Mariners Mini Morsels: September 2

The MLB transactions page reflects that Aaron Harang has been released. Harang, 35, had a 5.76 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 22 starts this season.  The veteran had solid numbers with the Padres and Rockies in the previous two seasons (3.62 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9) but has been unable to replicate that with the M’s.  He could be on his way to joining a fourth team in 2013. The Dodgers traded Harang to the Rockies for Ramon Hernandez in April and Colorado flipped him to the M’s just days later.  Harang’s stay with in Colorado was brief, however, and he never got to pitch for the Rockies.

—By Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors


In a piece by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports he states that, “Shortly before the July 31 non-waver deadline, the Seattle Mariners contacted Kendrys Morales’ agent, Scott Boras, about signing the designated hitter-first baseman to a contract extension. The conversation did not lead to actual negotiations, and Morales is now all but certain to become a free agent this offseason. Boras said Friday that he expressed to the Mariners his plan to market Morales as a hitter whose offensive statistics would improve if he played his home games in a park other than Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field. Morales, 30, had told team officials he was interested in re-signing with the club, but the Mariners balked at contract figures suggested by Boras and never made the player a formal offer, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions. The Mariners then passed twice on chances to trade Morales, first before the non-waiver deadline and then again this week after he was claimed on waivers by an unidentified club. Morales, a switch hitter, is batting .281 with a .782 OPS and 17 home runs in 539 plate appearances. If he becomes a free agent, the Mariners will receive a draft pick for him only if they make him a one-year qualifying offer for a figure that is expected to be in the $14 million range. Still, Morales’ bat alone likely will make him attractive as a free agent,” Rosenthal concluded.


According to a story by Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, “The Anaheim City Council is expected to vote Tuesday to enter lease negotiations with the Angels that could keep the team in the city through 2057 but enable the team to drop the clumsy “of Anaheim” suffix from its name. Under the proposed deal, the Angels — and not the city — would pay for a major renovation of Angel Stadium. In return, Angels owner Arte Moreno would rent land surrounding the stadium for $1 per year and secure development rights to that land for at least 66 years. The two sides already have agreed that the Angels will have sole control over the team name, according to a memorandum posted on the city’s website. Under the new deal, Moreno could simply call his team the Los Angeles Angels.”


Morse’s former manager with the Nationals, Davey Johnson, noted that he “shudder[s] to think” about the impact Morse could have hitting in Camden Yards, “That ballpark is made for him,” said Johnson. “He’s that right-center hitter, and that’s the jet stream. He’s a good fit there. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post 


By the numbers

Dustin Ackley’s hitting has been getting better since the all-star break. With the 4-for-5 Friday night, he is now hitting .364 (40-for-110) since the break, and he is hitting .411 (30-for-73) in August.


When Taijuan Walker shut down the Astros for five innings on two hits and one unearned run on Friday, he became the youngest Mariners starting pitcher ever to win his Major League debut. Walker, at 21 years and 17 days, replaced Travis Blackley, who beat the Rangers in 2004 at the age of 21 years, 240 days. The club’s top pitching prospect became just the 11th pitcher in Mariners history to win his starting debut and just the second — joining Pat Rice in 1992 — to not allow an earned run in the process.

—Greg Johns


Kyle Seager was in the starting lineup Saturday for his 88th consecutive game, the longest stretch of starts by a third baseman in club history. Adrian Beltre held the previous best of 86 from 2005-06.

—Greg Johns


Seattle is 28th out of 30 MLB teams in stolen bases with 40 in their first 133 games, ahead of only the Cardinals (38) and Tigers (31).


Ty Kelly has hit safely in 10 out of his last 11 games.


Hiroki Kuroda has made 9 appearances without allowing a run this season, the most in MLB. Clayton Kershaw has made 8.


Alumni News

Wladimir Balentien, now with the Yakult Swallows in Japan, has accumulated 52 dingers this season in NPB, which is only three short of the record of 55 held by the legendary Japanese slugger, Sadaharu Oh, and matched by Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera in 2001 and 2002.  The later two got a lot of walks when they attempted to break Oh’s record.  Randy Bass hit 54 home runs in 1985 and got nothing but balls when going against the Yomiuri Giants, which Oh managed at the time.

Balentien has had the advantage of playing in Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, which is only 331 feet down each line. On his team’s website he said, “As the record nears, I know pitchers may be reluctant to throw strikes, but I’m concentrating on hitting as best as I can. I can feel the expectations of the team.”  With a slugging percentage north of .800, the 29-year-old might have drawn big league interest. Balentien, however, is in the first year of a three-year, $7.5MM deal with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows that does not contain an opt-out clause,” according to a recent report from Ben Nicholson-Smith of

Maybe the Mariners just didn’t have high enough expectations of him, you think?


Steve Adams of MLBTrade Rumors reports that,“The Indians have signed catcher Kelly Shoppach to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Columbus, the team announced via press release. Shoppach signed a one year contract worth $1.5MMwith the Mariners the past offseason and appeared in 35 games, hitting .196/.293/.346 over 125 plate appearances. Shoppach was pressed into everyday duty once Jesus Montero was demoted but ultimately wound up being released. Since that time he’s bounced around, signing minor league deals with the Nationals and Pirates. He opted out of his deal with the Nats and was release by Pittsburgh after seven games.”


They said so

He (Abraham Almonte) plays very hard. Its why you like playing with him because he plays so hard.Brad Miller
 “It may sound corny, but I enjoyed listening to Vin (Scully) call a game almost more than playing in them. He’s been a special broadcaster for a lot of years and he’s been wonderful to listen too for a lot of years. He definitely is the All Century broadcaster as far as I’m concerned. Sandy Koufax


“More than anything, we’re trying to find different ways to find talent. The major-league free-agent market is difficult to navigate. There are risks everywhere.” Reuben Amaro, Jr.


“He didn’t seem like he was 21 to me. He acted like he had been there before.”Henry Blanco on Taijuan Walker


“I’m a big fan. I really like a lot about this guy,” he said. “If he gets here to the big leagues with us he will have the best throwing arm in this outfield. He is a well-above-average runner. He is a great kid, gem of a person. Stocky, strong built guy. I really like the strides that he made and what we have seen out of this kid.”Jack Zduriencik on Abraham Almonte via Shannon Drayer


On the farm

Forrest Snow pitched five shutout innings, and Tacoma beat visiting Sacramento 7-1 Friday at Cheney Stadium. Snow, currently in his second go around with the Rainiers, improved to 4-0.   He was a reliever in 18 previous games with the Rainiers. West Point graduate Nick Hill, a left-hander brought up Friday from Double-A Jackson, took over for Snow, tossing 1-2-3 innings in both the sixth and the seventh with two strikeouts. Logan Bawcom closed the game, pitching a scoreless eighth but gave up a run on a wild pitch in the ninth to record his team-high 21st save on the year. Center fielder James Jones, also promoted from Jackson, went 1-for-4 in his Rainiers debut. Ji-Man Choi hit a pair of doubles and scored twice.

—Based on a story by Grant Clark of The News Tribune


Mike Curto at The News Tribune listed some of the farm hands he feels are deserving of some awards. These included:

“Class-A Clinton pitchers Tyler Pike (7-4, 2.37 in 110 innings) and Victor Sanchez (6-6, 2.78 in 113 innings) both had good seasons.

Chris Taylor, a shortstop out of Virginia, began the season at Class-A High Desert and did not miss a beat after a midsummer promotion to Double-A Jackson. Taylor has hit .313 with eight homers and 60 RBI in 131 games, and he leads all of the Mariner’s minor leaguers in batting average.


Patrick Kivlehan, a fourth-round 2012 draft pick out of Rutgers, opened the season at Clinton, then reeled off a 25-game hitting streak after a promotion to High Desert. The third baseman is hitting .304 combined, with 16 homers and 89 RBI.


Tacoma Rainiers outfielder Abraham Almonte ranked seventh in the Pacific Coast League in batting average at the time of his promotion to Seattle on Friday. He opened the season at Jackson and was in Tacoma by May. All told, Almonte hit .300 with 15 homers and 26 stolen bases in the minors this season.


Another Rainiers player, Ji-Man Choi, made a three-level jump during a highly successful campaign that saw him hit .297 with 18 homers and 85 RBI. The first baseman from South Korea ranks third in the organization in home runs.


Double-A Jackson’s Jabari Blash leads the organization with 25 home runs – no one else had more than 19 entering games Saturday. He hit .275 after a late-season surge that saw him bat .330 after a promotion to Double-A.


The Everett Aqua Sox will play in the Northwest League playoffs starting this week. Everett won the first half, clinching an early spot in the split-season format. The team leads its division in the second half, too. The Pulaski (Va.) Mariners of the Appalachian League also qualified for the postseason. Both teams are primarily made up of players selected in the 2013 draft and recent international signings.”


Pulaski Mariners win first play-off game 9-4 in 10 innings, Barbosa, Smith combined to reach base 9-of-10 times. –