It appears the Mariners will begin the regular season without starter Hisashi Iwakuma, as the right-hander on Wednesday was diagnosed with a strained tendon in his right middle finger. Iwakuma, who suffered the injury while working out in Southern California in preparation for Spring Training, will not throw for four to six weeks. The finger has been place in a splint for the time being and Iwakuma will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
The injury is not expected to require surgery at this time, but will still delay his preseason throwing program significantly.
“Luckily, this does not appear to be a serious injury,” said general manager Jack Zduriencik. “It is a setback for Kuma, but we are confident that he will quickly overcome the missed time and be able to rejoin our rotation early in the regular season.” Iwakuma excelled last year in his first full season as a Major League starter, going 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA over 33 starts. He made his first All-Star appearance and finished third in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award. Source: Paul Casella at MLB.com
Dave Valle takes over the helm for Seattle’s Northwest League affiliate after spending the last 16 seasons as a member of the Mariners‘ broadcast team. Valle, who also contributed as an MLB Network analyst over the past five seasons, played 13 Major League seasons from 1984-96, including 10 behind the plate for the Mariners from 1984-93. Source: Paul Casella at MLB.com
AL West Commentary
Texas General manager Jon Daniels said he had remained in contact with free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz‘s agent, Adam Katz. But despite occasional talks with Katz and the need for a right-handed bat, Daniels said the Rangers were not expecting to sign Cruz. “We check in periodically, but nothing has changed,” Daniels said. “My expectation is he will sign elsewhere. “The Rangers had been looking for a right-handed bat this offseason to possibly pair with Mitch Moreland at designated hitter. But the Rangers have nothing going on in the free-agent market, and it appears Michael Choice could get a chance to win that spot as a fourth outfielder and part-time DH. Asked about the free-agent market, Daniels said, “We’re not talking to anybody.” Source: T.R. Sullivan at MLB.com
So they said
“Listen, I didn’t buy this team to cart money away. I bought this team to win. Period. Win. But I’ll do it in a fiscally sound way.” Astros’ owner Jim Crane to Evan Drellich at the Houston Chronicle
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
Hearing there’s “no way” Ervin Santana signs today. Source says talks are “still in diapers,” with 3-4 serious teams. From: Tim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors
Draft, Prospects & Farm News
Minor league outfielder Cavan Cohoes received a 50-game suspension for violations of baseball’s drug policy. Cohoes, 20, battled injuries since his selection in the ninth round of the 2011 draft. He spent most of last season at rookie-level Peoria, where he compiled a .151/.270/.163 slash in 31 games. Source: Bob Dutton at The News Tribune
By The Numbers
Since 2010, CC Sabathia’s quality starts have decreased each season: 26, 22, 19, and 16. Source: The Bill Chuck Files
Minor league baseball has long been cherished for inexpensive, family-friendly games. Part of the low price stems from remarkably low wages for minor league players. Three former minor leaguers now contend that these wages are unlawfully low. Aaron Senne, Michael Liberto and Oliver Odle have sued MLB, commissioner Bud Selig, the Royals, Marlins and Giants in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for violations of wage and overtime laws. They hope to expand the lawsuit into a class action on behalf of thousands of former minor league players. Source: Michael McCann at Sports Illustrated (A full explanation can be found at Minor League Baseball Players Lawsuit)
In the collective-bargaining agreement, teams are required to use revenue-sharing money to improve performance. There’s a system in place to encourage this, too. The clubs in the 15 largest markets are gradually eliminated from receiving revenue sharing. That’s what [MLBPA CEO Tony] Clark meant by “market disqualification” affecting the Astros.
The Astros are No. 15 on the list, and all of those 15 clubs had to forfeit 25 percent of their revenue-sharing money in 2013. In 2014, they have to forfeit half. The number moves to 75 percent next season, before all revenue sharing disappears for those teams in 2016. Source:Evan Drellich at the Houston Chronicle (The Mariners have the 14th largest media market although I’m not aware of any confirmation that they will be one of the teams losing their revenue sharing money it would seem they may well be. This is a significant amount of money, into 8 figures, which might be a partial explanation of why the M’s haven’t spent more of the roughly $25 million in additional national media money coming to them this year.)
Yankees RHP Michael Pineda, a fifth-starter candidate sidelined the past two years by a right shoulder injury, is throwing off a mound. “I’m feeling 100 percent right now, and my body is in perfect shape,” said a trimmed down 260-pound Pineda. “Everything is in the past. I’m ready to go.” Source: Associated Press via Sports Illustrated
Chat Review – Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs.com
Comment From Chris: Are the Mariners going after Santana? Seems like a lot of rumors indicating that yesterday.
Jeff Sullivan: They’re involved. Like everybody else they’re waiting to see how low the price will drop. My understanding is their preference would be to trade for an SP.
Comment From Gson: James Paxton = Clayton Kershaw Lite or version 2… Agree with that assessment?
Jeff Sullivan: Not even a little bit. I mean, how lite are we talking here? He’s Erik Bedard with a better attitude.
Comment From Chris: How many plate appearances for Franklin as Mariner for 2014?
Jeff Sullivan: 0 – 50
Comment From Gson: Ubaldo Jimenez signs a ____ year contract with the __________________baseball team for $ ____ MM
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have actual insight here, but: 3, Blue Jays, 40.
Comment From dbet: Do you think Billy Hamilton is fast enough to make up for the lack of defense from the Mariners 1B playing outfield?
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think Billy Hamilton is fast enough to improve the Seattle Mariners, no
Comment From Guest: What insiders do you put the most faith in?
Jeff Sullivan: Rosenthal
Comment From _David: Any thoughts on new Mariners Randy Wolf and Zach Miner?
Jeff Sullivan: Zach Miner wasn’t good at his best and Randy Wolf hasn’t had a 3-win season since 2002. Veteran depth. Nothing but veteran depth.
Comment From Guest: If 1 WAR is worth $6 to $7 million. How much is -1 WAR worth.
Jeff Sullivan: a few million in Japan
Comment From _David: Do you think the Mariners would give Erasmo a spot over Paxton, if it came to that, and he was healthy?
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Mariners are fond of Ramirez, Paxton, and Walker, the latter two more than the former. But the door is open for Ramirez if he gets back to what he was in 2012.
Comment From Redd: Have you heard any new news on the M’s being able to trade Franklin? How is it no one is interested in a decent 2b?
Jeff Sullivan: Teams are interested and there’s stuff that isn’t reported but teams are also wary of his strikeouts, defense, and physical build,
Comment From James: What are the possible reasons that Jiminez and Santana have not been signed yet?
Jeff Sullivan: QO + decreasingly high demands, also neither is really particularly good.
Comment From Dave: What is it, specifically, that has you so high on Brad Miller? I think you’re very High on Cory Kluber as well. Same Question. Thanks!
Jeff Sullivan: Well, it’s also Steamer, ZiPS, Oliver, and the Fans. Miller’s at least okay at basically everything, which makes him a quality everyday shortstop. Fairly low ceiling, fairly high floor, good young regular and likely to be underrated.
Comment From Robinson Cano: This may sound crazy, but is it possible I’ll be undervalued in 2014?
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, as stars usually are around the starts of their deals.
Comment From Guest: How many wins would you project the Mariners for if they signed Santana and/or Cruz?
Jeff Sullivan: 83.
Comment From Herb: Are players going to steal more now that power is seemingly becoming harder to find?
Jeff Sullivan: Stolen bases just dropped by more than 500 between 2012-2013.