Zunino and Heredia Traded to Rays

Reports are out for the Mariners first move during hot stove Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia will be traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder Mallex Smith. Each team will exchange minor league players as well.

This all reported after Zunino received the Wilson Award as the best defensive catcher in baseball. Jerry Dipoto is willing to make any trades he feels should improve the Mariners. Though he is a top notch receiver he hasn’t been able to do the same at the plate. He has been able to hit at least 20 home runs a season but his batting average has been around the .200 mark. In 2017 he did have a period where he hit well and batted in the .250 mark. If he was able to hit around that mark or somewhere between .200 and .250 like say .230 he would still be a Mariner.

Guillermo Heredia the Mariners felt was disposal as well since he hit .238 over the last season though he was close to .300 early on in the season. He showed he was really made to be a part-time player though he was among the best defensively especially in left field. If he would have stayed with the Mariners he would have platooned in left field with Ben Gamel and on occasion in center field.

Mallex Smith who is expected to be the center fielder for the Mariners had a good rookie season with the Rays. He previous had been with the Mariners for a short period like 77 minutes when they acquired Drew Smyly a couple years ago. The Mariners had picked him up from the Atlanta Braves before him along. He had a .296 batting average this last season with the Rays with a .367 on-base percentage. Also he stole 40 bases as well. He could be what the Mariners were hoping for Dee Gordon in center field well as the lead-off hitter since he is able to walk. If he is the lead-off hitter for the Mariners they may move Mitch Haniger to clean up in place of Nelson Cruz. We are not sure at this time whether the Mariners will have Cruz return.  This move will show Dee Gordon will be back at second base if they don’t trade him away. This is the case Robinson Cano will be at first base along with spending time at dh. Another question does it mean the Mariners will trade Ryon Healy. There was talk Kansas City was interested in Healy. If Healy does return with the Mariners he could spend time at first base and dh as well.  The question to is where does this leave Daniel Vogelbach. Will he be the dh against right handed pitching or he be traded as well.

Right now the Mariners will have one catcher in David Freitas so they will need to pick up another catcher. The question to will they sign a catcher in free agency or pick one up in a trade. Right now they don’t have anyone else ready in the minor leagues. They could pick up a catcher that shares the spot with Freitas as well. In this case I would like to see them get a left handed hitting catch. They did have one in Chris Herrmann before releasing him. So the questions do continue for the Mariners and they could be answered real soon.

Advertisements

Mariner’s Sign Pitching Coach and More

This week the Mariner’s sign Paul Davis as pitching coach. He had been working with the St. Louis farm system with the pitchers for the past five years so Marco Gonzales is familiar with him. He is known for his knowledge of analytics which is what Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais were looking for.  Now we have to see who they make as hitting coach in place of Edgar Martinez who will continue with the organization except in another capacity. He will spend time with the major league hitters when the Mariners at home and will work with hitters throughout the organization on an individual basis. This will allow him to spend time with his wife and children.

There were reports that the Mariners would retool the organization and the only players not up for trade talks would be Mitch Haniger, Edwin Diaz and Marco Gonzales. In a manner of speaking it is true but they won’t do a total makeover. Dipoto will look at trade request from other teams about the Mariner players but not necessarily trade as many as possible.

There is likelihood the Mariners won’t be able to trade Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano because of their contracts. The Mariners could release Felix though they would have to pay off his last year of contract that stands around $27 million. No one likely take Cano’s contract either.

Hard to know whether anyone would take Kyle Seager after the down season he just had unless the Mariners pay partial of his salary. Another high salary guy is pitcher Mike Leake. Not sure what the Mariners could get for him either except some prospects but they probably wouldn’t be high enough to warrant trading him.

Shortstop Jean Segura has a no-trade clause in his contract so likely won’t be traded unless he accepts a trade. Not really sure what the Mariners could get for him for the right value. Mike Zunino may be the right guy to trade at this time but what they could get for him is in question as well. The Mariners don’t have anyone else can catch on a regular basis unless they can acquire another catcher in return or sign a free agent. James Paxton could have the highest return where they could get a couple major league ready players and a prospect like they did when they traded TaiJuan Walker to Arizona for Segura and Haniger.  It will be interesting to see what Dipoto can pull off.

The Mariners will need to sign or trade for an outfielder especially one can play in center field. This could allow Dee Gordon be at second base pretty much full-time with a possible occasional time in center field. The Mariners then would have to use Robinson Cano at first base and dh. The question is still whether they plan to bring back Nelson Cruz or not.

Currently Dipoto is at the general manager meeting this week so a trade could happen anytime and again later this month or in December. I don’t expect he will wait until January to make any trades unless they are minor ones.  Interesting on the hot stove league; we hope answers will happen soon.

Post World Series Mariners Make Moves

This week the Mariners made some moves probably the most surprising Edgar Martinez is no longer going to be the Mariners hitting coach. Instead going to be in an advisory position where he will be with the team during the home games along working with individual players. He will be with the Mariners during spring training as well. Two players I see him working with until they get straighten out is catcher Mike Zunino and third baseman Kyle Seager. It will be interesting to see who the Mariners will name as the everyday hitting coach. I know there are fans who think negative a lot of the time so they believe Edgar was fired and moved into another position. I take Edgar’s word he wanted to spend more time with his wife and two daughters instead of going on the road with the team. The hitting coach spends a lot of time at the field with the players before and sometimes after the game. Edgar is known for looking at a lot of film as well. I wouldn’t be surprise he will be watching games on television while the team is on the road then sending emails giving his advice how to hit against the opposition pitchers.
Another move the Mariners decided not to take Denard Span on his option instead released him paying him $4 million instead of $12 million which would have been his salary if they had accepted it. So now Span is a free agent. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes back to the Tampa Bay Rays which is his home team. No team has interested in him he could sign with the Mariners at a lower rate. Right now it means Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia platooning in left field. Not sure what they have planned for Dee Gordon whether playing in center field or back at second base. I am sure now we are here in November we will know sooner than later. Dipoto could be looking at making a trade for an outfielder. The Mariners made a few minor moves as well. Nothing that will impact the team at this time.

Mariners Top Ten Prospects

The Mariners usually don’t have many prospects make it to the major leagues. In many cases they are traded or aren’t good enough to make it. Kyle Seager and Edwin Diaz are among the few that have made it to the major leagues along with staying with the Mariners.

#1 Kyle Lewis outfielder: Mariners #1 pick in 2016. Has had trouble staying healthy since being drafted by the Mariners. Even so he is still considered their number one prospect. He started his season with single A Modesto where he played in 49 games with a .260 batting average. He had only five home runs so I wouldn’t consider him a power hitter at this time. The Mariners moved him to double A Arkansas where he played in 37 games only batting .220. Positive side he did have an on base percentage over .300 in his career. I expect the Mariners will start Lewis off in double A in 2019. Stay healthy he could end up in Tacoma before the season over. Depending on his play could make the majors in 2020.

#2 Evan White 1st baseman: Another number one pick being selected by the Mariners in 2017.  Played 14 games in 2017 at rookie club in Everett. He batted .277 for Everett. In 2019 he had a solid season playing at Modesto as well where he batted .303 with 11 home runs. I wouldn’t consider him a power hitter like you would generally find at first base but he did have 27 doubles at the same time drove in 66 runs. He played a few games with Tacoma however I see him starting next season with double A Arkansas too. He won a minor league gold glove as well. He doesn’t have a lot of speed but he could end up playing some outfield for the Mariners. Might see him in a Mariner uniform in 2020.

#3 Logan Gilbert: Also a number one draft pick this year. Didn’t pitch at all this summer because of mono. Coming out after three years pitching in college he probably will start at high A and possibly end the season in Double A in 2019. I wouldn’t see him most likely until 2021 though we could see him in the second half of 2020 if necessary.

#4 Julio Rodriguez outfielder: international signing from the Dominican Republic. He is only seventeen. He played on the Mariners Dominican summer league team. He batted a solid .315 in 59 games. Might play another year in the DSL before moving through the Mariner minor league system. Be heralded as a number 4 prospect could move up quickly and be on the Mariners roster at a young age. Remember Felix Hernandez made his debut at 19.

#5 Braden Bishop outfielder: drafted in the 3rd round in 2015 by the Seattle Mariners out of University of Washington. He has moved up far as a prospect for the Mariners. This year he was having a fine season in double A before fracturing his forearm in July that cost him the rest of the season. I thought he was going to be promoted to triple A Tacoma in the second half before the injury. He was batting .284 in 84 games before the injury. Most likely start 2019 in double A  however could move up to triple A Tacoma if he is playing well once again. He could end up in Seattle in 2020.

#6 Sam Carlson pitcher: 2nd round draft pick in 2017 pitched only two games in games 2017 in the Arizona rookie league. He missed this past year because he had to undergo Tommy John surgery so he missed this season and possibly 2019. He turns 20 in December so he still has a future we hope. Other pitchers have made comebacks and they aren’t as young as he is. Most likely when he returns will start in the low A league.

#7 Josh Sowers outfield: 2nd round draft pick 2018. Had an outstanding first year in professional ball. He had a batting average of .260 in 58 games at rookie Everett. At this point he isn’t considered a home run hitter however he did steal 20 bases so he does have speed. He could start 2019 in High A then move up to double A. He played college ball at Louisville so he move up quickly could see him in the majors in either the 2020 or 2021 season. He and Kyle Lewis could be part of a good Mariner outfield in the future

#8 Matthew Festa pitcher: 7th round pick in 2016. Has been moving up fast in the Mariner system working out of the bullpen. He spent most of 2018 in double A Arkansas. He is another young pitcher with a strong arm throwing around one hundred miles an hour. He could become a good setup man in the Mariner bullpen and was named Mariner minor league pitcher of the year in 2018. He pitched in 44 games at Arkansas with 20 saves and an era of .276. Pitching 49 innings he struck out 67 batters and walked on 12. He pitched in eight games for the Mariners with an era of 2.16. Whether he makes the Mariner bullpen starting 2019 or not he likely will be in the bullpen at some point. He could start the season at triple A if he doesn’t make the Mariner bullpen.

#9 Wyatt Mills pitcher: 3rd round draft pick in 2017 out of Gonzaga. Started in professional career in 2017 at Everett than moved to class A Clinton.  He pitched most of 2018 at High A Modesto where he saved 11 games in 35 games with 1.91 era and 49 strikeouts. He walked 13 batter and only gave up one home run. August 1 he moved up to double A where he pitched in nine games however had a high era. Most likely he will start 2019 at Arkansas.

#10 Noelvi Marte shortstop: signed this year by the Mariners as an international player out of the Dominican Republic. He is 17 years old with power and a good arm. Time will tell if he stays at shortstop. There is a possibility he could move to third base.  I expect Noelvi will play next year his first in the mariner minor leagues in the Dominican summer league team. The Mainer will give him time to make it to the major leagues. It will be interesting to see where he stands among the Mariner top prospects over the next few years. This will go for the other prospects as well. The odds are high for any player but these are better for these because the Mariners will give them every opportunity to make it.

 

Position Players on the Tacoma Rainiers Roster

Catchers: The Tacoma Rainiers right now have two catchers on their roster.  David Freitas and Chris Herrmann both spent time in Tacoma well as the Mariners backup catcher during the 2018 season. They should both be competing for the spot again behind Mike Zunino. A lot depends whether general manager can pick up another catcher during the off-season.

Alexander Capriata: assigned to Tacoma on September 20 2018. Saw no action in 2018. Not sure what the Mariners are expecting out of him next season.

Cameron Rupp: a veteran catcher who spent time in the major leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies. Showed some decent power having 16 home runs with the Phillies in 2016 and 14 in 2017; his batting average anything to brag about. He was released by the Phillies at the end of spring training of 2018. He spent time in the Texas Rangers and Minnesota systems before signing with the Mariners on a minor league contract on July 14. The Mariners have assigned right now to Tacoma; he has the most experience right now. He might start the season with the Rainiers.

Infield: the Rainiers right now have five players assigned to them for the infield. They are top heavy with three shown as second baseman while one at first base and the other third base. So they are looking for a shortstop at this point.

Cal Hernandez: drafted this year by the Seattle Mariners out of Oral Roberts University in the 26. He was assigned to the Mariners Arizona rookie team on June 18. He is listed on the roster as a second baseman however played third base in college. Though shown on the Rainiers roster I expect he will be single A next season. Have more on him at a later date.

Adam Law: He played some second base for the Tacoma Rainiers well as third baseman. He started the season at double A before going up to triple A. He was drafted in the 12th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mariners acquired him July 2016.Both his father Vance Law and grandfather Vernon Law played in the major leagues. We will have to wait and see whether Adam will make the major leagues or not. He batted .260 with the Rainiers in his time with the team. With his versatility he looks like a utility player in the future if he does make the major leagues. I am sure he will start 2019 at Tacoma.

Seth Mejias-Bean: Here is another player the Mariners picked up they didn’t draft. He was taken in the 8th round by Cincinnati Reds in 2012. He too spent time in double A for the Mariners before coming to Tacoma. He played in 96 games with a batting average of .266 however he has marginal power as well. Like Law might make it as a utility player too.

Danny Muno: He is another minor leaguer the Mariners signed and he is a little older than the previous two. He spent some of 2018 on the disabled list so he only played in 61 games. He is a career minor league so he doesn’t seem to have a future in the major leagues. Not sure to whether he will stick with the Rainiers either. I certainly would look to find other players if the Mariners actually build on the Rainier team.

Cameron Perkins: he is listed as a first baseman however before the Mariners acquired him from the Philadelphia Phillies in 2017 he played the outfield. He spent some of the year on the disabled list though he did play in 94 games with a .257 batting average. He had limited action in the major leagues primarily with the Phillies so pretty much a career minor leaguer. He is another one that would be border line for the Mariners to keep.

Outfield: current listed three players on the roster.

Andrew Aplin: a left handed hitting outfielder. He started the season in double A went on the disabled list. He came to the Rainiers in June batting .265 in 63 games driving in 31 runs. Hasn’t hit a lot of home runs in his career; interesting he walked 31 times as well. His career shows he walks and drives in runs about the same. He was drafted in 2012 in the 5th round by the Houston Astros however never has played in the major leagues. He likely will be in the outfield for the Rainiers again this year.

Ian Miller: one player that was drafted by the Mariners in the 14th round in 2013. He played a full season at Tacoma in 2018 after spending some of the year 2017 in double A before moving up to Tacoma. He batted .261 however had a .333 on base percentage because he walked 45 times. He has been known for his speed stealing bases. In Tacoma he had 33 stolen bases. Right now he is playing for the Mariners team in the Arizona Fall League and he is listed as the Mariners number 20 prospect. Not sure he will make the big club however if he does probably as a fourth or fifth outfielder. This will be a key year coming for Ian how his future goes. He could be involved in a trade the Mariners make this off-season as well.

Sebastian Ochoa: a right handed bat and thrower the Mariners signed to a minor league contract in 2016. He spent first two years on the Mariners Dominican Summer League team. In 2018 he spent most of the year in the Arizona Rookie League. He was assigned to Tacoma on August 28. He is only 20 years old so I expect the Mariners will probably send him to one of the single A teams when 2019 season.

Currently the Rainiers have 20 players on their roster so they have room for six more. Not only could they add these six more may add more than that and remove some of these players already on the roster. We will have to see.

 

Next will be the Pitchers on the Rainiers roster at this time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at Mariners 40-Man Roster

I am going to look at the Mariners 40-man roster; let you who should stay and should go. Also I believe the Tacoma Rainiers roster needs a turnover from last season. I am sure there will be those who will move up from Double-A Arkansas.

Dan Altavilla: 2018 turned out mainly to be a loss year because of injuries to his right elbow. He pitched in 22 games with an era of 2.61 era and 23 strikeouts. He would be so valuable as the setup man in the sixth or seventh inning. Also could pitch the 8th if Alex Colome need a rest. He can pitch more than one inning if necessary as well. He was recalled on Oct. 1.

Shawn Armstrong the Mariners acquired last December from the Cleveland Indians. He pitched most of the year for the Tacoma Rainiers where he was the primary closer. He pitched in 49 games with 15 saves in 17 opportunities and an era of 1.77 while walking 26 and striking out batters. The Mariners selected his contract on August 28. He pitched in 14 games for the Mariners mainly being the first guy coming out of the pen in the fifth or sixth inning. A good role for him next season. He had an era of 1.23 and striking out 15 batters.

Chasen Bradford: started the season at Tacoma however was recalled on April 9. After pitching in different circumstances he started becoming one of the first pitchers out of the bullpen. He had a good season for the Mariners. In August he was sent a couple times to Tacoma because the Mariners needed to have a pitcher brought up because of use by a long reliever. He pitched in 46 games with an era of 3.69. Going into August his era was under three but I believe having to go down to Tacoma it hurt his performance. Again he should be in competition for the first pitcher to bring into the game. He is valuable because he can pitcher a couple innings if necessary.

Alex Colome: a big pickup by the Mariners in May from the Tampa Bay Rays. He became the Mariners 8th inning setup man ahead of Edwin Diaz. With the Rays he had been their closer so the Mariners can use him if necessary in the role as well. He pitched in 47 games with 30 holds. First half of the season it was an amazing and important spot to be in because of so many one-run games. He helped get Diaz to have 57 saves. He should be back next season in the same role.

Ryan Cook: a veteran reliever who spent a lot of the season with Tacoma however when the Mariners needed him he was recalled. He was used in the spot Bradford was in when he came up in April where he was pitching in different spots. A lot of times he came in when the Mariners were already behind in games. He hadn’t been in the major leagues since 2015 because of injuries. For the Mariners he pitched in 19 games but had a high era of 5.29. I am not sure he will be back next season. If the Mariners need a spot to be open when acquiring another player he could be one of the first to go. He could play at Tacoma if a spot is open but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is released as well.

Edwin Diaz: not more you can say about this guy. Not only the most valuable pitcher on the Mariners staff he likely will be named Fireman of the year for his 57 saves tying the second highest in major league history. Long as he doesn’t get injured he should become even better than last year if that is possible.

Zake Duke: picked up at trading deadline as left handed specialist however he wasn’t what the Mariners had hoped for. In 27 games with a 5.52 era; expected to be a free agent. I hope the Mariners don’t re-sign him. Look elsewhere for a new lefty for the bullpen.

Roenis Elias: required him in May. Began his time in Tacoma however did pitch in 23 games for the Mariners including starting 4 games. Most of his relief pitching was in long relief. Manager Servais hopes to put him in a better role in 2019. I hope he is able to pitch as a left handed specialist who can go against righties as well. He should get more opportunity to show what he has.

 

Matt Festa: spent most of the year in double A Arkansas. He was named Mariners minor league reliever of the year. The Mariners brought him up a couple times during the season before the September call up. The Mariners will give him a shot to make the bullpen next season. He is another young reliever who can throw around 100 miles per hour. Instead of going with veteran reliever who may not have much left I do hope he is in the Mariners bullpen next year.

Marco Gonzales:  one of the two surprised pitchers in the Mariners starting rotation. He had a record of 13-9 in his first full season in the major leagues. It will be nice if he can add a couple more victories or more next season.

Justin Grimm: pitched in Tacoma after Mariners signed him to a minor league contract when he was released by the Kansas City Royals. Mariners selected him in September when rosters expand. Pitched in only five games. Could be invited to spring training. Stay tuned.

Felix Hernandez: former ace of the Mariners not the pitcher he had been. In August he was sent to the bullpen but pitched in relief only once before going back into the rotation because of injury to Paxton. Felix has one year left on his contract though it will cost the Mariners $25 million they might release him if he doesn’t have a good spring training. The Mariners are hoping he can reinvent himself. Certainly help the Mariners to make the playoffs next season.

Casey Lawrence: a long reliever spent some of the season in Tacoma. Pitched in only eleven games with an era of 7.33. Need the roster spot the Mariners could release him before spring training. I would look elsewhere to find a pitcher for long relief and depth to the bullpen.

Mike Leake: had a so-so 2018 season with 10-10 record. The only good thing going he was able to pitcher 31 games and he kept the Mariners in many of the games he didn’t get a decision on.  It would be nice if he can pitch another 31 games this time four more game.

Wade LeBlanc: the other surprise pitcher in the rotation. The Mariners picked him up at the end of spring training after the New York Yankees released him. Started in relief before adding to the rotation. He was able to start 27 games going 9-5 with the lowest era among Mariners starters at 3.72. Depending on whether the Mariners picks up another starter or not he likely will be their fourth or fifth starter. The Mariners signed him to a two-year contract so we know he will have every chance to start next season.

Juan Nicasio: signed to a two-year contract during the off-season as a free agent. The Mariners were hoping he would be the setup reliever before closer Edwin Diaz. During the first half of the season he had up and downs in the role sometimes giving up leads that either cost Mariners games or put them in the spot where Diaz had to save one run games. Early June he was put on the disabled because of his right knee. In August he again was put on the disabled list this time for the season. Currently is on the 60 day disabled list after having to go through surgery. The Mariners are hoping he will be available next season to be the pitcher they hope he would be. This time though he will likely be pitching in sixth or seventh inning.

 

James Paxton: considered the Mariners ace. Only trouble he wasn’t able to make it through an injury free season having to go on the disabled list a couple times. Highlight was pitching a no-hitter against the Blue Jays in Toronto. He was able to start 28 games with a record of 11-6. It would be nice if the Mariners could win 4 or five more wins next year whether pitching 28 or more. Although the Mariners are not planning to rebuild they could do well by trading Paxton for a couple major league players plus top prospects. I am not saying this because I believe they should however it could help out at the same time. Remember two years ago when during the off-season they traded TaiJuan Walker for Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger. This would be the only way I would trade Paxton.  

James Pazos: second year with the Mariners after being traded by the New York Yankees. He can not only be used against lefties but righties as well. If necessary he can pitch a couple innings as well. The Mariners used him in 60 games; he had an era of 2.88. Once again be pitching in the sixth thru the eighth inning. Should again be valuable member of the bullpen.

David Phelps: he was out all season. He had surgery to his right elbow he hurt at the end of last season. The Mariners were hoping Phelps be the setup reliever in the sixth or seventh inning in front of Nicasio. He will be a free agent however spent all season rehabbing in Seattle so they are hoping to sign him to a new contract. Being healthy he would be a good addition to the bullpen pitching in the sixth or seventh inning leading up to Colome and Diaz.

Max Povse: One of the Mariners top pitching prospects. He was out some of the season starting in  only in 18 games between Tacoma triple A team and Arkansas double A. He has been in the minor leagues five years and is only 25 years old so I am sure the Mariners still giving a shot. He was activated to roster on October 1. Wouldn’t surprise me he starts the season at Tacoma and gives Mariners depth to bring up during 2019 if necessary

Erasmo Ramirez: he spent most of 2018 on the disabled list or rehabbing. He came up to the club in August to take Felix Hernandez’s spot in the rotation. He did have times he looked good however gave up runs early in the ball games. There is a good possibility the Mariners will release him before training camp. The only thing going for him is he can pitch starting and relieving however the Mariners are looking at adding depth in both department.

Nick Rumbelow: pitch well limited time in Tacoma however pitched poorly in his limited time in Seattle. I am not sure they will give him an opportunity with other pitchers ready to go in the bullpen. We will see won’t we.

Sam Tuivailala: Mariners traded for him close to the end of the trading deadline with the St. Louis. Unfortunately got hurt when running a base-runner back to third base. He is 25 years old so has a good future to be part of the bullpen. Probably won’t be ready to go at the beginning of the season hopefully though be able to go in the second half.

Nick Vincent:  third season with the Mariners. His season didn’t look good as the following two season however his stats looked about the same. I think a lot depends when coming into the game. The Mariners were in a lot of one run games as well. He will have play his way onto the team I believe with several pitchers vying for the same spot. He is a veteran so could help him out.

Adam Warren: Here is another pitcher the Mariners picked up at the trading deadline. How the Mariners performed in the second half he probably pitched better than it looked. The main difference I see in his stats between being with the Yankees and his time in Seattle he pitched more frequently with the Mariners because the amount of games were about the same. So pitched two months with Seattle compared to four months in New York. In New York he pitched more than an inning while just under an inning with the Mariners. He had more than twice as many strikeouts in New York as well. Tells me he isn’t used to pitching so much. Expected to be a free agent so not sure he will be back with the Mariners.

Next post on the Mariners look at the 40-man roster or more  with the position players.

Final Report Card #2

 

Catcher: Mike Zunino when it is comes to defense he is among the best in the American League however his hitting still needs to improve for the Mariners to get to the next step.  We see the potential in him offensively however the Mariners need help to go along with him at catcher. None of the other catchers did any better than Zunino when it came to hitting and their defense was OK but not as good as his. Chris Herrmann was probably the best among the backup catchers the Mariners used during the season. I hope if the Mariners keep him his defense will be better so he can catch more often. It would be nice if they would use Zunino one game less per week so his whole game is good.  Grade C+

First base:  Most of the season Ryon Healy was the first baseman. He played in 133 games with 27 home runs and 73 rbi’s. His defense was probably better than any of us expected. I hope his batting average increases next season above .235 he had this season. At this point though what is going on with Cano and Gordon it is hard to know whether the Mariners will keep Healy or not. The Mariners could get some good prospects for him or player to help out at another position. Robinson Cano started ten games at first base on his return from suspension. He didn’t look good fielding at first base so how much he will be playing there will be anyone’s guess.

Dan Vogelbach played limited action at first base playing in 18 games. He had a low batting average but did show off his power when he spent time on the major league club. He was the player of the year playing for the Tacoma Rainiers.  If he makes the ball club in 2019 may spent time at dh well as first base. Dipoto may trade him as well.  Grade B-

2nd base:  Robinson Cano started out the season as the second baseman until late May when he first was injured than suspended for 80 games. He was playing fine ball before the suspension and did so on his return as well. While he was gone Dee Gordon played second base doing a fine job defensively however an injury to his toe cost him offensively. He had a batting average around .300 when he was hurt and had to go on the disabled list but slumped when he returned ending up with a batting average of .262. In the second half of the season the Mariners moved him to the bottom of the batting order because of his slump. The work of Haniger at the leadoff spot Gordon likely will continue in the bottom of the batting order. The question going into next season will he continue playing second base or return to center field. It is obvious he is a better second baseman than centerfielder.  Grade B-

3rd base: Kyle Seager again was the third baseman who played there majority of the season. Although he played defensively very good at times we could see he wasn’t the third baseman we were accustomed to also his offensive wasn’t good all season. He hurt his toe in July which meant that his hitting continued to suffer. He wasn’t hitting well at all during the season. I believe the Mariners should have taken him out of the lineup at times because we could see how much he struggled at the plate. Of course he wanted to continue playing however Servais should have made the decision to bench him for a short period of time instead of a couple games. The unfortunate thing though the Mariners didn’t have anyone to replace him at third. Another thing they could have dropped him in the batting order as well but they had really no one to put him in the fifth spot either. We hope the Mariners are able to get back the Seager we know and add depth at the position as well. His batting average lowered to .221 and he had 22 home runs the lowest amount the last few years. Grade D

Shortstop:  Jean Segura had another solid season far as playing the game. It sounds like his attitude with other players has to improve. I am sure manager Scott Servais had a good talk with him. Again he had a solid season at the plate batting over three hundred. He does play solid shortstop though he does look erratic at times. He makes the routine play majority of the time and has a strong arm allows him to make some outstanding throws to.  He does a good job batting second in the lineup however I wonder how he would do if Servais moved him to the fifth spot in the order and the Mariners can hit Kyle Seager in a different spot in the order. Grade B+

Left Field: Here is a position having its ups and downs during the season especially early on. The Mariners signed Ichiro late in spring training because Ben Gamel was hurt and couldn’t start the season. Ichiro was platooning with Guillermo Heredia at the beginning of the season however he only played in 15 games getting nine hits in forty-seven at bats for a batting average of .205. He looked like he was done for his career though he will come back next spring training. He spent the rest of the season working for the front office though he was at every game even taking batting practice and later on throwing batting practice.

The big change in left field happened in May when the Mariners traded for Denard Span along with setup reliever Alex Colome. Span had a solid time playing primarily in left field. He played in 94 games for the Mariners. He hit a solid .272 and was only among a few who didn’t have a bad second half of the season. He started mainly against right handed pitchers then pinch hit at some point in the game when a lefty started.  Ben Gamel played some left field well as right field. He spent most of August in triple A because the Mariners had picked up Cameron Maybin from the Miami Marlins. Guillermo Heredia played some in left field as well primarily when the other team was starting a lefty. There was controversy when Heredia was sent down to Tacoma when Ichiro was on the team and Gamel was reactivated. Heredia was hitting well then however after he returned to take Ichiro’s spot he never was the same at the plate. His defense continued to be solid though. With the presence of Span in left field however because of so many changes with players at the position I give a grade of C+

Center Field: the position started out with Dee Gordon doing a fine job especially learning a new position however when Robinson Cano was injured/suspended he was sent back to play second base. Guillermo Heredia for a while played a lot of center field when Gordon went back to second base however he ended up struggling at the plate. In August after acquiring him at the trading deadline on July 31 the Mariners had him playing in center field initially however he never really looked like he fit in to the team. He wasn’t much better than Heredia at the plate. So when the Mariners were facing right handers they put Mitch Haniger in center field with Span in left and Ben Gamel in right. Heredia would come in the game late for defensive purposes. Though Heredia did a fine job in center field the Mariners still feel right field is his best position. Grade C+.

Right Field: Mitch Haniger was the primary right fielder for the Mariners although he played some in center field later on in the season. He had a solid season where he ended making the all-star team. Also he was named the team’s MVP.  He excelled wherever he batted in the lineup. He started the season batting sixth however moved to cleanup when Cruz was hurt for a short period. Late in the season the Mariners moved him to leadoff hitter where he really excelled batting near .333. So right now the Mariners see Haniger as the leadoff hitter along with playing in right field when next season starts. He batted .285 on the season with 26 home runs and 93 rbi’s. I see him becoming a superstar. Ben Gamel played 40 games himself in right field when Haniger was playing in center. He had a solid time playing the position as well. My grade A.

Designated hitter: Nelson Cruz again was the Mariners primary dh playing in 144 games on the season. His batting average .256 was below his career average however at age 38 and not always healthy he still did a fine job. Like most players he did a better job in the first half though he didn’t play as well in second half he didn’t disappear like a lot of the other players did. His home runs and rbi’s were a little bit lower but still excellent he led the team once again in both categories with 37 home runs and 97 rbi’s.  Not having Cano ahead of him half of the season still showed a good sign. Having Cruz back next season would be very nice but I can see why Dipoto isn’t looking for a full-time dh. I am not a fan of a full-time dh either but the question is how much will the team lose in offense and his present in the clubhouse if they don’t bring Cruz back. It would be nice to have a better and stronger bench. How it will work though without Cruz is a big question. The other thing without him they could use his salary to go out and pick up a top pitcher whether a number one or two. My grade is an A.

The Mariners though they didn’t make the playoffs which is the ultimate goal and at the end of June we thought the Mariners would be the wildcard team at the very least then the A’s played the best ball in the second half eliminating the Mariners 89 wins did give them the sixth highest win total in the history of team. Also they would have made the playoffs the previous two years as well. You the play of the team in the second half I have to give them an overall grade of B+

Next time on the Mariners I will be looking at the 40-man roster who should stay and those who should go. I know there are those who believe the Mariners should rebuild the team. I am not sure of a total rebuild on the major league roster because of the chore group whether you are talking about the young guys or the veterans. I do believe Dipoto does need to rebuild the minor league system further beginning with the triple A Tacoma. This will come on my next Mariner report. Go M’s.