Mariners Mini Morsels: September 4

“It’s possible to squint in a certain direction and conjure up some hope for next year. If the young talent all matures together. If the apparent breakthroughs by Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak are sustainable. If management opens up and lures free agents like Jacoby Ellsbury and/or Shin-Soo Choo to Seattle.”

Larry Stone at  Seattle Times


Bad news – Good news:  Bad, the Mariners 9 percent increase in attendance has dipped to 3.3 percent after the last home stand.  The good news? Prior to Tuesday’s game they have the 9th pick in next year’s amateur draft, which would not be lost if they signed a free agent who had declined a qualifying offer.*  Just hope the Blue Jays keep winning and the Ms don’t sweep the As in their last three games as they have done in the past.  Well, maybe sweeping the As would be worth it if it cost them a playoff spot.

*Editors note: If a team signs a player in free agency who declined a qualifying offer—like Josh Hamilton or Nick Swisher last season—the signing team will lose its first round pick only if it comes after the 10th pick.


According to Steven Marcus at Newsday, “ ‘Alex Rodriguez‘s appeal of the 211-game suspension levied by Major League Baseball will begin its preliminary phase this week with a status conference scheduled to take place between MLB officials, Rodriguez’s legal team and arbitrator Fredric Horowitz,’ a person familiar with the meeting said Saturday. Rodriguez was suspended in connection with MLB’s probe of performance-enhancing drugs distributed by the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic. The gathering, which is expected to be held Wednesday at an undisclosed location, the source said, will center on issues relating to discovery and the setting of dates for the actual hearing. The source said the hearing is not expected to take place until after the baseball season, perhaps not until November or December.”


Mariner’s potential off-season targets

The Yankees have “heavily scouted” Masahiro Tanaka, sending scouts to see many of Tanaka’s starts for Rakuten, Mark Hale and George A. King III of the New York Post report. Assistant GM Billy Eppler and special assignment scout Don Wakamatsu were in Japan last week for one of Tanaka’s outings.  The Yankees and Rangers could be the favorites to make the highest posting bid for Tanaka should Rakuten make him available this offseason, though the GiantsRed Sox, Athletics and Twins are also known to be interested in the right-hander.

By Mark Polishuk,   MLB Trade Rumors


The Indians will soon face a decision on Ubaldo Jimenez‘s $8MM mutual 2014 option, reports Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Jimenez entered the season with a 5.32 ERA for the Indians since being acquired from the Rockies at the 2011 trade deadline, but appears to have righted the ship somewhat in 2013, posting a 3.95 ERA and career-best 9.1 K/9 in 141 and 1/3 innings. Pluto speculates that the Indians will pick up their end of the option, but that Jimenez will decline and become a free agent. In his last start, Jimenez struck out 10, walked none and held Atlanta to three runs in seven innings. In his last 10 starts, Jimenez is 3-5 with a 2.97 ERA.


They said so

“I thought the last two weeks we gave a really good effort. We got some new players who just came in; I’m talking about (Xavier) Avery, (Ji-Man) Choi, Jones, that’s the future of our team here and in Seattle. To see these young guys coming up is exciting. Overall it was a fun year.” —Rainier’s manager John Stearns


“It’s entirely possible that the Jays are a pretty good team hiding inside a terrible season.” —Jonah Keri at Grantland


“Very seldom is there a bad one-year contract,” he said. “Because it’s just that — one year. If it doesn’t work out, it’s over at the end of the season.”  —Mark Shapiro, Cleveland Indians President


By the numbers

Seattle leads the Major Leagues with 87 home runs on the road.


Over the course of the season, the Rainiers were involved in 142 player transactions — 34 more than in 2012. —TheNewsTribune


The Indians play just nine of their remaining 26 regular-season games against teams with better-than-.500 records. Fifteen of those 26 games come at home. And the closing kick is a cream puff buffet, with four games against the Astros, two against the White Sox, and four against the Twins; those teams’ collective record sits 86 games under .500.  —Jonah Keri at Grantland


The Dodgers’ magic number is 16. They swept the Padres. They have won 51 or their last 64 games and are 34-8 since the All-Star break. —Bill Shaikin of the LA Times


Tacoma set franchise records for strikeouts by its pitchers this year (1,145); and also by its batters (1,291). –TheNewsTribune


The Angels have scored 50 runs in their last 10 games, but pitching—for months the team’s biggest weakness—has fueled the surge. They have a major league-best 2.02 earned-run average with seven quality starts during the stretch and have held hitters to a .201 average and three home runs. —Mike DiGiovanna at the LA Times

Randy Johnson played for 22 years, pitched 4,135 and 1/3 innings with an ERA of 3.29 and struck out 10.6 per 9 IP. —Baseball Reference


Alumni News

Kameron Loe started for Atlanta against the NY Mets Tuesday.  It was the first start of the year for the former Mariner.  His current ERA is 8.15.


Right-hander Phillippe Aumont wasn’t included in the first round of September callups and “faces an uncertain future” with the Phillies, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Aumont has posted a 3.97 ERA over 34 innings with the Phils over the last two seasons, racking up strikeouts (33) but also walking 22 batters.  Aumont has issued 36 walks over 34 2/3 IP at Triple-A this season.  The Mariners took Aumont with the 11th overall pick of the 2007 amateur draft and was dealt to the Phillies as part of the Cliff Lee trade in December 2009.  Aumont was ranked as a top-100 prospect by Baseball America every year from 2008-10.

—By Mark Polishuk,   MLB Trade Rumors


On the farm

The Rainiers announced these team awards: Abraham Almonte as offensive player of the year, Logan Bawcom as pitcher of the year, Rich Poythress as defensive player of the year, and Nate Tenbrink for community service.