Mariners Mini Morsels: October 20

Report: Felix Hernandez’s wife was a victim of fraud by another team wife. The wife of Tacoma Rainiers outfielder Carlos Peguero is facing federal wire-fraud charges for allegedly buying nearly $180,000 in merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue using a debit card belonging to Felix Hernandez’s wife, the Seattle Times Mike Carter wrote. 22-year-old Maria Peguero, who has pleaded not guilty and is currently free on bond, could face up to 20 years in prison. The charges were filed by the U.S. Secret Service on Oct. 1, and agents later executed a search warrant to seize dozens of items — delivered between June 26, 2012 and Oct. 9, 2012 — from Peguero’s apartment in Fife, according to the report. Though the court documents obtained by the Seattle Times do not identify Hernandez by name, sources confirmed his and his wife’s identities. Maria Peguero, 22, is the youngest daughter of the late Pedro Borbon, who played major league baseball for 12 seasons — 10 for Cincinnati — as an acclaimed relief pitcher. Peguero, 26, signed with the Mariners in 2005. He has spent the past three seasons splitting his time between the Mariners and their Tacoma farm club. He played in just two major league games this past season, and 118 in Tacoma, where he batted .260 with 19 home runs and 83 RBI. Carlos Peguero told investigators that he was unaware of his wife’s purchases.

From the report: “The charges, filed by U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Ashleigh Audley, allege that Saks Fifth Avenue in New York began to scrutinize a series of online purchases made with a Morgan Stanley debit card through an account belonging to a “Jackie Peguero” because the billing and shipping addresses were different. There were more than 60 transactions in all, ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $11,000, on some days, as many as five separate purchases were made, according to a list contained in the complaint.” According to the court documents, Peguero spent two or three days at the Hernandez’s home in May 2012 while Felix was on road trips with the Mariners. During that time, Sandra Hernandez shopped online with Peguero, giving her access to her credit cards and asking her for help due to her “limited understanding of the English language.”

According to the complaint, the purchases went on for more than three months, during which time Peguero contacted Sandra Hernandez to ask if she ever reviewed her debit-card statements. Hernandez told Peguero “that she did not usually review the bills because their finances were managed by a third party.” Authorities eventually traced Peguero’s email address to a Twitter account on which she had posted pictures of some of the items, believed to be purchased illegally.

—Some content based on a piece by Brian Kotloff at Sports Illustrated 


Chat Review: Dave Cameron from FanGraphs

Comment From Prich: Could – not will- Jack Z use Nick Franklin as the center-piece of a trade to bring in a useful, club controlled at a reasonable price – everyday OF, or is his value shot league-wide?

Dave Cameron: Yeah, I don’t think anyone’s giving up a good cost controlled OF for Nick Franklin.


Comment From Hammer: Could you see the M’s doing something stupid to get Price?

Dave Cameron: No, I don’t think they’re going to aggressively pursue pitching.


Comment From Gson: Would the Royals and Mariners consider a trade of Alex Gordon for Iwakuma?

Dave Cameron: Doubt either side makes that trade.


Comment From guest: Who is your favorite player of all time and why?

Dave Cameron: Randy Johnson. Threw 100 in an era when that was rare. 6’10 with a mullet. What’s not to like?


David Kapman of CSN Chicago has written a piece on the candidates for the Cubs’ manager position, including my favorite for the Mariners’ job if the Cubs don’t sign him first. Hopefully the M’s will pull their finger out and get started making their most important off-season move. At their current speed all the good talent will be locked up. Kapman says, Dave Martinez has no managerial experience but he has played for the Cubs and understands the culture in Chicago more than any of the other candidates. He is well respected for his knowledge of the game and his bilingual ability is a plus in dealing with Latin players. Working alongside Joe Maddon in Tampa has given Martinez a unique perspective because Maddon is considered one of the game’s best managerial minds. A former GM who has watched Martinez for many years said he would have no trepidation hiring him to run the Cubs and believes Martinez is one of the top candidates ready to become a manager.”


AL West Commentary

Charlie Wilmoth of MLB Trade Rumors has written a good Offseason Outlook: Texas Rangers piece which indicates that the team might have some trouble filling all their needs within the constraints of their probable payroll.  He says, Recent reports have also connected the Rangers with top-flight pitchers like David Price and Masahiro Tanaka, who might be possibilities if Texas decides to make a splash. If the Rangers can’t land one of those huge names, though, they will likely focus on their offense this offseason, since most of their biggest holes are position-player spots. Exactly how they do it will depend upon whether, for example, Cruz accepts the qualifying offer he’ll likely receive, and whether Nathan returns. The most likely scenario is that Cruz will return, either by accepting the qualifying offer or reaching some other sort of deal to stay in Texas, while Nathan will depart. If the Rangers plan to have a $125MM payroll, that would leave them very little to play with on the free agent market, and the Rangers need to acquire at least a catcher with that money.”


Baseball Best Practice

In the aftermath of two home plate collisions in the American League Championship Series on Thursday, officials from other teams reiterated that they expect the topic of banning that play to be raised again in meetings this winter. Given how quickly sentiment within the sport about collisions is shifting — particularly as information about concussions has come to light, including the cost of concussion-related lawsuits faced by the National Football League — some officials talk of change as inevitable and predict that it could come swiftly. Some executives view the issue as a math equation: The heightened risk of injury from possibly saving one run in one game is simply not worth the dollars invested in the players involved — the same line of thinking that led to NFL rule changes designed to protect quarterbacks. Based on a piece by Buster Olney at ESPN  [Insider needed and recommended]


So they said

“We’re like brothers,” [Tori] Hunter says [about his friend David Ortiz]. “We’re enemies, but I love him to death. I’d do anything for him.”


“There is concern among some of the folks in uniform that Loria is creating a problem with José Fernández that could become similar to what the Marlins had with Hanley Ramírez.”  —Buster Olney at ESPN


“The support for Rick Renteria is staggering and he has emerged as clear cut favorite to be the Cubs manager.” —Bob Nightengale of USAToday


Mariner’s potential off-season targets

Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York writes about how the Yankees plan to scoop up possibly four of the top available free agents during the off-season to re-inflate The Bronx Behemoth, opening with: “While all the talk to begin the offseason is about the New York Yankees stated desire to cut the yearly payroll to $189 million, the front office is devising a plan that could have the team going on a $300 million shopping spree, sources have told  The Yankees will begin their organization meetings Monday where they will settle on a strategy that they believe can cut payroll to $189 million while spending big on free agents. The Yankees’ initial main targets are expected to include their own Robinson Cano, Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka, Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann, and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, according to sources.

The possible outlay of $300 million or more in total salary is similar to the number commonly associated with the winter of 2008-09, when the Yankees spent $423 million on CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett over the lives of their multiyear contracts. The Yankees think they can add at least two top free agents this winter and remain under team owner Hal Steinbrenner’s goal of reducing total salaries to less than $189 million. Steinbrenner has said he would like to reduce the team’s luxury tax and revenue sharing numbers so that he can reinvest the money instead of paying out to smaller markets.”

Here is how they plan to do it.


Alumni News

Mark Polishuk at MLB Trade Rumors writes:Doug Fister is the best candidate for a multiyear extension from the Tigers this offseason, Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press opines.  Sharp suggests that the Tigers should offer Fister a four-year, $40MM deal but I’d argue that such a contract would be very team-friendly.  MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects Fister will earn $6.9MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility this winter, so he could hit the $10MM average annual value threshold through arbitration alone in the 2014-15 offseason.  If Fister keeps pitching as he has since coming to Detroit, it will cost much more to buy out two free agent years.”


Jim Bowden at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended] put together a list of unlikely-to-be-traded bad contracts. On the list was former Mariners closer, Brandon League [RHP | Los Angeles Dodgers | Owed: $15 million through ’15].

The Dodgers said publicly when they signed League to the contract that it was a bargain for a closer. They might have been right if he held onto the closer’s job, but he didn’t. He saved 14 games before losing his job to Kenley Jansen. But he also lost the setup, middle-relief and long-relief roles, too. As a result, he was left off all of their postseason rosters. An offseason trade would make sense, and the Dodgers won’t hesitate picking up most of the remaining contract. With so many teams looking for bullpen help, if the Dodgers eat most of his contract, League could find a new home. I could see the D-backs, Mets, Marlins or Twins being a fit in such a scenario.”

Let us bow our heads in prayer that our Mariners won’t go there. [Hint: That’s a poem in one line – and they said it couldn’t be done!]


Mark Bowman of writes: Once his club was eliminated by the Dodgers in the NLDS, Braves general manager Frank Wren concluded that the Braves were never able to fully recover from the season-ending injuries that two of his top starting pitchers, Tim Hudson  and Brandon Beachy — suffered during the regular season’s second half. With the non-waiver Trade Deadline just one week away, the Braves suddenly found themselves with a rotation that did not include a single member who had made more than 75 career starts at the Major League level. When the Braves acquired Freddy Garcia from the Orioles on Aug. 22, they viewed him as a veteran who could provide depth in the rotation or bullpen down the stretch. They certainly did not envision that he would end up opposing Clayton Kershaw in Game 4 of the NLDS. Garcia became the best option to serve as a fourth starter during the postseason. There isn’t any reason to believe that any of the other options would have proven more effective than Garcia, who exited his match up against Kershaw with the game tied at 2 after six innings. In fact, he was in line for the win after the Braves scored in the seventh, before Juan Uribe hit his two-run homer off David Carpenter in the eighth.”


Farm Report

“Third baseman D.J. Peterson entered the Draft as one of the best pure, advanced hitters in the class. Peterson, No. 3 on the Mariners’ Top 20 list, made two stops this past summer. He started slowly in the short-season Northwest League, hitting .220/.333/.488 in 11 June games. But then he made some adjustments — always a good sign — and hit .368/.413/.559 over 17 games in July. That earned him a promotion to the full-season Midwest League.

“Again, he initially scuffled, going 4-for-28 (though three of the four hits were for extra bases) over his first seven games. Then he got comfortable and hit .352/.395/.648 in 19 August games before he took an errant pitch to the jaw, ending his season. Peterson will make a full recovery, but that Aug. 22 incident kept him from doing a couple of things. One was earning another promotion. All signs pointed to the Mariners moving him up another rung before the end of the year. The second was a trip to the Arizona Fall League. Peterson raking in the AFL would have undoubtedly helped his prospect status as well. He did, after all, hit .303/.365/.553 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs in 55 Minor League games. Whether Peterson can stick at third base remains to be seen. But that doesn’t really matter. His bat will carry him to the big leagues in a hurry. It might get him to Double-A to start next season, anyway, despite the broken jaw. And it should earn him a place on the Top 100 list when launches it early next year.”  —Jonathan Mayo at Pipeline Perspectives

Baseball Biz

The MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston began the second day with a panel called “The Changing Nature of Ownership,” where ESPN writer Peter Keating quizzed a panel including new Los Angeles Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten, about how being a super rich guy is not what it used to be. Among the things that are now on the minds of owners are what they feel are unreal team valuations by Forbes magazine. Kasten was adamant about this. He went out of his way to slam the magazine. “We will never give any credence to Forbes’s valuations of franchises,” he said. “Here’s the problem with Forbes,” he added, returning to the subject later, “I don’t know their methodology. I don’t know what hand they throw their dart with.” —By Ira Boudway at Business Week