Cactus League, Yet Again: Mariners at Angels

marc w · March 16, 2014 at 11:54 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Roenis Elias vs. CJ Wilson, 1:05pm

The M’s start Cuban lefty Roenis Elias in order to avoid Scott Baker make three starts against the Angels in quick succession. You can never be too careful, I suppose. CJ Wilson just pitched against the M’s, so that whole “You can never be too careful” thing isn’t a hard and fast rule that all teams accept.

1: Almonte, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Hart, DH
4: Smoak, 1B
5: Saunders, RF
6: Ackley, LF
7: Zunino, C
8: Miller, SS
9: Bloomquist, 2B
SP: Elias

Bloomquist makes another start while Robinson Cano attends to “personal business” in the Dominican Republic. Not sure what that business is, and I have no interest in speculating, but he’s worked around whatever it was that forced him to fly home in the middle of spring training AND he’s missed some games with a root canal. It’s been a rough spring, and through it all he’s shown some leadership and continued to show that he’s one of the best hitters in the game. At some point in the regular season, he’s going to be slow running out a grounder and some people will point to it and say, “there it is – we warned you.” But running out grounders, no matter what people say, isn’t an end in itself. It’s supposed to be a sign of something more malignant, more important. It’s virtually impossible to take much from spring training and watching the few games that we get to see on TV, but everything we’ve seen so far would seem to indicate that sometimes not running out infield pops ISN’T indicative of a me-first attitude, or a complete lack of interest in the game or leadership in general.

The biggest story of the day was Taijuan Walker’s successful bullpen. The M’s are still bringing him along slowly, but at least Walker himself felt like he was ahead of where he expected to be. At this point, it’s looking more and more likely that Walker will be able to return to game action in April.


7 Responses to “Cactus League, Yet Again: Mariners at Angels”

  1. Westside guy on March 16th, 2014 1:17 pm

    I do like seeing guys bust their butts running out grounders; mainly because a) it’s exciting and b) the rare occasion a player doesn’t do it when the grounder gets flubbed is the sort of play that gets burned into your brain. But I suppose not everyone is Ichiro (who, incidentally, was given grief for never diving in the outfield).

    In any case, I doubt it’s going to color my opinion regarding Cano much.

  2. stevemotivateir on March 16th, 2014 2:17 pm

    Why on Earth are we seeing head-first slides? It’s spring!! The last thing this team needs in an injury to an outfielder. Well, that, or another 1B/DH type.

  3. MrZDevotee on March 16th, 2014 2:54 pm

    Personally, I’m okay with a key player on a 10 year contract, owed hundreds of millions of dollars, NOT tearing anything on a routine grounder to 2B, or a pop-up in foul territory, or any other likely out…

    The question of whether our 6 WAR player could be worth 7 WAR doesn’t seem to be the key question of this team’s ability to win in my eyes. I’d still like to see a real outfielder and a starting pitcher, like we’ve needed all along this offseason. Maybe I’M selfish?

  4. MKT on March 16th, 2014 3:21 pm

    Christina Kahrl told a small joke at the Mariners expense. Reporting from the SABR Analytics conference in Arizona, she attended a session where several GMs including Zduriencik spoke, and Jack Z spoke about how the Ms were able to land Cano: “Robinson had great questions; he’s a very astute baseball guy. He knew our club inside-out.”

    Kahrl’s observation:

    “And he nevertheless chose to be a Mariner”.

    Bah-dump-bump. Well anyway her coverage of the 2nd day of the conference is here:

  5. MrZDevotee on March 16th, 2014 4:33 pm

    So what are we to make of this Roenis Elias kid as a starting pitcher? Taking everything into account about Spring Training, and taking into account what young Brandon Maurer went through after his success last spring… Too much to ask for him to start a game or two in April?

    Some scouty stuff from past seasons:

    “He hit 95 on the in-house gun at one point, but was throwing some stuff with serious movement. The breaking ball looked more like a slider to me, with some late lateral break on it. He did throw a curve from time to time. Then, there was one weird pitch that he threw a few times that just sort of snaked to the plate at around 70.”

    We need starting pitching, and this kid is doing some nice stuff. Lots of positive speak from coaches… Is it real? He has more “stuff” than Maurer, for sure. It’s not like we need a season-long guy, and often a young new pitcher can get away with a start or two, or three, before he’s “figured out” and there’s enough tape on him. By then, he wouldn’t be needed hopefully.

    I would think the upside is greater than sticking Maurer, or Beavan, or (God forbid) Noesi out there…?

    A legitimate possibility as a 5th starter/placeholder until Walker or Iwakuma is back?

  6. LongDistance on March 18th, 2014 12:36 am

    There’s something surreal about Willie being the replacement for Cano.

  7. californiamariner on March 18th, 2014 4:17 pm

    Although I come on here and read all of these posts, these spring training games are just so boring. Baseball could really shorten the length of the preseason. All of the pitcher injuries are crazy. I’m sure the flip side of that argument is that there will be even more pitcher injuries if you shorten their time to prepare for the season, but I disagree. They can prepare their arms and bodies for the season in other ways.

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