The Seattle Mariners State Of The Union For 2014 Part 1: Winter Deals + Pitchers
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
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That was the last season the Mariners were sniffing around a playoff spot.
Back then, attendance was nearly 40K per game at Safeco, and you see tailgate parties, and the smell of garlic wafted through the surrounding area of the park.
In 2012, the club hit an all time low in attendance for the new stadium, and it wasn’t much better in 2013. Seattle drew just over 20,000 fans per game.
Something had to be done. Other than games that brought tonnes of excitement, and the King’s Court Section for Felix Hernandez home outings, there wasn’t much for the teams fanbase to be happy about with the home team.
Jack Zduriencik did finalize the Robinson Cano, and it sprung forth a new kind of emotion that hadn’t been seen in the Emerald City for a long time.
No hitter wanted to set foot near Seattle for the pitcher friendly park.
But signing the best Free Agent on the market, and a guy who came from the New York Yankees sent the fans into a frenzy.
Instead of capitalizing on the new found momentum, the M’s GM has played kitty bar the door with the owners vault since then.
Wait…wasn’t that the problem in 2013?
Oh yeah…and Jack Z. traded away a guy who may near .385 OBP – as a Catcher in John Jaso, to acquire 3 months of play for the latter there.
Morales is still a Free Agent, and Ibanez took his 29 HR act of last year to Los Angeles. I don’t blame the team for not signing “Raul so cool.”
But why hell would you not want a guy like Morales?? He hit you 20 HRs and 80 RBI with a high Batting Average. He is probably one of the best 5 Designated Hitters in the game right now.
Enough of the ranting who they don’t have, and who won’t help Cano. Let’s preview who they do have in 2014.
James Paxton is the MLB reports pick to win American League Rookie of the Year. A 97 MPH throwing Left Hander, who has great movement, and mound awareness, should have the team’s fans jump for joy.
I am thinking this guy can win about 15 games, have an ERA under 3 – and potentially be the teams #3 Starter by years end.
If he wins that award, he might be one of 2 Starting Mariners pitchers to take home some hardware.
Felix Hernandez is poised to take the bump on Opening Day yet again for Seattle. This guy will turn 28 on Safeco’s home opener on April.8/2014.
This perennial AL Cy Young Contender has thrown over 200+ IP for 6 straight years. He was shutdown in early September as a precaution.
His 1st 5 months had him in contention for the best pitcher in the American League.
He is on a short list of aces in the game that toe the rubber as a Starter.
I might think twice about the Chief “Freddy Garcia” coming back to this team for depth. At least that guy could see double duty as a Bullpen arm.
Ramirez was smoked out of his 1st few starts in 2013, before settling down. His 4.98 ERA in 13 Game Starts is not very impressive at all. He should be relegated to the Bullpen once the team is fully healthy.
(Before the stupid 45 day contract proposal put forth by the Mariner’s management that the 37 Year Old aptly turned down.
Randy Wolf can definitely hang around this team as a #5 guy.
He needs to watch hours upon days of Jamie Moyer starts at Safeco Field, to see how old LHP can squirm their way through oppositions lineups at the park with less than perfect stuff.
At 132 -117, with a 4.20 lifetime ERA, this guy can hold down the fort as long as needed. At the worst, he could take over the Oliver Perez role later in the year out of the pen.
– Now with Wolf being gone from the club, maybe Blake Beavan or Brandon Maurer could take the Stating reps to start the year. Perhaps Freddy Garcia would take a 45 day contract?
The management could always surf the waiver wire once the teams make final cuts, and guys that are out of Options are left for the taking?
Roenis Elias had a 3.18 ERA in 22 Game Starts for the AA affiliate in Memphis of the Southern League in 2013. I would skip his position in the rotation whenever they have a day off in April.
He will likely go back to the Minors 1st when either Walker or Iwakuma come back.
Iwakuma was on fire last year. The 32 Year Old was an ALL – Star, finished 3rd in both ERA and the AL CY Young Vote, and also placed 19th in the AL MVP Vote.
This comes when you post a 14 – 6 record, an ERA of 2.66 and a WHIP of 1.006 in 219.2 IP worth of work.
Walker, 21, was drafted in the 1st RD in 2010 by the franchise. In 3 games started in 2013, he held a 3.60 ERA. He is expected to be given a Starting spot on the staff when he returns.
The big RHP, was listed as the #8 prospect in the MLB by Baseball America.
The Bullpen struggled mightily in 2014, and has a plethora of candidates to nail down spots in the 2014 Relief Core.
Rodney will be the Closer, despite not having his greatest year in 2013 with Tampa. Moving to the confines of the AL West should help.
Zack Miner was recently signed as a guy that could potentially help Tom Wilhemsen setup Rodney from the right side in the late innings.
Blake Beavan will probably be Optioned to Tacoma to start the year, and provides organizational depth at least, but has had less than a stellar Spring Training.
Lucas Luetge is also a LHP out the Bullpen.
Perhaps the best arm in the late innings for the Mariners last year was Yoevis Medina. This man lugged 68 IP in 63 Appearances, and had a swift 2.91 ERA for his efforts.
The club turned to him to be the Closer at one point, but he blew 3 out of 4 Save Opportunities.
Danny Farquhar numbers included a decent WHIP of 1.186 last season amidst his 4.20 ERA in 55.2 IP.
Farquhar has good stuff, and doesn’t surrender HRs that often. He only yielded 2 out of that work. His Strikeout Ratio is strong as well when comparing to Walks per 9 (12.8/3.6).
This strong thrower is good for needing that one Strikeout when the bases are jammed up.
Tom Wilhemsen’s problems last season stemmed from his free pass rate 5.0 BB/Per 9 IP.
The 30 Year Old also dropped from a 9.9 SO/Per IP in 2012, to a 6.9 SO/Per 9 clip in 2013. Wilhemsen will have to correct his ways quick after a horrid Spring too – otherwise it may be another trip down the I-5 to Tacoma for him.
The Bullpen has much work this year – and final decisions will be made later this week to see which anemic bunch start the year in Seattle.
The Starting Staff just needs to become healthy, log a lot of innings, and keep the ball from the Relief core as long as they can.
I think Hernandez will be his vintage self, Iwakuma will be steady, and Wolf will figure out a way to get it done.
This season may boil down to the success of Paxton and Walker (or replacements Leone, Ramirez, Brandon Maurer or etc…)
Look for Mariners RHP Dominic Leone to Blow Up in 2014
This Part Done By Sam Evans (Mariners Correspondent): Follow @RJA206
Dominic Leone was a 16th round pick, he’s under six feet tall, he’s not considered a top prospect by any means, he only has 18 innings at Double-A, and yet he still is in the running for a spot in the Mariners bullpen.
With seemingly all odds against him, Leone has been vaulted into the spotlight in Mariners spring training, where he has been nothing short of fantastic.
With a fastball consistently touching 97, 98 MPH, Leone is quickly making a name for himself in a talented batch of Mariners relievers.
Leone might not make the Opening day roster, but by the end of the season, I expect Leone to be making a name for himself in the Majors.
Born and raised in Norwich, CT, one could argue that Dominic Leone didn’t get a full look at outstanding competition until he competed in the SEC at Clemson.
At college with Mariners infielder Brad Miller, Leone was primarily used as a starting pitcher.
While his statistics never really stood out, Leone continued to prove himself against some of the best competition outside of professional baseball.
When Leone was drafted by the Mariners in the 16th round of the 2012 Amateur Draft, he was seen as a project, but nobody was ready to dish out praise to the Mariners for drafting him.
The Mariners decision to move Leone to the bullpen immediately couldn’t have worked out any better. Leone made it all the way to Double-A in 2013, his first full pro season.
At every step along the way, Leone posted high strikeout rates, barely walked anyone, and posted consistent FIP’s under 3.6.
Particularly impressive was his 2.75 FIP and 12 saves in High Desert, one of the hardest parks to pitch in all of Minor League Baseball.
His 2013 season put him on the map for a lot of people and if he can build on it in 2014, the Mariners might have found a real gem.
Although I have yet to see Leone pitch in person so I can’t give a full description of his repertoire, I’ve collected that he’s throwing in the upper 90’s and that his primary outpitch is his probably his slider.
He also throws a cutter, which he almost uses as a changeup, as it provides a change of speed from his primary fastball.
Overall, if Leone’s fastball is as good as folks have been making it out to be this Spring Training, he should be able to rely it until he can further develop his slider.
Dominic Leone is a player to root for.
Sure, in most scenarios the underdog doesn’t throw a fastball a few ticks under 100, but Leone has had so much going against him in the past that it is inspiring to see what he is doing for the Mariners.
It remains to be seen as to whether or not Leone makes the Opening Day roster in Seattle, but the impression he has left on the Mariners will definitely give them a reason to expect up sooner rather than later.
Dominic Leone could be a player to burst onto the scene this season and make a name for himself in the M’s bullpen.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
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A big thank-you goes out to our ‘Marlins and Mariners Correspondent’ Sam Evans for preparing today’s featured article. Sam is a high school student from the Seattle area.
He is a longtime Mariners fan, and has been an off-and-on season ticket holder for the last seven years. He is also founder of http://www.fishstripes.com.
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Posted on March 25, 2014, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged 2014 AL Rookie Of the Year predictions, 2014 Mariners Bullpen, 2014 Mariners Starting Rotation, adrian beltre, AL West, Angels Stadium, baseball america, Blake Beavan, brandon maurer, Carson Smith, carter capps, charlie furbush, corey hart, danny farquhar, detroit tigers, domonic leone, Erasmo Ramirez, felix hernandez, fernando rodney, freddy garcia, hector noesi, hisashi iwakuma, ichiro suzuki, Jack Zduriencik, james paxton, joe beimel, john jaso, ken griffey jr, kendrys morales, logan morrison, lou piniella, lucas luetge, memphis southern league AA, Mike Morse, o.co coliseum, oakland athletics, oliver perez, ramon ramirez, randy wolf, raul ibanez, richie sexson, robinson cano, Roenis Elias, safeco field, seattle mariners, taijuan walker, tampa bay rays, tom wilhelmsen, yoervis medina, Zach Miner. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.