Tag:Mariners
Posted on: November 30, 2011 1:18 pm
 

Hellickson, Kimbrel lead All-Rookie team

Craig KimbrelBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Just when you thought award season was over -- move over Justin Verlander, you're not going to be on this list -- the Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team was announced on Wednesday. This is actually the 53rd, or so they tell us, All-Rookie team the baseball card company has put out (and did include Verlander back in 2006).

So, here it is:

1B Mark Trumbo, Angels

2B Danny Espinosa, Nationals

SS Dee Gordon, Dodgers

3B Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays

OF Desmond Jennings, Rays

OF Josh Reddick, Red Sox

OF Ben Revere, Twins

C J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays

SP Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

RP Craig Kimbrel, Braves

In all, it looks fine. I'm a bigger fan of Eric Hosmer than Trumbo, but I can see why some would pick Trumbo. I'd also take Dustin Ackley over Espinosa, but otherwise, it seems difficult to nitpick all that much. And in the end, if you're nitpicking the Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team, you may need to get out of the house a little more.

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 6:48 pm
 

Catching up on Prince Fielder rumors

By Matt Snyder

One of the hottest names on the free agent market is slugging first baseman Prince Fielder, who is fresh off finishing third place in NL MVP voting. Let's take a look at the latest rumors concerning the robust lefty.

• The Nationals are in serious pursuit of Fielder, though talks hit a roadblock Monday, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. This is a contradiction to several previous reports that indicated the Nationals were only looking to upgrade starting pitching and center field. They can play Mike Morse at first base, but he could also fit in left field. Rosenthal also reports that Cuban import Yoennis Cespedes is a "Plan B" option for the Nats.

MLB Free Agency
• In addition to the Nationals, the Cubs, Rangers and Mariners are believed to be suitors for Fielder, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports.

Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Rangers chances of going large for Fielder are pretty slim.

We've also heard several times that the Cubs aren't expected to spend a ton of money in free agency, but then they keep being connected to big names. Is that the work of Scott Boras floating talk to reporters, hoping that if other teams hear a "deep pockets" team is interested it increases the offer to Fielder? That remains to be seen. But if the Cubs are out, the Rangers aren't willing to go nine figures (as Heyman reported) and the Nationals really want Fielder, that would seem to be the most likely destination at this point. They could outspend the Mariners. But it's a long offseason and the Winter Meetings start next week. Stay tuned.

Hat-tip: MLB Trade Rumors

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 4:43 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Seattle Mariners



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule of this feature, click here.

The Seattle Mariners have finished last place in the AL West six of the past eight seasons. Would things have been different if management had done a better job of keeping the right organizational pieces? In a word: Yes. Check this out ...

Lineup

1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Adam Jones, CF
6. Shin-Soo Choo, LF
7. Dustin Ackley, 2B
8. Raul Ibanez, 1B
9. Jason Varitek, C

Starting Rotation

1. Felix Hernandez
2. Michael Pineda
3. Doug Fister
4. Brandon Morrow
5. Joel Pineiro

Bullpen

Closer - J.J. Putz
Set up - Rafael Soriano, Matt Thornton, Eric O'Flaherty, Brian Fuentes, Damaso Marte, George Sherrill
Long - Derek Lowe

Notable Bench Players

Adam Moore, Greg Dobbs, Bryan LaHair, Luis Valbuena, Jose Lopez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Willie Bloomquist, Michael Saunders, Carlos Peguero

What's Good?

Almost everything. The lineup is solid, the starting rotation is very good, the bullpen is great and there is some bench depth. There are superstars like King Felix and A-Rod with up-and-comers like Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Pineda. And 2011 first-rounder Danny Hultzen (starting pitcher) will soon be added to the mix.

What's Not?

Age in some areas. A-Rod, Ortiz, Ichiro and Ibanez are all in different levels of decline, but there's no doubt they're all certainly in decline. Catcher is also a problem, as we're left deciding between a has-been (Varitek) and a possible never-will-be (Moore). Pick your poison there.

As for the lineup, I tried to figure out how to best work it. Maybe swap Jones and A-Rod spots? I'd be OK with that, considering the seasons those two had in 2011. Also, Ichiro's OBP was terrible for a leadoff man last season (.310), but wouldn't it make the back-end of the lineup too punchless if you batted Ackley leadoff? With the way I left it, the leadoff spot is weak.

Comparison to real 2011

The 2011 Mariners lost 95 games and this team above would have a shot at winning 95. You can take away from the older stars all you want, but with that pitching staff, the offense doesn't have to be great. It only has to be good, and it's easily good enough to get plenty of wins when only needing to put three or four runs on the board. Plus, as those older guys continue to decline, the likes of Jones, Ackley and Cabrera just get better. In Sunday's Homegrown Team, I said to expect to see the Cubs toward the bottom of the rankings (when we do them). This entry is the complete opposite. Expect to see the Mariners toward the top of the rankings. This is a great team. For now.

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Posted on: November 27, 2011 7:40 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 8:12 pm
 

Mariners trade for John Jaso

By Matt Snyder

The Seattle Mariners have traded relief pitcher Josh Lueke and a player to be named later, along with cash considerations, to the Tampa Bay Rays for catcher John Jaso, the Rays announced Sunday night.

Jaso, 28, hit .224/.298/.354 with 15 doubles and five homers for the Rays in 273 plate appearances for the Rays last season. He hits left-handed, while Mariners incumbent catcher Miguel Olivo swings from the right side, so some semblence of a platoon is possible.

“John gives us a left-handed hitting catcher with some big league time who is still young,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said (Mariners Musings). “His left-handed bat will be a nice complement to our right-handed hitting group. He’s a tough kid with post-season experience and should be a nice fit with us.”

The Rays could be ready to go with prospect Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, assuming they don't make any other acquisitions behind the plate. Another option would be Jose Lobaton.

Lueke, 26, is a 6-foot-5 right-hander. He appeared in 25 games last season, putting up a 6.06 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 32 2/3 innings. He did strike out 29 hitters and had a big strikeout rate in the minors, so it's possible that's where the Rays see upside. Lueke has a criminal past, as he pleaded no contest to charges of false imprisonment and violence against a woman back in 2008. Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said in a statement that the club did thorough research on Lueke.

"We're satisfied he's going to be the kind of person and teammate that we look for and we expect him to contribute positively to our group," Friedman said (Marc Tompkin).

Expect the player to be named later to be a marginal prospect, nothing more.

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Posted on: November 26, 2011 10:40 pm
 

Wily Mo Pena may be headed to Japan

Wily Mo Pena

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Wily Mo Pena, who played in 39 games between the Diamondbacks and Mariners in 2011, is close to signing with the Softbank Hawks in Japan, Sponichi in Japan is reporting (via YakyuBaka.com).

Pena hit 26 home runs as a 22-year-old for the Reds in 2004, but since then has been overwhelmed by Major League pitching in stints with the Red Sox, Nationals, Diamondbacks and Mariners. Pena was in independent baseball as recently as 2010 before signing the Padres in 2010 and then with the Diamondbacks.

Pena's signing would be a footnote if it weren't for his great name and his prodigious power -- but Pena, when he makes contact, can put the ball in seats, and beyond.

While Pena managed to hit just .204/.250/.416 with seven home runs in 120 plate appearances in the big leagues in 2011, he dominated in the minors, hitting .358/.440/.712 with 25 home runs in 332 plate appearances with Triple-A Reno and Tacoma. Japan is probably the best option for his career, and certainly for his wallet. The report says he could get a two-year deal worth 400 million Yen (currently about $5.15 million), plus incentives and will be announced in the next couple of days. Will he succeed? There are plenty of former big leaguers who do succeed in Japan, but there are just as many (if not more) who fail. At the very least, Hawks batting practices could be a lot more fun to watch next season.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 1:57 pm
 

Choosing the AL Least Valuable Player



By Matt Snyder


The AL MVP is to be named Monday afternoon, amidst the usual sanctimony and outrage that accompanies close votes. Let's take a break from that and do something fun -- well, at least it's fun for those of us who aren't on this list.

Who was the least valuable player in the American League this season? Here are five very good candidates:

Adam Dunn, White Sox. Pretty obvious choice here. Dunn killed fantasy owners, the White Sox lineup and turned his staunchest of defenders against him with one of the worst seasons in major-league history. His strikeouts (177) were more than his batting average percentage points (.159) -- marking only the second time in history that's ever happened to a player with at least 100 strikeouts (Mark Reynolds in 2010 was the other). After averaging 40 home runs in the previous seven seasons, Dunn only hit 11 in '11. Perhaps worst of all, Dunn's slugging percentage was a pathetic .277.

Chone Figgins, Mariners. If he doesn't win, it's at least partially because Figgins only appeared in half of the Mariners' games. Because in his 81 games, he hit .188/.241/.243, good for an abysmal 39 OPS-plus. His defense was a negative value by most metrics and Figgins can't even steal bases well anymore, as he was caught six times against just 11 successful attempts.

Jeff Mathis, Angels. We probably don't need to rub anymore salt in the wound for Angels fans by bringing up the Mike Napoli trade, so we'll just focus on Mathis himself. Defense aside -- which manager Mike Scioscia has insisted is good in the past but has been disputed by many sabermatricians -- Mathis is a brutal offensive player. He hit .174/.225/.259 in his 281 plate appearances.

Brian Matusz, Orioles. The 2008 first-round draft pick still has good upside and battled injuries through parts of 2011, but that doesn't take away from how dreadful his performance was this past season. In 12 starts, Matusz was 1-9 with a 6.59 ERA and 2.11 WHIP while averaging just over four innings per start. So not only was he causing his team to lose games, he was taxing the bullpen, hurting the Orioles' chances in games he didn't even start.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Twins. That three-year, $9.25 million deal wasn't enough to keep Nishioka's starting job. The Twins have already signed Jamey Carroll to be the everyday shortstop and will go with Alexi Casilla at second. This was due to Nishioka's awful 2011 season. Yes, he broke his leg in the first series and only played 68 games in 2011. When he did play, he hurt the Twins more than helped them. According to bWAR (Wins Above Replacement on BaseballReference.com), Nishioka had a negative defensive value. And that's pretty bad from a player hitting .226/.278/.249. Oh, and he stole two bases in six attempts.

And the winner is ... Dunn. With all due to respect to the other guys, Dunn's season was historically futile and came on the heels of signing a four-year, $56 million contract.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:16 am
Edited on: November 21, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Mariners outfielder Greg Halman stabbed to death

By Matt Snyder

Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman has been stabbed to death. According to the Associated Press, Halman was bleeding from a stab wound early Monday morning when Dutch police were called to his home in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the officers were unable to resuscitate him. Halman's 22-year-old brother has been arrested as a suspect. No further details are available at this time.

MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner has released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Greg Halman.  Greg was passionate about the game of baseball and generously gave of himself to share his passion with others in an attempt to help grow the sport’s popularity across Europe.  He will be sorely missed.  Having played for the Netherlands in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and having participated in the recent 2011 European Big League Tour, Greg’s lasting legacy is sure to be the trail he helped blaze for European youth to follow in his footsteps. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Greg’s family, his teammates, the Mariners organization and his many friends and fans throughout Europe and America.”

MLB commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement:

“Today Major League Baseball mourns the passing of Greg Halman, a member of the Seattle Mariners organization since 2004. Greg reached the Major Leagues in each of the last two seasons, hitting his first career home run on June 15th of this year. Greg proudly represented the Netherlands in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and he was a participant in MLB International’s grassroots clinics in Europe, as recently as earlier this month."

“The loss of a talented 24-year-old young man like Greg, amid such tragic circumstances, is painful for all of us throughout the game. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to the entire Mariners organization and to all those whose lives were touched by Greg.”

Halman hit .230 with two homers and a .600 OPS in 35 games for the Mariners last season. He was just 24 years old.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Closer look at all 30 closing situations



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 and Matt Snyder

It appears the first domino in closer market has fallen (at least, we're pretty sure this time), but that leaves Heath Bell and Ryan Madson as the top relievers still available. But who needs a closer? Here's a look at the closing situation for all 30 teams.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg is still under contract -- much to the chagrin of new general manager Dan Duquette's chagrin. Gregg will make $5.8 million in 2012, not exactly ideal for a guy with a WHIP of 1.642 last season and an ERA of 4.37 while picking up 22 saves. Jim Johnson recorded nine saves and threw just 91 innings, but doesn't exactly miss a ton of bats. The Orioles could move Johnson to the rotation.
Possibilities: Gregg, Johnson, Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Broxton.

Red Sox: Well, obviously Papelbon is gone. Papelbon was the Red Sox closer for the last six years, recording the final out of the 2007 World Series among other memories. Still, As untouchable as he was in his first four years as the closer (1.74 ERA and 0.917 WHIP from 2006-2009), he had a 3.43 ERA and 1.104 WHIP over the last two seasons. Daniel Bard is unhittable at times, but struggled in the last two months of the season (which certainly wasn't uncommon among Red Sox), posting a 6.95 ERA in 21 games in August and September.
Possibilities: Bard, Madson, Bell.

New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera. Enough said.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays let the Yankees overpay for Rafael Soriano and then picked up Kyle Farnsworth off the discard pile, signing him to a two-year, $6 million deal. In retrospect, it was genius -- Farnsworth had 25 saves with a 2.18 ERA in 2011 and the Rays will keep him another year and let someone else overpay him for 2013.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Francisco was the team's closer for much of 2011, but he's a free agent and the team could be looking to spend some money on a  closer.
Possibilities: Madson, Bell, Cordero, Rodriguez, Casey Janssen.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox: Right-hander Sergio Santos converted 30 of 36 save opportunities, liming batters to just a .181/.282/.314 slash line and he should be in line to keep his job in 2012. If he falters, Addison Reed has a chance to take over.

Cleveland Indians: Chris Perez is on solid ground as the team's closer, picking up 35 saves in 2011.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers picked up the $9 million option on Jose Valverde.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals picked up the $6 million option on Joakim Soria and have options for 2013 and 2014.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins declined their $12.5 million option on incumbent Joe Nathan, but have expressed interest in bringing him back. Although his overall numbers -- 4.84 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 14 saves -- weren't too impressive, he did convert all 11 of his saves in the second half of the season. Left-hander Glen Perkins had two saves in 2011 and struck out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings. If the team doesn't sign a free agent -- or trade for someone -- Perkins would have the best shot.
Possibilities: Nathan, Perkins, Jon Rauch, Broxton.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels: Jordan Walden recorded 32 saves as a rookie and made the All-Star team. He did blow 10 saves last season, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the team looked for an upgrade, but it's not expected, especially with tight purse strings this winter. The team could bring in a veteran for cheap that could close if Walden falters.
Possibilities: Walden, Scott Downs, Broxton, Rauch.

Oakland Athletics: Andrew Bailey is the team's closer, but a trade is always possible with Oakland.

Seattle Mariners: Brandon League had 37 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 2011.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers could be a wild card in the free agent closer market if they decided to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. The Rangers tried that last spring but decided to keep Feliz in the bullpen. If they bring in a big-name, that would mean they believe Feliz can make the move. If not, there's still a chance of Mike Adams taking over for Feliz. Or they could bring in a low-cost veteran to have in reserve in case Feliz does work in the rotation.
Possibilities: Mike Adams, Madson, Cordero, Rauch, Broxton.

NL East

Atlanta Braves: Craig Kimbrel. Period. 

Miami Marlins: While the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez gets his name issue sorted out, the Marlins have a gaping hole at closer. The current members of their bullpen combined for four saves last season. Do the Marlins try to go with an internal option like Edward Mujica or make a splash on the free agent market (as they've been connected to several huge names already)? 
Possibilities: Nunez, Mujica, Madson, Cordero, Rodriguez, Bell.

New York Mets: If they stay internally, which is entirely possible, it looks like Bobby Parnell. But he wasn't awesome by any stretch when given save chances last season. The Mets have spent big on a free agent closer before (K-Rod), so would they be gunshy in doing so again? It's possible. But it's also possible they try to land someone like Ryan Madson. 
Possibilities: Parnell, Madson, Bell.

Philadelphia Phillies: Papelbon. 

Washington Nationals: Drew Storen closed 43 of 48 games in 2011, his first full season in the majors. One would think that would be enough to earn him at least another year on the job, but Storen's name keeps popping up in trade rumors and the Nationals have been reportedly interested in Madson. The Nats have plenty of money, so if they wanted to ink a big-name closer and deal Storen as part of a package for a center fielder (Denard Span, perhaps?), they would be able to do so. 
Possibilities: Storen, Madson, Bell, Cordero.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs: It's probably going to be Carlos Marmol again, but he better get himself in gear. Not only did he blow 10 saves, but his once-astronomical strikeout rate lowered a bit in 2011 and control continues to be a serious problem. With new brass at the helm, 2011 will likely be his last chance to get things fixed. 

Cincinnati Reds: Cordero had a great four-year run with the Reds, amassing 150 saves with a 2.96 ERA, but he's a free agent now. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman is ticketed for the starting rotation and Nick Masset seems to be awfully inconsistent. The Reds don't have the money to spend in free agency, so would they make a trade for, say, Huston Street or Andrew Bailey? Seems unlikely. Either Chapman doesn't make it as a starter and sticks as closer or someone internally (23-year-old Brad Boxberger?) gets a shot. This one is totally up in the air. 
Possibilities: Cordero, Chapman, Boxberger, Bailey, Street, Broxton.

Houston Astros: Mark Melancon saved 20 games with a 2.78 ERA last season. There are far bigger problems with this team to believe they'll try hard to make a change here.

Milwaukee Brewers: John Axford and his award-winning 'stache.  

Pittsburgh Pirates: All-Star Joel Hanrahan nailed down the job last season. 

St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Motte was never officially named closer by the stubborn Tony La Russa, but he did more than enough down the stretch and in the playoffs to earn the job for 2012, closing nine of 10 saves during the Cardinals' late run and five more in the postseason. 

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks: It will again be J.J. Putz with David Hernandez filling in if (when?) Putz falls injured.

Colorado Rockies: Street is reportedly on the trading block. If he's is dealt, look for Rafael Betancourt to take over. He collected eight saves with a 2.89 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 2011. 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Rookie Javy Guerra came on to save 21 games in 23 chances with a 2.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in 2011. That's enough to have nailed down the job for the 2011 season, one would think. 

San Diego Padres: Bell is a free agent, but the Padres may just offer him arbitration, and he actually might accept it. If he does stay, the choice is obvious. If Bell leaves, there's a decent internal option in Chad Qualls. Qualls, 33, has 51 career saves. As far as free agency, if the Padres want to pay for a closer, they'll be paying for Bell. 
Possibilities: Bell, Qualls.

San Francisco: The Beard. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com