Looking At Mariners Bullpen

The Seattle Mariners 2017 bullpen probably won’t look a lot difference than the one that ended the 2016 season. The one spot that will change is having at least one left handed reliever that is different and another that ended the season in the Mariners rotation.

The Mariners traded Vidal Nuno who spent all last season in the Mariners’ bullpen to the Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher Carlos Ruiz. The thing about Nuno he was not a left handed specialist in the same mold of Charlie Furbush who was out all season with injury for the Mariners. In fact Furbush is no longer on the Mariners roster and won’t pitch again this coming season. Nuno was primarily a long reliever though he wasn’t used in that spot much of last season either. So now Jerry Dipoto decided he needed a left handed specialist so he went out and signed free agent Marc Rzepczynski. He likely is the pitcher to fill that spot though the team did sign a few others or have other’s competing but mostly for depth. I expect that a couple of those guys will start in triple A Tacoma. The other left handed reliever to be the bullpen most likely will be Ariel Maranda who started the off-season as the second left handed in the starting rotation along with James Paxton however a couple trades put him more likely in the bullpen but will add depth to the rotation as well.

Outside of the left handed relievers doesn’t leave much in the bullpen for a new comer to make the squad though Dipoto did add more depth. Going into the season Edwin Diaz is expected to be the closer. The Mariners do have other guys that throw the ball hard like Diaz competing for at least one spot in the bullpen. Dan Altavilla who came up in August will be one of those candidates. He does have options so he could be sent down without any problem if necessary. Another one competing is Tony Zych who missed almost all last season. Also the Mariners traded for Shae Simmons who the Mariners traded for with the Atlanta Braves.

Besides Diaz the other guys that will most likely be in the bullpen are Steve Cishek the closer at the beginning of last season is expected to pitch the eighth inning and possibly close when Diaz isn’t available, however, he may start the season on the disable list because off-season surgery. Nick Vincent is another one who will pitch either the seventh or eighth inning. Evan Scribner who was out most of the season except September when he had an outstanding time could be the first guy out of the bullpen in the sixth or seventh especially with runners on base. It was what he did very well in September. If those guys all make the bullpen out of spring training that leaves one spot open along with another having Cishek on the disabled list. That will leave several guys to battle for those spots. Dan Altavilla should be the leading candidate however he does have options to go back down to the minor leagues. Someone would have to have an outstanding spring to bump him or he has a poor spring. This will leave several down in the minor leagues to be ready when and if necessary.

Next time look at the infield and the catchers. Of course it will depend what other transactions that Jerry Dipoto may make.

Mariners Fan Fest

This weekend the Seattle Mariners have their annual fan fest where the fans can meet and get to know the Mariner players.

With the turnover of players again this year that Jerry Dipoto has brought in you will get to meet them and get their autograph. There is a cost in get in if you are an adult however kids are free so make it a family affair.

Among the players that will be there will be newly acquired Drew Smyly and Jarrod Dyson. Also new shortstop Jean Segura, first baseman/outfielder Danny Valencia, starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo, outfielder Mitch Haniger and holdover center field Leonys Martin and left handed pitcher James Paxton.

Also you will be able to have your kids run around the bases along with visiting the locker room and clubhouse. A great way for you to make it feel like your home; it takes place 11 am until 4 pm both Saturday and Sunday. It will be an experience the whole family won’t forget.

On Thursday the Mariners picked up catcher Tuffy Gosewisch up on waivers from the Atlanta Braves and traded for lefty Dillon Overton from the Oakland A’s. Overton spent most of last season in triple A where he was a starting pitcher. I am sure the Mariners will look at him as a starter however could decide to see how he works out of the bullpen too. The Mariners designated two players for assignment in catcher Jesus Sucre who is out of options and pitcher Jonathan Aro. Both players could go to triple A if not claimed by any other team.

I am sure Dipoto will continue adding more depth going into spring training. These players won’t only get a chance in spring training they most likely be on the Tacoma Rainiers roster starting the season and be available in case of injuries. General Manager Jerry Dipoto isn’t afraid in keeping busy that is for sure along with his front office staff. Go M’s.

Edgar Gets Number Retired

Now that spring training will be here real soon and the voting of the HOF is over the Mariners announced that Edgar Martinez number 11 will be retired on August 12.

It is fitting that his number will be the second retired by the Seattle Mariners in the history of the team. Last year they retired Ken Griffey Junior’s number after being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Now it is time that Edgar has his place in the hall as well however we will have to wait at least another year if not two to see that happen. I don’t understand the writers why they couldn’t vote him in this year. There were not that many candidates that deserve to be in the HOF.

I figure if Tim Raines gets in on his final try than Edgar should be in as well. Other than the speed and stealing bases Edgar had a higher batting average than Raines along with having an on base percentage over four hundred. Edgar was never afraid to take walk. Another thing was he almost took the first pitch every time on an at bat so he could have a strike against him right off. It didn’t bother him even if he had two strikes against him. He was a patient hitter at the plate who knew what he was doing. Another thing we found near the end of his career that he had blindness in his eyes and he still hit over three hundred. He was the best right handed hitter in baseball at least during his time in the game if not for ever. He won two American League batting titles playing for the same team his entire career. Now he is showing both young players and veterans on how to hit the ball in certain situations. He has been the Mariners hitting coach for one and half seasons showing these players day in and day out how to do it. You can see especially in the late innings when the Mariners are making a rally to win or get back into the game. How long he will be a hitting coach how knows? He could end up being a manager someday too. It depends on Edgar. Anyway we salute you today Edgar for being the player and the man baseball fans can admire. We look forward to seeing you in the Mariner dugout for the season and especially on Aug. 12 when the Mariners honor you. Thanks again Edgar!

A Month Before Spring Training

We are now getting down to where we see the Mariners in action. The pitchers report on Feb. 14 while the position players come in on Feb. 18.

According to General Manager Jerry Dipoto the major league roster is pretty well set only minor league acquisitions’ will happen. So I will be going to go over the roster the way it is unless someone comes in including minor leaguers.

I will look at the starting pitchers that the Mariners have and those who will be competing for a spot but may land in triple A unless they are released for them to get a job in another organization. The bullpen looks like it is set for most of the spots however we will look at those that will be competing as well. In the pitching it will depend a lot about whether there are any injuries.

The acquisition recently of two starting pitches the starting rotation looks like Felix Hernandez likely will be the opening starting pitcher once again. He will get in some action in the World Baseball Classic. The Mariners will likely go right, left, right, left and right so James Paxton will go second followed by Iwakuma. The rotation will be finished with newcomers Drew Smyly and Yovani Gallardo. Paxton and Smyly both lefties could be switched in the order as well depending who may be ready and have had the best spring training. Also competing for starting rotation is Ariel Miranda who likely will end up as the second left hander in the bullpen. Depending how long the starters are going he will probably pitch long relief though he could pitch to a tough lefty in the sixth inning. Two others being considered in the rotation are Chris Heston who the Mariners signed as a free agent and previously pitched for the San Francisco. Also the Mariners picked up Rob Whalen from the Atlanta Braves. Most likely Whalen will start the season in triple A. Cody Martin who spent most of last season with Tacoma will start the season in Triple A as well. Heston could be released or traded during training camp as well. He most likely won’t be sent to triple A. There are a few other pitchers like LHP James Pazos the Mariners traded for with the New York Yankees who will start in Tacoma as well.

At catcher the Mariners will be going with Mike Zunino who started last year with Tacoma. He is still considered the future starting catcher for the Mariners depending in his hitting. In November the Mariners traded for catcher Carlos Ruiz. The Mariners send left handed pitcher Vidal Nuno to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ruiz. The Mariners still have Jesus Sucre for insurance in case something happens with Zunino and Ruiz. Sucre is out of options so he would have to go through waivers if he doesn’t make the team because he is out of options. Mariners signed Sucre to a contract that would pay him more money being sent to Triple A than most players are paid there hoping that no one would snatch for that reason. Chris Iannetta who started the season last year for the Mariners became a free agent because they did not pick up his option. He signed a free agent contract recently with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He will be competing with two other catchers to get playing time.

Next time will look at the bullpen and the regular position players. Most of the bullpen will look the same as the end of last season however the Mariners have picked up a few pitchers to compete while outfield will look different except the return of Leonys Martin. Second and third base will stay the same with Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager while shortstop and first base will be different. Until next time Go M’s.

Another Busy Day For Dipoto

We should never be surprised by what Jerry Dipoto does for the Mariners. Wednesday he made two more trades to make it eleven for the off-seasons. He said that this should be it for the major league roster before spring training begins. I don’t think it would surprise us if that is not true. He does plan to add more to the minor league system.

Speaking of the minor leagues these two trades involved a couple of Mariner top minor league prospects. The first trade the Mariners made a trade with the Atlanta Braves sending them left handed pitchers Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows for right handed relief pitcher Shae Simmons and outfielder Mallex Smith.

Gohara was considered one of the Mariner’s top pitching prospects however has only pitched as high as single A so far. Mallex Smith who is a lot like the other outfielders the Mariners have gotten recently did not stick around long since he was dealt to the Tampa Rays along with infielder Carlos Vargas and left handed pitcher Ryan Yarbrough who happened to be the Mariners minor league pitcher of the year. He pitches last year in double A and was expected to pitch this season at triple A. The Mariners received left handed starter Drew Smyly from the Rays. Smyly will be considered the fourth or fifth starter for the Mariners. He has had a solid career though last year was an off year for him having an era of 4.88 though he did start thirty games for the Rays. If he gets any place close to thirty starts for the Mariners they will be very pleased.

The Mariner’s starting rotation right now looks like Felix Hernandez, Iwakuma, James Paxton, Yovani Gallardo who they picked up last week from the Baltimore Orioles and Smyly. Ariel Miranda who had been penciled in as the fifth starter will likely go to the bullpen as a long reliever. I expect at some point he will start some games for the Mariners since not all pitchers stay healthy. The Mariners do have some other pitchers that they have added to the depth of the rotation in case of injuries.

Shae Simmons who was picked up in the first trade from Atlanta will get a shot in the Mariners’ bullpen. Last season because of injuries Simmons only pitched six games in September. His previous major league experience with the Atlanta Braves in 2014 where he relieved in twenty-six games with an era of 2.91; he pitched a total of twenty-one and two/thirds innings striking out twenty three batters. I am sure the Mariners would not complain if he could get similar statistics as long as it is for more games and innings. Where he may fit in the bullpen we will see during spring training. Another good job Dipoto though it would have been nice to get a number 1, 2 or three starter I will still take it. Go Mariners!

Scott Servais Second Season Coming

I wrote a piece about spring training coming up very soon with the new year here now however I remember that I was going to write about manager Scott Servais.

In fact I would have already have written about it however Dipoto after have an absence for about a month in acquiring players made two trades last Friday so I had to write something about those two trades.

The piece I have written about the upcoming spring training I will publish in a couple days so instead about Scott Servais. I thought he had a pretty good first season as the Mariner manager. We all know it actually was his first managing experience ever in professional baseball. It is possible he coached little league or something else but that is not that important. LOL.

The Mariners did have some rough spots during last season especially in June and July because of injuries to the starting rotation. Felix Hernandez being the primary guy out for a while; also had injury issues with TaiJuan Walker that meant another starting pitcher had to be replaced. The Mariners had to pick up a pitcher or two or go down to triple A as a minimal success. Now Walker was traded to Arizona Diamondbacks so we don’t have to worry about him any longer except to plug someone in his spot in the rotation. He likely would be the fourth starter anyway. I am not downgrading Walker I hope he has success with the Diamondbacks except when they face the Mariners.

Unlike his predecessor Servais was able to overcome injuries and the Mariners ended winning more games than they lost and almost made the playoffs. Now that he will be into his second season I am sure most of us expect more success for Servais and the Mariners. I am sure he knows the mistakes he made last year and will correct them this coming season. Of course the success of the team is more in the hands of the players however his main job is to keep a positive attitude throughout the long season.

This season coming up the team will be younger and more athletic so his managing I am sure will be different than last season. At this point he likely doesn’t know how this work out but does know it will be different like we know it will be.

Last year the Mariners scored a lot of runs with home runs which we didn’t expect either however this year the Mariners look like will score more with little ball as they call it. They will scratch to score runs. The outfielders especially will be doing more running either stealing bases or hit and run. Most of the home runs will be by the big three of Cano, Cruz and Seager along with catcher Mike Zunino and first baseman/outfielder Dan Valencia who they picked up from the Oakland A’s.

The thing about Servais seems that he is a steady guy that doesn’t let anything rock him. I guess we will see that happen again this coming season. With players with little major league experience he will have to be patient. I expect that there will not be much change in the starting lineup. At least in the order he may switch in the bottom and the top however the middle of the lineup will stay the same. Cano, Cruz and Seager will have their places solid at three, four and five in the order. I expect that Valencia will bat sixth in the lineup when he is playing. Although he will play a lot at first base platooning with Daniel Vogelbach he will be seen in the outfield as well. He will be close to be a regular player without being one if you know what I mean. Since he has a lot of experience at third base he will occasionally give Kyle Seager a day off in the field. This helps to if Seager gets hurt for a period of time.

I am sure that Servais will pencil in Leonys Martin and Mike Zunino in the seventh and eighth spots in the order. Any number of the speedy guys will fit in the ninth spot. The number one and two spots in the order will be interesting to see who will fit there. We will see and speculate throughout spring training. I am sure that Servais will try a few guys at the top of the order; most likely the ones that may end up batting ninth too.

Anyway we all are looking forward to another successful season for Servais and the Mariners. We hope this time that they make it into the playoffs and the World Series. In the meantime Go M’s.

Mariners Make Two Trades

The Seattle Mariners made two trades on Friday. The first trade they sent outfielder Seth Smith to the Baltimore Orioles for starting veteran pitcher Yovani Gallardo.

This trade looks like another one the Mariners made with the Orioles dumping salary. Reading from the Orioles media perspective this was a surprise in them trading Gallardo to the Mariners. Smith is expected to play right field for the Orioles in the same manner he would have in Seattle. Orioles media wonder if Smith has lost speed and unable to play well defensively. In some respects Smith has lost speed to play semi-regular in Safeco Field which is a larger park than Camden Yards. Smith will play better in the field for the Orioles than he would for the Mariners at home. On the other hand he became very popular with the Mariner fans so he will be missed in that respect.

Gallardo seems to be the type of pitcher that general manager Dipoto is looking for in a veteran who had an off year after starting the season on the disabled list. Gallardo started twenty-three games last year with a 5.42 era. The previous two years with Milwaukee and then Texas he pitched almost two hundred innings with era under four. Also he doesn’t walk a lot of batters either. Pitching in Safeco he may do a better job and be back to his previous numbers.

Several hours later the Mariners traded pitcher Nathan Karns to the Kansas City Royals for outfielder Jarrod Dyson. Karns the Mariners traded for last off-season from the Tampa Bay Rays. He missed more than half of the season for the Mariners and was projected to be the fifth starter. Now that the Mariners got Gallardo he was no longer needed.

The Mariners picking up Jarrod Dyson from the Kansas City Royals they got a fourth outfielder with speed. Playing about one hundred games a year in his career with the Royals he did average about thirty stolen bases; his batting average last year was .278. He primarily put in the Royals lineup for his speed and his defense. As a veteran player he does give the Mariners more speed in the lineup along with his defense. With the Royals he did mostly play center field but with the Mariners he is likely play in right or left field though does allow the Mariners to rest Leonys Martin occasionally in center field. He does help with veteran leadership since the Mariners have young players to go along with Martin.

If you look at the roster of outfielders with the Mariners they all have history playing center field especially in the minor leagues. So the Mariners have improved a lot during the off-season on defense and speed. The question though is how well the Mariners hitting be from the outfielders. I expect that Dyson will even out for Smith.

According to Dipoto the starting outfield likely is Dyson, Martin and Haniger with Gamel and Heredia fighting for time. Danny Valencia will be the key when it comes to hitting because of the outfield and first base. Daniel Vogelbach is expected to be the left handed hitting first baseman however no one really knows how he will hit in the major leagues since his time has been in the minor leagues. The same goes for Gamel, Haniger and Heredia. This will be played out during spring training first of all than into the season.

I am sure that the Mariners will go and see if they can pick up another starting pitcher. Felix, Iwakuma, Paxton and Gallardo are in the rotation. The fifth starter will come from Miranda, Chris Heston the Mariners signed as a free agent who last pitched for the San Francisco Giants and Rob Whalen they got from the Atlanta Braves. Next week that could change and likely will. So Mariners we are looking toward spring training. Go M’s.

Looking At Mariners Bullpen

Now that 2017 is here and the Mariners spring training is not far off I will start writing about the different positions and players.

The team has improved off of last season but by how much we will see. I don’t see the bullpen changing a whole lot since last season except that Edwin Diaz will start the season off as the closer. The hope is that he will continue to do what he did last year except in September where things went array probably because of the amount of innings he had pitched. I am sure that manager Scott Servais will watch the amount of inning that Diaz will pitch again especially early in the season.

The Mariners could use Dan Altavilla sometimes as a closer if he makes the club. He did a good job when he came up in August. He primarily will pitch in either the sixth or seventh inning. I would not pitch him in the eighth if Diaz is pitching the ninth because they are a lot alike. They both throw hard along with having a slider. Hopefully Diaz will improve on the slider against lefties or come up with another pitch. He is dominant with the slider against righties. The same maybe for Altavilla; I don’t remember him facing too many lefties.

I can see Steve Cishek as the primary guy coming out of the bullpen in the eighth inning though he may be asked to pitch the ninth inning once in a while. Depending on his usage he could go two innings. Cishek isn’t expected to start the season because of surgery so Tony Zych or Nick Vincent could be pitching the eighth inning. Zych would depend on his arm since he missed most of last season. When Cishek comes back Vincent likely is the main guy pitching the seventh inning.

Evan Scribner who had an outstanding September after being on the disabled list all season likely will pitch the sixth or seventh inning depending on how far the starter has gone. He did a great job getting hitters out with runners on base so that could be his job for the season.

Ariel Miranda or Nathan Karns could be the long reliever out of the bullpen depending on who may be the fifth starter. It would be nice if Miranda started because it would mean that the Mariners would have two lefties in the starting rotation unless the Mariners pick up another lefty to start. Karns who had a so so time in the bullpen before being injured could be effected in relief because last season he was only good for about two or three innings. This would depend to on how Dipoto and Servais are looking at Karns.

The Mariners signed a left handed specialist who primarily will pitch in the seventh or eighth innings. The guy is Marc Rzepczynski who is familiar with being a left handed specialist. He is best known for getting lefties out and has not had a lot of success against righties. Most of the Mariner right handed relievers are good at getting lefties out so he will come in to get one of the tough lefties out or two depending where they are in the batting order and how many outs there are.

I would not see any surprises for the bullpen right now unless they pick up someone in spring training like they did Nick Vincent last year. It looks like a solid group however we know that the bullpen can change a lot one year to the next. So spring training will be interesting on how it works out and we know that things could change before spring training with the history of Dipoto. He could trade someone in the bullpen part as a package to get someone somewhere else. Next time I will look at Manager Scott Servais.

Spring Training Coming Soon

Now that the year has turned over to 2017 means that spring training for the Seattle Mariners is about a month and half away.

General Manager Jerry Dipoto has been quite busy once again this off-season acquiring parts for the Mariners to make another run to the playoffs and we hope this year to the World Series. The biggest trade of the off-season was trading TaiJuan Walker to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with shortstop Marte and received shortstop Jean Segura and outfielder Mitch Haniger in return. This will make the Mariners a better team for 2017 and the long run. Segura is a superior offensive threat to Marte and at least as good in the field. Haniger is expected to be the key to the trade however he could be a year or longer to see if it is actually true. Depending how he does in spring training he could either start in triple A or be a right handed hitting player this coming season platooning in one of the corner positions. He can play center field as well so he could spell Leonys Martin when needed as well.

With the trade of TaiJuan Walker the starting rotation looks like Felix Hernandez, Iwakuma and James Paxton as the big three right now along with Ariel Miranda and Nathan Karns being the front runners for fourth and fifth pitchers in the rotation. Dipoto is looking to acquire another starting pitcher either in trade or free agency. Personally I would like someone that would be in the mix as one of the top starters like Felix, Iwakuma and Paxton however the Mariners may go for someone who is a third or fourth. I just hope that the three top starters can stay healthy for the year. Miranda or Kearns could end up in the bullpen if they are not one of the starters. Miranda could be the best choice being the second lefty primarily used in long relief as the first pitcher out of the bullpen.

Speaking of lefty specialist the Mariners signed free agent Marc Rzepczynski. The main thing with him is it will take us all spring training if not the whole year to pronounce his name correctly. I can’t tell you what it is right now and I won’t try. He likely will pitch in the seventh or eighth inning against a tough lefty handed hitter. He doesn’t have much good history against right handers so he will likely pitch against one hitter in the inning unless another left handed comes up again in the inning and depending whether any one is on base. The Mariners do have some right handed pitchers who can pitch to lefties so which lefty he pitches against will depend on who is the best hitter and the situation on how many outs or base runners.

The Mariners did pick up another left handed reliever in the trade with Arizona in Zac Curtis however he likely will start the season in triple A. He may be a year away from helping out the Mariners.

Other free agents the Mariners signed were Chris Heston who will be vying for a spot in the starting rotation along with Casey Fien a right handed pitcher fighting for a spot in the bullpen. Rob Whalen who the Mariners purchased in the trade with Atlanta Braves where they traded away former first round pick Alex Jackson will have a chance to make it as a starter as well.

The Mariners likely will go with five right handed pitchers and two lefties in the bullpen. Edwin Diaz will be the closer and Evan Scribner who had excellent September after being out the rest of last season along with Nick Vincent and Steve Cishek will be the likely key right handers. So that will leave one spot open for several pitchers vying for. Cishek who had surgery during the off-season likely won’t start the season for the Mariners will leave another spot open.

So now we have to look for the next month to see who Dipoto will look at signing or trading for to be part of the starting rotation or other parts of the roster. Go M’s and happy New Year’s to everyone.