the 19th manager in Mariners history, including three interim skippers, since the franchise was formed in 1977. Since Lou Piniella resigned following the 2002 season, the club has had seven managers -- Bob Melvin, Mike Hargrove, John McLaren, Jim Riggleman, Don Wakamatsu, interim skipper Daren Brown and Wedge -- and none posted a winning record during his tenure.

Wedge stepped down after going 71-91 in his third season at the helm, citing differences of opinion with club management.

McClendon is a veteran of 33 years in professional baseball, including 16 years as a player after being selected in the eighth round of the 1980 Draft by the Mets as a catcher out of Valparaiso University. He converted to an outfielder/first baseman in the Majors and spent eight seasons with the Reds, Cubs and Pirates from 1987-94 while batting .244 in 570 games.

The native of Gary, Ind., began his coaching career as the Pirates' roving Minor League hitting instructor in 1996, then was promoted to the Pirates' Major League hitting coach job from 1997-2000 before becoming manager in 2001.

After his five years as the Pirates' skipper, McClendon joined Leyland's staff in Detroit as bullpen coach for one year, then hitting instructor the past seven years.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

3 comments|post comment

More News on the Mariners Manager Front [03 Nov 2013|03:32pm]

kensmind
[ mood | curious ]

This is from MLBTradeRumors.com:

The Mariners are beginning the second round of interviews this weekend with former Mariner Joey Cora one of the finalists, according to MLB.com's Greg Johns. Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon will also be one of those second interviews, a source told Johns in a second report. A's bench coach Chip Hale will receive a second interview, as well, and the Mariners hope to have a new manager in place by the end of the week, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Besides Cora, McClendon, and Hale, five others are known to have interviewed with GM Jack Zduriencik: Ausmus, Renteria, Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, and ex-Mariner catcher and current broadcaster Dave Valle.

And here's what Jon Heyman writes:

A's bench coach Chip Hale is the first candidate known to receive a second interview for the Mariners' managerial and would appear as such to at least be considered a finalist.

The Mariners are aiming to have a manager in place by the end of this coming week, according to sources, so Hale's second interview is a very good sign for him. Hale was a Mets coach before joining Bob Melvin's staff in Oakland, and before that a longtime minor-league manager.

Hale interviewed for the Mets manager job that went to Terry Collins. He played in the majors with the Twins and Dodgers.

Other candidates may well be getting second interviews, but it is thus far unknown, and the Mariners are keeping the process especially secret, as is their nature.

Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Padres bench coach Rick Renteria and Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon have reported to have received at least initial interviews. Well-respected former Mariners Dave Valle and Joey Cora also have in contact with the team and could be candidates, as well. Valle is known to have had an interview, as was first reported by SI.com.

The Mariners are said to have a very long list, but with the timetable for a decision not too far off, it appears they are paring their roster down. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik declined to comment on the reported candidates.

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Mariners Decline Options on Gutierrez and (Joe) Saunders [01 Nov 2013|08:13pm]

kensmind
[ mood | content ]

The Mariners have declined 2014 options on outfielder Franklin Gutierrez and left-handed starting pitcher Joe Saunders.

Gutierrez and Saunders each get $500,000 buyouts. Both players originally signed deals with $7.5 million options, and Saunders' price escalated to $7.9 million based on 32 starts and 180 innings pitched.

The pair now become free agents.

Gutierrez appeared in just 173 of the team's 486 games over the past three seasons with six separate trips to the disabled list. In 41 games last season he batted .248 with seven doubles and 10 home runs.

Saunders went 11-16 with a 5.26 ERA in 32 starts last season with the Mariners.

These both sound like solid moves to me. The Mariners have a trio of young starters to fill in the rotation with our two All-Stars (Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma): Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen. Hopefully Brandon Maurer or Erasmo Ramirez will improve this year too. And while I kept hoping that Franklin would live up to his potential, six trips to the DL don't bode well for his future.

What do you think about these moves?

2 comments|post comment

Mariners Finish First Round of Manager Interviews, With One Surprise [31 Oct 2013|07:10pm]

kensmind
[ mood | curious ]

I've cut and pasted a story below, which says that the Mariners have finished the first round of interviews for their vacant manager position. Besides the five names mentioned in the poll in the previous entry, apparently there is a sixth name on the list: former Mariner catcher (and current broadcaster) Dave Valle.


Poll #1941408 Dave Valle as Manager

Do you think Dave Valle would make a good manager of the Mariners?

Yes
0(0.0%)
Maybe
2(50.0%)
Probably not
1(25.0%)
Definitely not
1(25.0%)
Dave who?
0(0.0%)


Here is the text of the story about the shortlist:

Mariners finish first step of managerial search

GM Zduriencik to bring in finalists for second interviews soon

By Greg Johns of MLB.com 10/31/2013 9:35 P.M. ET

SEATTLE -- General manager Jack Zduriencik has concluded his initial round of talks in Phoenix with prospective managerial candidates for the Mariners, and he will return to Seattle this weekend and then begin bringing in several finalists for second interviews in the coming days.

Zduriencik is believed to have talked to at least a dozen candidates to replace Eric Wedge, who stepped down at the end of last season. The fifth-year GM is keeping the process as confidential as possible, given that two other teams -- the Tigers and Cubs -- are still pursuing many of the same names for their own vacancies.

The Reds and Nationals have both filled their openings, with Cincinnati promoting pitching coach Bryan Price prior to the World Series and the Nats finalizing their deal with D-backs third-base coach Matt Williams on Thursday.

Zduriencik is known to have talked with A's bench coach Chip Hale, Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach, Tigers hitting coach and former Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon and Giants bench coach Ron Wotus.

An interesting sixth name emerged Thursday, as a SportsIllustrated.com report came out that former Mariners catcher and current broadcaster Dave Valle had interviewed for the job this week. A source familiar with the talks confirmed that story, but indicated the interview actually took place last week.

Though Valle has no prior managing experience, Zduriencik met with him after the former catcher expressed interest. It's not known if any other internal candidates have interviewed, though assistant GM Ted Simmons and two of Wedge's coaches -- Daren Brown and Robby Thompson -- are all potential candidates.

Valle, 53, was a 13-year Major League veteran who played for Seattle from 1984-93 and then had short stints with the Red Sox, Brewers and Rangers before retiring in 1996. He has worked as a broadcaster for the Rangers and Mariners since his retirement, and he also has done analysis for MLB Network.

Though Valle has no managing experience, all five teams with Major League openings this offseason seem more open to non-traditional candidates after the success of Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny, a former catcher who reached the World Series in his second year on the job after never managing prior to his hiring.

Robin Ventura of the White Sox is another former player who worked only as a special advisor to the club before getting his shot at managing the past two years. Don Mattingly never had any managerial experience before being hired by the Dodgers in 2011, but he did work as a Major League hitting coach for several seasons and was a bench coach.

Of this offseason's two hires, neither Price nor Williams has previously managed, though Price was a longtime pitching coach and Williams worked as the D-backs' third-base coach the past four seasons.

The Tigers interviewed Renteria -- who managed in the Minors before moving onto the Padres' coaching staff in 2008 -- on Thursday as they continue searching for a replacement for Jim Leyland. Detroit is also known to have interviewed Wallach, McClendon and Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, another former player with no coaching or managing experience.

The Cubs interviewed Wedge on Tuesday and have also spoken with Renteria as well as former D-backs manager A.J. Hinch, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and former Indians and Nats skipper Manny Acta.

Both the Cubs and Tigers are believed to be interested in Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, who hadn't been available until now because he was coaching in the World Series. It's not known if the Mariners have any intention of pursuing Lovullo.
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The Next Mariners Manager [29 Oct 2013|07:51pm]

kensmind
[ mood | curious ]

Poll #1941100 Mariners Manager

Of the following, who have interviewed or will interview for the position of Manager of the Mariners, who would you like to get the job?

Oakland A's Bench Coach Chip Hale
0(0.0%)
San Diego Padres Bench Coach Rich Renteria
0(0.0%)
Detroit Tigers Hitting Coach Lloyd McClendon
0(0.0%)
Los Angeles Dodgers Third Base Coach Tim Wallach
1(50.0%)
San Francisco Giants Bench Coach Ron Wotus
1(50.0%)
1 comment|post comment

You Gotta Love These Guys [18 Aug 2013|04:42pm]

kensmind
[ mood | stoked ]

Call me a Pollyanna, but I can't help but be excited about the way this team is going. Yeah we won't smell a playoff game this year, but what a young nucleus we're building! These guys are going to get better and better and better.

4star

I've been a huge Kyle Seager fan since his joined the club, but I'm really stoked about the future when I look at players like Miller, Franklin, Farquhar, Capps, and so many others. I'm really happy we didn't give up on Smoak, Saunders or Ackley.

So tell us, who is your favorite Mariner?

Who is your favorite Mariner hitter?

Kyle Seager
3(60.0%)
Kendrys Morales
0(0.0%)
Justin Smoak
0(0.0%)
Dustin Ackley
0(0.0%)
Brad Miller
0(0.0%)
Nick Franklin
0(0.0%)
Brendan Ryan
0(0.0%)
Raul Ibanez
2(40.0%)
Michael Saunders
0(0.0%)
Mike Morse
0(0.0%)
Endy Chavez
0(0.0%)
Henry Blanco
0(0.0%)
Humberto Quintero
0(0.0%)
Mike Zunino
0(0.0%)
Someone else (who?)
0(0.0%)

Who is your favorite Mariners pitcher?

Felix Hernandez
3(60.0%)
Hisashi Iwakuma
1(20.0%)
Aaron Harang
0(0.0%)
Joe Saunders
0(0.0%)
Erasmo Ramirez
0(0.0%)
Brendan Mauer
0(0.0%)
Danny Farquhar
0(0.0%)
Charlie Furbush
0(0.0%)
Oliver Perez
0(0.0%)
Carter Capps
1(20.0%)
Yoervis Medina
0(0.0%)
Lucas Luetge
0(0.0%)
Someone else (who)?
0(0.0%)
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Jesus Montero Celebrates Mothers' Day [12 May 2013|12:52pm]

kensmind
[ mood | amused ]

Here's a picture of Mariners' catcher Jesus Montero donning his pink cleats in honour of Mother's Day and for Breast Cancer Awareness as well. I hope everyone is having a happy Mothers' Day. Here's hoping the M's can steal another one from the A's too.

Montero

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 2013 Opening Day Seattle Mariners [31 Mar 2013|09:45pm]

kensmind
[ mood | excited ]

Pitchers
NO. NAME
49 Blake Beavan
58 Carter Capps
41 Charlie Furbush
34 Felix Hernandez
18 Hisashi Iwakuma
31 Kameron Loe
44 Lucas Luetge
37 Brandon Maurer
59 Oliver Perez
46 Stephen Pryor
23 Joe Saunders
54 Tom Wilhelmsen

Catchers
63 Jesus Montero
7 Kelly Shoppach

Infielders
13 Dustin Ackley
3 Robert Andino
8 Kendrys Morales
26 Brendan Ryan
15 Kyle Seager
17 Justin Smoak

Outfielders
12 Jason Bay
21 Franklin Gutierrez
28 Raul Ibanez
38 Michael Morse
55 Michael Saunders


I was sorry that Casper Wells didn't make the cut, but otherwise I'm really stoked about this season!

Smoak

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The Houston Astros in 2013 [31 Jan 2013|11:43am]

kensmind
[ mood | geeky ]

The Houston Astros are switching leagues in 2013. It's something I have hoped would happen for a long time: balanced leagues with more interleague play. I'm happy that the Astros are being put in the AL West. It makes sense, given that this is the same division as the Texas Rangers. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Astros. Every year I try to visit at least one MLB stadium that I've never been to before and in 2012 I went to two: PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Minute Main Park in Houston. I enjoyed both, for different reasons. The Astros game was sparsely attended, but the fans there were true fans, not bandwagon jumpers. Washington was in town and unlike many other ballparks, I saw very few fans in the opponent's gear. The fans I talked to were knowledgable, loyal and friendly. I'd love to go there again someday.

Astros01

In 2012 the Astros had a horrible .340 winning percentage, winning 55 and losing 107 games, the worst in MLB. To quote "Damn Yankees", when you're at the bottom, the only way is up, but how far will the Astros rise in 2013? There are pockets of talent on the team to be sure. I was tremendously impressed with second baseman Jose Altuve, who deserved to be an All-Star, I thought. Justin Maxwell is an excellent find and I think he'll bring up his average this year. Beyond that, I see a lineup that is average at best, though I will concede that a look at the Astros lineup shows a number of players with decent on base percentages, better overall than my Mariners.

I don't know the Astros well enough to predict who be in their opening day roster, but let me take a guess at the starting lineup:

Catcher: Juan Castro is an able catcher and he will be backed up by Carlos Corporan
First Base: Brett Wallace, an above average first baseman. Carlos Pena, a free agent formerly with the Rays will play some first, but is also projected to be the team's DH
Second Base: Altuve
Shortstop: Jed Lowrie-he was injured for part of last season, but if he stays healthy I predict that he'll have a better year than he did last year
Third Base: Matt Dominguez only had 109 at bats last year, but looked impressive in them. The Astros are hoping he'll fill the hot corner. I'm not as optimistic. Look for a sophomore jinx as big league pitchers are better able to read this impressive youngster.
Outfield: Probably Maxwell with Jose Martinez and Fernando Martinez. All of these guys hit for low average and have modest power. Brandon Barnes may break through. I watched him in his first big league game and while I loved his hustle, he struck out a lot. This is an average outfield at best.

People smarter than me predict that the Astros starting rotation will be composed of Lucas Harrell, Phil Humber (picked up from the White Sox), Bud Norris and Jordan Lyles. The fifth spot is up in the air and I think Astros fans are hoping for a rookie to plug this hole. I think Harrell is a decent starter. Humber threw a no-hitter against my Mariners last year, but other than that he looked ordinary. Lyles and Norris give up a lot of dingers and I see the starting rotation as the weakest link for this team. Erik Bedard was a last minute free agent signing, but he looked awfui last year, so I don't think he'll be their salvation. The bullpen is more hopeful. Free agent Jose Veras is predicted to win the cloer's role and Wesley Wright was adequate, but Fernando Rodriguez had a terrible year and lost his closer's role.

This team was 25th in the majors in ERA last year and 29th in batting average (and last in runs scored.) Off-season aquisitions will make this team a little better, but not significantly. My prediction: 5th place in the AL West.

Comments are welcome, just be civil if you disagree.

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The Mariners in 2013 [30 Jan 2013|07:50pm]

kensmind


I listened to an interview with Jack Zduriencik on the MLB Network on Sirius radio and he was basically saying how he had tried to make the Mariners better offensively in 2013 with the additions of Mike Morse and Kendrys Morales. I think those signings definitely improved the offense of the club, and moving the fences in at Safeco won't hurt. I think that 2013 will be a better year than 2012, but it will still be a tough battle. The Angels have gotten a lot stronger and Texas and Oakland are still good teams, though the Rangers look a little weaker. Houston is now in our division so that should mean a few more wins. Let's face it, as the Angels and A's proved last year, the season doesn't always turn out the way folks predict.

While the offense has gotten better with the bats of Morse and Morales, there are still some question marks. I wonder how Jesus Montero will respond to becoming the number one catcher? Personally, I think he's better defensively than people give him credit for, and I trust Eric Wedge's judgement on this, given that Wedge is a former catcher himself. I also wonder if Mike Zunino is ready for prime time yet, or if he'll need a little more seasoning. I predict that we'll see him in the roster some time this year, thought probably not on opening day if the signings of Kelly Shoppach and Ronnie Paulino are any indication.

I'm predicting better years for Dustin Ackley and a better year offensively for Brendan Ryan. I hope the presence of Nick Franklin will turn the heat up on the likeable Ryan, but I'm skeptical about this, given that Franklin was part of the trade bait used in the aborted Justin Upton deal. I am afraid that Kyle Seager might face his own sophomore jinx this year, though I pray that I'm wrong about this.

I'm not giving up on Justin Smoak and hope that he'll rebound and become the player many have predicted that he can be. I hope that Raul Ibanez has a good year, and while I wish the same for Jason Bay, I just don't think it will happen. But my pick for surprise player of 2013 is Casper Wells. I hope my instinct is correct on this one.

The starting rotation worries me. Whether you liked or disliked Jason Vargas, he burned a lot of innings and I don't see anyone ready to replace him. I'm hopeful that one of the kids will step up this year, either Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen or James Paxton. The Mariners viewed Walker as expendable in the "almost" Upton deal, and Hultzen hasn't shone in the minors yet. Please let this be the year that one of them shines.

I feel much better about the bullpen. We're solid in our closer (a.k.a. "the Bartender"), I love our lefties (Furbush, Perez and Luetge) and I feel very optimistic about our two hard-throwing righties (Pryor and Capps).

A lot can happen between now and April, but here's what I think our opening day lineup will look like:

Catchers (2): Jesus Montero and Kelly Shoppach (look for Mike Zunino later in the year).
Infielders (6 or 7): Kendrys Morales, Dustin Ackley, Brendan Ryan, Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak, Robert Andino and maybe Alex Liddi. (I don't think Nick Franklin is ready for prime time yet.)
Outfielders (5): Mike Morse, Michael Saunders, Raul Ibanez, Franklin Gutierrez (please be healthy!), and Casper Wells. (I think Eric Thames will be the odd man out. I'd love to see Jason Bay make it back to his former level of greatness, but I don't think it's gonna happen.)
Starting Rotation (5): Felix Hernandez, Hiashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez and the fifth one is anybody's guess. (I'll guess in this order: 1. Taijuan Walker, 2. Danny Hultzen, 3. Jeremy Bonderman, 4. Hector Noesi, 5. James Paxton)
Bullpen (6 or 7): Closer-Tom Wilhelmsen; Lefties-Charlie Furbush, Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge; Righties-Shawn Kelley, Stephen Pryor and either Carter Capps or Josh Kinney.

Finally, there is talk about the Mariners signing one more free agent. The names that come up most are Michael Bourne or Kyle Lohse. (They're also rumoured to be signing pitcher Kip Wells, but don't get too excited about that. Wells started 7 games last year for the Padres and averaged about 5 innings a start. He's not much of an innings eater.) I think Bourne would be a waste of money. He hasn't had consistently good years and we're already pretty deep in outfielders. Bourne has good speed and gets on base a lot, but he also strikes out a lot. Lohse would be the better fit here. He's been a consistent starter, something we could always use.

Let me end this with a poll. Do you think we should sign Bourne or Lohse? Or someone else? Or nobody? I'd love to hear your comments, both about this, and about my projected opening day line-up, including the areas I show as questionable. I love this time of year, we're still tied for first place!

Poll #1893481 FreeAgents

Which of the following unsigned free agents should the Mariners aggressively pursue?

Michael Bourne
0(0.0%)
Kyle Lohse
1(50.0%)
Brandon Inge
0(0.0%)
Someone else (tell us who)
0(0.0%)
They shouldn't pursue any more free agents
1(50.0%)
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Kelly Shoppach [29 Jan 2013|08:29pm]

kensmind
[ mood | okay ]

According to Greg Johns of MLB.com, the Mariners have agreed to sign free agent catcher Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach is meeting with Mariners officials and has a physical scheduled for tomorrow. He is expected to obtain a Major League deal assuming he passes his physical. Shoppach split the 2012 season between the Red Sox and Mets, appearing in 76 total games. A right-handed hitter, he posted a .233 batting average, a .309 on base percentage and a .425 slugging average with eight home runs. Shoppach joins a Mariners roster that includes catchers Jesus Montero and Ronny Paulino. Shoppach's deal will pay him $1.5MM in base salary with an extra $500K available in incentives, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

kelly-shoppach

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