M’s Brass Talks to Press, Says Nothing

Dave · January 23, 2013 at 9:59 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The M’s had their media luncheon today. A bunch of people talked. We learned that the M’s are going to have fireworks after some games this year, they’re giving away a Dustin Ackley gnome, and that the list of talking points for Jack and Wedge haven’t changed. They checked off pretty much every box, saying all the same things they always say. No one’s on scholarship. Competition is great. Veteran leadership taking pressure off the kids. Excited about the future. Who knows what might happen. We’ll see. Special group of young pitchers. You know the drill by this point.

If you’re looking for something resembling news, probably the closest thing was Eric Wedge noting that his preferred alignment has Smoak as the full-time starter at first base, with Morales serving as the regular DH. Of course, he didn’t exactly write it in stone, and with Ibanez around, Smoak’s probably not going to have much of a leash. Still, it sounds like Wedge’s preference is for something resembling a set line-up, as there doesn’t seem to be any preference for platoons or job shares.

Beyond that, most of the big league roster stuff wasn’t anything that wasn’t already known. The organization is going to sign Ronny Paulino to a minor league deal, and then probably sign another catcher as well, which I’d still bet on being Kelly Shoppach. They’d like to add a “veteran starter”, which is basically code for anyone better than Hector Noesi, which isn’t a super high bar to clear. Seager will get some reps at shortstop, which is necessary if they’re only going to carry Andino as a backup infielder, and Morse will be the emergency 3B who will take over if someone gets hurt after they pinch hit for Brendan Ryan.

On the minor league front, Stefen Romero is going to be used as a utility guy, playing second, third, and outfield. And Chris Gwynn, at least, thinks Zunino needs a good amount of seasoning in the minors before he gets to Seattle. But, yeah, not huge news.

If you want to watch the press conferences, Ryan Divish has videos and transcripts, and some additional thoughts from someone who was there. Feel free to check it out, especially if you like repetitive cliches.

Comments

57 Responses to “M’s Brass Talks to Press, Says Nothing”

  1. californiamariner on January 23rd, 2013 10:26 pm

    My biggest problem is the way they talk about catchers. But, what do I know…

  2. Westside guy on January 23rd, 2013 10:47 pm

    A couple notes…

    1. Justin Smoak’s reportedly “in the best shape of his career”. Now I’m worried… I thought only washed-up old veterans said that?

    2. Take a look at the photo of Rick Rizz and Aaron Goldsmith. Am I the only one who thinks it looks like Goldsmith was Photoshopped into that picture?

  3. californiamariner on January 23rd, 2013 11:25 pm

    The narrative on Smoak is eerily similar to last offseason.

  4. GhostofMarinersPast on January 23rd, 2013 11:44 pm

    Yeah, Smoak is definitely on notice. I would guess he has ST and the month of April to show improvement. This team has the look and feel like jack is going to have an itchy trigger finger here. If we go in the tank pretty quick, I could see promotions of kids and trades of our newly acquired, short contract, injury prone “sluggers”. I really hope, at the very least, Smoak finally figure it out. And while I’m wishing, I wish for a marcum signing, a Stanton trade, and for my son to stop making bedtime the modern day version of a public guillotine exocution.

    Blessed is our savior, Russell.

  5. Sports on a Shtick on January 24th, 2013 12:05 am

    Evidently punching down trees last season wasn’t enough strength for Smoak!

  6. hub on January 24th, 2013 12:51 am

    Where there’s Smoak, there’s Mire. *groan*

  7. PackBob on January 24th, 2013 1:06 am

    Wedge: “Wells will play all three.”

    Whether that means in spring training competition or in expectations for the regular season, it’s interesting that Wedge appears to consider him in the mix.

  8. stevemotivateir on January 24th, 2013 5:23 am

    Something has to give. The M’s have Smoak, Morales, Ackley, Ryan, Seager, Andino, Morse, Saunders, Gutierrez, Wells, Bay, Ibanez, Montero, plus a catcher to be named later. That’s fourteen players and Carp is excluded.

    Unless they’re considering going with an eleven man pitching staff, they have one too many position players, though you could argue a couple of them really don’t have positions.

    So, the question is, when does Carp get dealt, and is Jack smart enough to realize they need Wells more than they do Bay?

  9. maqman on January 24th, 2013 6:10 am

    My guess is Bay is dropped first and then possibly Carp is traded if he shows some ability or dropped if he doesn’t.

  10. kinickers77 on January 24th, 2013 7:12 am

    I just read on Rotoworld that the Ms are still in on Bourn. How can that possibly be true? They have too many OF already.

  11. Westside guy on January 24th, 2013 7:40 am

    They don’t have enough aging players veterans yet, kinickers, so they’ll just jettison a few more young players to make room.

    Not that I’m lumping Bourne in with Ibañez and Bay, really, but at this point you’d think that ship has sailed. The only way they could fit him in is to give away talented young guys, since other teams don’t want our detritus.

  12. msfanmike on January 24th, 2013 9:33 am

    Still in on Bourn? – I am actually glad to hear that. With Mo-Mo-Smo-and another Mo manning the middle’ish of the order, it’s hard to imagine 4 worse base-runners in succession. But, hey … DINGERS!

    At this point, I imagine Bourn’s market value has to be somewhere between the Victorino and Swisher signings. In other words, 3.5 years and $49.5M. Round up or down depending on how long you can forecast his speed tool being a viable weapon. It would be great to get him on a 3 year deal, but I can see the M’s needing to go to a 4th year. Either that, or they are “in” so the price Texas has to pay is driven up.

    Having “too many” OF’s is a good problem to have for this organization. And just because you stand in a spot and burn some grass, doesn’t make Morse, Bay or Ibanez an actual OF’er. They are OF’ers on paper/in-name only.

  13. MrZDevotee on January 24th, 2013 10:03 am

    There was the bit of info from Z that they’ll definitely be bringing in a starting pitcher and likely two more catchers before Spring Training.

    He’s also interested in bringing in some more “Bonderman” types, on minor league deals.

    So they did say SOMETHING, just not anything all that exciting.

  14. MrZDevotee on January 24th, 2013 10:33 am

    MsFan-
    And as Wedge said in his interview, having too many guys at a position are the kinda problems they WANT, as opposed to previous years where they were rushing guys into roles they weren’t ready for yet, just to have a spot filled. He said it’s by plan to have an excess of bodies, let them duke it out, and that it’s what championship teams do.

    Now whether we agree with it or not, that’s the plan evidently (which is what they did with pitchers in past years, so let’s see what happens, I guess).

    Go M’s.

  15. currcoug on January 24th, 2013 10:38 am

    The support for Montero as a catcher was important and revealing, particularly in regards to trading Jaso.

    I was pleased to hear Z and Wedge are not giving up on Smoak.

  16. goat on January 24th, 2013 11:29 am

    It seems to me that the best lineup would be:

    vs. RHP

    C: Montero/backup
    1B: Morales
    2B: Ackley
    SS: Ryan
    3B: Seager
    RF: Saunders/Wells
    CF: Gutierrez/Saunders
    LF: Morse
    DH: Ibanez

    vs. LHP:
    C: Montero/backup
    1B: Morales
    2B: Ackley
    SS: Ryan
    3B: Seager
    RF: Saunders
    CF: Gutierez
    LF: Wells
    DH: Morse

    Basically Wells and Guti splitting time off when Ibanez is DHing. Smoak in Tacoma. Montero catching only, no DHing (this much is obvious from the Jaso trade). If Smoak is good enough to stick on the big league club, I guess that’s better than Ibanez playing 2/3 of the time. I wonder if Bay would go to Tacoma if they asked him to?

  17. californiamariner on January 24th, 2013 11:29 am

    I wouldn’t mind Bourn at this point, assuming there were a couple of logical moves that followed.

  18. miscreant on January 24th, 2013 11:45 am

    I learned that wedge is damn infatuated with veterans. Any veteran.

  19. IllinoisMsFan on January 24th, 2013 12:49 pm

    Upton traded to Atlanta.

    So, I guess this means that there was third possibility to the whole rejecting a trade to Seattle situation: It wasn’t to commit to the D-backs long term and the M’s weren’t on his “no trade list” to increase leverage in case he was traded to the M’s. Upton just didn’t want to play here.

  20. groundzero55 on January 24th, 2013 1:02 pm

    If we sign Bourn, we have another logjam. Which would be solved by turning around and dealing a package of players away for someone else.

    Carp seems like he’s already gone, and I’m going to assume Wells is the odd man out in the OF, leaving Saunders, Bourn and Guti to be the starting outfield with Bourn probably the new CF in an attempt to keep Guti healthy. This would possibly (probably?) be the best defensive outfield in baseball. Morse would be the backup corner OF if someone needs a day off – it’s nice that any of the regular three could easily cover CF.

  21. make_dave_proud on January 24th, 2013 1:09 pm

    And the Bourn-birds are going to start cackling louder now….it looks like Baker is leading the charge (https://twitter.com/gbakermariners/status/294543796954345473).

    It seems there is a lot of consternation about signing Bourn because we lose the 12th pick in the draft. It seems fair to say that Bourn improves the outfield, whereas the 12th pick would have value sometime in 3+ years.

    The 12th pick is nice, but it is really worth that much more than someone who can improve the team now?

  22. ChrisFB on January 24th, 2013 1:55 pm

    groundzero55 – Remember that Wedge has pencilled in Morse as his everyday LF. Given Wedge’s past questioning of Guti’s toughness, I wouldn’t be surprised, if a Bourn signing happens, to see an OF of Morse-Bourn-Saunders, with Guti/Wells as 4th OF and whoever of Guti/Wells that isn’t on the bench being part of a package for a pitcher.

  23. Gormogon on January 24th, 2013 2:38 pm

    This is totally subjective, but I think if a boost of confidence is going to work for someone, it’s going to work for Smoak. I, as well as everyone here I assume, would love to see Smoak come out hot in April and never slow down. If he comes out slowly, I think it’s all over for him mentally anyway.

  24. terryoftacoma on January 24th, 2013 2:57 pm

    No matter whose leading the charge Bourn is highly unlikely. If they wouldn’t give that draft pick up for Swisher(not that he wanted to come here) they sure aren’t going to for Bourn.

    The remaining FA starters are a interesting combination with the likes of Saunders, Pavano,Matsuzaka,Marcom,Lowe, Garcia,Wang and Zambrano. Marcom is probably the best of the lot but I believe he’s waiting for Lohse to sign.

    Snyder or Schroeder are just as possible as Shoppach and would add some catching depth.

  25. GhostofMarinersPast on January 24th, 2013 3:03 pm

    MarcUm signed with the mets this morning, pal.

  26. terryoftacoma on January 24th, 2013 3:11 pm

    So I see.

    I guess you could add Young to the list instead.

  27. nickwest1976 on January 24th, 2013 3:49 pm

    If the M’s sign Bourn then I would hope Morse spends a lot of time at 1B…maybe the Smoak/Matusz idea is visited as it was rumored that the O’s have interest in Smoak?

    Morse at 1B with Morales spelling him here and there…Montero can DH on days Morales plays 1B and catch. Outfield of Guti/Bourn/Saunders is a high-level defensive OF with Wells as the 4th OF and with Morse being able to shift to the OF once in a while. Ibanez can start here and there at 1B/DH or the occassional corner OF spot.

  28. stevemotivateir on January 24th, 2013 4:18 pm

    I’d be fine with a 3-4 year deal for Bourn, if it meant Bay disappearing, and Smoak starting in Tacoma. I just don’t see that happening.

  29. casey on January 24th, 2013 6:24 pm

    A couple of thoughts:

    1. my main take away from Wedge is how much he loves the veteran presence of Ibanez, Morse, Bay and maybe a little less Morales. Its Olivo all over again but the old school old boys baseball just loves those role model been there can’t measure the value vets even if they can’t produce on the field.

    2. I am wondering how bad Morse will be in left or right field. He is a big guy – something like 6’5 and 240 lbs but is he Ibanez / Mike Carp bad in left. Are there some defensive stats about his outfield play in Washington – sounds like he was decent firstbaseman, and a shortstop coming up…so how bad is he?

    3. I think of Saunders last off-season when he was nowhere on the radar and couldn’t trade him for a bag of balls … so worry that we trade Smoak for nothing and he is another guy that turns into a middle of the order power and rbi guy that haunts us from somewhere else (like Baltimore who already have our centrefielder and missing starting pitcher) for next 10 years. I’d like to see us keep him another season and see if he blossoms given that the M’s have some firstbase depth to go to if he is as lost as ever.

    4. If I was Z and Wedge my priority to finish the roster for 2013 is a quality starter. Crazy counting on two of Noesi, Beavan and Paxton for the rear end of your rotation. Not going to be many wins there even with Paxton and Hultzen having big upside. And really not sure about any starter not named Felix – unlike last year this could be the M’s achilles heal for 2013 that we are being forced to rely on combination of Paxton, Maurer, Hultzen, Walker by summer.

    Okay 4 thoughts – sorry for length but don’t post much.

  30. Bryce on January 24th, 2013 8:48 pm

    I don’t see them going after Bourn or anybody else that is a non scrap heap minimum salary guy. We’ll see, but my hunch is that the roster is pretty much set. I suspect they’re trying to keep long term obligations and payroll to a minimum because the team will probably have new owners by the end of this year.

  31. casey on January 24th, 2013 9:23 pm

    who are they selling to?

  32. maqman on January 25th, 2013 2:08 am

    Seems a lot of guys skipped over the part where Wedgie said Smoak is the starting 1B.

  33. Arron on January 25th, 2013 8:51 am

    I’d be okay with the signing of Bourn, but I actually like this team offensively IF Smoak actually hits, Guti is healthy and they go with a 5 man bench. Would like to see Triunfel on the bench as he can play 3/4 infield spots. The bench of Ibanez, Wells, Andino, Truinfel and Paulino is the best bench Seattle has had in a long time and they all have their roles.

    The ‘pen is stacked. All I’m worried about is the rotation. I could live with Beavan as the #5 until one of the kids is ready, but they must upgrade the #3/4 spot. I’d really like Lohse on a 3 year deal, draft pick be damned.

    That team would contend for the WC spot IF everything went their way.

    This season could be a very, very fun one. I’m pumped.

  34. marcus_andrews on January 25th, 2013 9:59 am

    Aaron, I would argue that our bench on opening day last year was better than the bench you listed. Seager > Truinfel, Jaso > Paulino, Wells = Wells, Kawasaki < Andino (although not a huge difference) and Ibanez doesn't provide enough of a difference for me to think he evens the score

  35. Arron on January 25th, 2013 10:09 am

    But you can’t think of “opening day” as the real bench as you would replace Seager with Figgins and Jaso/Montero with Olivo…so Triunfel is better than Figgins and Paulino is better than Olivo. Adding Ibanez, who is still a legitimate threat for a base hit, would make the 2013 bench far superior to the 2012 bench. Assuming they go with a 5 man bench, which I am very much hoping for.

  36. djw on January 25th, 2013 4:43 pm

    Would like to see Triunfel on the bench as he can play 3/4 infield spots.

    Why on earth? For five consecutive years, he’s done nothing whatsoever to demonstrate that he can hit or field any position at a level that would make him an asset as a hitter, baserunner, or defender at any position. If he has any position in the organization, it should be to play regularly on the (vanishingly slim) chance the talent he was once seemed to have can be reactivated. Putting him on the major league roster would serve no useful purpose for his development or for the roster itself.

  37. MrZDevotee on January 25th, 2013 5:29 pm

    Fun Facts:
    Baseball America is about to hit the shelves with their new farm system rankings and the M’s minor league system ranks #2 behind the Cardinals. (per Larry Stone)

    Nice. Now if we can show some results at the major league level, we’ll really have something to talk about. Smoak? Ackley? Montero? We’re looking at YOU guys!!!

    Go M’s.

  38. marcus_andrews on January 25th, 2013 5:32 pm

    I know figgins was god awful but I haven’t seen anything that proves that Truinfel has more value to a big league roster than Chone. And Paulino and Olivo are actually pretty similar, we just despise Olivo because he played too much and we had to watch it. And really I don’t think a five man bench is going to happen anyway.

    Not to mention it seems unfair to dispute a bench that was a conscious decision that would have presumably lasted at least a month or so in favor of a hypothetical bench that you’re comprising of our January roster.

  39. roosevelt on January 25th, 2013 5:32 pm

    A lot of big time losing, by the major league club, went into building that farm system!

    Keep up the good work!

  40. jordan on January 26th, 2013 11:24 am

    We need to upgrade our starting pitching before we worry about another outfielder. I’d sign Lohse, and trade Smoak for Matusz and call it an offseason.

  41. joealb on January 26th, 2013 1:48 pm

    Gentlemen, prepare to see Mike Morse at 3rd base against L/H pitching. I have no evidence but I just get a feeling that Wedge will try it and stay with it way to long.

  42. jordan on January 26th, 2013 2:49 pm

    Both Z and Wedge said today there is something that is going to happen in the next couple days. Wedge hinted towards it being at the catcher position.. hmmmm.

  43. Westside guy on January 26th, 2013 3:22 pm

    ^ Olivo’s coming back!

  44. jordan on January 26th, 2013 3:38 pm

    Well, when someone mentioned that Olivo didn’t produce at all, Wedge agreed. I thought to myself…. then why did you insist on him playing so damn much!?

  45. mauimsfan on January 27th, 2013 12:33 am

    Hark: Is that the timeless sound of Spring Training I hear? “He’s in the best shape of his life”? Already? Comes earlier every year it seems..

  46. mauimsfan on January 27th, 2013 12:35 am

    “Team has a lot of grit this year. Like chewin’ on gravel. Gritty as hell.”

  47. bongo on January 27th, 2013 12:40 pm

    “Putting him on the major league roster would serve no useful purpose for his development or for the roster itself.”

    [Bongo] It would however, force fans sitting on the first base side to be on alert for ground balls to Triunfel, lest they get nailed by one of his frequent errant throws.

    “He said it’s by plan to have an excess of bodies, let them duke it out, and that it’s what championship teams do.”

    [Bongo] Except that Championship teams usually have managers who know what they’re doing. Wedge allocates at bats to veterans until their performance is so dismal that someone else *has* to be given a chance. That’s not competition — that is stupidity. The 2012 Mariners probably lost 4-5 games in order to let Figgins “duke it out” with Seager, Olivo “duke it out” with Jaso, etc.

  48. bongo on January 27th, 2013 12:46 pm

    “He’s in the best shape of his life”

    [Bongo] This is Mariners lingo for “will not be playing come July 1″: the player will either be on the DL (Guttierez), traded (Wilson), benched (Figgins) or sent down to AAA (Noesi).

    Personally, I see no reason why Smoak should not start the season in Tacoma. If he hits well there, you can always bring him up once one of our collection of fragile outfielders (Guttierez, Bay, Morse) hits the DL. However, keeping him on the opening day roster could mean having to let go of someone with more promise. At this point, I’d rather have Carp on the ML roster than Smoak, as unlikely as that is to actually happen.

  49. stevemotivateir on January 27th, 2013 3:41 pm

    Bongo,

    You do realize Carp is likely gone regardless of what they do with Smoak, right? They have too many position players on the roster as it is.

    I can’t help but wonder if the Brewers would take a flyer on Carp, given the injury to Hart.

  50. MrZDevotee on January 27th, 2013 3:47 pm

    So, went to FanFest today with the kids… Morse is a funny funny guy. And wicked bad Pat Riley slicked back hairdo at mullet length.

    I think we saw our starting outfield during the questions portion of the player time.

    Sitting left to right, taking fan questions were Mike Morse, Franklin Gutierrez, and Michael Saunders. And they definitely seemed to be sitting in that order on purpose, being that Guty was in the “center”.

    Saunders still seems so young. Hopefully he’s still got some upside to explore.

    But it wasn’t disappointing to see those 3 guys together. Buried in a smaller LF is probably the best place for Morse with our other 1B options.

    And two other observations–
    1) The outfield is definitely less clearly HUGE to the eyes. Seems “normal” size now, rather than as vast as it always appeared before (definitely notice that left field is also a normal height now instead of the “top of the scoreboard” height it used to be).

    2) That jumbo-tron thingy is gonna be HUGE BEYOND WORDS. It dwarfs the outfield seating.

  51. Westside guy on January 27th, 2013 4:47 pm

    MrZ, if you’re right about the starting outfield I will be content.

    I still gotta wonder where Ibañez fits into all this, though. I don’t want him taking ABs away from any of these guys, nor from Kendrys Morales.

  52. GhostofMarinersPast on January 28th, 2013 12:33 am

    I also attended.
    It was freezing.
    My wife was freezing.
    My son spent two hours in the play zone.
    He was also freezing.
    Had two mannys and 1 Mac n jacks.
    They made my hands start freezing.
    Wilhelmsen and Casper wells danced. Wells looked like he was dancing for his job.
    He was probably freezing.
    The moose was running around, almost as if he was freezing.
    Brendan Ryan didn’t do a backflip.
    Almost certainly because it was freezing.
    The pizza was delicious.
    Our W column this year will not taste as good.
    The lady in line next to me at light rail bar said to her man “dammit Tyler, you said I wouldn’t need a hat. I am freezing”.
    Overall? It was a tad chilly

  53. Westside guy on January 28th, 2013 7:27 am

    Hahahahaha!

  54. MrZDevotee on January 28th, 2013 12:40 pm

    Yep- freezing… We didn’t stay as long as usual because of that…

    My in-laws were with us, from Austin, and they were joking about the “no wonder the ball doesn’t carry” (it was 70 in Austin yesterday)…

    I forgot the dancing– that was hilarious. We were actually walking into the stadium right when that was on the monitor, and were cracking up. “What the hell?”

    (Ghost- you didn’t happen to see the 7 or 8 year old kid playing catch with his dad in the outfield, did ya? Winging it 40-50 yards and HARD… Made Trayon Robinson’s arm look like… er… well, Trayvon Robinson’s arm. We were tempted to tell Z to sign him up…)

  55. GhostofMarinersPast on January 28th, 2013 1:17 pm

    MrZ- I missed Henry Rowengartner yesterday. I was too busy discussing “how much longer we should stay” with my wife. And listening to how she’s is definitely not coming next year! Ha! She wanted me to plan a family outing, so I did!

  56. Paul B on January 28th, 2013 1:21 pm

    ^ Olivo’s coming back!

    Noooooooo!

  57. MrZDevotee on January 28th, 2013 3:12 pm

    “Olivo’s coming back!”

    Guys… That’s NOT funny… You don’t tease people in remission about their cancer coming back.

    (No Dave pun intended… I’m talking about the rest of us.)

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