Mariners Mini Morsels: September 23

Patti Payne of the Puget Sound Business Journal interviewed Howard Lincoln about the effect of the passing of Hiroshi Yamauchi on the Mariners.  She notes that Nintendo’s interest is the same as Yamauchi’s, according to Lincoln. “I can’t tell you what’s going to happen in the future, but now Nintendo feels very strongly that Nintendo wants to maintain its ownership interest in the Mariners.”

And what about the group of minority owners of the team? Lincoln observes it is a steady group of committed owners.

“I think all the members of our ownership group feel the same way. It’s basically the same group of people. Other than the fact that John Stanton acquired his (minority) interest from John McCaw (in 2002), and Mr. Yamauchi transferred his majority interest (in 2004), our group has remained the same. And it is very, very stable. In all those years since 1992, either under (now Mariners chairman emeritus) John Ellis or myself, we have had monthly ownership meetings. In all those meetings, we have never really had serious disagreement, never had a split in the ownership group. That in itself is a clear indication of how strongly the ownership group is committed to Seattle and the Northwest.”

Lincoln’s thoughts return quickly to the man he calls Mr. Yamauchi. “He was always very kind to me and I really appreciated the fact that he had confidence in me from 1982 when I first met him to now. I can still see him sitting in the conference room in Kyoto with that kind smile. It’s really a sad day.”

 

The Yankees almost traded Mariano — for a nobody says Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.  It was spring training of 1996, and Lou Piniella had to feel like he was on top of the baseball world. His Mariners were coming off an industry-shaking run to…” (Read about how the Yankees almost traded Mariano to the Mariners for Felix Fermin.)

 

Baseball Best Practice

Peter Gammons at Gammons Daily has done an in-depth review of the Red Sox success this season entitled Cherington Builds Foundation for Success in Boston.  It is well worth a read here. A taste: “When [Ben] Cherington talks about his evolution as a general manager, he talks about “learning from ones’ miscalculations.” He insists on “knowing our own players as they progress through the system, which is not linear.” He seeks “multiple options.” He believes “you cannot make rash judgments over your long-term view of players,” which is why he did not listen when teams called about Will Middlebrooks when he was exiled to Pawtucket, and has not listened to calls about Jackie Bradley.”

AL West Commentary

Why has Chris Carter struck out 200 times this year? He tries not to think about it, but he knows he can’t avoid the subject.

“Everybody’s talking about it, but I just try to have good at-bats,” he said. To put Carter’s struggles in perspective, he shattered Houston’s club record of 145 strikeouts in a season set by Lee May in 1972. Carter has struck out more than anyone in the Majors this season, leading Chris Davis of Baltimore by 16 and Adam Dunn of the White Sox by 20. Pedro Alvarez of Pittsburgh leads the National League with 177 whiffs. —By Gene Duffey at MLB.com

 

So they said

I was in baseball long enough and saw the changes that can take place.  After all, in 1986 and 1987, before we won in ’88, if you go back and look at that, we were 16 games under .500 in both of those seasons and next year won the world championship.”  —Fred Claire, former Dodgers GM to Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors  

 

“The subject has gained traction on the local airwaves and Twitter as the Cubs close in on what’s fast approaching the worst two-year stretch in franchise history for losses. This season also has seen several young hitters take steps back in their offensive development. Critics have picked at game decisions, including bullpen and bench moves, with a roster that has been severely flawed and unstable since Sveum took over last season. A club-record 88 different players have been used during that stretch.” —Gordon Wittenmyer at Chicago Sun Times

Sounds familiar.

 

“No-class act by a bunch of overpaid, immature, arrogant, spoiled brats! The Dodgers are idiots.”Senator John McCain

 

“I get everything. I get emails, calls, unsolicited help at virtually every restaurant we go to,” a smiling Hahn said. “Earlier in the season, I had more people coming up to me, and then I think people sort of backed away. They were afraid of my reaction or felt bad for me or something. So they left me alone for a little stretch. “Right after the [Trade] Deadline, I heard from a lot of people. The people that come up to me, they tend to skew more positive and supportive than negative. The people who call and leave me voicemails at two in the morning, they tend to be on the negative skew.” —White Sox GM Rick Hahn to Scott Merkin at MLB.com

 

“Sometimes it takes a losing season to build and start the process and with that said, a lot of these guys have gotten to play and get experience, and that is where you start the rebuilding process,” interim manager Ryne Sandberg said. “A lot of good things have gone on the last four weeks.” There is no denying that. The Phillies are 18-15 under Sandberg and have seemingly showed more fight and heart,” said Marc Narducci at philly.com. Sandberg is widely expected to be named the Phil’s permanent manager.

 

Mariner’s potential off-season targets

“[Nelson] Cruz is very limited defensively, which explains how he has posted just 1.3, 1.1 and 1.6 fWAR the past three seasons. Still, his bat can provide a big boost, and the Rangers’ struggles since his suspension may show how important his hitting was to their lineup.”  Mac Engel at the Ft Worth Star-Telegram


Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors has done an extensive Free Agent Profile of Scott Feldman. Some highlights include:  Through all of Scott Feldman’s ups and downs, two things have remained constant: he has good command and he generates ground balls. Feldman’s highest single-season BB/9 mark dating back to 2008 is 3.3, and he’s posted a mark of 2.9 overall since that time (in 811 innings). He’s never posted a ground-ball rate below 42 percent. His career mark of 47.3 is above the league average, and he’s been even better in 2013, generating grounders at a 50.7 percent clip.

“It’s tough to foresee Feldman earning himself three guaranteed years on the open market given his inconsistent innings totals, but his 2013 can’t be ignored. He’s posted a 3.49 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 50.7 percent ground-ball rate to this point, which should be enough to land a two-year deal at a slightly higher rate than the $7MM he’ll bring home this year after hitting his incentives. Perhaps his agent, Matt Brown of Pro Prospects Inc., could compromise by pushing for an easily attainable vesting option for a third year based on innings pitched. Ultimately, Jeremy Guthrie‘s three-year, $25MM contract from last year could be his ceiling, but I predict that Feldman will sign a two-year, $17MM contract with a vesting option for a third season.” 

A contract anywhere near to that makes Feldman probably the best, reasonably-priced veteran free agent arm available to the Mariners this coming off-season.  He would take some of the pressure off of the young arms, some of whom will need some more seasoning before being major league ready.  He would be a good fit in Safeco, which is friendlier than the stadiums he’s been used to so far in his career.

 

Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors has done a fine job of comparing two of the top free agent pitchers in the coming off-season in the latest installment of MLBTR’s Free Agent Faceoff series. He takes a look at a couple of former aces, both 29-year-old righties, whose careers have followed a similar trajectory over the last few years: Tim Lincecum and Ubaldo JimenezTim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors has also written an in-depth Free Agent Profile of Scott Kazmirdetailing the resurrection of his career and his market value in the coming off season. Read these pieces and you’ll be able to hold forth with distinction during the hot stove league.

 

By the numbers

Rookie outfielder Abraham Almonte has reached base safely in the first 15 games of his Major League career in which he’s had an at-bat, the second-longest streak in Mariners history behind Alvin Davis’ 47 in 1984. —GregJohns MLB   

 

“From 2003 to 2012, Bartolo Colon tossed two shutouts; this season he has three.” —The Bill Chuck Files

 

Alumni News

According to Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors, “Wladimir Balentien‘s historic season in Japan has led to speculation that he might be a big league target in spite of his long-term deal with the Yakult Swallows. For his part, however, Balentien insists he has had no thoughts of a move, per a Nikkan Sports report (link in Japanese) transmitted via Twitter by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. “No. I’m surprised that’s come up,” said Balentien in reference to the rumors. “I’m with the Swallows for four years.”


“Nothing is wrong physically with Adrian Beltre, or so he said Sunday, and the veteran of 16 major-league seasons said that he is too old to let the pressure of a postseason race get to him. His forgettable September is the by-product of a slump, a poorly timed slump that he called ‘an adventure.’ He entered Sunday hitting .253 this month, .133 with runners in scoring position, and has no homers and six RBIs. Beltre batted .381 with five homers and 21 RBIs in August.”  Jeff Wilson at the Ft Worth Star-Telegram