Mariners Mini Morsels: January 19

Tony LaRussa doesn’t think he will get Seattle job. LaRussa, appearing at the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up today, acknowledged, “My name’s been mentioned. That’s all it is. It’s likely I won’t even get an interview. I’ve heard they’ve got a couple of good guys in house. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity and I would love to put my two cents in as to what contribution I could make. But I don’t think it’s going to happen. I was a little embarrassed by the attention.” Source: Rick Hummel at the St Louis Post-Dispatch

The Mariners and Indians are the apparent front-runners to land starting pitcher Scott Baker, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Between five and seven teams are interested in the right-hander.

 

So they said

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball.  I’ll tell you what I do.  I stare out the window and wait for spring.”  – Rogers Hornsby

“We’re still, first and foremost, concerned with the quality of the team we can put together, and adding it up comes second,” [Dodgers] team president Stan Kasten said. “This is a long-term strategy of ours. After five or six or seven years, it will make a lot more sense than it does to people looking at today’s snapshot.” Source: Mark Saxon atESPN LA

 

“Back then, my idol was Bugs Bunny, because I saw a cartoon of him playing ball – you know, the one where he plays every position himself with nobody else on the field but him?  Now that I think of it, Bugs is still my idol.  You have to love a ballplayer like that.”  – Nomar Garciaparra

 

Mariner’s potential off-season targets

Five teams have reportedly submitted formal offers for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who is expected to make a decision by next Friday. The teams are the Cubs, White Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and D-backs. All of the bids were believed to be more than $100 million and over six years. Source: Quinn Roberts at MLB.com

 

According to numerous sources living near and being a part of the American Japanese community,is a key element for Tanaka and his wife. From: Bruce Levine at CBS Chicago

 

 

Minors, Prospects & Draft

Right-hander Logan Kensing, who pitched 108 games as a reliever for the Marlins from 2004-09, and catcher Manny Pina have signed Minor League contracts with the Mariners with an invitation to Major League camp, the club announced Friday. Source: Greg Johns at MLB

LHP Joe Beimel has a minor-league deal with Mariners. Invite to spring. Scouts say that his velocity is way up since fully recovering from Tommy John surgery. From: Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports

 

Baseball Best Practice

I do have a complaint. The list of reviewable plays is long, and consists of virtually every play … with one bizarre exception: Force play (except the fielder’s touching of second base on a double play) Uh, exactly how does that work? How do you go to GREAT LENGTHS to get every call right … and essentially codify wrong calls?

This of course is the so-called neighborhood play: If a middle infielder’s in the neighborhood of second base, he doesn’t have to actually touch the base whilst trying to turn a double play and avoid a potentially injurious slide. Which seems a lovely sentiment, but also happens to GO AGAINST EVERYTHING THAT SHOULD BE HELD HOLY.

It’s a simple principle: If you can’t touch the base, you don’t deserve the double play. Just like you don’t deserve the out anywhere else if you can’t touch the base. Yes, by all means! Protect yourself from injury! We encourage self-protection! The out’s not worth a broken angle or a torn knee ligament! But you should make that decision, without any help from a sympathetic umpire. What I think is that this strange exception to the new rules is a sop to the old-school baseball men who advise Commissioner Bud. Some shred of tradition must be preserved.

But this one won’t be for long. As Larry Granillo wrote just last summer, the neighborhood play — a/k/a the “phantom double play” — was already on the way out. But this new scheme’s going to kill it. Kill it dead. Even if a few umpires, probably the oldest umpires, persist in looking the other way when a fielder doesn’t actually touch the base while in possession of the baseball, it can’t last long. Ultimately, nobody except a few veteran infielders will tolerate sanctioned blown calls. Especially if said calls are plastered on the massive video boards now gracing more and more of our baseball cathedrals. The neighborhood play is one of the last gasps of the we-don’t-give-a-damn crowd. You know what I mean. We don’t give a damn if catchers get destroyed. We don’t give a damn if the guy actually makes the play. We don’t give a damn if pitchers throw beanballs. Slowly but surely, the we-don’t-give-a-damn crowd dies off, or retires. Within a year or two, the neighborhood play will be a quaint memory, a relic of the time when there was room for people to make up rules on the fly. For better or worse, that time is almost gone. Source: Rob Neyer at SB Nation

 

Baseball Biz

With the blessing of MLB, the Dodgers are about to launch a publicity push for their new SportsNet LA channel.

The new television home is set to debut Feb. 25, the day before the Dodgers open their Cactus League schedule. SportsNet LA plans to air all of the team’s spring training games, Dodgers President Stan Kasten said.

Whether fans will be able to see that channel on Feb. 25 — or when the Dodgers open the season in Australia on March 22 — could be an ongoing story over the next two months. The Dodgers’ partner, Time Warner Cable, is responsible for securing deals to make the channel available on cable and satellite systems besides the ones operated by TWC. As with the launch of almost all new sports channels, cable and satellite operators are expected to object to the cost of SportsNet LA — expected to be about $5 per month, per subscriber.

MLB has approved the Dodgers’ deal with TWC, two people familiar with the matter said Wednesday. Although there has been no announcement, the Dodgers have hired on-air talent for the new channel — including former players Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra — and have reached agreement with MLB about how much television revenue the team would share with the league. The LA Times reported that the parties had agreed to value the TWC deal at $8.5 billion, with the Dodgers keeping more than $6 billion and sharing more than $2 billion with the league. Source: Bill Shaikinat theLA Times

 

Alumni News

Former big leaguers Hideo Nomo and Kazuhiro Sasaki were elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday, with Nomo becoming the youngest player in that Hall’s history, according to the Japan Times. Sasaki, meanwhile, spent four years in the big leagues as a closer for Seattle. He saved 45 games for the Mariners during their 2001 campaign, during which they won 116 games during the regular season. Sasaki finished his big league career with 129 saves and a 3.14 ERA. In 12 seasons in Japan, he posted a 2.41 ERA. Source: AJ Cassavell at MLB.com

Source: Former Mariners and Padres RHP Jared Wells looking to make it back to MLB, will throw for teams in a showcase on Wednesday 1/22. From: Chris Cotillo at MLB Daily Dish