The Mariners decided that Greg Halman’s hot start is officially over now that he’s sporting a not-so-sexy slash line of .230/.256/.345 in 91 trips to the plate. Only walking twice and striking out 32 times probably didn’t help, either.
So, who … [visit site to read more]
Nothing official just yet … [visit site to read more]
Forget about the context of the game. Where two teams both under .500 pretty much play meaningless game in July. If you just watched the game because of the fact it was a baseball game and forgot about what’s going on with Figgins, the issues with … [visit site to read more]
There was nothing … [visit site to read more]
The Mariners had their chances but in reality winning 8 of their last 10 is an awesome start and it’s hard to be too down about it. visit site to read more]
Ugh… It feels like waking up hung over… but with out drinking.
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So I went ahead and made some custom spread sheets and listed key stats that I thought were important. Not just for the month but to put into context who they will continue to produce. Whether they are bound to improve or if they are playing over their head and going to get worse.
Then again there is the possibility of them just becoming better players… Don’t laugh too hard.
Stats/Analysis after the jump.
Tags: Aaron Laffey, adam kennedy, brendan ryan, Chone Figgins, chris ray, David Pauley, Doug Fister, Eric Bedard, Felix Hernandez, Jack Cust, Jack Wilson, Jamey Wright, Jason Vargas, Josh Lueke, justin smoak, Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, miguel olivo, Milton Bradley, Monthly Review, Tom Wilhelmsen
Cesar Jimenez is optioned to Tacoma.
Tom Wilhelmsen, Josh Lueke, Aaron Laffey make the team.
It’s offical Franklin Gutierrez is on the DL but is eldigable to come off as soon as April 6th (the day I see the Mariners play the Rangers *fingers crossed*).
In order to free up a roster spot Mauricio Robles will go on the 60-day DL.
The Mariners also announced yesterday that the starting rotation is going to be Felix, Vargas, Fister, Bedard and Pineda.
While not entirely assumed we all kind of had an idea that this was how it was going to shape up. The only problem I really have with it is of course the fact you have Bedard and Pineda back-to-back. This has the potential to tax the bullpen over the course of the season.
Rather than pitching the lefties (Vargas then Bedard) back-to-back they have chosen to put Fister in the middle. It’s obvious that the Mariners are going to limit both Bedard and Pineda’s innings this year and that’s smart. It just seems that it would also be smart to play into a situation where you elveate stress on a bullpen that despite the additions of Chris Ray, Lueke and Wilhelmsen looks to be rather thin.
Tags: Aaron Laffey, Cesar Jimenez, chris ray, Doug Fister, erik bedard, Felix Hernandez, franklin gutierrez, Jason Vargas, Josh Lueke, Mariners General, mauricio robles, Michael Pineda, Tom Wilhelmsen
This spring has been quasi entertaining so far.But let’s face it we’re all ready for the games to start meaning something. I know I am. So let’s take a look some things that actually mean something to the Season. Looking at the players in camp right right now, the Mariners are most likely going with a four man bench. Giving you a total of 13 position players and a 12-man pitching staff.
The rotation is pretty set and isn’t horrible looking.
1- Felix Hernandez
People may ask why I have Fister in front of Vargas. I seem to remember there being some thing between the Mariners organization and not wanting to pitch lefties back-to-back games. Maybe that’s correct, maybe not. No, question that Vargas is the better pitcher. So really you can flip-flop those around.
Personally, I have a hard time believing that Michael Pineda is going to make the Major League staff out of Spring Training. If only to give him a controlled environment and keep his innings down while in Tacoma. It also gives him a chance to work more on his change-up to elevate some of those splits.
That pretty much leaves us with either Pauley or French as the fifth starter. Really, I’m alright with either. French has potential to be a 5th starter and a successful one in Safeco field. But his velocity has dropped tremendously in the past 18 months and I’m not sure as to the cause. If he can find some how rediscover that lost zip and use his slider more often and effectively, he should be good #5 guy.
You all know how I feel about Pauley by this time. Ultimately no shockers here.
That leaves the bullpen and 6 guys. Why 6 and not 7? Because who ever doesn’t make the 5th starter most likely makes the team as the mop-up guy. That’s just assumed at this point. However, French does have an option and it wouldn’t hurt him to start out in AAA. But for now I’m assuming French is with the major league pitching staff.
So here are the 6 in my bullpen.
The obvious one is of course Brandon League as the interim closer.
Then you have the set-up spot and I’m not a big believer in guys that have held the job before. But Chris Ray is a pretty solid reliever with good velocity, misses some bats and gets a few ground balls. I know Ray had some issues last year which appear to come from his reliance upon the four-seam fastball and less with the slider/split finger that had made him successful. He makes my squad.
For the Lefty specialist you could make a case for either Laffey or Olson (even French too if he doesn’t make the starting staff). But the Mariners acquired Laffey for a reason and he’s shown the ability to command his pitches and looks pretty good this spring. Olson’s just blah per usual.
My three middle relievers are Josh Lueke, Justin Miller and Chris Smith. It’s hard to really get a strong feel but Josh Lueke seems ready. He’s looked and thrown really well so far. He’s spotted his fastball had some of his out pitches already working. I think he’s ready for the show. The question of course will the team be ready for the PR hit. I hope they do the right thing here and give the guy a chance.
Next in line, Justin Miller who is a strange case. Looking at the last few years he generates a solid above average amount of strikeouts and then of course he walks plenty of people. But last year he showed some improvement in his ability to consistently throw strikes and avoid walks. So far this spring he has continued to spot his fastball and it has me thinking that Miller is the next best available option.
Lastly I chose to go with Chris Smith, frankly because I did. I suppose you could make a case to go with Denny Bautista, Fabio Castro, or internal options such as Dan Cortes, Chaz Roe or Edward Paredes.
The problem I have with Bautista, despite his flashy velocity, is that he just fails to throw strikes. Castro is similar, in that he doesn’t throw a lot of strikes and then Dan Cortes is basically the a better and younger version of Bautista. The only thing about Cortes is that much like Chaz Roe and Paredes they have options where they can be sent to Tacoma used later. Cortes needs more time in the minor leagues anyways, I’m still worried about his command.
Chris Smith has shown a marked improvement in his Ball/Strike ratio last year, while still generating strike outs. He isn’t going to be flashy but I think he’s the best option going forward right now.
This leaves you with a bullpen that looks like this:
Closer – Brandon League
The one problem is that it leaves you with +3 guys making the team that are Non-Roster Invitees (NRIs) and room needs to be made for them on the 40-man roster.
It’s a pretty easy call for me as I’d cut both Garrett Olson and Cesar Jimenez. Olson, just hasn’t shown much promise at all in the past two years and his splits, while they are there, they aren’t very good a 4.91 FIP vs. LHB or a 5.51 FIP vs. RHB. If someone picks them up great, if not you can reassign them to Tacoma.
As for Cesar Jimenez he just hasn’t come back to what he might have once been. It’s likely he can passed through waivers and be reassigned to Tacoma and show that he can stay healthy and still be of value. I know he’s Felix’s buddy so that makes this harder. But I don’t see anyone grabbing him in waivers.
The last spot is made available because of Jose Flores doesn’t make the squad. I’m still a little annoyed over this pick. I still contend that someone like Wynn Pelzer or Jason Rice would have been a better choice. But, it’s really moot at this point.
A mental note on Flores is that the Mariners could and seems likely interested to at least try and keep him in the organization. I wouldn’t guarantee that it happens. But, who knows Cleveland didn’t seem interested in keeping him in the organization by electing to not place him on the 40-man. The Mariners maybe able to buy him outright and send him down to AA Jackson to start the season, in hopes that he could make the 40-man this off-season. Just a theory.
This is my bullpen. What’s yours?
Tags: Aaron Laffey, Brandon League, Cesar Jimenez, chaz roe, chris ray, chris smith, dan cortes, David Pauley, Denny Bautista, edward paredes, fabio castro, Garrett Olson, Jason Rice, Jose Flores, Josh Lueke, justin miller, Luke French, Mariners General, Michael Pineda, Wynn Pelzer
This was never going to be anything like the big winter the Mariners had last year, and we all knew it. 2010 was clearly being viewed as a “win now” type of season, and the front office made what was, at the time, an appropriate splash in both the free agent and trade markets. 2011 isn’t a “win now” year, and the front office has known that since July, which is why this off season has seemed much more dull. There was still work to be done, though, just to get this team into good enough shape to be competitive while they make the transition back to being a contender. It was certainly a different task for GMZ & crew, though not necessarily an easier one, and it’s hard to be too disappointed with how they handled it.
When you’re not expecting your finished product to be a contender, it’s less about filling holes with big names and more about putting together a group of role players – and that’s exactly what the Mariners have done. I’ll now go over each significant move that the Mariners have made this off season.
12/2/2010 – Mariners re-sign Erik Bedard to one-year, non guaranteed contract
While Bedard’s name probably isn’t associated with too much positive in the city of Seattle, bringing him back on this type of a contract was a no-brainer. We know how good he can be when he’s healthy, and the team really had nothing to lose by signing him. Who knows? He might even contribute.
12/3/2010 – Mariners trade non-tendered Jose Lopez to Rockies for RHP Chaz Roe
Chaz Roe isn’t anything special, but the Mariners had already non-tendered Lopez, and at that point, you may as well take whatever you can get.
12/9/2010 – Mariners sign Miguel Olivo to two-year, $7 million deal
This is the one move I’m still not so sure about. It’s nice to have a catcher that isn’t completely incompetent at the plate, but he brings with him several negatives, and giving him multiple years at age 32 seems iffy. He’s got power, but it’s all pull power, and he’s one of the biggest free swingers out there. He may come with a more subtle value though, and that’s potentially being able to tutor the much younger Adam Moore and help him along.
12/10/2010 – Mariners sign Jack Cust to one-year, $2.5 million deal
I’ve been a fan of this move from the start, and I don’t know who wouldn’t be. Not only is Jack an improvement at the team’s biggest black hole in 2010, but he came at a good price, and is also an excellent fit for Safeco Field. He has both home run power and a good plate approach – as long as they keep him out of the field and he can keep the strikeouts under control, there’s nothing to dislike about this signing.
12/12/2010 – Mariners acquire Brendan Ryan from Cardinals for RHP Maikel Cleto
Bringing in some type of a middle infielder was a necessity for this team – Jack Wilson’s health just isn’t reliable, and Dustin Ackley could use a little bit more time in Tacoma. Brendan Ryan fit the bill, and Maikel Cleto, though not long ago seen as an impressive pitching prospect, wasn’t all that much to give up.
Most of Ryan’s value comes from his excellent defense, but there’s still some reason to believe that, while healthy, he can provide some value at the plate too. He posted a .324 wOBA in 2009, which is fairly solid for a slick-fielding shortstop, and better than anything we could expect to get out of Jack Wilson. He suffered a large drop off last year, but it seems like his wrist problems were probably a contributor to that.
1/10/2011 – Mariners sign Adam Kennedy to minor league deal
This one’s only a minor league contract, but I’ve included it, as it’s likely to make more of an impact than most of the other minor league deals. Kennedy’s a light-hitting second baseman, who has, for the most part, been above average defensively. His two biggest assets are his left-handed bat, and his ability to draw walks and get on base, making him a worthwhile piece for this team. He won’t win any MVP’s, but he has been worth at least one win in each of the last three season, and he comes extremely cheap.
3/2/2011 – Mariners acquire Aaron Laffey from Indians for IF Matt Lawson
Aaron Laffey isn’t very good, mainly due to a walk problem and inability to miss bats, but bringing him in does add depth, and I doubt anyone’s going to really miss Matt Lawson (Remember him? We got him in the Cliff Lee trade!).
On top of all these moves, the Mariners also brought in a butt load of players, particularly pitchers, on minor league deals with invites to Spring Training. Most of these type moves don’t end up making a big difference, but as they say, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and having such an abundance of minor league depth can only be a good thing down the stretch.
So, my immediate thought after reading the tweet that we had traded for Laffey was how did he really differ from French? Both are left-handed, both are 25 and Jack Zduriencik says both are getting an opportunity to fight for that fifth starter spot. So it just seems to be repetitive. But, to Baseball Reference, Statcorner and Fangraphs we go!
Let me stack it up for you how I see it.
Looking at their AAA numbers they appear to be basically the same pitcher. Not a huge surprises. What was kind of an anomaly was that they both pitched 195 innings. Looking over a much larger
While Laffey has been doing this longer and there is more data on him, French’s numbers have been consistently sucky since coming to Seattle.
Well… okay that’s not entirely fair. French is kind of an interesting guy in and of himself. We’ve seen his velocity numbers continue to drop over the last 18 months. He went from being Detroit Aaron Laffey in AA to a worse version of Jarrod Washburn in the majors. I’m still not sold that
Laffey keeps the ball on the ground and he keeps the ball in the park. French misses a few more bats and walks less people.
French’s slider was one of his best pitches in 2009 and then turned around was one of his worse pitches in 2010. It seems like he traded it in favor of his change up. Not sure if I like that but it also should make him better against RHB.
Laffey’s fastball while average is really what puts him in front of French who has shown a lot of problems with his four-seamer. I think it’s primarily because of how straight it is… Velocity wise they similar, but as I mentioned before French is kind of a outlier when it comes to velocity.
Their sliders are very comparable but I think that Laffey does better with LHB because he uses it more often. But, should French ever decide to go back to it on a consistent basis I think that he would see it payoff for him.
The biggest disparity lies in the change-ups. While French throws it more often the biggest thing that jumps out is the velocity difference between the two.
If I have to choose one of these guys I’m going to go with Laffey at this point. Should be interesting to see if either of these guys can contribute something to the big league club and if nothing else maybe you learned something from this post and it helped me put off home work for about an hour. YAY trades!
According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Twitter, the Mariners have traded for LHP Aaron Laffey. Aaron Laffey is not very good at pitching, and the Mariners most likely gave up nothing of value to acquire Laffey. With his last name being “Laffey”, I would’ve expected that acquiring him would make me feel something other than indifference, but alas, it does not.
Edit: It appears that Laffey has been acquired for Matthew Lawson. the Middle infielder that was formerly acquired in the Cliff Lee trade back in July.
Regardless to how this deal works out between Laffey and the Mariners, Lawson was not a loss. The Mariners were running out of room space and playing time for him anyways between AAA and AA, Chris Harris alluded to the packed infield in regards to Kyle Seager’s possible promotion.
Lawson’s case is similar to that of another Indian middle infielder and former Mariner prospect Juan Diaz, who was part of the deal last year that brought back Russ Branyan.
Bottom line: He was just depth that wasn’t much higher than that of a utility guy.