Mariners Mini Morsels: Last day of Movember

Jeff Sanders at the San Diego Union-Tribune has rated Mariners third-sacker Kyle Seagar at #47 on his list of the 50 best AL players, saying “Seager might be the best third baseman you’ve never heard of.  Seager finished the season with a respectable 3.4 WAR, according to Fangraphs. He slashed .260/.338/.426 on his way to a 22-homer season. With any protection at all in the Mariners lineup, Seager would have pushed his RBI total well beyond the 69 he finished with.”


The Yankees might go to eight years and raise the dollars, but Cano won’t get $31 million a year to stay in The Bronx.

While it’s hard to believe any other club will go that high for Cano, a five-time All Star who has never won a batting title or an AL MVP award, but is easily one of the top 10 players in the game, remember it only takes one team. With the Dodgers, Tigers and Rangers set at second base Cano’s market seems to be greatly diminished. The wild card in the picture could be Seattle, which has the finances to make a splash. But would Cano really go all the way to Seattle to play for a losing ballclub? And what about the marketing factor Cano said played a part in him leaving Scott Boras for Jay Z? There isn’t much money to be made in pitching coffee and bad baseball. Source: George A. King III at the New York Post


Mariner’s potential off-season targets

Nelson Cruz is essentially the poor-man’s version of Beltran and Granderson, a bat first player that fails to deliver value across the board. He’s hit at least 22 home runs in five consecutive years, but he hasn’t totalled more than 1.5 fWAR since 2010 because he can’t run, he can’t defend, and he can’t stay on the field. And that description fails to mention that he’s just recently finished serving a 50-game suspension for involvement with Biogenesis to boot.

Cruz will get someone to pay him like he’s a middle of the order bat this winter — the problem is that he really isn’t. His offensive totals are inflated by the Ballpark in Arlington, evidenced by his .294/.356/.556 home and .242/.299/.435 road lines for his career. He also might not age gracefully with any loss of bat speed potentially enough to swing him from above average to below average as a hitter. Plus, we don’t know what the effect of his PED use will mean for his development. I certainly wouldn’t be racing out to sign Cruz if I had other options this offseason.” —Andrew Ball at Beyond the Box Score

Jim Bowden in his GM’s Office feature at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended] points out with which teams he sees the top free agent outfielders signing. He doesn’t see any of them “likely” to sign with the Mariners, but he does see the Ms as “other possible destinations” for Ellsbury, Choo and Beltran. Evidently the Mariners can forget about Granderson, Cruz and Hart, as they are not possible. There are reasons Bowden is an ex-GM.


Teams are paying roughly $7 million per WAR these days, according to Lewie Pollis at Beyond the Box Score. That’s on the free agent market. Pre-free agency players are way cheaper. Of the six pitchers to sign so far this winter, only Hudson ($7.2 million per projected WAR in 2014) comes close to that $7 million number. Nolasco ($4.7 million), Vargas ($4 million) and Haren ($4.5 million) are a few million cheaper per win while Johnson ($3.0 million) and Vogelsong ($3.1 million) are even cheaper. Source: Mike Axisa at CBS Sports   (Note: Lewie PollisWAR value of $7MM per WAR is determined by past production value while Dave Cameron’s current WAR value of $6.2MM per WAR is predicated on expected future performance. Given the time and value of money the two are actually closer than they seem.)


Amid a league wide drop in power, Cory Hart might have more pop than anyone on the market other than Robinson Cano and Mark Reynolds. From 2010 to 2012, Hart averaged 29 homers per year and slugged better than .500 in all three seasons. He’s a bargain now because he hit zero home runs in 2013. Hart was a 20-20 player earlier in his career, but at this stage, teams will be paying him for dingers and respectable defense, most likely at first base, where he won’t have to run to chase down fly balls. Carlos Beltran has chronic knee issues, yet he seems to be doing just fine.

Hart’s knee injuries bring risk, but as a result, his asking price is reduced. Hart has said he’d take a discount to re-sign with the Brewers, but shrewd teams should consider making superior offers to try to land him instead. A three-year deal for Hart’s age-32, -33, and -34 seasons could cost half as much as Nick Swisher’s four-year, $56 million deal with the Indians and net similar or maybe even better results. Source: Jonah Keri at Grantland


Corey Hart 2010-12: .857 OPS, 127 OPS+, 87 HR, 1787 PA. Shin-Soo Choo 2011-13: .826 OPS, 131 OPS+, 45 HR, 1756 PAs. Hart one year older. From David Murphy


Draft and Prospects

Chris Carruthers at Breaking Blue, as a part of a series looking at a prospect from each team in each division, has done an informative and detailed evaluation of Mariners prospect: Tyler Marlette – Position: C – Height/Weight: 5’11″ 195 lb. – Bats/Throws: R/R – Born: January 23, 1993 (Age 20) – rank: 12 (MWL – 2013) .304/.367/.448 6hr 37rbi 17(2b) 2(3b) 24bb 53so 10sb 4cs

I believe Marlette has similar potential to Travis D’Arnaud who was likewise known to scouts for his combination of power and athleticism at the catching position. Not your typical backstop, Marlette, a former high school third baseman recorded an outstanding 60-yard dash time of 6.87 during his senior year. While there are some concerns about whether he can stick behind the plate long term, he has the raw physical tools to be a standout defensively. He’s quick and agile in blocking balls (only 3 errors and 10 past balls in 2013) with above average arm strength (1.72 pop time in high school; 39cs% in 126 minor league games). His receiving technique can still be rough at times, but at just 20-years-old, he has both the time, and the reputed work ethic to continue improving in that regard.

Aside from his defence the other question scouts have about Marlette is what kind of hitter he will ultimately become. While he shows tremendous raw power during batting practice, in game settings he turns into more of a line drive gap-to-gap hitter. Of course this only really becomes a problem if he can’t stay at catcher, as it will affect the overall value of his bat. To his credit Marlette has done a good job becoming a better all-around hitter, nearly quadrupling his walk rate from the previous year from 2.8% to 8%, and cutting down his strikeouts from 21.5% to a very respectable 17.9% in a more pitcher friendly league. Mike Zunino blocking Marlette’s immediate path to the big leagues however, Marlette’s name is certain to be at or near the top of many a GM’s holiday wish lists when talking trade with Mariners this offseason.


By The Numbers

Mickey Mantle hit .365/.512/.665 in 1957 and led his league in none of those. Source: YCPB You Can’t Predict Baseball


Out of 5,391 urine and blood samples submitted over the past year, eight were reported by the league’s laboratory to have tested positive for stimulants and resulted in discipline for the player. Seven of the tests reflected unapproved use of Adderall, the common attention-deficit disorder drug. The other positive test was for methylhexaneamine. Source: Nathaniel Vinton at the New York Daily News


Baseball Biz

Josh Kosman and Claire Atkinson of the New York Post are hearing from sources that Time Warner is having a tough time getting other cable systems to carry their new Dodgers channel, stating that: Time Warner Cable has yet to start negotiations for the Dodgers network, named SportsNet LA, and already several pay-TV providers are balking at the expected asking price, sources said. “They know several distributors will say no [to the Dodgers channel] because of the costs,” said one source. While Time Warner Cable gained distribution for its SportsNet and Deportes channels last year, the contentious negotiations with distributors left little appetite for another pricey deal.”

They report that the Dodgers are going to ask five dollars per subscriber at the outset but that over time it will escalate to eight dollars per subscriber. Which is really, really high compared to other regional sports networks’ carriage prices. But that’s also what Time Warner needs to pay the Dodgers the $8 billion over 25 years it agreed to pay the Dodgers for TV rights. This will all be passed on to consumers in the form of higher cable bills. Which, if you’re a Dodgers fan, you probably won’t mind. If you’re not a Dodgers fan, however, and you just want to watch old movies or reality shows or whatever? At some point you’re gonna start to get mad, right? Source: Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk


“The Yankees owe Alex Rodriguez $86 million over the next four seasons, a financial commitment that may be lightened if an arbitrator rules against him and sustains some sort of suspension, and if that ruling stands up to any inevitable legal challenge that Rodriguez may mount. I don’t think it matters. I’m guessing – and that’s all it is, a guess — that Rodriguez has played his last game for the Yankees. 

If Rodriguez is ordered to serve the full 211 games in his suspension, I think they’ll cut him upon completion of his sentence. If his suspension is reduced, I think they’ll cut him. If he wins his case outright, I think they’ll cut him. Because Rodriguez may have reached the tipping point in his career in which his potential production for the Yankees is outweighed by the potential downside for the organization.” Source: Buster Olney at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]


Farm Report

Why was promising reliever Carson Smith taken off the Arizona Fall League roster? Was he injured or released?
No, Smith just ran out of gas after a long season and was shut down to get ready for Spring Training instead of pushing him unnecessarily in the AFL. Smith was very impressive for Double-A Jackson with a 1.80 ERA and 15 saves in 50 innings over 44 appearances, with 71 strikeouts and 17 walks. But he wasn’t faring as well in the AFL, and Minor League director Chris Gwynn noted that the hard-throwing youngster taxed his arm pretty well in the regular season with his “let it fly” approach, so the club imposed an innings limit and sent him home for some recuperation time. Source: Greg Johns at MLB