Mariner Update

On Monday November 27 the Mariners announced that they had signed a minor league contract with right handed pitcher Iwakuma who was out most of last year. He wouldn’t be included on the forty man roster going into spring training. If he makes the opening roster likely he will be the fifth starter and I am sure we are rooting him on that he will be healthy and pitch close to what we know he is capable of.

I haven’t heard any more about the possibility of signing free agent outfield Jon Jay since it was reported before Thanksgiving. The Mariners do have other options for an additional outfielder. If they sign Japanese player Ohtani either he or Nelson Cruz will play some in the outfield. Though Ohtani main purpose will be to pitch him and the Mariners feel he can hit in the major leagues as well and plan to use him as a two way player whether that is in the outfield or at designated hitter when he isn’t pitching.

Ian Miller was named this past season with the Ken Griffey Jr Award as the best hitter in the Mariners minor league system. He started the season in AA however played a lot in AAA for Tacoma. He hit for a combined .307 batting average. Whether he is ready for the major leagues or not this spring training will tell. No one was put on the forty man roster to protect against the Rule 5 and Miller is eligible to be taken in the that draft however every player taken has to play a full season in the majors for the team taken or be returned back to the team he was taken. Of course the two teams could make arrangement where the player could go to the minors with the team that them. It doesn’t happen often though. So the Mariners could lose him however he is another player like Gamel, Heredia and Haniger who can play solid defense and has speed as well. Though the odds are against Miller we wouldn’t know what will happen with him. The Mariners do have hold over at utility player Taylor Motter who could find his spot as the fourth outfielder since the Mariners now have Andrew Romine they picked up from the Detroit Tigers. He can find himself in the mix as well. Motter is shown as the third left fielder on the depth chart. Both of them are shown on the depth chart in the infield positions too. If the Mariners decide to keep both most likely you will see Motter playing shortstop when needed well as left field and first base. Romine on the other hand in right field, second, third and possibly first base. Guillermo Heredia right now is shown as the centerfielder along with backup at left field and right field. This can change if the Mariners sign Jon Jay because he likely will be the center fielder.

We will still have to see where the Mariners may sign or trade for a backup catcher. Right now they have two catchers they actually picked up from the Atlanta Braves who have mostly triple A experience. Without really knowing how Mike Zunino will do I would like to see them pick up a veteran major league catcher. I am sure that both Dipoto and Servais are thinking in the back of their minds what if Zunino starts off the season like he did in 2017 hitting and this time doesn’t recover. He goes out and has a so so season. We all hope this doesn’t happen but it is a possibility.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the free agent market along with trades for the next month or so. I will keep up with my analysist on at least a weekly basis or when something happens during the hot stove season. Go M’s.

Mariners After Thanksgiving

The Seattle Mariners made three transactions before Thanksgiving and I expect that they will be making more now before Christmas.

The primary transaction was picking up Ryon Healy first baseman from the Oakland A’s for reliever Emilio Pagan and a minor league infielder. This fulfills the first base position without spending a lot of money and getting a power hitter as well.

Now the Mariners are now putting a lot of effort into going after pitcher and hitter Shohei Ohtani. He posted himself to be available to all major league baseball clubs and according to general manager Jerry Dipoto they are going to put full effort to bring him to the Mariners. The thing about the posting of Ohtani is that he is a bargain for all clubs compared to what he would have been if he had waited a couple more years. At his age and experience the rate to sign him is a $3 million signing bonus. The Mariners and Dipoto are putting on a selling point on the history that they have with the Japanese players they have had over the years including Ichiro and Iwakuma who the Mariners have given him an offer to come back to them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mariners will have Iwakuma give him a talk on the organization of the Mariners. According to Dipoto they have put out a video showing the city of Seattle and how they have relations with Japan along with citizens who live in and around Seattle who are Japanese.

I am sure the Mariners have a backup plan when it comes to getting a picture of his stature if he signs elsewhere. Of course the cost of money will be more for the backup plan than for Ohtani. Dipoto says if Ohtani does sign with the Mariners that when he isn’t pitching he will likely be the designated hitter on some of the days he isn’t pitching. They would look at Nelson Cruz playing in the outfield on those days.

There is talk that the Mariners maybe signing free agent outfielder Jon Jay who recently played for the Chicago Cubs and had a batting average of .296 in 2017. Also he isn’t known for having power so he would be looked at providing veteran leadership at 32 years old and playing solid defense. He is left handed hitter so he and Guillermo Heredia could be platooning in center field however since Ben Gamel is left handed hitter as well playing in left field Heredia will likely play some in left field as well. At this point Heredia is looking to be the fourth outfielder for the Mariners. If Ohtani is signed than his playing time will be cut down.

It will be interesting to find out who the Mariners are targeting as a starting pitcher besides Ohtani. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mariners go after someone who can be in the top three starters or another one that would be slated as the fifth starter. One thing we know is that this could be the most interesting hot stove season we have seen in Seattle.


Mariners Make Splash

I was wondering if the Mariners were going to make a splash during the GM meeting that were held this week Monday thru Wednesday.

On Tuesday they announced that they had filled the vacancy of assistant coach with the signing of Jimmy Brower. It wasn’t what I was expecting because Brower was minor pitching coordinator for the Chicago Cubs. I thought they would be signing a hitting coach in this spot however they decided that pitching is a priority which it is for sure. They still have to get a bullpen coach and Cabrera who was in that position the second half of the season after Mike Hampton resigned. Cabrera will still be on staff just not as bullpen coach. So you see the Mariners will have four coaches that will deal with the pitching. Scott Brosius who was Edgar Martinez assistant hitting coach is now the third base coach. I am sure part of his duties will still deal with helping the hitters.

On Wednesday the Mariners made a splash trading reliever Emilio Pagan and a minor league infielder to the Oakland A’s for power hitting first baseman Ryon Healy. I see this as a pretty good pickup though I hate to lose Pagan in the process. I am sure the Mariners feel that they can replace him in the bullpen. Of course like Healy he was a rookie in 2017. Healy brings the Mariners a power hitter that will help them out and is only twenty-five years old and the Mariners will have control of him for the next five years. He can play third base as well if the Mariners need to rest Kyle Seager or he gets hurt for a period of time. I don’t see Healy playing much at third though he played about half of his games in 2017 at third base. Most likely whoever goes in for Seager when he needs the rest will be the utility player.

According to general manager Jerry Dipoto that Healy is considered the everyday first baseman so other words there will be no platooning. When he needs a rest this will likely come from the utility player as well; with the acquiring of Healy the chances are good that Daniel Vogelbach likely will be traded. He is seen more as a designated hitter than a first baseman since his defense is somewhat suspect though he has been working on it. He likely be traded to a team in the American League to be used as a dh and part-time first baseman.

With the acquiring of Healy this means that Yonder Alonso will not be returning to the Mariners and the same most likely goes for Danny Valencia. The reason Valencia would return be to play in the outfield and an occasion at first or third base. To sign Valencia who is a free agent the Mariners would have to make him a regular in either left or right field. So this would mean that Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia would be platooning most likely in left field with Mitch Haniger in center field. We would see Heredia playing on occasion in center field as well.

With the acquisition of Healy this means that the Mariners don’t necessarily have to go for an outfielder that has power though it would be nice at the same time. Like Gamel, Haniger and Heredia the Mariners would feel right about getting someone that has speed and can play defense. Also getting Healy this means that the Mariners are free to spend money on the starting pitching. With Alonso being gone along with Iwakuma and Gallardo options being declined the Mariners have plenty of money to pick up a high quality starter well as another starter. With Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake it is hard to know whether they are thinking of getting two starters. This would depend on how much depth that Dipoto wants to go with beyond what they already have. Good job Dipoto we look forward to see what is next on the horizon. Go M’s.

Baseball GM Meeting Start Monday

The major league baseball teams are in Orlando Florida three days for general manager meeting. One guarantee we know is that Seattle Mariners general manager will be busy talking with other teams about making trades along with agents of the players that are free agents.

Whether the Mariners will pull off a trade in these three days or not we do know that action will take place where a trade or more will happen over the remaining month of November and going into December.

The needs of the Mariners will be getting a first baseman, an outfielder, backup catcher and starting pitching. The Mariners could snap up a relief pitcher as well along with adding depth with players who could start next season at Tacoma.

The free agency route could be the Mariners picking up a first baseman and backup catcher. They could go that route as well getting an outfielder and at least one starting pitcher though the likelihood the Mariners will look to get both through a trade.

There has been talk about the Mariners getting outfield Jay Bruce through free agency however most believe he would be too costly for the Mariners to sign. Personally the money it would be to sign Bruce I would give to a starting pitcher instead whether it is in free agency or picking up in a trade.

Though the Mariners can use another outfielder to go along with Ben Gamel, Mitch Haniger and Guillermo Heredia whether he is a starting outfielder or a fourth outfielder would all depend how much the Mariners have to dish out in money or in players.

I am sure that Dipoto has been speaking with Yonder Alonso and his agent about signing a multiyear contract however the cost will decide whether they will sign him or not. They could go with another first baseman that doesn’t cost as much. I did discuss that in a previous post so I won’t go any further there.

The Mariners did pick up two minor league catchers with little major league experience but I am sure they will see what might be out there that could be better however I wouldn’t be surprised if they stick with those two or pick up another catcher with triple A experience ad ready to make the jump to the majors. Next year will continue be development in the career of Mike Zunino. The Mariners are hoping that he will be able to hit like he did most of the time from June on of last season. If he goes backwards to where he was last April the Mariners may have to look elsewhere for picking up a regular catcher.

The Mariners will be looking to get a starting pitcher that will go with James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake. It would be nice to pick up a pitcher in the likes of Drew Smyly they did last year. At this point though he is on the 40 man roster Smyly will likely not be ready to start the season in the Mariners rotation. He might not be ready to pitch until after the all-star break if then.

James Paxton and Felix are both prone to injuries so at least one or even two starting pitchers would be where the Mariners will need to go. In fact I believe the Mariners may have to trade Paxton to pick up a couple high quality pitchers though they may not match him exactly. They could be both third and fourth starters instead of an ace. Paxton still has the potential to be an ace pitcher but the injuries he has suffered puts in question whether the Mariners can rely on him and the question goes for Felix as well. The next few days we will see what tricks and surprises that Dipoto has up his sleeves. Go M’s.

Free Agency Begins

On Monday teams had a chance to sign their own free agents until 2 pm on qualifying offers on a one year contract of $17.4 million only nine were offered in the whole major leagues. None of the seven Mariner free agents were offered these contracts. Out of the nine who were offered most of them likely won’t accept because they will want to look at getting a multiyear contract from either their team or one of the other teams in the majors.

Now that free agency is on it will be interesting to see how long until Seattle Mariner general manager Jerry Dipoto will sign a player. The need will be at first base, the outfield, backup catcher and pitching.

Yonder Alonso said that he was interested in returning to the Mariners and I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Dipoto have already spoken about a multiyear contract. Most likely it would be a 2yr contract with an option for a third.

Iwakuma might be the only sure return as a free agent however the Mariners will likely sign him to a minor league contract with incentives if he makes the club. Another free agent Jarrod Dyson could return however there is talk he might go to the National League and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Don’t have any idea where Danny Valencia will land and whether he or the Mariners are interested for his return. He could be that outfielder that the Mariners may want along with some playing time at first and third base. A lot will depend on what he is asking for and what the market looks like.

It is hard to know how strong Dipoto will look on the free agent market for a pitcher. He may look to sign a reliever and possibly a starter depending what the market shows. Most likely a starting pitcher the Mariners will want be found when he will do some trading. I am sure he has discussed with several teams and something could come down in the next couple weeks or so. Whatever the case we know that likely we will be surprised. So here we go free agency who and when the first signing will happen. Go M’s.


Talk of Free Agency

When it comes to free agency the home teams have a chance to sign their own for five days so the Mariners have that chance.

According to two of the Mariners seven free agents will sign elsewhere and they have two others that will sign with them. They say that Yonder Alonso will sign a two year contract with the Los Angeles Angels and Jarrod Dyson will sign a two year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Alonso will likely be the everyday first baseman with the Angles while Dyson will do the same as he did with the Mariners this last season where he will platoon in centerfield.

So this means that the Mariners will have to go for another first baseman and get another outfielder to replace Dyson. The first baseman rumored come to the Mariners is long time New York Met Lucas Duda. He didn’t have a very good batting average just over two hundred however did hit thirty home runs for the season. In July the Mets traded him to Tampa Bay figuring he would not return. He is expected to sign a one year contract so it won’t be a big deal if he doesn’t work out. He is a left handed bat so likely it means that the Mariners will let go of or trade Daniel Vogelbach who hits left handed as well. The Mariners could be platooning at first base again with either utility hold over Taylor Motter or Andrew Romine the Mariners picked up on waivers from the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. Romine has played over a hundred games a season so he is accustomed to be a super utility player sort of in the line of former Mariner Mark McLemore. He doesn’t have a high average or much power but can play all nine positions on the field. So he could be the fourth outfielder on the Mariners along with being the emergency catcher. Besides Duda if the Mariners don’t pick up another position player both Romine and Motter could make the roster. Romine is a switch hitter so that helps in his favor to make the roster and he is a veteran utility player the Mariners can use. Knowing Dipoto it will probably not be the last of any moves he makes regarding the infield and outfield.

Another move that has it that the Mariners will sign veteran right handed reliever Pat Neshek who started the season with the Philadelphia Phillies and was their representative on the All-Star team. He then was traded to the Colorado Rockies. His delivery is a lot like former Mariner Steve Cishek. He would sign a two year contract with the Mariners. In this case he could be used in the setup role in the seventh or eighth inning along with Nick Vincent and Dave Phelps. It would certainly add depth to the Mariners’ bullpen.

There is no talk of any top free agent starting pitchers coming to the Mariners so likely they will have to find it in a trade or two. Since the Mariners have made multiplayer trades in the last two years in November would not surprise me if they pick up a starter this month. I would say it would probably not be a top three starter like the caliber of Paxton, Hernandez and Leake but we could be surprised as well.

The Mariners did put on Drew Smyly on the active roster however I would be surprised if he were ready when the season began though it would be nice for sure. It would be like adding another top three tier pitcher. Whatever the case I wouldn’t be surprised if Erasmo Ramirez would be sent to the bullpen as the long reliever and spot starter.

Andrew Moore at this point is the most likely to be the fifth starter though Ariel Miranda could hold that spot once again in 2018. If not the Mariners could be going with three lefties in the bullpen however any of three could be involved in any trade that the Mariners make as well. We will see won’t we? November will be an interesting month for sure. Go M’s.

Welcome to Hot Stove League

I am sure everyone had a good time watching the World Series regardless who you were rooting for. It was nice to go seven games however Wednesday night’s final game wasn’t as exciting as most of the other games with the Astros getting out to a fast lead. Of course if you were rooting for the Astros or liked strong pitching that happened throughout the game for the Astros and then the Dodgers pitching like Clayton Kershaw who came in for Darvish had a solid outing as well but the Dodgers couldn’t come through.

Now it is time to relax and take some time off from baseball except to check in on the Hot Stove League. We know that Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto will be busy as he always is during this time of the year.

The Mariners have seven free agents including Yovani Gallardo and Iwakuma whose options were declined. The Mariners will be looking at free agency possibly for first base since Yonder Alonso and Danny Valencia are both free agents. Alonso would like to resign with the Mariners and I believe the Mariners want the same thing. Valencia it is hard to say though he could come back at first base or the outfield or both. Dyson is a free agent however it is hard to know whether the Mariners want him back though could be good in his role like last season.

We will look and see what the Mariners will go after with starting pitching. Dipoto will not say anything in that direction until it happens I believe. Though it isn’t as important because of what they have currently in the bullpen I am sure the Mariners will look at some possible relievers as well. Backup catcher is another they will look at seeing what is out there though they could go with what they have. The last spot would be looking to improve the outfield though Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia and Mitch Haniger are a good tandem that should improve over another season. The Mariners could go after either a right handed or left handed outfielder since Heredia could platoon with Gamel in left or play a lot in center field. There is thought that Haniger could move to center field as well but I am not sure whether that is a good idea. This would depend whether Dyson returns or another outfielder comes in. We will see and I am sure Dipoto will pull something off before Thanksgiving. Go M’s.

Look at Mariner Pitching

This off-season the Seattle Mariners need to restructure their pitching especially in the starting rotation.

Watching the World Series I noticed that not only do they need help at starting pitching they may need help in the bullpen as well. The Houston Astros and the Los Angeles have had good if not outstanding pitching in the playoffs well as the World Series however the bullpens been struggling at times.

The problem with the bullpen for both the Astros and Dodgers is using the same guys over and over again. An example is that former Mariner Brandon Morrow was used in four straight games. He was outstanding in the first three but was hit hard in the fourth game. It was an important game however the Dodgers should have gone in another direction. I am sure part of the problem is not having top relievers throughout the bullpen. The Astros bullpen has struggled throughout the playoffs as well. Most likely the winner of the World Series will be the one with the most success of the bullpen.

When it comes to the playoffs especially the World Series only four starters at the most likely are in the rotation so the fifth guy will be put in the rotation. Most likely he isn’t used to relieving all season unless he was a long man at some point. Even if he does have success in the playoffs it will knock someone else out of the bullpen.

Looking at the Mariners starting rotation at this point of the off-season for 2018 the top three not in any specific order will be James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake. The fourth starter could be Erasmo Ramirez. He is a guy who has experience both starting and relieving. So if the Mariners make the playoffs he could be valuable in the bullpen even though he might start all season because he has had the experience doing so. I am not saying he will be great at it however he is doing something that he has done before.

So what I see is that the Mariners need not only add at least one top starter if not two during the off-season whether by free agency or by trade they need to add to the bullpen as well. In my opinion the relievers they have that likely will start the season with them like Nick Vincent, Dave Phelps and closer Edwin Diaz won’t cut it. I am not sure whether the Mariners should go out and get a top notch reliever at this point because it is not a priority at this time however if they look to be one of the teams to make the playoffs in July I would say go get another top reliever because they will need one at that point.

I am sure everyone has an idea who they would like the Mariners to go after however the question is how much it will cost to get a top tier starting pitcher. I believe we will know shortly after the World Series is over or before Thanksgiving. Jerry Dipoto has made most of his big transactions in November. Go M’s.