Game 74, Mariners at Padres

June 24, 2012 · Filed Under Mariners · 140 Comments 

Hector Noesi vs. Edinson Volquez, 1:05pm

Hector Noesi will again attempt to avoid 0-2 meatballs, and Petco Park should probably help him if he slips up and grooves a slider or two in pitcher’s counts. He faced this line-up in Seattle and turned in one of his better performances of the year, so hopefully he’ll have some confidence heading into today’s game. John Jaso gets a rare start at catcher with the righthander Volquez on the mound for San Diego. Volquez pitched well enough to win in Seattle on the 14th, going 6 2/3IP and giving up just one run on four walks and 6 strikeouts. Volquez pitched away to the lefty-dominated M’s line-up; his command isn’t good enough to hit the outside edge, so he gave up some walks, but he also avoided mistakes. It’s something that Noesi could learn from. He could also learn from Volquez’s great change-up which he uses nearly 30% of the time against lefties, getting whiffs on over a quarter of them this season. It can be a real weapon, and it explains Volquez’s lack of platoon splits (technically, he’s been better against lefties in his career).

The line-up includes Figgins. I’m not going to beat around the bush here. He’s playing today, and Kyle Seager’s sitting. Let’s just move on:
1: Ichiro (RF)
2: Jaso (C)
3: Wells (LF)
4: Smoak (1B)
5: Saunders (CF)
6: Ackley (2B)
7: Figgins (3B)
8: Ryan (SS)
9/SP: Noesi

So Danny Hultzen’s AAA debut was a mess, with 5 walks and 5 runs in 3 IP. Sure, he got blooped to death in the first inning when he gave up three runs, but he also had a three-run HR overturned by the umpires. He pitched in probably the worst park in AAA to start off, not only because the ball flies, but because breaking pitches often don’t have the same movement. Anywa, Danny: it gets easier.

The stunning debut of the day was actually turned in by Anthony Fernandez who threw a complete game shutout for the Jackson Generals in his AA debut. That was the first CG shutout for the M’s AA affiliate since 2009.

Go M’s!

Game 73, Mariners at Padres

June 23, 2012 · Filed Under Mariners · 85 Comments 

Felix Hernandez vs. Jason Marquis, 7:05 pm

It’s King Felix, in Petco Park, and yet many M’s fans attention will be elsewhere (if only for a while). Danny Hultzen’s AAA debut kicks off at 5pm, so those of you who want to really make an evening of it can tune in to 850am or listen on-line here to check how the left-hander handles pitching at altitude. Mike Curto reports that Colorado Springs installed a Coors Field-style humidor, so it’s not quite as ludicrous a run environment as it was last year, but the altitude may still affect the break on some of Hultzen’s pitches. When Hultzen’s done, we’ll see if the M’s can finally figure out Jason Marquis. One of the very few bright spots in Marquis’ ill-fated Twins tenure this year was a solid 6-IP performance at Safeco. Since moving to San Diego, he’s been better, and shut the M’s out in 6 1/3 IP a couple weeks ago. He followed up that game with a 10K performance against the Rangers in what must be one of the most unlikely games of the season, and yes, I *DID* know that Juan Pierre hit a home run today.

Felix Hernandez makes his 5th career start in Petco, and perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s dominated in his previous four outings. In those games, he’s given up 4 runs, struck out 34 and walked only 6. Padres batters have OPS’d .499 against him, though to be fair, we’re talking about recent vintages of the San Diego Padres and we’re talking about one of the great pitcher’s parks in baseball. These numbers would be even more impressive if he hadn’t given up a pair of HRs in his first Petco start back in 2007. Last year Felix struck out 13 and walked none in one of his most impressive starts of the year. Sure, that was a game in which the clean-up hitters were Adam Kennedy and Brad Hawpe, but 13:0 is 13:0. Felix’s velocity’s crept up in recent weeks, and he’s now averaging around 93mph on his fastball, which just feels a lot more comfortable than the 91 he was often throwing in April. His results haven’t really changed, but it’s helped calm some nerves.

Your Felix Night Line-up:
1: Ichiro (RF)
2: Gutierrez (CF)
3: Seager (3B)
4: Montero (C)
5: Saunders (LF)
6: Smoak (1B)
7: Ackley (2B)
8: Ryan (SS)
9/SP: King Felix

Montero returns to the line-up, and it’s great to see him catch Felix – he hasn’t since May 16th, Felix’s worst start of the year. Felix had no stuff that day, and it’s good to see the M’s aren’t blaming a bad day on Montero. Of course, Miguel Olivo’s caught Felix’s last four games, and Felix has given up 15 runs in 24IP, so there’s no magical CERA fairy at work here.

Dylan Unsworth and David Perez got rained out last night, but start in Game 1 of a doubleheader tonight in Everett, and Anthony Fernandez makes his AA debut in Jackson after posting great numbers in the pitching hell that is High Desert. Big night in the M’s organization, top to bottom.
Happy Felix day!
Happy Hultzen day!
Happey Felix/Hultzen Syzygy!

Game 72, Mariners at Padres

June 22, 2012 · Filed Under Mariners · 46 Comments 

Kevin Millwood vs. Clayton Richard

A few weeks ago, I described Clayton Richard as a near-replacement level starter, whose decent ground ball rate helped cover for his poor strikeout rate and gopher ball problem. That night, of course, he shut down the M’s – allowing 1 run in 7 innings and kicking off the Padres sweep of the M’s. He followed it up with 7 2/3 shutout IP at Oakland. Uh, no hard feelings, eh, Clayton?

Despite the recent run of form, he’s still below average in park adjusted FIP (or ERA). He’s always had large platoon splits (for his career, he’s got a 2.90 FIP against lefties and a 4.60 FIP against righties), and right-handed hitters have punished mistakes: 50 of the 56 HRs he’s yielded have been hit by righties. He’s had a great road trip in part because he pitched in two of the most difficult parks for righties to hit HRs in all of baseball, Safeco and Oakland’s WhoeverThisYear’sCorporateSponsorIs Coliseum. Tonight, though, he doesn’t have Safeco to erase any mistakes; he’s got to pitch in San Diego’s PetcAWWWWWW WE’RE BONED.

The line-up does NOT contain Jesus Montero, a big RH bat that would seem well-suited to Richard. Instead, Miguel Olivo gets the nod at catcher after not playing in the Arizona series. If Montero/Jaso are being blamed for the HRs hit in Arizona’s bandbox, that’d be silly. Honestly, Miguel’s well-suited to Richard too, and he hasn’t played in a while. But this is Montero’s third straight day off, and NL-rules be damned, the guy needs ABs.

1: Ichiro (RF)
2: Gutierrez (CF)
3: Seager (3B)
4: Smoak (1B)
5: Wells (LF)
6: Olivo (C)
7: Ackley (2B)
8: Ryan (SS)
9/SP: Millwood

In the minors today, interesting RHP Rigoberto Garcia starts for Pulaski in the Appy league; South African control-artist Dylan Unsworth starts in Everett against high-ceiling, er, wildness-artist David Perez; Forrest Snow makes his 2nd start for Jackson in AA, and Brian Sweeney gets the ball for Tacoma as they host Reno and AZ mid-level prospect Charles Brewer.

Does Charlie Furbush Deserve Another Shot at Starting?

June 21, 2012 · Filed Under Mariners · 18 Comments 

All year, the talk about the future rotation has centered around the prospect trio of Hultzen/Walker/Paxton and the closer-to-the-majors Erasmo Ramirez. The more I watch Charlie Furbush pitch, though, the more I wonder if he’s earned another crack at starting.

Furbush has been a revelation as a reliever this year, throwing 27 1/3 dominating innings out of the bullpen. He’s faced 100 batters, walked just five, struck out 35, and most importantly, only allowed two home runs. Last year, in his first shot as a big league starter, his walk and strikeout rates were okay, but his home run rate (1.69 HR/9) was atrocious, and was the main reason that he’s working in relief this year. Specifically, Furbush just kept giving up bombs to right-handed hitters, as he allowed 14 HR to the 267 RHBs he faced, an astonishing 2.08 HR/9. He was pretty good against lefties, and so the team took him out of a situation where he would have to run through right-handers all day.

But here’s the thing – Furbush isn’t really acting like a lefty specialist this year. The 100 batters he’s faced have broken down as 52/48 for LH/RH hitters, and while he’s been better against lefties, his line against right-handed batters is pretty great too.

Vs LHB: 5.8% BB%, 42.3% K%, 40.0% GB%, 1.83 xFIP
Vs RHB: 4.2% BB%, 27.1% K%, 46.9% GB%, 2.74 xFIP

Furbush has walked two right-handed batters in 13 innings, and one of those was intentional. RHBs are hitting .130/.167/.283 against him this year. Yes, both home runs he’s allowed have been against right-handed batters, so it’s not like that problem has gone away entirely, but he is showing some signs of being able to hold RHBs in the park, and that’s really all he needs to do to make the leap from reliever to decent back-end starter.

Now, we can’t just take his bullpen numbers and extrapolate them into the rotation, since nearly every pitcher gets a benefit from pitching in relief. LHPs usually face something closer to 75% RHBs, so Furbush would see his mix of batter handedness change and his numbers drop. He’d also have to face batters a second and third time, and that’s when starters really begin to struggle. Furbush’s bullpen dominance doesn’t mean he’d instantly become a good Major League starter.

But it might be worth giving him another shot. For one thing, the Mariners rotation isn’t particularly good, and while we all wait for Danny Hultzen’s late-summer arrival, the reality is that James Paxton and Taijuan Walker aren’t big league ready and might not even be able to contribute next year either. With Jason Vargas looking like a non-tender candidate (you probably don’t want to give him a raise) and Kevin Millwood not exactly a spring chicken, the M’s potential starters for 2013 look like Felix, Erasmo Ramirez, maybe Hector Noesi, and probably Danny Hultzen. That’s four starters, one of whom has yet to pitch in the big leagues, and two of whom are yet to have any big league success. Despite all the talent on the farm, the team’s rotation is currently the weakest part of the roster. This is a bad starting five, and it could use some real improvement.

Meanwhile, Lucas Luetge is showing some promise as a left-on-left specialist, and the team has decided to see if Oliver Perez can throw strikes out of the bullpen, so moving Furbush from reliever to starter wouldn’t cripple the team’s relief corps down the stretch. Especially with Stephen Pryor eventually coming back from his groin strain, Carter Capps looking like he’s deserving of a bullpen job at some point, and even Steve Delabar hanging out in Tacoma, the organization is not short on relievers to add to the roster.

Furbush isn’t the highest upside guy in the world, and even if he has improved his location enough to stop giving up so many home runs, he’s probably a league average starter at best. But you know what, this team could use a league minimum league average starter. If Furbush tops out as the new Jason Vargas (just with the opposite platoon split), that’s okay, that’s a decent piece, and one that the team could make use of.

If you stretch him out and it doesn’t work again, at least you know, and you can safely stick him back in the relief role he’s currently thriving in. But, given the team’s lack of quality big league starting pitchers and Furbush’s performance against right-handers, giving him a crack at starting might be a good use of a rotation spot down the stretch.

Or, they could get really crazy and abandon the five man rotation entirely, but that’s probably too much to ask…

2012 Aquasox Opening Day Thread

June 20, 2012 · Filed Under Minor Leagues · 46 Comments 

If there’s good to come out of the early Mariners game today aside from park-induced offense, it’s that the evening is free for paying attention to the Aquasox, with their ace on the mound in Victor Sanchez. I’m at the park right now and will probably be going on KRKO in a few minutes, depending on when they decide to fit me in.

This is your lineup:

LF Jamodrick McGruder
SS Chris Taylor
1B Taylor Ard
RF Alfredo Morales
DH Jean Acevedo
C Marcus Littlewood
CF Janelfry Zorilla
3B Patrick Kivlehan
2B Ketel Marte

Let’s go Aquasox!

Game 71, Mariners at Diamondbacks

June 20, 2012 · Filed Under Mariners · 83 Comments 

Vargas vs Cahill, 12:40 pm.

Its getaway day in Arizona, so the M’s run out a somewhat unorthodox line-up, especially given that a right-handed pitcher is on the mound for the D’Backs.

Ichiro, RF
Jaso, C
Wells, LF
Seager, 3B
Saunders, CF
Ackley, 1B
Ryan, SS
Kawasaki, 2B
Vargas, P

Casper Wells is the new Alex Liddi, I guess – string together a few good games and all of the sudden you’re hitting in the middle of the order against a right-hander. I like Casper, but this won’t last. Also, Figgins is officially behind Kawasaki on the depth chart, as even with Smoak getting a day off and no real backup first baseman on the roster, he’s still sitting on the bench. So huzzah for that at least.

Hultzen/Franklin Promoted, Plus Trevor Bauer in Tacoma,

June 20, 2012 · Filed Under Mariners · 19 Comments 

Danny Hultzen started the Southern League All-Star game today, going one hitless inning in his final appearance in a Jackson Generals uniform. After the game, Ryan Divish reported that the M’s will promote the left-hander and SS Nick Franklin to Tacoma tomorrow or Thursday. Neither move was a surprise, as many observers have speculated that the M’s would promote two or three players after the All-Star game. Hultzen in particular was simply overpowering AA, striking out over 27% of the batters he faced and overcoming early wildness to become nearly untouchable in June: in his last 18 2/3 innings, he’s K’d 18, walked 5 and given up no runs on 8 hits. I was worried about platoon splits given his delivery, but at this point, his FIP’s under 3 against both lefties and righties. He can’t work on anything until he faces some better hitters, and now he’ll get to face more advanced opponents in some, uh, surreal environments. Looks like he may make his debut in Colorado Springs which seems like punishment, but hey, a promotion’s a promotion.

Nick Franklin ended the first half of his age 21 season hitting .323 with a career high ISO, and a wOBA over .400, all while playing shortstop. He’d earned the promotion, but now the M’s will have some tough decisions to make on the various rosters. Carlos Triunfel could split time with Franklin at 2B and SS, or Triunfel could move to 3B, where Vinnie Catricala’s defense has been spotty. Catricala could move to LF, but that’s where the Rainiers have Alex Liddi at the moment. Realistically, though, this is only a real problem until the M’s make room on the 25-man active roster by releasing Figgins. At that point, Liddi can return to Seattle (assuming they don’t want to take a look at the struggling Triunfel or Catricala), allowing Franklin and Triunfel to play on the left side of the IF, with occasional games at 2B and Catricala could split time in LF/3B.

I saw the news about these promotions at Cheney Stadium where the D-Backs top pitching prospect, Trevor Bauer, faced the Rainiers for the first time. I’m somewhat shocked he pitched given the Diamondbacks obvious reluctance to expose him to AAA video-game ballparks (like their own in Reno) and given the fact that there’ve been whispers about an impending call-up to the big leagues since late last season. In any event, I’m glad I got the chance to see him, and it’s going to be great to compare him to Hultzen once Hultzen finally makes his Cheney Stadium debut. Everyone’s been discussing, comparing, analyzing Hultzen and Bauer since May of last year, and they’ve both been better than advertised in pro ball.
My report on Bauer’s after the jump. If you don’t care about a non-M’s prospect, that’s good, that’s healthy. Don’t click “more!”
Read more

Game 70, Mariners at Diamondbacks

June 19, 2012 · Filed Under Mariners · 241 Comments 

Erasmo Ramirez vs. Daniel Hudson, 6:40pm

Erasmo Ramirez takes the mound looking to improve on his starting debut which featured equal parts promise and frustration. He’s able to throw with above-average velocity and has above-average control, but he’s still finding it difficult to miss a lot of bats. Ground balls should help, but the margins are so slim, and if he misses his spots, those grounders turn into hard-hit balls.

Daniel Hudson starts for the D-Backs, one of their excellent young starting pitchers who comes in fresh off a 7 IP 1 R performance against the Texas Rangers. But after a breakout season in 2010 (during which he was traded to Arizona) and a great 2011 that saw him post nearly 5 fWAR, he’s been inconsistent and injury-plagued in 2012. He made all of three starts in April before going on the shelf with shoulder soreness (yeesh). He came back in late May, and his velocity’s down about 1 mph from where it was back in April. Overall, there’s not much different in terms of peripherals- his K% and BB% are down just slightly from where they were in 2011, for example. The big change is in his HR allowed, which is susceptible to huge swings when we’re talking about a sample of a half-dozen starts or so. Jason Vargas’ has seen his HRs spike in recent months and he was gracious enough to spot a couple of dingers to the Giants, so I think it’d be sporting for Hudson to continue to dispense meatballs liberally throughout his outing tonight.

The thing that initially gets your attention when watching Hudson is his release point. Similar to the White Sox Chris Sale, Hudson has a real sidearm/low three-quarter delivery, releasing the ball about 5′ from the ground. This helps him get good horizontal movement on his pitches, and his solid velocity (92-94) means he can get the occasional swing and miss. His stuff’s not in Sale’s league, but that hasn’t stopped him from being an effective SP. But I *am* surprised that he’s able to be effective against left-handed hitting line-ups. Almost everyone stacks lefties against Hudson, and I’m sure the M’s will too. When we think of deliveries like this, we often think of relievers like Sean Green (before he went full-on sidearm) or Jeff Nelson – guys with massive platoon splits. Here are Hudson’s. He’s actually gotten slightly better results off of lefties in his career (though this is largely BABIP driven). This is pretty counter-intuitive, even for someone with a good change-up, like Hudson.

There was just a fascinating (if math-y) article on *why* it’s tough for same-handed hitters to pick up the ball when facing a sidearmer. The short answer is that it’s easier for a RHB to track a pitch the closer it’s thrown to the first- baseline, and this has the effect of decreasing its apparent velocity to the hitter. Given this, it’s sort of remarkable that guys like Sale and Hudson can do what they do – namely, neutralize opposite-handed batters. This is relevant for M’s fans, because one of the knocks on Danny Hultzen was that his delivery might make him susceptible to good RH batters. Obviously, Hultzen’s got a great change-up too, but the angle would seem to give righties some advantages. So think of Hultzen tonight if the M’s get shut down by Hudson.

Hultzen starts the Southern League All-Star Game against the D-Backs prospect Tyler Skaggs tonight, and, to complete the rivalry, the Tacoma Rainiers host the D-Backs AAA affiliate, the Reno Aces tonight at Cheney. Trevor Bauer, the Diamondbacks prospect who many think will join the big club in a matter of weeks, gets the start.

The line-up:
1: Ichiro (RF)
2: Gutierrez (CF)
3: Seager (3B)
4: Montero (C)
5: Saunders (LF)
6: Smoak (1B)
7: Ackley (2B)
8: Ryan (SS)
9: Erasmooooo (SP)

Huh. Not as left-handed as I’d have guessed, frankly. I guess the M’s have seen Hudson’s splits too.

What To Do With Ichiro

June 19, 2012 · Filed Under Mariners · 73 Comments 

At 29-40, the Mariners are – as expected – not contending for any kind of postseason berth this year. They’re playing for the future, hoping to find a core group of kids who they can trust to play meaningful roles the next time the team actually is a contender. While they haven’t just thrown all the veterans overboard and completely punted the season, there’s no question that the focus of the organization is still in development and evaluation. And now that the team has a full complement of interesting under-30 outfielders available on a daily basis, the organization is going to have to decide how they should handle Ichiro over the final three months of the season.

His disastrous June performance has pushed his season line down to .255/.282/.363, even worse numbers than he posted last year. While his .263 BABIP is the main culprit, there’s no question that his attempt to adapt to the #3 spot in the line-up changed his approach at the plate, and not for the better. Ichiro’s at his best when he’s hitting the ball on the ground, but he’s posting (by far) the lowest ground ball rate of his career, and he doesn’t have enough power to be an effective fly ball hitter. Even if he can make some adjustments and get back some version of what he was previously, he’s no longer a significantly better hitter than the other available options.

ZIPS rest-of-season wOBA projections:

Saunders: .304
Wells: .304
Gutierrez: .295
Ichiro: .292

That projection accounts for a 30 point uptick from his current BABIP, so even with regression in that area, we can’t expect Ichiro to outhit the other options on the roster. Of course, his defense and baserunning provide value as well, so Ichiro is still useful, but there’s no longer a big gap between his expected value and the value of the guy who would replace him in the line-up. So, with four similarly valuable outfielders to choose from, how much should the 38-year-old play on a team that is focused on the future?

The answer is made a little bit easier by the fact that Franklin Gutierrez can’t be expected to play everyday, so there are regularly going to be days when the team really only has three options, since Guti will need a day off to stay healthy. On those days, obviously, Ichiro plays. But what about the days when Guti’s not available? What then?

If a left-handed pitcher is on the mound, Casper Wells needs to be in the line-up. And as long as he’s available, so does Gutierrez. So, that leaves one spot for Ichiro and Saunders, and we probably don’t want to be in a situation where Saunders is sitting against most left-handers in the second half of the year. The team needs to see whether he can sustain enough offensive value to be penciled in as a regular next year, and getting him at-bats has to be a priority. For his career, Ichiro doesn’t have much of a platoon split, but benching him against left-handers isn’t so much about him as it about the other guys on the roster. With two right-handed bats and a 25-year-old lefty who the organization needs to keep evaluating, it’s hard to make a case for Ichiro playing the outfield against LHPs on a regular basis over the rest of the season.

But what about against right-handers, who make up about 75% of all starting pitchers in baseball? Saunders is an obvious choice for one spot there, leaving two spots for three choices between Wells, Gutierrez, and Ichiro. And here, it’s probably not as vital to get the younger guys in the line-up every day. For one thing, neither is all that young, so evaluating them is a bit different than with a guy who is still developing like Saunders. Wells is on a nice hot streak at the moment, but he still profiles as more of a fourth outfielder than anything else. His lack of contact skills limit his upside, and while he can be a useful part-time player, he’s not a guy the team should be looking at as a full time player on a winning team. And, with Gutierrez, hitting right-handers has never been on a strong point, and giving him regular days off against tough RHPs is probably a decent way to keep his confidence up and his wear and tear down.

So, if Wells and Gutierrez essentially split time against righties for now, that’s not a sacrifice that will harm the organization’s ability to develop or evaluate pieces for the future. This isn’t to say that Ichiro has to play against every right-handed pitcher, but the team still gives themselves their best chance of winning by having him in the line-up against right-handers, and that chance to win isn’t coming at the expense of guys that need to be playing against all right-handers.

However, this calculus changes a bit when Mike Carp’s “rehab assignment” comes to an end in a month or so. Once they assign him to Tacoma, he only has 20 days down there before they have to bring him back to the big club, and while Carp is also a guy who is probably a part-time player on a winning club, he’s a guy that deserves to play against right-handers. While he fits best at DH, having him there pushes either Montero or John Jaso to the bench, and it’s probably not in the organization’s best interests either long term or short term to be taking those guys out of the line-up against righties. So, if you’re trying to get Saunders, Carp, Jaso, and Montero into the line-up against all righties, that uses up C, DH, and two outfield spots, leaving just one spot for Ichiro, Gutierrez, or Wells. And while I don’t think the team needs to prioritize playing both Guti and Wells against right-handers, they also shouldn’t be in a position where both of them are regularly on the bench. Both guys could have roles on the 2013 Mariners, and sitting them in 70% of the remaining games after Carp returns isn’t a great use of available playing time.

At some point in July, the team is probably going to have to make a decision on how much Ichiro is going to play over the final two months of the season, and it should probably be less than he would like to play. And that means the team needs to figure this out ahead of time. The last time they had an aging former star who they wanted to move to a diminished role, it didn’t go very well, and the aftermath of the situation got Don Wakamatsu fired. You would imagine that the organization has learned from that debacle, and will attempt to communicate with Ichiro better, or at least make sure that the situation is transparent enough that they don’t come off as the bad guys if Ichiro doesn’t like his new role.

Because he has 10-and-5 rights, the team can’t trade Ichiro without his consent, and I’m sure Jack Zduriencik couldn’t trade Ichiro without ownership approval even if Ichiro agreed to a deal. So, it’s not nearly as simple as just saying “ship him to a contender”. But, it’s probably worth beginning the conversation with the necessary parties. If Ichiro wants to finish out the season on a contending team, that might be the best outcome for everyone, avoiding any potential ugliness if he ends up finishing his Mariner career as a part-time player. But if Ichiro doesn’t want to go anywhere – and given the cultural dynamics of living in a foreign country, his situation is quite a bit different than a typical players – then the team needs to figure out a plan that doesn’t end up in a PR disaster.

I’m sure they would have preferred if Ichiro would have just hit well and made all this a non-issue, but he hasn’t, and so now the question of how much Ichiro should play in the second half of the year is a legitimate question. They have room for him to play fairly regularly, but he probably shouldn’t be an everyday guy anymore, at least not on this team. And if he doesn’t want to change cities mid-season, that means that the organization needs to have a better plan than when they tried this with Ken Griffey Jr a couple of years ago.

Carp’s “injury” buys them some time. They don’t have to make any of these decisions today, or even this month. But, with the trade deadline coming and a potentially overcrowded OF/DH situation occurring upon Carp’s return, this isn’t something that they can put off for much longer. Whether he’s amenable to a trade probably needs to be figured out now, and if he isn’t, a suitable plan that allows for a graceful finish to his career should be put in place. While he’s not what he used to be, he’s still one of the best players in franchise history, and the Mariners can’t afford to keep having those guys end their careers in Seattle on a bad note.

2012 Pulaski Mariners Preview

June 19, 2012 · Filed Under Minor Leagues · 15 Comments 

Since 2008, the Mariners have operated a ninth affiliate (seventh domestic) in the Appalachian league in the Pulaski Mariners. Some of the years, I’ve been jealous of the talent that they’ve been able to see relative to the offerings we’ve had locally on the Aquasox roster. That is not the case this season. This season’s roster reads more as “Congratulations! You graduated from Arizona/Venezuela/the Dominican Republic! Here’s a plane ticket to rural western Virginia! Wheeee!” I’m counting thirty-two players on this roster and only eight were drafted this past season. Only six more were drafted at all. So largely, what we’re seeing here are imports who have run their time elsewhere to a close and are now trying to make their way in the life of American baseball. It makes me wonder about the future of our seventh affiliate, what with the life of the VSL in jeopardy and the draft shrinking by ten rounds, but I suppose that’s a discussion for another time.
Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »