Hello, Seattle. The news says we’re going to get between one and twelve inches of snow on Wednesday. One and twelve. That’s a hell of a range. I told my last date that she’d be getting between one and twelve inches when we got home and we never went out again, so, yeah. Good work, local meteorologists. Way to narrow it down for us.
I was at the grocery store preparing for this monstrosity earlier today. I scoured the aisles like I was on Supermarket Sweep, stockpiling all the essentials: microwaveable meals, cookies, Red Bull, string cheese. My cart was a dietician’s worst nightmare. But whatever, right? That’s why we have the Wroten Workout Plan. Unclogs the arteries. Oh, and the Red Bull was sugar free, so there’s that.
Anyway, the grocery store was absolutely packed. I would not recommend going shopping in this pre-Snowmageddon era. If you haven’t loaded up on provisions, you’re probably better off going on a hunger strike for the next couple days. I was in Safeway around lunchtime and it was like a Bayside High School pep rally at The Max. There were seemingly a thousand more people in this single location than you thought previously existed. Hey, you in the crimson track jacket! I’ve never seen you in any episode before. Where have you been hiding, jerk? You just come here for the pep rallies or something? Try getting to class sometime, slacker. Yeah, I’ve seen every show, you’re not gonna fool me.
The great thing about a Seattle snow storm is it causes people to irrationally freak the hell out. Take, for instance, the guy standing in front of me in the checkout line. For one thing, he had about 50 items (granted, he was obese). For another, most of these items were completely unnecessary. Example: he had not one but TWO giant jars of real mayonnaise. Because when the power goes out and the heat shuts off, you’ll need BOTH jars of mayonnaise, sir. Giant sub sandwiches for all! We’re gonna make it. Got mayo for days. We’ll pull through…
Here we are late on Tuesday night and we have yet to see many flakes in the metro area. I’m daring it to snow right now. Let’s bring Jim Forman home! He’s tired of having to go up to Granite Falls and down to Vader just to cover people doing stupid shit on ice. “Hi, Jean and Dennis! You’ll notice we’ve found a man in a 1987 Honda Civic willing to slide down the cliff behind me and jump this ravine while drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon and wearing nothing but this Hawaiian lei we purchased at a second-hand store. Are you ready for this? I know I am!” Jim Forman deserves better. I hope he’s making commission off this.
Perhaps the best thing about all this snow is how it’s taken all the pressure off the city’s newest resident, Jesus Montero. Yes, Jesus, who will save us all, is coming to Seattle. And all we had to do to get him here was relinquish everyone’s second-favorite starting pitcher, Michael Pineda. It’s like we traded two of our best goats for our neighbor’s finest cow. You hate to lose these two, fantastic goats. Buuuuuuuut, that cow is gonna help out quite a bit on the family farm. Pineda was great. We all loved him. But Montero? He’s pretty great, too. We’ll find a way to pour our hearts out in his honor.
By now, I’m sure you’ve read all the specs on Montero. If you haven’t, go here. The dude’s a six-foot-three-inch, twenty-two-year-old power-hitting catcher. The rarest of the rare breeds, an über-prospect with unrivaled physical talent. He’s been compared to Miguel Cabrera. He projects to be a future All-Star. He’s everything you want in an everyday player. We’re absolutely lucky to have him.
There’s always a “but.”
Pineda is an ace-in-the-making. A gargantuan, hard-throwing right-hander who will take to New York City like Godzilla to Tokyo. We, as Mariner faithful, envisioned him as a fixture in our rotation for years to come. His sophomore campaign was going to be the stellar encore to his phenomenal freshman debut. Like Montero, Pineda is just twenty-two years of age. He’s been compared to his former teammate, Felix Hernandez. In his only major league season, he’s already earned an All-Star nod. We were absolutely lucky to have him.
On top of all that, Pineda was wildly popular with the fan base. Almost as popular as the inimitable Green Hydro, I’d reckon. Which is probably what makes this bittersweet pill that much tougher to swallow for all of us. We loved Pineda. And we knew he’d be great. There was no getting around that.
Montero? We think he’ll be a stud. We hope to love him. But we’re not there yet. We just broke up with Kelly Kapowski. And now we’re being asked to believe in Stacy Carosi. I guess it’s okay. We’ll need some time to mend our hearts, however. Can we trust the Jack Z. blueprint? Sure. Do we have to love it right this moment? No, we don’t. That’s the emotional nature of fanaticism.
There is a forecast. It says we’ll likely get a lot of snow soon. We don’t know if they’ll be right, those weather people, but we certainly believe in what they have to say.
There’s a forecast for Jesus Montero, too. It says he’ll be something special. We don’t know if they’ll be right, those baseball people. But we believe they probably will be.
For better or worse, this is our guy now. Jesus. Bring on the storm.
Filed under: Mariners
Like the rest of Mariners Nation I have had a few days to digest the recent blockbuster trade of pitcher Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees for Jesus Montero. This trade which included a couple other less significant players, came out of nowhere and has created quite a stir here in Seattle. For the record as much as I loved Michael Pineda the fun-loving Dominican as you can see in the above video that I shot of him last spring training , I think this trade was a good move by Jack Z.
Having said that I want to wish Pineda well in his future as a Yankee and want let him know that in addition to his wicked fastball we appreciated his boyish enthusiasm and genuine warm personality. Every time Pineda came to the mound like a lot of you I would watch the big righty closely. It was things like his somewhat awkward attempts to move around in his giant body, the way he wore his hat, and that big warm and authentic smile which helped make another long dismal season last year more bearable.
We will miss you Michael though our time together was short you made an impact on the hearts of all of us here in the NW. I hope you can stay yourself under the bright lights and pressure of the New York scene where the fans and press don’t care about anything but winning. Someday you will look back at our quirky city and maybe miss us too.
As for the Mariners it is time to move on with a new offensive threat by the name of Jesus Montero. The expectations are going to be high for him given the emotional attachment that many of made with Pineda, but it is time to move on with a slightly better future for our struggling club and it’s die-hard fans. Go M’s http://jeffsmariners.com
Just when you thought I was probably done with writing about baseball forever (me to), the Seattle Mariners woke me up tonight by sending the young flame-throwing Michael Pineda and pitching prospect Jose Campas across the country to the New York Yankees in exchange for Jeseus Montero and Hector Noesi. As much as I hate to see Pineda go I’m glad we got Jesus Montero this time though it remains to be seen exactly where he will play due to his weak defensive skills.
Montero as you recall almost came this way in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes and of course this deal isn’t for sure as everyone has to pass their physicals, but it looks like a fair swap for now. Campas has never pitched at a level higher than Everett, but lots of folks were high on him. As for the 24 year-old Hector Noesi he made 30 appearances for the Yankees last year all but two of them out of the bullpen, but he is indeed Major League ready as they say and could possibly end-up at the back of the rotation.
The Mariners will probably need to go out and get another veteran starter for sure now and Roy Oswalt at around $8 million a year sounds like the kind of guy I would like to see Jack Z. grab, but who knows what is happening out there in the wheeling and dealing world of the offseason GM’s.
This trade does pose some other interesting questions like where does Mike Carp fit into things now that the M’s have a power-hitting catcher that may be more suited for DH, does Carp go to camp trying to prove he can play left? Or is he going to shuffle around between first, DH, and left? Of course there is the question of the sudden glut of catchers with Montero, Olivo, Moore and our other catcher, whats his name from the Rays. Oh and don’t forget Casper Wells who I had penciled in to play left next year barring some other upgrade, where does he go if Carp moves to left? In short this trade sets off a chain reaction that will give the other full time Mariners Blogs and facebook journalists lots to talk about for the next week or so, as if any of us can predict or control the future with endless rants and projections of our own without all the information.
Of course this trade probably means the whole Prince Fielder discussion will end with a thud, which isn’t a bad thing either unless he ends-up playing for the Rangers. I look for Jack Z. to make another move probably sooner than later that will hopefully address the need for another quality starter and maybe even solve the third-base puzzle. Until then I’m going back to my off-season pursuits like NFL Football and dreaming about places where the sun is shining, who knows if Jack Z. makes a couple moves to fill the hole in the rotation and does something at third I may return to Peoria next month after all….Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
MARINERS: Michael Pineda shows what he has to offer and represents the M’s well in the All-Star game
MARINERS: Felix Hernandez and Brandon League get selected to the All-Star game and the East Coast Bias’ curse on Michael Pineda
The Seattle Mariners have a lot to think about on the long flight home from the other Washington after losing 1-0 today to the Nationals who completed the three game sweep with the win today. As usual the Mariners got great starting pitching from starter Michael Pineda who went seven innings of shutout ball fanning nine Nationals and breaking-up the no-hitter with a single off Jason Marquis in the sixth.
Pineda pitched a great game in the heat before handing over the ball to David Pauley in the eighth who rebounded from the melt-down on Tuesday with a scoreless frame himself. Eric Wedge brought Chris Ray into pitch the ninth and he immediately surrendered a lead-off single to ex-Mariner Michael Morse. The Nationals loaded the sacks with a couple of bunts and though Jack Wilson made a great play from his knees at short to get the first out, you knew the National were going to pull this one out just like on “Black Tuesday”. And sure enough they did when veteran Lance Nix hit a sacrifice fly to score Danny Espinosa from third handing the Mariners a 1-0 bitter loss at the hands of the surging Nationals.
The Mariners starters only allowed two earned runs for the whole series and yet the offense looked worse than it has since April this week. It is looking like Mike Carp is once again choking at the Major League level and is now hitting a measly .179 since getting the call from Tacoma. Peguero seems to be mired in a prolonged slump as well leaving only Greg Halman left out of this batch of rookies to earn a spot on the big club. Of course coming into 2011 everyone was clamoring to let the youngsters play and indeed they are getting a shot with Pinero, Smoak and Ackley looking like keepers with the rest of the kids hanging on by the skin of their teeth.
The Mariners head home 2 1/2 games behind the idle Rangers with the Angels and A’s chomping at their heels heading into an odd series against the Florida Marlins where the National League rules will prevail and we will act as the visisting team despite playing at Safeco. Felix Hernandez will try to play the role of stopper when the Ace takes the mound Friday. But unless the offense wakes-up it doesn’t seem to matter how well the starters on this club do which is depressing.
As another odd twist to this series Nationals manager Jim Riggleman quit right after the game despite his team’s recent surge to one game over .500 with this win. Apparently Riggleman was upset that the Nationals Brass would not pick-up his option for next year. Sounds like a selfish motive to me but nothing surprises me these days, I wish Chone Figgins would just up and quit!
The Mariners brass needs to decide pretty soon if they are serious about competing this year and if so how are they going to beef-up this anemic offense. I am not holding my breath for a blockbuster trade to transpire any time soon as the realities of the financial obligations the club owes to our current roster will pretty much assure that we won’t be getting the infamous ” Big Bat” that we have been waiting for several years for.Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
by Scott Rinear
And without further ado, I bring to you the excitement that is the 2011 Seattle Mariners! Every now and again the stars in the baseball universe align in such a way that situations like the present state of affairs in Mariners land come to pass. Even before tonight’s game, the first of three against the cream of the National League crop Philadelphia Phillies, the buzz and excitement had stirred up the hibernating butterflies in my stomach. The good kind of butterflies; the kind you feel when baseball games actually mean something.
First, Dustin Ackley made his Major League debut tonight in one of the most highly anticipated Mariner debuts I can remember. Add to that some recent multi-hit games by Ichiro “double-trouble” Suzuki, a lucky but game-winning 2-run single by Carlos Peguero, and Greg Halman’s first big league home run to dead center field no less, and what you get are two of the most valuable intangibles in any sport: momentum and confidence.
Tonight’s game included a brilliant rookie vs. veteran pitching matchup with Mariner rookie sensation Michael Pineda taking on the Phillies’ Roy Oswalt. Pineda was looking to get back to his dominant winning ways after a couple of rocky starts, and he was threatening to do that in a big way as he flirted with a no-hitter through 5.2 innings.
But first, the moment we’ve ALL been waiting for, “The Debut.”
Mustached magician Eric Wedge decided to put Dustin Ackley in the 7th spot in the batting order, and in the top of the 2nd, Ackley stepped into a Major League batter’s box for the first time. I can only imagine what was running through the young kid’s head as he shifted around in the box and took some practice swings. I watched the game on TV and even from my couch I could feel the immediate embrace by the Safeco crowd. And it was loud! “Welcome To The Show Ackley!” was the hand-drawn sign Root Sports chose to point a camera at, and it was certainly an electric welcome by the fans.
Facing Roy Oswalt pitching for the Major League’s best team is not the softest of landings for a young rookie. The first pitch was a 90+ mph fastball near the middle of the plate. Ackley probably decided at some point prior to the game that he would take a look at the first pitch, and why not? It’s the biggest moment in his life. If it were me I’d want to soak up every second. The 0-1 pitch was off the plate away, but the home plate umpire called it a strike, his own personal “Welcome to the Show, Rookie.” Oswalt’s 0-2 pitch was a beauty, painting the outside corner at the lower realm of the strike zone. But, like most naturally gifted hitters, Ackley fouled the strikeout pitch off. Still no balls and two strikes, Oswalt came in with a low change-up, hoping to fool Ackley after three straight fastballs.
As Ackley’s base hit made its way past Oswalt, over the mound, and into centerfield, I found myself screaming and jumping up and down in my living room. The large crowd at the Safe did the same. I haven’t heard Safeco that loud in while. And so the Dustin Ackley era begins with a single up the middle, the place where every hitting coach instructs a player to attempt to hit the ball. I still remember my dad telling me that over and over again at an early age, that my approach at the plate should always be: “Think up the middle.”
It’s not very often you get to write about and describe a successful Major League debut, but there were other fireworks in this game. Ichiro continued his torrid hitting with his sixth multi-hit game in a row, this time with 3 base knocks. Miguel Olivo broke out of his slump with his 11th home run of the season, and Brendan Ryan found his stroke again with an RBI triple in the 3rd and RBI single in the 7th.
Michael Pineda was lights out for the first five innings, holding the potent Philadelphia offense hitless until a 2-out single by Shane Victorino in the 6th. Pineda finished his night’s work with 5 K’s and 1 earned run in six innings. Brandon League closed the door in the 9th for his league leading 20th save as the Mariners won 4-2.
The Mariners remain a half game out of first after a Rangers win, but it’s getting harder for people to ignore this team, especially if they can take game 2 tomorrow with Felix Hernandez taking the mound. Dustin Ackley lived up to the hype. One game in you can already tell he’s going to hit, and he played solid defense. The anticipation of his debut now transitions into the anticipation of how good he might be, and, after beating the best team in baseball, how good the Seattle Mariners might be. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Just a few quick thoughts about the importance of the upcoming 2011 Mariners season before I head down to Peoria Arizona tomorrow for Spring Training. I am not quite sure the Mariners ownership group are reading the Mariners Nation fanbase correctly, but from my vantage point there seems to be a lot of apathy here in Seattle after the last 10 years of mediocre baseball, culminating in the dismal 2010 season.
While most of the die-hard fans like myself realize that this will be rebuilding season, I am starting to wonder if it is in the clubs best interest to start Michael Pineda and or Dustin Ackley in AAA to utilize the Super 2 rule and thus keep them under team control longer to save money. The fans are starved for at least a competitive and fun team to watch and by not putting these two budding prospects on the initial 25 man roster the Mariners could be losing money in the long run.
I hope to see for myself when I fly down to Peoria tomorrow if these two players, along with a host of other new names are indeed ready to step-up under the new skipper Eric Wedge and give us something to cheer about over the long season. Looking forward to getting some sun and will be posting pictures,videos and stories while Im down in camp. Hope you will be there with me. Go Ms! http://jeffsmariners.com
Luke French pitched a great game today for the Mariners, holding the visiting Minnesota Twins to one run on three hits as he picked-up his third win on the season in the 2-1 affair. French, who came over last year from Detroit in the Jarrod Washburn deal, is making a case to be included in the 2011 rotation and today’s performance by the young southpaw helped make his case a little stronger.
French was matched up against veteran Carl Pavano who also went seven innings today but like French could not keep putting up goose-eggs on the scoreboard all day and eventually surrendered a pair of runs in the 7th inning.
The Twins only run came on a mammoth home run by Michael Cuddyer in the top of the 7th. Cuddyer is filling in at first for the injured Twins star Justin Morneau, and his blast initially looked like it would be all the first place Twins would need in this one.
Fortunately for the hometown boys they managed to respond immediately in the bottom of the 7th with a 2-run rally of their own. Jose Lopez got on base with a 1-out single followed by another base hit by Casey Kotchman. The Mariners runners were able to move-up 90 feet on a wild-pitch by Pavano setting the stage for Franklin Gutierrez to line a shot to left that scored Lopez to tie the game. Adam Moore then tapped a weak grounder to short which would have turned into an inning ending double-play were it not for the great slide at second by Gutierrez to keep the inning alive and allow Kotchman to score the go-ahead run.
The Mariners suddenly reliable bullpen combo of Brandon League and David Aardsma came on to pitch the final two frames without relinquishing a run to the first-place Twins and thus helped the Mariners avoid the sweep.
I was amazed to hear that even this late in the season 28,923 fans paid to see this game. This franchise has been kept afloat by the polite, family friendly sort of fans who were at the park today. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but just have to wonder how many of those fans besides the Twins faithful really cared about the outcome. Oh well perhaps our absentee-owner will be willing to spend another 10-15 million next year to bolster our worst in the AL offense so that the rest of us grumpy hardcore fans will buy the extra 20,000 seats in order to fill the stadium on a day like today.
August is shaping up as a decent month for our club as we hover around .500 with the Angels coming to town to finish out August, followed by a 4-game series with the Indians.
Interesting to note that Michael Pineda will not pitch any more this year as the Mariners are doing the right thing by saving the young flame-thrower’s arm for next year. Still hoping to see Dustin Ackley up with the big club perhaps against the Indians over the weekend. Feels good to be back reporting on our sailors as we head to the final leg of the 2010 voyage! http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Franklin Gutierrez, Luke French, Michael Pineda
Something tells me life would be better if Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley were playing for the Mariners right now. I don’t really have any justification for this. Heck, I don’t even know what Pineda looks like. I do, however, know that Ackley is a scrawny white boy from North Carolina, which would generally register a reading of absolute zero on my gaydar (it’s an electronic device…you buy it at Staples).
Here’s the thing, though. Everyone is talking about this unlikely tandem like they’re the love spawn of Zeus and Jennifer Aniston or something. Fact is, I know my minor leaguers. But unless they come bearing the reputation of a guy like Stephen Strasburg, they mean very little to me. Which is why up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t really give a damn about Pineda, de facto ace of the Tacoma Rainiers, nor his sidekick at second base, Ackley.
This is absolute blasphemy to some of you. I get that. Don’t freak out. To many of you, Pineda is hung like Greg Oden and Ackley is the second coming of Jack Perconte Jeff Schaefer Bret Boone. There are those folks who cling to these guys’ nuts like a bad rash. I understand. I’m not trying to cramp your zest.
And yes, I realize that Ackley was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft. The Buzz Aldrin to Strasburg’s Neil Armstrong. The John Adams to Strasburg’s George Washington. The Clay Aiken to Strasburg’s Ruben Studdard. But come on. Has there ever been a greater dropoff between one and two in any draft ever in the history of the world? (Don’t say Darko, don’t say Darko…) Yeah, Ackley might be good, but he’s not Stephen Motherf**king Strasburg, who we all know is the guy we’d rather have right now. Of course, just by saying that we’re dealing with hypotheticals. And some of you hate that. So we’ll move on.
So we’ve covered Ackley. But what’s the deal with Pineda? The way his name gets tossed around, you’d figure he had his own celebrity sex tape or something. He’s big, he throws hard, he’s the future. That excites me a little bit, I won’t lie. But it seems like he’s come out of nowhere to achieve this superstar status. Like Wladimir Balentien once did, for example. Not that I’m comparing the two from a talent perspective. Just sayin’.
In my mind, if a player is as good as these two seem to be, you don’t let them fester in the minors any longer. Especially when you’re a billion games out of first place and so pimped out in the cellar that you’re currently alphabetizing your bottles of vintage wine.
You see, there are many “theories” in baseball by which the Mariners have always abided. Starting pitchers rarely eclipse, say, 110 pitches. Closers always pitch one inning, the ninth, when the team is ahead. Situational lefties face left-handed batters. Prospects aren’t rushed to the bigs. I love baseball. But there are some dumbass theories that pollute the game.
(Side note: I’d like to reference Sunday’s Mariners-Red Sox game as evidence of one of these dumbass theories. It was the bottom of the eighth. The M’s were losing 2-1. Right-handed reliever Daniel Bard was pitching very effectively for the Sox when manager Terry Francona came sauntering out of the dugout to make a change. He brought lefty Hideki Okajima in from the pen to face the switch-hitting Justin Smoak. Prior to this at-bat, Smoak had gone 0-3 on the day, facing only right-handed pitching. Francona’s swap effectively forced Smoak to turn around and bat from the right side — his power side, mind you, which Francona chose to ignore. This appeared to be a situational pitching change that defied all logic. Turning a switch-hitter around to his natural side is unconventional to say the least. But apparently Francona reasoned that it would produce results. It did not. Smoak connected on a solid single to left field, which in turn spawned a three-run outburst from the Mariners, which ultimately cost Boston the game. Honestly, if my manager had made that “situational” move, I’d be pissed. But hey, I’m not on the Sox bandwagon so it’s not my fight. Just an example.)
Failing to promote uber-prospects like Ackley and Pineda would be a costly mistake by the Mariners’ front office. There’s no doubt in my mind that the dual promotions will eventually occur. But I’d like to see these moves made sooner rather than later.
You know, so I can have some closure in my life.
Filed under: Mariners
The Chicago White Sox took the first game of a three game series against the Mariners tonight by a score of 6-1. The Chisox are the hottest team in baseball and have gone from being 10 out in the AL Central to first place where they are a game and a half up on Detroit. The White Sox feature a veteran squad that can go yard on you up and down the line-up. Tonight’s Mariners starter David Pauley gave-up a bomb to Alex Rios in the fifth with one aboard, and veteran reliever Jamie Wright got tagged by Andruw Jones for a solo-shot in the eighth. For Jones it was home run #401 in his long and successful career.
The Mariners only run came in the first off the bat of Russell Branyan who drove in Chone Figgins with a double to left giving the Mariners a brief lead. The rest of the night our guys just could not pull the trigger when it counted, twice they had the sacks full and came-away with nothing late in the game. Nothing too shocking or surprising about this one or the results when you consider the two teams involved. It was nice to see the ex-Mariner Omar Vizquel over at third tonight though he did some damage against his old club with a couple of hits and a RBI.
It is getting kind of odd as this season moves along to watch all of the players on the other teams and realize you are more familiar with many of the players on the opposing squads than our own team. While I still am loyal to whoever is wearing a Mariners jersey it all feels quite odd as guys come up and down, quit, get traded or sort of fade away. Most of the contending teams have a solid core of veteran players who have been together awhile and look and play like a team. With our squad the veterans outside of Ichiro don’t quite look like they belong here and the younger players seem to not quite know what their role is without a core group of veterans to set the tone.
Last year Griffey and Sweeney were able to add that veteran feel to the club, and for the first half Cliff Lee was able to set the tone, but now there just seems like a big void. I have talked to a few other fans recently who agree however that this idea of dumping all the established players and playing only the young bucks is not fair to the fans. We still deserve to see a Big League club facing off with teams like the White Sox and Red Sox. If we want to see AAA ball we can drive to Tacoma. Yes we are out of the pennant race but we have some talented guys like Jack Wilson, Chone Figgins, Russell Branyan and even Milton Bradley who the Mariners have a lot of money invested in and are all Big Leaguers.
Of course Michael Saunders should get playing time along with Justin Smoak but unless another team is ready to give us some Major League ready players in trade, any talk of just dumping guys because they are not part of the future is folly. We have already given some of our best AAA guys a chance and they proved they were not ready. When and if Dustin Ackley or Michael Pineda are ready then of course bring them up, otherwise let them continue to develop so when they are called up they are ready to compete at the higher level.
I want to give a special thanks to Helen up in Alaska who is a regular reader and sent me a message because my font was too small for her to read. As you can see I changed it and I am open to any suggestions to help make this Blog user-friendly in keeping with my motto of “Where the fans call the plays”. This site is not affiliated with any blog network, has no advertising and is an open and free forum for frank discussion about the Mariners. I am not planning on selling out so that I have to watch what I say, as I love this game too much.
In closing tonight I want to remind you that I will be doing a live Podcast with another member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance on August 10 at 7pm PST. The BBA is a group of bloggers from around the country like me who are passionate about baseball and do this for free; I will be doing the show with a blogger for the Dodgers. There will be a call-in number and I’d love to hear from some of you loyal readers. The web address is: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/baseball-bloggers-alliance till we meet again…..http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Andruw Jones, Baseball Bloggers Alliance, Chicago White Sox, Dustin Ackley, Mariners, Michael Pineda
The Mariners are set to resume play after the All-Star break tomorrow down in Anaheim with a three game series against the second place Angels. Rather than doing a review of the first-half of the season I am just going to talk a little bit about the rest of the year. It seems as if this team is in the midst of an odd time period where we are not quite rebuilding and yet not in the race. Players like Milton Bradley and Jack Wilson complicate matter as they are probably not part of the long-term future of this team but they are under contract through next year and probably not high on other team’s trade list. Bradley has not played up to expectations but is not really that much worse than Michael Saunders as the everyday left fielder for the rest of the year. Saunders is young, has hit for some power and is definitely fast on the bases and in the field. Most people are saying Saunders will improve with more playing time, though we have heard the same about Rob Johnson. Traditionally players came up from AAA because they were obviously better than the other minor leaguers and once they came up they either produced or were sent down. In the case of both Saunders and Johnson they seem to have been good but not great in the minors and in the majors neither is really proving to be getting better, yet they stay on with the big club.
I have a whole separate post entitled “Who’s on first” that I wrote a few days ago so I won’t go into that debacle again except to say that the Mariners would love to trade Casey Kotchman but probably won’t get to many offers. Jose Lopez could go in a trade as well though I think his bat will improve in the second half. Gutierrez who started off hot has been fading for the last six weeks or so at the plate but he is definitely a part of the Mariners future plans. Ichiro is a fixture in right and is untouchable unless he and the mystery owner Hiroshi Yamauchi decide it is time to go. Actually if the Mariners were really rebuilding for the future rather than this in between phase, trading Ichiro and using his huge salary for younger players would be a smart move, but I just don’t see it happening.
The catcher position is goofy as well with Rob Johnson having another bad year at the plate and defensively but still seems to be another of these gray area type of guys on this club. Of course then there is Mike Sweeney due to come back from his latest DL to a team that sorely lacks veteran leadership yet has no real room for him. It is funny to read about Mike Sweeney in the media or in the blogosphere to see how even his biggest detractors have come to admit he indeed can still hit after realizing that all the youngsters that supposedly he and Griffey were blocking didn’t quite measure-up. Speaking of Ken Griffey Jr. it has occurred to me that he really has been quiet since retiring as I expected to either here him blast the Mariners and the local press on some TV show or we would have heard by now of his grand farewell day at Safeco.
The starting rotation is a bit vague as well besides Hernandez, Vargas and Fister. After that you have the ongoing Ryan Rowland-Smith saga and the ever popular guessing game over the return of Eric Bedard. And the bullpen will probably continue being shaky no matter how you juggle it. There has been rumors that some teams were interested in David Aardsma but I doubt any team in contention would be willing to part with much for him in light of his performance thus far. I will predict that another young gun will be brought into the mix soon possibly Danny Cortez who we picked-up in the Betancourt trade. Other than that I hope Brian Sweeney is given some sort of role and is not forced to languish in uncertainty like so many players on this club who seem to be moved around daily on a whim by manager Don Wakamatsu. While I understand Wak has been forced to be creative in the first half of the season, having 7 or 8 players on a team not knowing where they stand at any given time is a sure recipe for unrest on any team and is a reflection on the managers ability to be decisive.
Lots of little things tend to get swept under the carpet here in Seattle as the top management knows by now that the local media and most of the fans will forget about things with time and a few good days of NW summer weather. I have been trying to block-out most of the first half of this season myself over the break as it was all just a little overwhelming on the negative side. I look for the second half of the season to be slightly better, and am hoping to get a glimpse of Dustin Ackley and Michael Pineda both at AAA now, before it’s all said and done. Other than that my expectations are not too high, though I would love to see Justin Smoak produce at the plate and watch Felix kick some butt every 5 days……http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: All-Star break, Don Wakamatsu, Dustin Ackley, Hiroshi Yamauchi, Mariners, Michael Pineda