Mariners Mini Morsels: October 28

The most glaring weakness that the M’s had in 2013 was their inability to do anything against left-handed pitching. The club posted an MLB-low .657 OPS versus left-handed pitching, and their right-handed batters also combined to hit an MLB-low with a .615 OPS. —Rick Randall at Mariners Clubhouse


So they said

“Even the guy who can barely walk — much less run — found a way to put his best foot forward in Game 3. The Cardinals have relied on talent, togetherness and a high pain threshold to take a 2-1 lead over Boston. They’ll find out soon if those attributes are enough to win them a World Series.” —Jerry Crasnick at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]


“In the age of the iPhone, baseball continues to resemble a nineteenth-century novel: sprawling, anecdote-jammed, and rather tedious at times.  George F. Will, the conservative columnist and long-suffering fan of the hapless Chicago Cubs, sums up the sport’s cerebral nature in his 1990 book, Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball: “Baseball is as much a mental contest as a physical one. The pace of action is relentless: There is barely enough time between pitches for all the thinking that is required, and that the best players do, in processing the changing information about the crucial variables.”  —Luke Epplin from the article “Christy Mathewson and the thinking mans game in The New Yorker


Mariner’s potential off-season targets

“His [Jacoby Ellsbury] injury history will scare some teams from going into nine figures with an offer, and there are evaluators who say you should not invest big money long term in a player who relies heavily on speed. But the fact is that there just aren’t a lot of players like him on the market, and it figures that somebody will go above and beyond with him to change the conversation swirling around a franchise. Seattle would seem to be one candidate, and there has even been speculation among scouts that the Dodgers will pursue Ellsbury because he’s a true center fielder, then dump their surplus (Matt Kemp?).” —Buster Olney at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]


What’s the skinny on Mike Napoli moving forward? Here’s what one GM had to say about the future of Boston’s first baseman: “If the Red Sox don’t tie him up for three years, someone will. He’s a power right-handed bat. If the risk of his hip condition getting worse is minimal, and that’s what everyone would have to find out, the right-handed power bat is pretty enticing.” Napoli, who will become a free agent after the World Series, will go into a first base market that includes Kendrys MoralesJames LoneyJustin MorneauMike Morse, and Corey Hart. —Nick Cafardo at the Boston Globe


Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors has posted his Free Agent Profile: Ervin Santana piece for the baseball world to consider.  There’s as much as you need to know to evaluate his value going forward. You need to read the piece for a clear picture of the soon-to-be free agent but some highlights include: “Santana shaved nearly two runs off his ERA this season, dropping it to 3.24 and crossing 200 innings for the fifth time in his nine-year career. Durability is one of Santana’s biggest assets; he’s only been on the disabled list twice in his career. Dating back to 2011, Santana’s average of 6.5 innings per start is the highest of any notable free agent. That ability to work deep into games is a boost for teams looking to avoid overtaxing their bullpens. 

Santana’s 92.4 mph average fastball is among the fastest for free agent starters this season. If you’re looking for a starter that can average better than 92 mph on his fastball, Santana is a cut above the rest. In terms of swinging-strike rate, only Burnett, Kazmir, Ricky Nolasco and Chris Capuano topped Santana’s 10 percent mark. As ludicrous as it would’ve sounded a year ago — and improbable as it will sound to some even now — my expectation is that Santana finds a team willing to push the limits and offer a five-year, $75MM contract.”


“How many teams will package prospects to offer the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton? I’m guessing the Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers, and Mariners, for starters.” —Nick Cafardo at the Boston Globe


Baseball Best Practice

“If you’re looking for early favorites in 2014, consider not only raw talent but also the teams whose players have the best track record of staying healthy. Grant bonus points to teams with the kind of loaded farm systems that can overcome a batch of injuries the way the Cardinals did this year. And if you want to know why the Red Sox and Cardinals now meet in the World Series, remember that both teams not only have ample talent, but also ample talent that’s actually well enough to take the field. The warm and fuzzy feelings you may want to ascribe to the 2013 version of the lovable Red Sox “Idiots” or the supposedly magical powers of the Cardinal Way mean nothing if your best players can’t play.”Jonah Keri at Grantland


By The Numbers

Xander Bogaerts is 3rd-youngest player with a triple in World Series history. Ty Cobb & Mickey Mantle were the only ones younger to do so. —ESPN Stats & Info


Yu Darvish allowed just 145 hits in 209⅔ innings this season, the fewest for an over-200-IP season since Pedro Martinez only allowed 128 hits in 217 innings in 2000.  —From The Bill Chuck Files


The Orioles fielded the best defense in the majors, a historically good defense. And they led the majors with 212 home runs. However, their .313 on-base percentage ranked 19th in the majors. —Roch Kubatko at MASN


Game 3 was only the 4th World Series game ever to end on an error, the first since 1986 Game 6 [the Bill Buckner game], and was the first postseason game in history to end on an obstruction error. —ESPN Stats & Info


Baseball Biz

Maury Brown at has written an interesting article entitled Why Portland and other markets begging for MLB will get bloody knees waiting. In it he notes that, The Seattle Mariners purchased the majority stake in ROOT Sports NW, the regional sports network in the Pacific Northwest that is worth a reported $2 billion over 17-years. (This works out to $117 million a year.) To place that in perspective, the Mariners prior media rights extension was worth $450 million over 10-years; a staggering leap.” (For an explanation and a map of TV rights markets go here.)


Alumni News

Right now, the most intriguing candidate [to be the Orioles new pitching coach] might be [Carl Willis], who has been Seattle’s pitching coach since the middle of the 2010 season. He is still under contract with the Mariners as they search for a manager, but the Orioles were given permission to interview him. —Eduardo A. Encina at the Baltimore Sun