Yesterday, the Mariners made a major statement by optioning Jesus Montero to AAA. Montero has struggled mightily behind the plate this season, and the team seems to have finally given up on him as a backstop. Catcher Jesus Sucre replaced Montero on the 25-man roster.
However, the Mariners still needed to make a corresponding 40-man roster move, since Sucre isn’t on the 40-man and needs to be as a member of the big league club. As a result, Dave Cameron of USS Mariner, Fangraph and ESPN Insider has reported on Twitter that Robert Andino will be DFA’d to make room for Sucre. Cameron believes that 40-man roster member Carlos Truinfel will replace Andino in Seattle.
However, Geoff Baker is refuting Cameron’s claim, saying he believes the Mariners will still DFA a minor leaguer and Andino will remain with the team, as he said yesterday when the Montero news broke. Cameron asserts that he has had “multiple sources confirm“ that Andino is in fact on waivers.
Most recently, Shannon Drayer dropped a big development on Twitter, tweeting that Brad Miller is heading to Tacoma from Jackson, likely indicating a middle infield move in between the AAA and MLB clubs. This is big, because Drayer is an insider. Baker, a fellow insider, had refuted the Andino news to this point and contradicted an outsider in Cameron.
Despite all of these rumors, one thing remains clear for the Mariners: they need to end their losing streak. They return to the friendly confines of Safeco Field tonight and have the man born to pitch there on the hill with Joe Saunders making the start. They face a red hot Rangers team with a pitcher in Justin Grimm on the hill who has lost three of four starts. They appear to be rid of roster problems like catching Montero and bad-hitting Andino. It’s time to get off the schneid and save the season by snapping the streak.
According to the Tacoma News-Tribune’s Ryan Divish, Jesus Montero will be optioned to Tacoma later today. Tacoma catcher Jesus Sucre will be his replacement at the big league level. Montero is hitting .208 with three home runs and nine RBI in 2013. No word has been given on what the corresponding 40-man roster move will be (since Sucre isn’t on the 40-man) or to whether Montero will catch or DH in the minors. We’ll update the story when we know more.
I have defended leaving Brendan Ryan at shortstop for a while, even when he was hitting below .200 for the majority of last year and partially into this year. But after almost 30 games and almost 100 AB’s I have officially given up on him. His defense is phenomenal and if he could hit .250 he would be a very valuable player to have. But this is the realization I am steadily having about Brendan Ryan: He cannot hit .250 in the MLB, or even .225. And expecting him to do so anymore is a waste.
What has finally made me lose my last straw was finally looking at his stats, in both the box score and online. We all know his triple slash line is awful and that he has struck out as many times as he has had an RBI, scored a run, walked AND stolen a base combined. I am not kidding, that’s 19 on each as of the morning of May 13. But those things just show how bad he is, and what I am more interested in is why he sucks. Or, to put it more succinctly, what changed from last year or two years ago that is suddenly causing him to suck.
And the really sad answer that has caused me to give up on him is that really not much. His K%’s have gone from 17.6 to 20.4 since 2011 and his BB% has shifted from 6.9 to 8.6, which should offset the uptick in K’s. His batted ball profile (Line drive %, fly ball % and ground ball %) is almost identical, with a small drop in line drives and small gain in fly balls. He is seeing the same percentage of pitches according to pitch F/X and even swinging at a similar percentage of pitches inside and outside the strike zone (All of these numbers can be found on Fangraphs). It is this information that has driven me give up on Ryan, quite simply he is not an MLB-level hitter anymore.
So this takes us to the actual productive part of this article (As much as I love being Captain Obvious, I think we all knew Brendan Ryan couldn’t hit). And that is what the Mariners can do about this situation because I really doubt that Wedge can justify starting a shortstop that hits less than his weight (This is both shortstops on the roster right now). There are a few options in AAA, namely Nick Franklin and Carlos Triunfel. Franklin is the new sexy middle infield prospect who has torn up AAA pitching in about 30 games. Triunfel is the prospect turned bust, turned somewhat interesting player who is still only 23. Franklin would be the better replacement for Ryan but there are a series of factors that could see Triunfel as the short-term replacement.
First of all, Robert Andino should be cut before Ryan is. Andino is cheaper and worse defensively than Ryan. Offensively they are pretty much a push; Andino is sporting a solid .159 average in 70 AB’s. But this comes with the issue that Andino is also the backup third baseman. So whoever is called up would have to play some third base when Kyle Seager or Dustin Ackley need a rest. This requirement favors Triunfel, not because Franklin can’t play third, but because Triunfel has the stronger arm. I would not be surprised to see Wedge cite that as a reason for choosing Triunfel over Franklin, he also cares little for plate discipline, which Triunfel lacks.
The second issue is one of experience. Triunfel has played with the Mariners before, albeit briefly in September last year. Franklin is also a prospect and the issue of service time comes up. The Mariners do not want to start his service clock early and lose a year of team control over Franklin. This becomes a non-issue once we get deeper into summer and Franklin can be called up without starting his service clock. Meaning Triunfel could be called up soon to replace Andino but then replaced by Franklin later in the year.
Nick Franklin should be called up to replace Robert Andino and share time with Brendan Ryan. This team cannot carry TWO shortstops who are hitting less than their bodyweight. One of Ryan or Andino should be cut to help improve the offense. Even if Franklin or Triunfel do play poorly, they are getting MLB experience and that will make them better, even if they struggle at first. Andino and Ryan are not getting better by playing everyday, they are making the team worse. And as much as I love the talking buffalo commercial, its time to let the next generation of players get experience, meaning Ryan or Andino have to go.
A recent pair of moves have somewhat shaken up the look of the Mariners and Rainiers. On Wednesday, prior to the Mariners’ victory over the Orioles, the Mariners promoted situational lefty Lucas Luetge in place of long reliever and former starter Blake Beavan, who was optioned to Tacoma.
Thursday brought about another move from the team, but not from a player standpoint. After third base coach Jeff Datz revealed his battle with cancer recently, the Mariners hired John Stearns as an extra coach and interim third base coach while Datz undergoes treatment. After just three games, the team has promoted Tacoma manager Daren Brown to interim third base coach in place of Stearns, who will instead manage the Rainiers.
First off, let’s look at the Luetge-Beavan swap. The move makes sense, especially if the Mariners want Beavan to continue starting games. After Aaron Harang’s quality start and first win Wednesday, the rotation appears pretty set for the next two weeks. Beavan is first and foremost a starter, and so keeping him in the bullpen for long relief didn’t make a lot of sense for his future.
Luetge could give the Mariners a huge boost against lefties in late innings. Unfortunately for him, the Mariners already have two lefties in the bullpen who are currently viewed as more valuable in Oliver Perez and Charlie Furbush. When the Mariners needed to get power-hitting lefty Chris Davis out in the eighth inning Wednesday, Furbush came in and crossed him up with breaking balls. Luetge allowed three runs on seven hits in 11 innings during his eight-appearance minor league stint after struggling to start the season with Seattle. He’ll need to show improvement from four runs in four appearances line he put together to warrant any mound time.
The Brown-Sterns switch makes far less sense. Stearns’ most notable work came as a bench coach and third base coach when the Mets were good around 2000. He’s been an average minor league manager before, but not for a while, and was serving as the Mariners’ catching coordinator until his promotion this week.
Daren Brown, however, has a solid history with the Mariners, having managed in the organization since 2001. He has served as the Rainiers manager since 2007, with decent success. He even served as interim manager of the Mariners in 2010 after Don Wakamatsu got the can. Why disrupt the continuity for key players like Mike Zunino and Nick Franklin by forcing a coaching change on them? Only Jack Zdurencik will ever know.
The back end of the Mariners rotation has struggled mightily in 2013, and patience has apparently run out. According to Fox’s Ken Rosenthal, the Mariners are in the final stages of securing a deal for Rockies’ starter Aaron Harang.
Harang, who went 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA last season for the Dodgers, was traded to the Rockies Saturday in exchange for backup catcher Ramon Hernandez. Immediately, the Rockies designated Harang for assignment and began shopping him to prospective teams around the league.
According to Rosenthal’s twitter account, the teams need approval of the commissioner’s office, which typically is required when a trade involves an exchange of over $1 million. Harang presents an inexpensive option, since the Dodgers are already covering more than half of his $7 million 2013 salary.
Recent reports have also linked an unnamed right-handed reliever to go from the Mariners to the Rockies once the trade goes through.
Harang would likely replace either Brandon Maurer or Blake Beavan in the Mariners’ rotation. Maurer, who is 0-2 with an atrocious 16.20 ERA thus far in 2013, failed to get out of the first inning Tuesday. He surrendered six earned runs and seven hits while recording just two outs. Beavan has posted an 0-1 record with a 7.59 ERA in his first two starts. The Astros beat him around Wednesday night to the tune of five runs (four earned) and nine hits in 5.2 innings.
Kelly Shoppach’s signing with the Seattle Mariners is official. Shoppach, a free agent catcher who formerly played with the New York Mets, will be receiving $935,000 in his one-year contract should he live up to the Mariners expectations and play for the full year.
It’s official; the Seattle Mariners have come to a contract agreement with “King” Felix Hernandez. It looks like the initial reports broken last week by USA Today were, in fact, accurate. Felix Hernandez will be signed to a 7-year contract, including the last two years on his current contract, and stretching into 2020 for around $175 million dollars.
The official details will come out tomorrow in a press conference to be streamed live on MLB.com at 2:00 PM PST. The final two years of Hernandez’s current contract, totaling $40.5 million, have been replaced by the new contract. Hernandez is in Peoria and took his physical at the side of his fellow pitcher and catcher teammates today.
It was also rumored at the end of last week that the real reason Hernandez dropped out of the World Baseball Classic was due to an arm injury. However, this appears to be unfounded, and the Mariners organization has reported that he was finalizing contract negotiations.
Hernandez will be returning to Seattle tomorrow to appear in the press conference at Safeco Field. He won the Cy Young award in 2010, and he has spent his entire career with the Mariners. Barring any future surprises, it looks like he will be a lifelong Mariner, joining the ranks of Edgar Martinez.
Check back tomorrow for more updates and details that will emerge during the press conference.
The Mariners are desperate for bats according to several baseball reporters, and they are already in pursuit of three power hitting outfielders just a few days into 2013. These three players are Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Upton, and Andre Ethier, and Seattle is said to be in somewhat-serious talks concerning all three. Let’s look at how each player would fit in Seattle and what it would take to acquire each player.
Let’s start with Stanton. There is a lot to like about this young outfielder. He just turned 23 years old last November, and has already hit 93 homeruns in his career. There is not another young hitter in baseball that has his kind of power.
As a 22 year-old last year, he played in just 123 games but still hit 37 homeruns which ranked seventh in all of baseball. He also had the third highest OPS in baseball behind just Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Braun. Mike Trout was the only other player 24 years old or younger to reach 30 homeruns in 2012.
While this is quite bold, Giancarlo Stanton might possess once in a generation type power. Let’s compare him to Barry Bonds and Seattle’s own Ken Griffey Jr., both of whom started their historic major league careers at very young ages.
Here are the numbers from the first three seasons of each of their careers.
|Ken Griffey Jr.||
Due to past failures, many Mariner fans are afraid to invest in right-handed power hitters. However, I would not be concerned about the right-handed Stanton coming to Safeco Field for two reasons: 1) The fences are coming in which will help remedy the problem. 2) Mike Stanton has already succeeded in other bad hitters’ parks.
Sunlife Stadium, where he played his first two years, and Marlins Park, where he played last year, are both pitchers parks, but Stanton excelled anyway. In Marlins park, which measures 340 feet down the left field line, 384 to the left-center gap, and 420 to center field, he averaged a homerun every 15.4 at bats last season. There is no reason to worry about his ability to hit in Safeco Field.
Due to his young age and immense talent, there will be hefty price tag on Stanton, but the Mariners are one of just a few teams that have the farm system capable of pulling off such a deal. Bringing the Miami outfielder to Seattle would almost certainly require Taijuan Walker and several other top prospects. I am a big fan of Walker, but a ridiculous, and more importantly, a proven talent like Stanton is worth Walker.
In the past I have said that Stanton is one of just a couple guys in baseball I would even consider trading Felix for, and I don’t believe that Walker will ever be quite as successful as Felix, so it makes sense to concede Walker in this case.
Larry Stone predicted that a deal would require Walker, Hultzen, Franklin, Gabriel Guerrero, and rising star Kyle Seager. This seems like too much to me, mainly because of Seager’s involvement. If Seager could somehow be replaced with someone like Alex Liddi, Vinnie Catricala, or Stefen Romero, I would be pretty happy with the deal, although giving up Walker and Hultzen would be difficult.
A package of Walker, Paxton, Franklin, Liddi, and a few lesser prospects would be excellent for Seattle. JJ has some of his own expectations for what acquiring the 23 year-old would require, but only time will tell which expectation is most accurate.
The next player that the Mariners are connected with in trade talks is Justin Upton. Surprise surprise. We made it just three days into 2013 before Justin Upton trade rumors resurfaced. At 25 years old, Upton is also immensely talented and is also better rounded than Stanton. Upton has legitimate 5-tool talent and could still be improving. However, he is not quite the dominating force on the baseball field that Stanton is and is also much less reliable.
In 2012 he hit 18 homeruns, stole 17 bases, and posted a triple slash of .280/.355/.430. His previous season was much more impressive when he accumulated 31 long balls, 21 stolen bases, and a line of .289/.369/.529.
However, these numbers have been aided by the hitter friendly Chase Field. Take a second to analyze Upton’s home/road split over the course of his career.
|Upton at Home||67||.307||.389||.548||.399||138||.241||17.2%|
|Upton on the Road||41||.250||.325||.406||.320||96||.157||10.4%|
Unlike Stanton, Upton has not had tremendous success in difficult hitters’ ballparks.
The price tag on Upton is a bit difficult to predict. Considering that Upton trade talks have brewed for years without a deal ever being completed, it seems fair to assume that Arizona has very high expectations for a return on the young outfielder.
A few months ago, it looked like Nick Franklin would be necessary in any deal with Arizona, but the three-way trade between Arizona, Cleveland, and Cincinnati that brought Didi Gregorius to Arizona eliminated their need for Franklin.
Taijuan Walker would likely be at the center of any deal and would be accompanied by other prospects such as Paxton, Maurer, or possibly still Franklin. A Potential package might look like Walker, Paxton, and Brad Miller. If a deal arises that excludes Walker and instead includes Hultzen, it would be far preferable.
The final bat that the Mariners are said to be interested in is Andre Ethier of the Dodgers. At 30 years old, Ethier does not have the future of Stanton or Upton, and does not have their offensive stature either. Over the past three seasons, Ethier has averaged 18 homeruns per season with a slash line of .289/.361/.459. Currently, he has a decent bat, but he’s not a difference maker, and he certainly won’t swing an impact bat by 2015 or in the years after that when Seattle will hopefully be making runs into the playoffs. Trading for Ethier isn’t as practical for the future of Seattle.
The five years remaining on Ethier’s contract makes the Dodger outfielder less attractive as well. He will earn an average of 16.5 million per year until he is 35 years old. It was a bad contract for the Dodgers to agree to, and it would be an even worse contract for Seattle to take on.
It would seem unwise to bring in a 30 year-old player who they will have to give nearly 17 million for the next five years in exchange for average run production.
Although not as talented as other trade options, Ethier will also be less costly to trade for. It would probably take a top pitching prospect, but I would not surrender any more than James Paxton or Brandon Maurer in a one for one deal.
Yesterday, the Mariners helped to fill a hole that had been gaping in their lineup for years by adding power-hitter Kendrys Morales. In order to add this 29 year-old first baseman, Seattle sent Jason Vargas to the Angels.
This was an excellent deal for Seattle for two main reasons. First of all, Seattle gained something they dearly needed without spending money. In addition, they gave up a piece that was, not only unimportant to the team’s future, but was on the verge of losing its value.
Morales is an impact bat. He’s no Josh Hamilton, but he has certainly demonstrated his ability to be a legitimate power hitter. In Morales’ only full season in the MLB, which was 2009, he posted a .924 OPS and finished fifth in AL MVP voting. In the following year of 2010, he averaged a homerun every nineteen at bats before injuring himself celebrating a walk-off homerun just fifty-one games into the season.
Morales missed the rest of the 2010 season and the entire 2011 campaign as a result of the injury before coming back to play 134 games last year. In his limited opportunities, he hit twenty-two homeruns and posted a line of .273/.320/.476.
Remember that those numbers were produced by a man who had not played in almost two years. His numbers improved as the year progressed, so now that he has shaken off the cobwebs, he is ready to be the player he was pre-injury. For those of you worried about his health, the Mariners did extensive research concerning the status of his injury before making this deal, so it appears that he is ready to play every day at first base.
With the switch-hitting Morales in the middle of Seattle’s order, the young players around him will have a lot less pressure mounted on their back and they are now more likely to come to the plate with men on base. The addition of Morales will help everyone in the lineup.
As for losing Jason Vargas, I am not at all disappointed. As I have said in previous articles, I believe that Vargas would have quickly lost value once dropped into the habitat of the new Safeco Field. His success has been largely due to the pitcher-friendly ballpark, but with the fences coming in, Vargas’ numbers at home would have reflected the new dimensions. He would have had close to no trade value by the trade deadline next year. It was wise to move him now.
Vargas’ loss will also not damage Seattle’s future considering there are lots of great young pitchers in the top of the farm system that will step up into the void left by Vargas by the time that Seattle is in the playoff hunt.
There is nothing not to like about the long-term effects of this trade. Seattle now has a dependable middle of the lineup bat, something that they have not had since Raul Ibanez.
Today, outfielder Trayvon Robinson was sent to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for utility infielder, Robert Andino.
This was a good move for the team. Robinson was one of many outfielders competing for a spot on the major league roster, and wasn’t going to become a difference maker in Seattle. There was a strong chance that he wouldn’t have made the 25-man roster out of spring training next year and would have ended up going through waivers where another team would have picked up him anyways. Seattle has a plethora of outfielders such as Carp, Thames, and Peguero that can fill the gap left by Trayvon.
The young outfielder was certainly a pleasure to watch. Every day, we got to see him play hard baseball and his smile could light up a stadium. His fun personality and love for the game will be missed here in Seattle. I hope he finds success in his new home.
Robert Andino was a sensible pickup for the Mariners. With the release of Kawasaki, the organization needed a reliable utility infielder and Andino fits that mold. He has a solid glove and can bring a bit of speed to the bases. He also brings a much better bat than Kawasaki did. The new Mariner struggled last year, but he posted a respectable 1.8 WAR in 139 games in 2011 which was tenth in the American League at second base. That’s a pretty good return for a journeyman outfielder.
The interesting thing about this deal is its possible implications. Billy Butler has been a potential target for the Mariners, and one name that has been tossed around in a possible trade has been Dustin Ackley. The acquisition of Andino could mean that the Mariners are more available to move Ackley. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
If Ackley is traded, Andino could be a good guy to hold down the fort at second base until a prospect like Nick Franklin or Brad Miller is ready to step in.
Overall, this was a practical and necessary move for Seattle. The really fascinating thing about the trade is whether it will lead to bigger moves in the future.
Well, the Mariners maybe “done” for the off-season but before they’ve called it quits they appear to have added visit site to read more]