Mariners Mini Morsels: February 15

Lloyd McClendon said he views job of managing differently than he did first time; credits working with Jim Leyland for new perspective. Mariners have music on loudspeakers during spring workouts as long as instruction is not going on. They say it worked for Seahawks. From: Jon Morosi at Fox Sports


The Mariners were looking for another veteran starter even before Iwakuma’s injury, so they could be in the market for another addition. Veterans Scott Baker and Randy Wolf have been given non-roster invites as they come off Tommy John surgeries, and former Angels starter Matt Palmer is in the mix as well. Youngsters James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Blake Beavan, Brandon Maurer and Erasmo Ramirez will also compete for starting jobs, and McClendon said he wants eight or nine pitchers getting stretched out through camp to fill the final five-man rotation. “I’m always looking for eight or nine starters,” he said. “Whether they’re out there or Jack [Zduriencik] is going to acquire somebody else, I don’t know. But I’m always looking. You always want to get better and you always want to have a surplus.” [Manager Lloyd] McClendon said. Zach Miner, another non-roster veteran, has the ability to start and be a “swing-man” type pitcher, but will be looked at more as a reliever at this point.


Source: Mariners casting “wide net” in search of starters. “All depends on demands” re: Ubaldo/Ervin, but pool not limited to those two. From: Chris Cotillo at MLB Daily Dish


Should Seattle look to the next tier of remaining starters, Chris Capuano could be available on a one-year deal after a pair of solid seasons that saw him post a 3.91 ERA in 304 innings with the Dodgers. Of course, the trade market offers numerous options as well, although at this point it seems too late for the Mariners to cash in on their previous interest in David Price.” Source: Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors


AL West Commentary


[Angels owner Arte] Moreno touched on the perception that the Angels are unwilling to move their luxury-tax payroll beyond the $189-million threshold. “The reality is we have an operating budget below the threshold, we made money last year, and we’re not interested in being in the red financially,” said Moreno, whose luxury-tax payroll currently stands around $173 million. “I’m not opposed to going over the threshold, but it has to be for the right guy,” Moreno said. “If we get out of the box good, we get to the All-Star break and someone becomes available who could really enhance the team, we’ll do our best to get him.” Source: Mike DiGiovanna at the LA Times


So they said


I don’t know where you get this fourth outfielder talk from, man. You all love talking about four outfielders, man. That’s like the question of the day every day. I think all four of us outfielders feel the same way. None of us are fourth outfielders. Everybody wants to play every day. I won’t accept that role. I can’t accept that role.” Matt Kemp to Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times

“The teams need the pitching by opening day. That’s when the bell rings. I think a lot of clubs might think that as [opening day] gets closer, the price comes down. I would simply say to that, ‘You’re not filling your need for pitching, so I don’t know why our value is any less when your need is still as great as what it was.’ ”Ervin Santana’s agent Bean Stringfellow to John Lott at the National Post


Baseball Best Practice

For the Pirates, open competition trumps an open market, and [Manager Clint] Hurdle is extremely enthusiastic about seeing in the next few weeks some of the organization’s plums take center-stage bows. The Jameson TaillonGregory PolancoZack ThorntonBrandon Cumpton class. “You have to anticipate change and get ready for change,” Hurdle said. “We have created a culture of opportunity and manning up.”

“We’ll reward our fan base by winning games, not by winning the talk shows or papers in the offseason,” [GM Neal] Huntington said. “We’ll never win the offseason. If you look at the last four, five years, most teams that won the offseason have not won the season. Payroll does not equal playoff. Source: Tom Singer at


By The Numbers


There have been 14,014 men to record at least one hit in MLB history. Pete Rose, number 14, stands atop with 4,256. From: MLB Play Index


Baseball Biz


The first thing to talk about here is the new national television contracts that kick in this season. You hear a lot about this $25 million figure. That’s the number being thrown around locally and nationally — we’ve used it here — as the per-team increase from last year to this year. But some phone calls around baseball show the number to be misleading.

Most relevantly, there is no $25 million-per-team jump in revenues from 2013 to 2014. That figure (which doesn’t account for a share that MLB takes) comes from the average of the new contract compared to the average of the old contract. But the old deal increased every year, just like the new deal is scheduled to. The highest total of the old contract was last year, and the lowest total of the new contract is this year, so the raw increase from last year to this year is thought to be more like $5 million to $10 million, before MLB takes its share. “The $25 million is a made-up number,” says Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor for Forbes Sports. “The $25 million doesn’t mean anything if you’re comparing ’13 to ’14.”

The Royals’ payroll is a franchise record, and by Forbes’ estimates, figures to be about half or more of the team’s revenues (including revenue sharing). Many teams around baseball informally use the 50 percent rule as a spending threshold.

Depending on where a few remaining free agents land — yes, including Ervin Santana — the Royals should rank around 16th in payroll while playing in the sport’s third-smallest market, with revenues that rank in the bottom four.

When [GM Dayton] Moore said last week that the franchise is past its break-even point on payroll, he was mocked with the math of the $25 million infusion. But according to Badenhausen and sources in baseball, Moore’s claim adds up. Plus, Badenhausen and others will point out that virtually no teams plan on losing money. In 2012, the most recent season for which Forbes has estimates, only six teams lost money. That includes the Rangers and Angels, who knew they would soon make the money back with bigger local TV deals, and the Marlins, who made a one-year gamble that blew up. “Ninety million is a very big number for a franchise like the Royals,” Badenhausen says. “They’re spending money. They’re out of their days of the $30 million payroll.” Source: Sam Mellinger at the Kansas City Star


 Alumni News


The Padres have signed erstwhile catcher Rob Johnson who is now listed as a RHP to a minor league deal. From: Matt Eddy at Baseball America


Baseball History


When baseball greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig went on tour in baseball-crazy Japan in 1934, some fans wondered why a third-string catcher named Moe Berg was included. The answer was simple: Berg was a US spy.


Speaking 15 languages – including Japanese – Moe Berg had two loves: baseball and spying. In Tokyo garbed in a kimono, Berg took flowers to the daughter of an American diplomat being treated in St. Luke’s Hospital – the tallest building in the Japanese capital. He never delivered the flowers.  The ball-player ascended to the hospital roof and filmed key features: the harbor, military installations, railway yards, etc. Eight years later, General Jimmy Doolittle studied Berg’s films in planning his spectacular raid on Tokyo.


Berg’s father, Bernard Berg, a pharmacist in Newark, New Jersey, taught his son Hebrew and Yiddish.  Moe, against his wishes, began playing baseball on the street aged four. His father disapproved and never once watched his son play.  In Barringer High School, Moe learned Latin, Greek and French. He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton – having added Spanish, Italian, German and Sanskrit to his linguistic quiver. During further studies at the Sorbonne, in Paris, and Columbia Law School, he picked up Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Arabic, Portuguese and Hungarian – 15 languages in all, plus some regional dialects. While playing baseball for Princeton University, Moe Berg would describe plays in Latin or Sanskrit.


During World War II, he was parachuted into Yugoslavia to assess the value to the war effort of the two groups of partisans there.  He reported back that Marshall Tito’s forces were widely supported by the people and Winston Churchill ordered all-out support for the Yugoslav underground fighter, rather than Mihajlovic’s Serbians. The parachute jump at age 41 undoubtedly was a challenge. But there was more to come in that same year. Berg penetrated German-held Norway, met with members of the underground and located a secret heavy water plant – part of the Nazis’ effort to build an atomic bomb. His information guided the Royal Air Force in a bombing raid to destroy the plant.


There still remained the question of how far had the Nazis progressed in the race to build the first Atomic bomb.  If the Nazis were successful, they would win the war.  Berg (under the code name “Remus”) was sent to Switzerland to hear leading German physicist Werner Heisenberg, a Nobel Laureate, lecture and determine if the Nazis were close to building an A-bomb.  Moe managed to slip past the SS guards at the auditorium, posing as a Swiss graduate student. The spy carried in his pocket a pistol and a cyanide pill. If the German indicated the Nazis were close to building a weapon, Berg was to shoot him – and then swallow the cyanide pill.
Moe, sitting in the front row, determined that the Germans were nowhere near their goal, so he complimented Heisenberg on his speech and walked him back to his hotel. Moe Berg’s report was distributed to Britain’s Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and key figures in the team developing the Atomic Bomb.  Roosevelt responded: “Give my regards to the catcher.”


Most of Germany ‘s leading physicists had been Jewish and had fled the Nazis mainly to Britain and the United States.  After the war, Moe Berg was awarded the Medal of Merit – America ‘s highest honor for a civilian in wartime.  But Berg refused to accept, as he couldn’t tell people about his exploits. After his death, his sister accepted the Medal and it hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown.

  • gmantacoma

    No thanks to Santana and Price. Yes please on Chris Capuano.