Archive for the ‘Seattle Mariners’ Category

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers - Game Three

There are not many good ten year contracts. In baseball or any other sport, ten years of a player’s career is an eternity. Long-term contracts aren’t exactly the most efficient way for a baseball team to spend their money.

But, if you want to add a superstar to your team, you have to pay the price. For a player like Robinson Cano, the price is very steep. Ten years, $240 million steep. The third richest contact of in baseball history steep.

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david price pitch

The Seattle Mariners are desperate to make something happen. For years, free agents rebuffed their advances, leaving the Mariners stuck in development hell. They have their victories, and Felix Hernandez is a fine trophy on which to hang your hat. The Mariners take great pains to ensure Felix stays the King of the Pacific Northwest for essentially his entire career.

But you cannot build a winner with just an ace. You can build around an ace but even Felix Hernandez watches 80% of his team’s games from the bench. Despite their player development shortcomings in the pasts, the Mariners once again find themselves with a clutch of prospects attracting attention around the league.

Rather than wait for their latest cohort to graduate, it seems the Mariners want to accelerate their timeline. With change looming, the Mariners are bound and determined to remake their team overnight. Rumors of the Seattle’s pursuit of Robinson Cano continue on a slow boil, with the second baseman’s representatives (but not the man himself) meeting with the M’s front office for a meet-cute in the Emerald City.

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners

There is more than one way to skin a cat, a famous sadist once told me. There is more than one way in which an also-ran ballclub can change its fortunes. Rarely does it happen overnight and if anybody knows a good shortcut, I’m sure 25 or so professional baseball teams would love to hear it.

In order to turn around a middling baseball club, it takes more just cashing a winning lottery ticket during the June amateur draft. Major League Baseball is not the NBA, where smaller rosters and the ability to funnel big moments to the best talent permit one player to remake a franchise overnight.

When the Tampa Bay Rays reversed their fortunes and reached the World Series in 2008, they were derided as a team that simply drafted high in the first round year after year, even though they owed their success to more than just high picks. (Reminder that Tampa Bay squandered a great many of their top picks aside from Evan Longoria.)

The Astros choice to strip their big league club to the wood and gun for the first pick in the draft four years in a row is unique only represents a small part of their total farm rebuild. Depth is the key and the Astros, for all their faults, have a clear plan in place. They will build their club from the inside out.

The Mariners and Rockies aren’t quite as enterprising. The Mariners struggles are well documented, becoming the first team in baseball history to lose 100 games with a $100MM payroll in 2008. After a promising 2009, the M’s promptly lost 100 games once again in 2010. All the while, Chuck Armstrong served as the team’s president, until now. On January 31st, Armstrong retires from his duties with the Mariners.

Now is the time for the Mariners to reshuffle the deck. Perhaps they can take a page from the Colorado Rockies book, as the Rox begin a new development system in which they throw out everything they ever knew about producing big league players.

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Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics

This year in Seattle, things were going to be different. The Mariners front office had enough of the lackluster offense. They had enough stranding Felix Hernandez on an island with no food, water, or run support.

The Mariners went deep into the world of run prevention and, after one surprise nice season, saw the other side of that coin. The desolation turned off fans, who stopped coming out to the ballpark in the same numbers as before.

This year would be different. The Mariners cast their established model of “defense and pitching in a gigantic ballpark” in a two-fold move. First, they made the gigantic ballpark smaller! Then, they changed the makeup of their club, bringing in a parade of DH-type players and veteran sluggers. The result: the Mariners are right back where they started, with a feeble offense and a fourth place finish in their sights.

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Saturday against Tampa Bay, Kendrys Morales hit his 19th homer of the season, a deep shot to right field off Rays right-hander Chris Archer.

One day later, he hit his 20th, a right-handed blast off Rays left-hander Matt Moore. Morales has now compiled back-to-back 20 home-run seasons. Over the two-year span, morales is hitting .278/.331/.460, good for a 123 OPS+ in the difficult coastal parks in Seattle and Anaheim.

Morales’s performance, unfortunately, hasn’t made much of an impact in MLB as a whole. He has toiled on a pair of non-playoff teams, and, as a DH, his performance grades out as merely slightly above average. Still, although Morales is far from a star, his performance over the past two years may be the most impressive in baseball.

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San Diego Padres v Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are a terrible. And awful. Soon, everyone in their front office will be unemployed – and rightfully so.

Turns out developing talent is hard and banking on linear growth from prospects is foolish. The Mariners are not alone in squandering what looked to be a rich pipeline of talent and wasting the peak of one of baseball’s great players.

Dustin Ackley hasn’t exactly worked out as planned. So the Mariners are going back to the lab with another highly-touted middle infielder: promoting well-regarded Nick Franklin, perhaps at the expense of Ackely himself.

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Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Indians

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene…

Oops, wrong Jesus. This one might not be returning so soon. The Seattle Mariners will send Jesus Montero to Triple-A Tacoma, according to a report from Ryan Divish.

The only surprise here is that the Mariners kept Montero up with the big club this long. A roster comprised primarily of designated hitters may have room for a catcher that can’t run or catch, so as long as he can hit. Montero’s .208/.264/.327 line speaks for itself. He has been awful at the plate.

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