Mariners Mini Morsels: September 14

The Mariner’s huge new regional TV network deal is separate from their radio contract, as is the case with most teams—though teams tend to be tight-lipped about such arrangements.  The Yankees have been reported as switching to a new station, WFAN 660 AM, for a deal worth between $15MM to $20MM a year. Their old and new stations are both owned by CBS. The M’s signed a 5-year contract with KIRO 710 prior to the 2012 season.  Wendy Thurm of FanGraphs estimates that it is probably worth around the $5.5MM that the PI reported in 2008 as being what they would get in 2009-2011 on their previous radio deal.  In terms of radio audience, that of the Mariners is reported to be one of the top 10, with the Yankees, Giants and Red Sox being 1-2-3.  It seems that the radio market income has not shared in the large increases teams have seen in their TV deals, although this makes sense given that most radio audiences have shrunk somewhat due to the increases in information sources seen in recent years. They are probably lucky not to have not lost some radio income.  With the proliferation of phones, tablets and, soon, glasses and wristwatches, many fans have multiple sports news sources available.  Having spent my age 3-through-9 seasons in England during WWII and remembering the family sitting around the radio listening to Winston Churchill, I can tell you that this old world never stops changing right before our eyes and ears.


AL West Commentary 

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports wrote: “The contending Rangers are having a very positive year financially, as they supposedly didn’t spend their full budget, even after adding Matt Garza and Alex Rios. Their payroll had been listed at $115 million at the start of the season, down a bit from last year, thanks to the losses of Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young. Starter Matt Harrison had his third surgery of the season on Monday, but the Rangers have insurance on his contract. Harrison is signed to a five-year, $55MM contract that begins this season. He’s set to make $13MM annually in 2015 through 2017. The insurance on Harrison is fortunate for the Rangers, as is the fact that Harrison’s latest surgery is on his non-throwing shoulder.”


Baseball Best Practice

Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen talked to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, who noted that while the Cubs are 22 games below .500, McCutchen suggests players remember that one day things might be different. “When you lose for so long, you hope those things that happen in the minors, that those guys get the work they need to get done so when they get the chance to come here and play, they’re ready to go,” says McCutchen. “It’s not fun when you are losing, but it’s a process that down the road that things are going to get better.”

According to Yahoo! Sports: “It’s going to cost more to attend Los Angeles Dodgers games in 2014. The team said Thursday that ticket prices are increasing in many sections of Dodger Stadium for the first time in two years. Team president and CEO Stan Kasten says the new ownership first wanted to prove to fans that it was committed to putting the best possible team on the field, provide a good fan experience at the stadium, and reach out in the community before it raised prices. Last month, the team surpassed 3 million in attendance, the first major league club to do so this season.”


So they said

“This goes without saying, but it seems necessary at the moment: The hot dog vendor fired for hating ketchup on wieners is an American hero. Ketchup is a perfectly fine condiment with extremely limited use. Mustard is god’s nectar. Ketchup on hot dogs should be a federal offense. Learn it. Love it.” Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports


“Three years after signing Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126MM deal, Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner says that he’s still pleased about the deal,” according to Bill Ladson of


“With a chance to earn regular playing time, [Brendan]Ryan has a solid shot at becoming the most impactful September acquisition in recent memory,” says Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors


“You’re gonna have to learn your clichés. You’re gonna have to study them, you’re gonna have to know them. They’re your friends.” Crash Davis via Ryan Divish


“From 2009-2012, his [Brendan Ryan’s] time as a regular shortstop, he was 89 runs above average at short according to Defensive Runs Saved and 44 above average according to Ultimate Zone Rating.” Jay Jaffe at


Mariner’s potential off-season targets

Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports that, Masahiro Tanaka‘s name continues to generate buzz with each game he pitches in Nippon Professional Baseball. The 24-year-old currently boasts a 20-0 record with a 1.24 ERA, 7.7 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in 181 innings for the Rakuten Golden Eagles”.

Here’s more on Tanaka and the international prospect front… Ben Badler of Baseball America cites a story from Japanese media outlet Sponichi in reporting that the Diamondbacks, BravesMarinersRed Sox and Yankees were among the teams with scouts in attendance for Tanaka’s most recent start. Tanaka whiffed 11 hitters in a complete-game effort, yielding two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks, Badler adds in his subscription-only game report.”


Jim Salisbury at CSN Philly says the Phillies still have a thing about Giancarlo Stanton, “He’s one of the best right-handed power bats in the game,” (GM Reuben) Amaro said. He paused and added: ‘He’s property of the Marlins, dude.’ Stanton, who turns 24 in November, has been mentioned as a trade possibility ever since the Marlins shipped out a bunch of high-priced talent last offseason. The prevailing thought was that Stanton would be the next one to go because his salary was set to jump significantly from $537,000 as he became eligible for arbitration this winter. The Marlins have steadfastly said they intend to keep Stanton, but that hasn’t stopped other clubs — such as the Phillies — from inquiring.”


From a Free Agent Profile of Ricky Nolasco by Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors: “An innings guy these days will probably require an AAV in the $10-13MM range.  Ultimately I believe Nolasco will sign a three-year, $36MM deal. Free agency has a large “what have you done for me lately” element, and it seems that Nolasco’s 2.07 ERA in 74 innings with the Dodgers has changed the conversation about him from salary dump to coveted potential top ten free agent.”

Strengths/Pros: Nolasco won’t turn 31 until December.  Comparable free agents like Ervin Santana and Scott Feldman are the same age, and these pitchers are young enough to justify a three-year deal.”


“Since the All-Star break, Ricky Nolasco is 7-0 with a 1.89 era. He’s ranked way too low on most free-agent lists.” – Jon Heyman


By the numbers

The New York Yankees are looking at a record $29.1 million luxury tax penalty, says a piece in USA Today. The team currently has a $236.2 million payroll for luxury tax purposes and must pay a 50% tax over the $178 million threshold for being a repeat offender of tax rules.


 “If you take a look by decade at how many shortstops have made 30 errors in a season, you can get an idea of just how much defense has improved:” 1970s: 37 – 1980s: 19 – 1990s: 9 – 2000s: 4 – 2010s: 1.” Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.

“Since being traded to LAD, Ricky Nolasco is 8-1/2.07 ERA in 12 starts. Since going to Texas, Matt Garza is 3-4/4.46 ERA and 10 HR allowed.”Jason A. Churchill‏@ProspectInsider


“Jose Fernandez is the first pitcher to go 9-0 or better at home with a sub 1.20 ERA since Orel Hershiser, 1985 Dodgers.”ESPNStatsInfo Via @eliassports

Chat Review – Dave Cameron at FanGraphs

Comment From _David: Obviously it depends on the deal, but if you ran the Mariners, which position players would you look towards keeping and seeing if they can contribute/improve?

Dave Cameron: Keep Seager/Miller/Ackley, get rid of everyone else.

Dave Cameron: Seager/Miller/Zunino/Ackley, I mean.


Comment From Transient Gadfly: What is Nick Franklin lacking that you’d leave him off the M’s roster of the future? If the answer is OBP, what makes you think he won’t ever improve it?

Dave Cameron: Can’t hit lefties, bad defender. His upside is Kelly Johnson.


Comment From fungus: Mariners targets include Cano, Ellsbury, and a trade?

Dave Cameron: Ellsbury, Lincecum, and probably a few more Ibanez-style leaders who suck.


Comment From Joe: Any guesses on the AAV of Choo’s next contract?

Dave Cameron: $17M.


Comment From Izzy: How much does Hunter Pence get this offseason? Bit less than Swisher did?

Dave Cameron: More, I’d say. 5/65.