That thing that sucks about living in Africa is that I’m on a completely different sleep schedule than the rest of America. I go to bed just as things start getting dialed up and into working motion and I wake up and get into work just as everyone is getting ready for their own bed and closing down shop for the night.
So when I get to work and I check all the news stories I get to be the last of the bunch to write about the Josh Lueke-John Jaso trade. I get that for the most part everyone appreciates and/or likes the trade. We used a piece of our depth and got a league average hitter that can play a premium position. Not only that but he comes in rather cheap too. There isn’t much not to like about this trade.
The thing is I’m going to go all Buzzkill Brita on this thing because I have some minor qualms associated with this deal that I haven’t seen many people bring up. So if you are rather up beat about this and positive… you might not want to read everything below. Because my normal upbeat, positive disposition is kind of missing here.
Below you are about to be absorbed into my own little world. One that I’ve taken the better half of … oh well… let’s just pretend it’s been two weeks and not the last two months, because that’s just sad.
This is strictly of my own opinion, take it at face value, which is worth nothing. I understand no one cares how I would improve the Mariners and that in general most of my theories for roster construction are really just a mish mash of other brilliants minds at work.
Be prepared to be completely disappointed. I, like many others, love talking trades. I love discussing how to make this team better simply because, My Lord they are awful this past year, but really I can’t believe they are as bad as they really are. As I’ve previously discussed my sole goal for this team is to do the following:
- A) I want to give this team a trampoline. The goal is to give them the opportunity to bounce forward from this point. Start this coming year as a 77-80 win team and give them the opportunity to better themselves to becoming an 85-90 win team. Next year starts this year.
- B) You can’t move forward without talent. I’m not just talking about acquiring talent either, it’s about cultivating and helping it grow towards being healthy and productive. The Mariners are never going to compete, let me reiterate this for everyone, NEVER going to compete again unless they can eventually grow internal talent. Doug Fister was good, Dustin Ackley is of course way better, but there needs to be less gap time between the time periods and more players. Really, what this team needs to figure out is how to grow position players and while you need to give them time you need to have the talent to step in for if those young guys fail.
- C) With growing talent it means keeping it. My goal is to keep as much internal talent possible while moving forward. This is extremely difficult and it relies on… more risk. You can’t get premier talent without giving up premier talent but you can acquire certain individuals that are available around the league for less than they potentially could be worth. This takes a lot of time and is a huge risk. But the important thing is all your giving away is at bats. The talent you have to give up to get them was hardly negligible. Bottom line: I hate giving away young cost controlled arms for risk/reward situations. There is a time to hold ‘em and a time to … well deal them. I see few moves that could should be made by dealing away any of the young arms the Mariners have collected to this point.
- D) I know Seattle fans are looking at the potential 20 million dollars and they feel like finally they can spend it. Oh they have the money free right now and it’s already starting to burn a hole in their pocket. The unfortunate truth is we can’t just throw that at the “best” guy possible. They have to spend it wisely or be doomed to repeat more of the mid -2000’s. Likewise it means acquiring talent that is on the mend that other teams have deemed “too much time to invest or too pricey due to lack of production” some call it dumpster diving others call it investing. We need to come away from this season with more money in our pockets next year. As I continue to say getting to .500 is easy. Once we’re there it’s going to take money or prospects to make that last push. We’ll discuss that more as we get into the free-agent section.
Without further ado I give you my EPIC king of the off-season post.
Tags: Adam Moore, Blake Bevan, Brandon League, Casey Blake, Casper Wells, Chance Ruffin, Charlie Furbush, Chris Capuano, Chris Gimenez, David DeJesus, dustin ackley, Erik Kratz, Felix Hernandez, franklin gutierrez, grady sizemore, Ichiro, Jason Vargas, Josh Lueke, justin smoak, Kelly Shoppach, King for a day, kyle seager, Landon Powell, Matt Antonelli, Michael Pineda, Mike Carp, prince fielder, Ramon Hernandez, Raul Ibanez, Scott Rolen, Shawn Camp, shawn Kelley, Tom Wilhelmsen, Will Venable
This was suppose to go up yesterday but I’m really, really behind everything with heading out on this trip. A little behind the next set of prospect cards. So 21-40 may all just come next Friday. But, who knows maybe I’ll be able to get 21-30 all up on Tuesday… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
What is important to remember is that we are going off our own opinions on these and while one person may have a different opinion than us it doesn’t necessarily make us wrong or right and vice versa.
Here is of course the friendly disclaimer…
Disclaimer: I have said it previously with the initial list and I’ll repeat it now. This is an arbitrary list and there is room for argument just about everywhere. But, we’ve done it enough internally and this is what we came up with.
This list is not done professionally. We all freely admit that we are amateurs and that this has been done entirely in recreation and the majority of it was compiled by using information that has been posted elsewhere and is freely available for others to find themselves while incorperating their on field production. I, nor anyone else, is claiming this is a better product than what anyone else has done and it’s most importantly in an effort to give some of these players the credit and recognition they are due in this organization that we love.
Now on with the show!
Well my apologies for my absence today. I’m sure no one really missed me but I had every intention of writing this post up nearly 6 hours ago and in all honesty I wrote it up once went to use the famous Baseball-Reference linker and instead clicked the wrong book mark and that was the end of my 750 word blog post.
So let’s try this again.
Chance Ruffin, as has been reported pretty much everywhere that covers baseball, is now a member of the Seattle Mariners. This isn’t a huge shock to anyone as he was one of the three players reported to be on “the list” the Mariners could choose from. It had also been reported by a few different sources and Jason Churchill in paticular, that it was most likely to be Ruffin.
So now that we’ve had time to digest it all and get used to him being apart of this bullpen what exactly did we get?
More bad news … [visit site to read more]
I’m still work on getting my version of Harrison’s King for a day post together, but there’s one deal in there that I felt deserved it’s own post. I think this deal works for … [visit site to read more]
It seems that there is nothing but Ackley-mania in the blogosphere today, so i thought I’d counter with something completely different. Well, sort of. He does play a roll in what I’m about to say, but only a small one.
The Mariners came into this … [visit site to read more]
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.
- Just five position players finished with positive WAR.
- Six different individuals posted an above average walk percentage.
- From Michael Saunders stat line I can’t tell if he’s going to improve or get worse.
- Not in the list is Ground Ball percentage (GB%) Jack Cust is fourth with 54.5% The difference between this season and last is that he’s hitting the ball into the ground at a ridiculous rate. Can you say Casey Kotchman?
- Despite being 5th in pitchers seen per plate appereance, Chone Figgins has the third lowest walk percentage and the second lowest strikeout percentage. Just odd how that worked out.
- What we’ve seen out of Miguel Olivo is pretty much Miguel Olivo.
- We all need to hope one of Milton Bradley, Jack Wilson or Jack Cust gets better. Because at this rate we have no good trade chip going forward.
- Justin Smoak has been good.
- Adam Kennedy has been surprisingly good.
- Brendan Ryan… not so much. I still like you Brendan Ryan. Just stop sucking.
- Felix Hernandez is still Felix even if it seems like he hasn’t been “as good” he really is and he is staying in Seattle. Suck it New York.
- Eric Wedge needs to immediately stop using David Pauley and Aaron Laffey in high leverage situations. They aren’t bad, but their luck is sufficiently stretched beyond a comfortable limit.
- This past month Jason Vargas has posted the highest Ground Ball rates that he’s ever posted. What does this mean? I’m not sure. But he continues to miss bats at an average rate and getting more swings at pitches outside the zone. He could be getting better.
- As much as we all have disliked Chris Ray there are some positives in there that could lead to him being a halfway decent pitcher. A) Great Swinging Strike rate, B) low walk percentage, C) great ground ball percentage. He’s been hit hard so far this year. But with his swinging strike rate I don’t believe that will continue. He’s getting a ton of ground balls so I don’t think his HR/FB ratio will stick. He may still be useful. Let’s give him a little bit more of a leash. That said, I’m not using him in the 8th … or maybe even the 7th.
- The scary thing about Jamey Wright is that his FIP/xFIP is 2.26/3.18. I don’t believe he can stay this good… but could he? Maybe.
- Michael Pineda has been really good.
- Doug Fister has been surprisingly good.
- Josh Lueke and Tom Wilhelmsen surprisingly haven’t been good at all. I kind figured one of the two would surprise.
- Despite Eric Bedard throwing an unbelieveable 25.2 IP he hasn’t been good. His last outing in Detroit was in encouraging but we’ll see if it’s legitimate improvement. I’d rather see that specific Erik Bedard than the one we saw the first three starts of the season.
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
All in all, this was one of the least interesting games of the season. The Mariners couldn’t score runs, Jason Vargas kind of got shelled, and a win never really seemed within reach after that fourth inning. On the other hand, losses always seem much less frustrating to me when the team never really seems in it to begin with. So that’s something. Other things that are something:
- Jason Vargas wasn’t good, but he wasn’t nearly as off as his stat line would make you believe. He threw 64% strikes, and missed seven bats – most of them with his change up. The 1.0 K:BB ratio isn’t impressive, but he wasn’t terrible, and it was really just the one bad inning that killed him.
- Josh Lueke, on the other hand, was really bad. The homerun he gave up to Kouzmanoff was a clean cut hanger, right over the heart of the plate. He also gave up a line drive double and walked a hitter, in just one inning of work. His command has hurt him consistently in recent outings, and that pattern didn’t break tonight.
- Adam Kennedy had yet another extra-base hit tonight. He is also frequently referred to on the broadcasts as a gritty veteran, or some variation of the sentiment. Take from this what you will.
- I don’t know why exactly Michael Saunders tried to steal third base with two outs in the third inning of a 1-1 game, but it was a bad decision.
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
2- Erik Bedard
3- Doug Fister
4- Jason Vargas
5- David Pauley/Luke French
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
Setup – Chris Ray
Middle Relief – Josh Lueke
Middle Relief - Justin Miller
Middle Relief - Chris Smith
Left Specialist – Aaron Laffey
Long Relief – Pauley/French
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
I introduced this prospect list over at Far From Port prior to my arrival here at Sodo Mojo. It’s based off my own thoughts and is my own creation. So basically if you disagree with it blame me not any of the other guys.
I live am stationed in Montgomery, Al. So I get the opportunity of seeing these guys come through the minor league system. I’ve seen guys such as Adam Moore, Alex Liddi, Nate Tenbrink, Carlos Triunfel, Matt Mangini, Nick Hill and Matthew Lawson all over my time here in Montgomery and I hope to see more this year.
I really created this in the effort that we (as a Mariner community) can follow prospects over the course of the year. The goal will be to update it over the course of the year. Giving us a map that we can all follow the success and failure of these young guys with a dream.
I’ll be releasing the next tier this Monday (2/14) and I hope to have the second half released sometime early March.
|2||Dustin Ackley||22||2B||(1) Draft 2009||(AAA)Tacoma|
|3||Nick Franklin||19||SS||(1) Draft 2009||(AA) Jackson|
|4||Taijuan Walker||18||RHSP||(1) Draft 2010||(low A) Clinton|
|5||Guillermo Pimentel||18||OF||IFA||(Short Season) Pulaski|
|6||Mauricio Robles||21||LHSP||Trade (tigers)||(AAA)Tacoma|
|7||Johermyn Chavez||22||OF||Trade (blue jays)||(AA) Jackson|
|8||Kyle Seager||23||INF||(3) Draft 2009||(AA) Jackson|
|10||Dan Cortes||23||RHRP||Trade (royals)||Seattle Mariners|
|11||Blake Beavan||22||RHSP||Trade (rangers)||(AAA)Tacoma|
|12||Marcus Littlewood||18||SS||(2) Draft 2010||(Short Season) Everett|
|13||James Jones||22||OF||(4) Draft 2009||(A) High Desert|
|14||Ramon Morla||21||3B||IFA||(low A) Clinton|
|15||Josh Lueke||26||RHRP||Trade (rangers)||(AAA)Tacoma|
|16||Ji-Man Choi||19||C/1B||IFA||(low A) Clinton|
|17||Nate Tenbrink||24||LF/3B||(7) Draft 2010||(AAA)Tacoma|
|18||Stephen Pryor||21||RHRP||(5) Draft 2010||(A) High Desert|
|20||Carlos Triunfel||20||SS/3B||IFA||(AA) Jackson|
|21||Rich Poythress||23||1B||(2) Draft 2009||(AA) Jackson|
|22||Esteilon Peguero||17||SS||IFA||AZL Instructs|
|23||Vince Catricala||22||3B/1B||(10) Draft 2009||(A) High Desert|
|24||Carlos Peguero||23||RF||IFA||(AA) Jackson|
|25||Jordan Shipers||18||LHSP||(16) Draft 2010||AZL Instructs|
Here is the minor league progression chart
|(A) High Desert|
|(low A) Clinton|
|(Short Season) Everett|
|(Short Season) Pulaski|
Tags: alex liddi, Blake Beavan, Carlos Peguero, carlos triunfel, dan cortes, dustin ackley, esteilon peguero, greg halman, guillermo pimentel, james jones, Ji-Man Choi, johermyn chavez, jordan shipers, Josh Lueke, kyle seager, marcus littlewood, mauricio robles, Michael Pineda, Minor Leagues, Nate Tenbrink, nick franklin, Prospect Listings, Ramon Morla, rich poythress, Stephen Pryor, taijuan walker, Top 100, Vince Catricala
Cliff Lee was everything we’d hoped he would be. The same cannot be said for the rest of his teammates.
Over the course of 13 starts in his Seattle Mariners career, Cliff was dominant. He averaged 7.96 innings per start, struck out 89 batters, walked a total of 6, and ran a minuscule Fielding Independent Pitching line of 2.16. Cliff Lee is a pitcher who does everything well. He throws strikes. He misses bats. He gets ahead of hitters. He doesn’t throw his fastball too much. And he induces his fair share of ground-balls.
I was present at two games that Lee started this season. In the first, Cliff went seven scoreless innings and struck out eight Rangers, but the M’s offense couldn’t get anything going against the Rangers’ Colby Lewis. The team lost in 12 innings, despite having the bases loaded on two separate occasions. You might remember that game. In the second game I was present at, Lee cruised seven innings only to have his defense fail him completely in the eighth. Cliff struck out five and walked none in eight innings and was credited with a “loss.”
Those two games were notably indicative of both Cliff Lee’s overall 2010 performance and that of the Seattle Mariners’ offense. Cliff couldn’t do anything wrong, but the M’s couldn’t do anything right.
In case you missed it, Cliff’s K-BB ratio in Seattle was almost 15:1, and he got hitters to swing and miss over 9% of the time he threw a pitch. His numbers were ungodly, and now he’s gone. Good thing we still have Felix Hernandez to ease the pain.
Let it also be noted that Cliff Lee helped us turn Philippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and J.C. Ramirez into Justin Smoak, Josh Lueke, Blake Beavan, and Matt Lawson. Aumont has been moved back to the bullpen, Gillies’ development has stalled, and Ramirez has appeared extremely hittable in AA. Oh, and Gillies was recently charged with Cocaine possession. On the other hand, Smoak hit .325/.400/.575 in his 45 September plate appearances, including three mammoth home runs hit against his former organization, and Josh Lueke (despite his legal troubles) put up a composite K/9 over 12 this season.
Outlook: Cliff Lee probably won’t return to the Mariners next season, barring a miracle (Eric Wedge, anyone?), but he will continue to be awesome. If there’s anyone that deserves a World Series ring, it’s Cliff Lee.
Word came today from Mariners interim skipper Daren Brown that, understandably, the team will likely hold off on any September call-ups until Tacoma’s season is completely over. They’re currently holding a 3.5 game lead in their division, and a pretty safe bet to make the playoffs. As Shannon Drayer points out, the decision probably would have been a different one if the Mariners had any glaring needs at the big league level, but the fact is, they don’t. They aren’t going anywhere this season, and they have no real reason to steal away Tacoma’s best players right before their post season starts.
Sure, it’s a bit disappointing that we’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see guys like Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Josh Lueke, and a few others, but they deserve a chance to play for a championship that probably means a lot more to them than we’d think. Plus, as young players, they’ll certainly benefit from experiencing that playoff atmosphere, despite the fact that it’s only AAA.
On top of all that, we now have a win-win situation before us. If the Rainiers succeed in the playoffs, we’ll have something meaningful to root for. And if they don’t, we have the resulting call-ups to look forward to. Yay September!