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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
The Oakland Athletics are making another run at the expense of the lesser lites in the Division. This team feasts on the Astros and Mariners – and are not half bad at playing the Rangers and Angels either. The goal for them is to continue to pitch. They must try to at least take 2 games versus San Francisco in the 4 game set.
The Kansas City Royals may have rolled up snake eyes in gambling on their 2013 season. Suffering the longest playoff drought in the majors at 28 years, the franchise traded away its best prospect player in Wil Myers for a 2 year pitching solution in James Shields.
On today’s episode The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast , I discuss Marlins’ manager Mike Redmond already being neutered and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik acquiring too many caterpillars and not enough butterflies. The analogy makes sense.
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By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): Follow @ryandana1
Seattle Mariners fans must be pretty amazing, Felix Hernandez sticking with their team through recent times. The Mariners were established in 1977 and have made the playoffs just 4 times in their history. They were the AL West champs 3 times (’95, ’97, ’01) and winners of the Wild Card once (’00). They have never won a World Series, or even an AL Pennant, and in 2012 they shipped off a fan favorite, Ichiro Suzuki, to the Yankees. The AL West is a tough division. The Rangers and Athletics made the playoffs last year, and the Angels just landed the prize of the off-season in slugger Josh Hamilton. I guess one bright spot is the Astros are moving to the AL West, so the Mariners won’t be rebuilding within the brutal division alone.
The Seattle Mariners hopes and dreams start where they have for years now, on the shoulders of King Felix. Felix Hernandez is no doubt an Ace. He has pitched 200+ innings every year since ’08, and had a sub 4.00 ERA every year since ’07. Hernandez won the AL Cy Young in 2010, and is a perennial contender for the award. Last year the Seattle fireballer threw his first Perfect Game. Hernandez will once again be atop the Mariners rotation, which as of now figures to include Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez, and Hector Noesi.
Hisashi Iwakuma was a pleasant surprise for the Mariners in 2012. He wasn’t a greatly sought after oversees free agent last year, overshadowed greatly by fellow Japanese hurler Yu Darvish, but proved to be a great signing. Iwakuma started 2012 in the bullpen until he later earned a spot in the team’s rotation. Iwakuma managed a very respectable 3.16 ERA in the 125.1 innings he split between the rotation and the pen. This success is part of the reason the Mariners resigned the pitcher to a 2YR/14 Million Dollar deal this past November. He figures to hold down the 2nd spot in the rotation and should do just fine if 2012 was a sign of things to come.
Blake Beavan is still just 23 Years Old, but he already has 41 Major League Starts under his belt which gives the club hope he can hold down the 3rd or 4th slot in the rotation. Beavan clearly has the talent which is what made him a 1st Round draft pick out of high school for the Rangers, and the reason the Mariners made sure he was a part of the package they received in return for Cliff Lee in 2010. Beavan’s 2012 stats won’t impress a lot of people, but they were a good start for a young player like himself to build and improve upon.
Felix Hernandez Highlights: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised
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Sunday, January 27th, 2013
By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent): Follow @NRoss56
Once upon a time, Mike Morse was a Seattle Mariners’ farm hand who played parts of four seasons in the majors with Seattle. He never really lived up to expectations during his first time in Seattle. Now, the Mariners have acquired him from the Nationals where he spent the best four seasons of his career. The Mariners are looking everywhere they can for affordable offense, and they have turned back to a familiar face in Morse. The real question is how does Morse fit in Seattle and does the acquisition make the Mariners better?
In order to address this topic, its important that we take a look at how Morse performed last season and whether the decrease in performance is going to carry over into the 2013 campaign. Morse was injured for a portion of the season so it is important to take that into consideration when breaking down his 2012 season, but even with injury, Morse took a fairly large step backwards.
Mike Morse’s 1st hit in the Major Leagues with the Mariners (2005):
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Sunday January 20th, 2013
Jonathan Hacohen (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder): Follow @Jhacohen
My name is Jonathan Hacohen. And I am a John Jaso fan. There…I have said it. Feels very good to get it out. Ok, so I don’t own any John Jaso t-shirts or jerseys. I wouldn’t recognize him if I hit him with my car. But when #27 (formerly #28 on the Rays) comes up to bat, I know that good things will usually happen. Remember that .372 OBP in 2010? I sure do. So do many Tampa Bay Rays fans. For you see my friends, John Jaso is a special breed of baseball player. He is a catcher with patience. He won’t hit for great pop, but he finds ways to get On Base. That is a skill that served him very well back in his aforementioned first full MLB season.
From that season on, I came to expect great things from Mr. Jaso. But then 2011 hit. Or actually, he didn’t. A .224 AVG with a .298 OBP was good enough for the Rays to dump Jaso on the Mariners for Josh Lueke. Remember him? Do I really have to say more? The Rays, for all the talk of their poor offensive showing and need for major league bats, decided that John Jaso just didn’t fit into their system. So Jaso was off to Seattle and Jose Molina was brought on board. The same Jose Molina who hit .223 last season with a .286 OBP. The same Jose Molina who got paid $1.5 Million last season. John Jaso on the other hand got paid $495,200 last year. What did he do? Only hit .276 with a .394 OBP. Plus a .456 SLG for good measure. His reward? A one-way ticket to Oakland with a 30 second stopover in Washington. The man can’t win. A good or bad season, either way MLB GM haven’t shown faith in this kid so far in his career. But then, most GMs are not Billy Beane. Despite being apparently set at the position for 2013, Beane proceeded to trade for Jaso and dump George Kottaras, to catch with Derek Norris. Beane said on record that he would have kept Kottaras unless Jaso was made available. So does Billy Beane know something that Andrew Friedman, Jack Zduriencik and Mike Rizzo don’t? The answer is yes. Beane knows which players he wants and usually, he will get them at the end. Now John Jaso is set to bring flair, leadership and of course, On Base skills to Oakland. The playoff picture just got much rosier for the A’s.
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Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Jason Bay begins 2013 with the Seattle Mariners on perhaps his last chance at the Major Leagues for his career. It was only on 2009 where he finished an ALL-Star Season with the Boston Red Sox – taking home a Silver Slugger Award and finishing in 7th for AL MVP Voting. That year, he hit for a 3 Slash Line of – .267/.384/.923, with 36 HRs (3rd in AL) and 119 RBI (2nd in AL). The man also walked 94 times and scored 103 Runs. It was a Career Year, yet he also had 3 other 30+ HRs, 100+ RBI and 100+ Run Years in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Bay picked a perfect year to be a Free Agent after his last year with the Red Sox.. While he cashed in on a 4 YR/64 Million Dollar Contract from the New York Mets, the Boston Red Sox knew of some hampering injuries that were sure to plague the Canadian ALL-Star from Trail. B.C. for the length of the deal… Boy did they turn out to be right on this prognostication!
What happened in New York City could not be classified by anything but horrendous. It was a move to an un-hitter friendly park at Citi Field. Bay then spent parts of 3 years injured or absolutely putting up abysmal numbers for the NL East Franchise. Of course 2012 would be the ultimate worst as the Right Fielder hit a paltry .165 with 8 HRs and 20 RBI in 194 AB. He had become a shadow of his former ALL-Star self and the Mets had enough of the anemic offense. They ate all of the remaining 21 Million Dollars left on his contract for 2013 and granted Bay his walking papers.
Jason Bay Highlights 2011 – Mature Lyrics Content – Parental Guidance is advised
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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Sam Evans (Baseball Writer):
The Mariners made a decision regarding the dimensions of Safeco Field in October that will likely change the way the Mariners front office will attempt to put a potent baseball team on the field. By bringing in the fences, the Mariners are symbolizing that they have moved on from the early Jack Zdurencik philosophy that the Mariners could win in Safeco Field with pitching in defense. This move could entice some free agent position players that normally would not want to play in such a hard ballpark to hit home runs in. By moving the fences iTTn at Safeco, more runs will be scored at Safeco and the Mariners will likely no longer play in debatably the most pitcher-friendly park in the American League.
It’s pretty easy to see why the Mariners organization has finally decided to move in the fences at Safeco. Since 2000, the Mariners have scored the fewest runs of any American League team. In 2012, Seattle ranked last in the AL in runs scored per game, home runs, and batting average at home. The Mariners were a far better team on the road then at home. Right-handed hitters like Jesus Montero and Casper Wells had their power numbers and projections greatly affected by spending their first full seasons in Seattle. The Mariners had their reasons for moving their fences, and if they believe the new dimensions will help them win more ballgames, there should be no argument that Seattle is not making the right move. Read the rest of this entry
Monday July 23rd, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: Over the past few hours, a couple of big trades have gone down. Here’s my take on them:
Ichiro to the Yankees
Wow. What a day. At about seven p.m. EDT, the Mariners and Yankees announced a swap that involved Ichiro for two minor league pitchers and cash. Sure I expected some blockbuster trades, but this? Ichiro was an icon for the Mariners. He broke the all-time hits in a season record for the Mariners and helped them win 116 games in 2001. Ichiro was an excellent player to say the least. He hit .322 over his 12 seasons with the Mariners and will most likely enter the Hall of Fame. But, over the past two years, he’s lost a little bit of luster. He’s slowed down a bit due to his age, and has stopped hitting over .300. Last year he hit .272 and had less than 200 hits for the first time in his career. This season, he’s hit an even worse .261. The Mariners have struggled over the past years and were definitely in need of a move. They acquired Jesus Montero from the Yankees this offseason in a trade for Michael Pineda, but Montero hasn’t exactly caught fire. Read the rest of this entry
Daniel Carroll Interview: Power, Patience and Speed- Watch Out Seattle…This Mariners Prospect Is Coming!
Monday April 2nd, 2012
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: For all the talk of Bryce Harper, Matt Moore and the other top prospects in the game, occasionally we are able to uncover a hidden gem. A name that you may not know at the moment…but you will. Someday. So let’s say I was to bring you a prospect with the following stats from the 2011 season. .299 AVG in 131 games. .418 OBP. .477 SLG. .896 OPS. Impressed yet? How about I add in 18 home runs. 20 doubles. 57 RBIs. Getting more excited? Ok…I will throw in 117 runs scored and 88 walks. Now I know that I really have your interest. So here is the clincher: 62 stolen bases. 62 steals in 76 tries. So who are we talking about? Not Anthony Gose. Not Billy Hamilton. We have to go West- all the way to Seattle. The M’s have themselves a centerfield prospect with all the tools. Solid D, speed and my favorite offensive weapons- power and patience. This kid can do it all. Today’s feature is on Daniel Carroll. To say that we are excited about him is an understatement. Carroll has some serious game…and will be knocking on Seattle’s door very soon.
Daniel Carroll was drafted by the Mariners in the third round of the 2007 draft. He showed early on his career that he had the wheels, possessing the ability to steal 20-30 bags per year. Health played a role in slowing his development, which happens often to young players. In 2010, Carroll started to slowly turn the page- he hit a career high 10 home runs in only 90 games and flashed his speed and power potential. Then came last season, the breakout year. Daniel Carroll was a baseball beast in every sense of the word. Home runs. Stolen bases. Walks. Driving in runs. Scoring runs. He did it all for the High Desert Mavericks in 2011. Now this season, we eagerly anticipate Daniel Carroll’s encore. Healthy, hungry and flashing his baseball gifts on the field- the sky is the limit where he can reach. Given the Mariners youth movement- we wouldn’t be surprised if Daniel makes it to Seattle by August. Five-tool players don’t grow on trees. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is a smart man and a great evaluator of talent. For a team that is in dire need of scoring runs, Daniel Carroll will fit logically into the M’s puzzle. Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero will need to have runners on base to drive home. Carroll was made for the leadoff spot. It all makes sense.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with the M’s prospect and talk baseball. Daniel opened up about his career- from getting drafted to his breakout 2011 season. Get to know Daniel Carroll, as he describes his growing pains in the minors and what it takes to make it in the game of baseball. Today on MLB reports, we are proud to present Mariners Prospect, Daniel Carroll:
Sunday January 8th, 2012
Sam Evans: It’s no fun to be a fan of a losing team. Every game seems longer and it hurts to look around and see fans of the other teams loving every moment. There’s always supposed to be next year, but that kind of talk just hurts the players and coaches as much as it does the fans. Let’s look at my bottom five teams in 2012: based on the major league roster and talent in the system that could make an impact in the upcoming season.
25. Seattle Mariners: As a Mariners fan, this one hurts. It’s been eleven years since the Mariners made the playoffs. A city blessed with a beautiful new ballpark, Seattle hasn’t had much of chance to cheer on many winners in recent times.
Since he was hired in 2008, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has transformed the Mariners farm system into one of the best in the game. The problem is that the major league club is still struggling, and fans are losing interest. The Mariners are like New Year’s resolutions. They’re so promising at first, but after two weeks, most people just give up.
So far this offseason, the Mariners have been rumored to be actively pursuing Prince Fielder. The argument for Prince Fielder is that his contract would be worth the risk for the team given all of the fans he would draw… not to mention, the M’s need for a middle of the order slugger. However, other fans feel that Fielder is overpriced and point to the fact that if the Mariners signed Prince, they would be only the fourth team with two players making over $20M in 2012.
The Mariners do have some young promising players. Justin Smoak, a former top 10 BA prospect, will finally be healthy heading into the new year. Also, the M’s have a trio of young pitchers in the minors that are all top 100 prospects. James Paxton and Danny Hultzen could possibly see time in the rotation this year. Furthermore, last time I checked Felix Hernandez was still a Mariner, and he’s signed through 2014.
26. New York Mets: The Mets have always been second to the Yankees in New York in terms of popularity, but there’s never been this much of a difference. The Mets have been silent this offseason, except for a swap of outfielders with the Giants, and bringing in some bullpen help. The Mets do have Zack Wheeler (acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade) and Matt Harvey (2010 1st rounder) on the way, but neither will make a huge impact in ’12.
Jason Bay has struggled ever since receiving his enormous contract two years ago. In 2009, Bay hit 36 homers for the Red Sox. In 2010 and 2011, Bay had only eighteen homers. Part of the decline in numbers is the park factor that Citi Field has on hitters (which is due to change with the new park dimensions in 2012). It should be noted though that Bay hasn’t hit a home run to right field since June 28, 2010.
The Mets future will be based on how they spend their money and how they control their prospects. If the Mets hadn’t pushed Jenrry Mejia, chances are he wouldn’t have gotten injured. If the Mets hadn’t signed the Jason Bay and Johan Santana contracts, then they would have had the money to go after Prince Fielder this offseason (in theory). New York has a long ways to go to compete with the other N.L. East teams, and they’re going to need to make smart long-term decisions to get there.
27. San Diego Padres: The Padres acquired Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso this offseason in an attempt to boost their offense. They ended up trading away Mat Latos and Anthony Rizzo, and losing Heath Bell and Aaron Harang to free agency.
Carlos Quentin is really going to struggle in Petco Park, and Alonso is going to have his share of issues developing into a power hitter with his new team. The fact is that the Padres will never have a terrible pitching staff due to the spacious Petco Park effect. But their rotation is actually as bad as it has been in some years. I also am a supporter of Will Venable, and I think the Padres would be making a mistake if they traded him.
San Diego plays in a division where it’s not impossible that they could make a nice run and make the playoffs. But I would be surprised.
28. Oakland Athletics: Led by GM Billy Beane, the Athletics have been extremely active this offseason. They’ve shipped away their best pitchers and let their best hitter leave in free agency. The A’s have had a good offseason, thanks to all the new talent that they’ve imported into their farm system.
2012 is not going to be the year of resurgence for the A’s. 2013, maybe, but right now the Angels and Rangers are just too good. The A’s strength is probably their middle infield which will feature Jemile Weeks and Cliff Pennington. If Chris Carter can show some power in the majors, then he will do just fine at DH.
With acquisitions such as Derek Norris, Jarrod Parker, and A.J. Cole, Billy Beane has shown he’s not afraid to trade his best major league players in order to obtain talent that won’t be ready for a year or two.
29. Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles were a promising team heading into 2011. The “Fighting Showalter’s” had a late run in 2010, and Buck Showalter seemed to be really getting through to the players. Unfortunately, 2011 didn’t go as expected for the Orioles. They finished 69-93 and solidified their reputation as the worst baseball team in the A.L East, if not the whole American League.
The 2011 Orioles will forever go down in baseball history not for their season, but for their last game against the Red Sox on September 28, 2011. The Orioles were down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth on the last day of the season. Going into the game, the Red Sox were 77-0 on the season when leading after the eighth inning. The Orioles came back to win, and they will forever be remembered for their contributions to one of the best days in baseball history.
2012 can be a successful year for the Orioles if they discover an ace… and if Adam Jones improves his game to the next level. It’s not going to be easy, but if everything falls into place, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette could lead the Orioles out of the A.L. East basement in the next coming years.
30. Houston Astros: Moving into the 2011 season, the Astros were projected by pretty much everyone in baseball to be the worst team in baseball. Well, at least they didn’t let anyone down. The Astros finished 56-106, which was the worst record in all of baseball.
I traveled to Houston this summer and I expected to find an uninterested Astros fanbase. I was surprised to see countless devoted fans who truly cared about their team. Astros fans are out there and they will start coming back to Minute Maid Park when the team starts winning.
Sorry Houston fans, but 2012 isn’t going to be much fun for you. Chances are that you will return to the basement of the N.L. Central and lose over one hundred games. Nevertheless, there is hope. Jose Altuve is turning into a nice young second basemen who can hit for average . Jordan Lyles can be a #3 starter, and Jarred Cosart could finally reach the bigs in 2012.
Another piece of the silver lining is Houston’s new General Manager Jeff Luhnow, who is involved in sabermetrics and helped build the Cardinals who won the 2011 World Series. Luhnow was in the Cardinals scouting department since 2003 and helped produce major league talent from the draft. He also has been a General Manager for Petstore.com, and has an M.B.A from Northwestern. His first move was trading for Jed Lowrie. On the surface this seems like a solid deal, whereby he attained a young talented infielder for his new organization. In my opinion, this is going to look like an amazing hire in four years time.
So even if 2012 is rough, Astros fans can start looking towards the future. It might take a couple of seasons, but it won’t be long before the Astros are packing Minute Maid Park everyday. Ironically, the road to the respectability for the worst team in the majors won’t happen until they move to the A.L. West. With the Rangers and Angels waiting in their new division, the journey towards success for the Astros will get that much tougher in 2013.
**Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter***
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