Game 83, Mariners at Angels + Happy J2 Day

marc w · July 2, 2017 at 12:43 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

James Paxton vs. Jesse Chavez, 12:37pm

After one of the most dispiriting losses of the year – getting shutout by a guy who came in with a well below-replacement-level WAR – the M’s look to right the ship against well-traveled Jesse Chavez and the Angels. James Paxton starts, which is generally a good sign.

The biggest news of the day has nothing to do with the game, though, nor to the latest minor roster moves (welcome back Boog Powell!). Instead, July 2nd is the big day in which teams sign the top international free agent teenagers, largely from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Essentially, teams can sign players who are 16 or above. These rules came into place after Adrian Beltre signed with the Dodgers at 15, but things had been a bit…uh, unregulated for a while. The Jays signed a 13 year old in the 80s, for example, and the entire system seems kind of gross the closer you look at it. Coaches taking young kids, training them up, and teams perhaps making side deals and in general trying to drive their signing bonuses down.

The M’s have experienced the entire range of J2-inspired emotions. One of the trainers they worked with on some of the biggest signings at the tail end of Bob Engle’s reign as international directors was implicated in a sex abuse case involving M’s prospects. Years before all of that, of course, the M’s made a big move into scouting Venezuela, turning up the likes of Felix Hernandez. The M’s had been one of the most active teams in that country, but shuttered their academy there amidst concerns about the political situation there.

J2 is a big deal because the signings of an entire cohort of players are announced on the same day. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the day’s like the amateur draft. Instead, it’s just the day on which teams announce signings that are, for the most part, already drawn up. That seems to get around the whole “you can’t sign 15 year olds” but there you have it. De jure rather than de facto laws are what we have to work with. One of the M’s biggest recent signings, SS Christopher Torres, fell to them after he arranged a deal with the Yankees, only to have the Yankees renege on the deal (according to Torres and his trainer) after he gained weight.

The M’s have not been major players in the international/Caribbean market for a while; they’ve made a handful of high-dollar signings (like Everett CF Brayan Hernandez), but they haven’t gone for one of the top 2-3 players in a while, and we haven’t seen the M’s blow past their bonus pool (J2 has team-by-team bonus limits, like the amateur draft) the way so many teams have done. Indeed, Jerry Dipoto hadn’t been too active in this field even as GM of the Angels. The Angels had an international scouting director was the subject of an MLB investigation into “bonus skimming” where a team pays an inflated bonus to a trainer and then receives a kickback from the trainer. That was well before Dipoto’s time, but pretty much the only big international signing the club made while Dipoto was at the helm was of Cuban 2B Roberto Baldoquin for $8 million, quite a high bonus at the time – though to be fair, Baldoquin was 20 at the time, and not a wiry 16 year old. That move has yet to pay dividends, as Baldoquin immediately put up a 52 wRC+ in the hitter-friendly Cal League, and then somehow got worse in 2016. He’s currently all the way back in the Midwest League. Given that, it’s perhaps not a surprise that Dipoto hasn’t been fighting with the Rays/Yankees/Red Sox/White Sox for top talent.

That’s changed a bit this year. The M’s have signed one of the top-5 ranked players, Dominican OF Julio Rodriguez, for about $1.75 million. They’ve also signed Venezuelan SS Juan Querecuto for a bonus exceeding $1 million. Both players are in the top J2 lists; BaseballAmerica has them ranked 6th and 21st, respectively. Chris Crawford had Rodriguez 5th, and says of Querecuto: “Mariners also got Juan Querecuto today, a shortstop with a chance for average offensive tools and a very strong throwing arm.”

Ok, ok, back to the major leagues for a bit: today’s match-up sees the M’s offense face off with yet another Angels pitcher whose HR troubles have him firmly below replacement level by FIP. Like Ricky Nolasco, he’s been better at home, though unlike Nolasco, he’s actually been decent in Orange County. He’s got strangely reversed platoon splits this year. He’s thrown his four-seamer a lot more with the Halos than he did with the A’s, but his velocity’s down noticeably this year.

1: Segura, SS
2: Gamel, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Haniger, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Valencia, 1B
7: Heredia, CF
8: Zunino, C
9: Powell, DH
SP: Paxton

As you can see, Boog Powell’s back, as Nelson Cruz sits after injuring his knee on that slide into 2nd base last night. Max Povse’s been optioned to Tacoma to make room.


16 Responses to “Game 83, Mariners at Angels + Happy J2 Day”

  1. marc w on July 2nd, 2017 12:55 pm

    The M’s have also signed Venezuelan LHP Brayan Perez, per BaseballAmerica; no word on a bonus.

  2. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2017 1:41 pm

    Hey – Big Maple seems to be cruising right now (just coming in at the bottom of the fourth).

  3. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2017 1:47 pm

    Boog is two for two!

  4. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2017 1:58 pm

    Nice play by Valencia!

  5. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2017 2:00 pm

    15 up, 15 down…

  6. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2017 2:11 pm

    Oh, crap. That’s a base hit.

  7. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2017 2:53 pm


  8. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2017 3:12 pm

    Man, this bullpen largely sucks.

  9. WTF_Ms on July 2nd, 2017 3:15 pm

    I was going to mention the “suckage” in the bullpen, but Westy, you beat me to it!

  10. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2017 3:27 pm

    It bears repeating, WTF.

  11. WTF_Ms on July 2nd, 2017 3:29 pm

    Just when we say this, Diaz comes in, and gets the benefit of a seriously close play at first.

  12. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2017 3:36 pm

    HA! Revere just “Raul’ed” it!

  13. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2017 3:56 pm

    “Good” Diaz apparently showed up today, so – woo hoo! Mariners win!

  14. mrakbaseball on July 2nd, 2017 4:17 pm

    Heck of a roadtrip.

  15. Grayfox3d on July 2nd, 2017 5:13 pm

    Good win, No thanks to Vincent trying to lose it for us, luckily the team did not want that to happen.

  16. Lailoken on July 3rd, 2017 2:12 pm

    Besides Rodriguez, Querecuto, & Perez two more signings are cited by BA: Dominican righties Yeuri Tatiz & Joseph Hernandez.

    He’s really part of last year’s international class (signed in May) but news came out that the M’s signed Brazilian righty Christian Pedral which is pretty cool.

    The club has also been rumored to be the ultimate landing spot for Cuban lefty Yorlenis Noa & Dominican OF Stirr Candelario ( has him ranked as the 29th best international free agent though BA doesn’t have him in their top 50 & he doesn’t make the top 30 for Fangraphs).

    So far we have a couple of projectable corner OFs with potential middle-of-the-road pop, a high-floor shortstop with present skills, a couple of skinny lefties, & a trio of righties we know next to nothing about. Interesting as usual. That said, I wish we work the system one year but maybe we are waiting for Otani to do that. 😉

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