Archive for the ‘Seattle Mariners’ Category

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Mets

There has been a lot written in this space about Ubaldo Jimenez in the past few months. About his value as a durable starter, about his turnaround after an ugly 2012, and his upside as a big league starter.

For every sentence written about Ubaldo, by all rights there should be a comparable sentence written about Ervin Santana. Because almost all the above statements regarding Ubaldo Jimenez hold true for Ervin Santana.

But, somehow, it doesn’t quite feel the same for Santana. Yes, he was great in 2013. He added a new pitch and rediscovered the form that made him a 5 WAR pitcher in 2008 and a three win guy in both 2010 and 2011. So where’s the love? Does Ervin Santana deserve the same type of deal as Ubaldo Jimenez?

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Colorado Rockies v Seattle Mariners

This could be another example of things going very, very poorly for the Seattle Mariners during the nascent days of the 2014 season. The early days of the long, long spring don’t teach us much about what happens at the end of 162 games.

More to the point, the ongoing health issues of Franklin Gutierrez are bigger than baseball. For a 30-year old man to just up and decide he cannot play professional baseball this year, citing those very same health issues, things must be serious.

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Mariners' Iwakuma readies to throw against the Tigers during the first inning of their American League MLB baseball game in Detroit

Spending money doesn’t guarantee you anything. Spending alllllll your money on one single player only guarantees you have one guy who gets to carry the hopes and dreams of an entire franchise.

The Mariners added more than Robinson Cano this offseason and, considering the ongoing existence of Felix Hernandez, have more than just one excellent ballplayer in their fold.

When news of Hisashi Iwakuma‘s injury broke yesterday, it didn’t really change any of those facts much. The broken finger that will sideline the M’s number two starter simply underlined the importance of depth (they don’t have any) and how many pieces they remain from true contention (a few.)

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Rays Rodney celebrates his save against the  Blue Jays during their MLB baseball game in Toronto

The Mariners signed Fernando Rodney to a two-year, $14 million contract yesterday. That is a pretty good move for a team with playoff aspirations and a pressing need to improve if they wish to get there. This deal for Rodney seems like a fair deal for a 37-year old reliever, one with a pretty stellar record over the last few years.

Paying through the nose for relievers might be over but there is no harm in paying a fair price for a good reliever.

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Texas Rangers

Nelson Cruz is still a baseball player, I assume. He’s a free agent awaiting a contract, so technically he’s unemployed. When you’re sitting on a big payday — even if that payday might be less than you first imagined — you can probably call it “funemployed.”

This period of funemployment won’t last much longer for Cruz. When the winter started and his lofty contract expectations became public, many fans feared giving a player like Cruz the kind of commitment he expected. A few months later, he is still out there. It is important to recognize that, while Cruz isn’t a star by any means, he remains a valuable player who can help the right team in 2014.

Who are these right teams that can tackle the risk of adding Nelson Cruz knowing that the back half of his deal (like just about every other FA contract) won’t look as attractive?

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MLB: Seattle Mariners at Detroit Tigers

theScore’s Steph Rogers spent a week covering the AFL, talking with many of baseball’s future stars. Check out her talk with Mariners pitcher Brandon Maurer, who raced up Seattle’s depth chart to make 14 starts at the big league level in 2013.

Brandon Maurer is a big presence. At 6-foot-5, he seems far too broad for the small dugout bench at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa. At 22, Maurer had never pitched an inning beyond Double-A when he won a spot in the Seattle Mariners starting rotation out of spring training. Maybe there’s an advantage to filling big shoes early on.

In Jackson with the Generals, the California-native was on cruise control through 2012. He pitched a career-high 137 2/3 innings, struck out 117 and gave up just four home runs en route to a 9-2 record with a 3.20 ERA.

Prospect watchers would know that James Paxton, and even the younger Taijuan Walker were projected to land in Seattle before Maurer, a 23rd round pick by the Mariners in 2008. Instead, the right-hander boasted an 0.90 ERA through his first 20 innings in the spring with 22 strikeouts, and stood beside Felix Hernandez when the Mariners opened at Safeco Field on April, 8, 2013. He’d earned it.

A day later, Maurer was roughed up against new AL West division rivals, the Houston Astros. He’ll talk about that moment of complete loneliness, captured by the Associated Press in a photo. It’s one of the few professional shots in existence from that outing because it was so short.

By his 23rd birthday on July 3, he was settled into the Pacific Coast League with Triple-A Tacoma. He earned a promotion by the last day of the month, easing back into Seattle’s good graces by coming out of the bullpen.

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MLB: Winter Meetings

At least that’s what Dave Cameron told me in March of 2010. Zduriencik had learned from Cameron that I was a Wisconsinite working under the FanGraphs boss. Zduriencik, then riding on top of the world (or, at least riding sixth in the world) was struggling to sell his former home in Milwaukee at a time when the housing market was at its nadir during the recession.

Until recently, I thought it must have been a joke. I was just 20 at the time and still a couple years away from graduating from college. Obviously, I did not have the money to buy Jack Zduriencik’s house. But maybe Zduriencik didn’t know about my age and financial status. Maybe he figured it was worth a shot. He had just convinced so many in the sabermetrics world he was a numbers genius. How hard would it be to sell one of them a house?

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