Mariners Mini Morsels: February 25

Source says Mariners won’t say aloud but were concerned about ballpark switch, PED effect with Cruz, they like Morales more. From: Jon Heyman at CBS Sports


Before 2008, when lefty Mark Mulder failed in his attempt to return from labrum and rotator cuff surgeries, [Cardinals medical consultant Dr George] Paletta helped conduct a study that looked at 67 elite pitchers who had labrum and rotator cuff repairs. Eleven did not return to pitching, the study showed. These are the odds Danny Hultzen is trying to beat to get back in the game. Based in part on a piece by Derrick Goold of the St Louis Post-Dispatch


“I told him [Justin Smoak] he’s my first baseman,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I told him that this winter. Having said that, he still has to go out and perform. I like what I see (this spring) from him. He’s doing a pretty darn good job.

“He’s come here in great shape, and he’s making the (necessary) adjustments at the plate. His BP is a lot crisper now. He’s taking BP with a purpose…we might have something. It’s sitting there, and we’ve got to get it out of him.”  Source: Bob Dutton at The News Tribune


A Mets insider acknowledged the validity of an ESPN New York report about a potential match for the Mets in Seattle infielder Nick Franklin. The source said there had been dialogue with Mariners officials as far back as the winter meetings. The talk is expected to pick up in the next month with Seattle having an excess infielder and the Mets having the type of young pitching Seattle desires to obtain in a swap. The Mets likely would need to further debate whether they feel Franklin can handle full-time shortstop before pulling the trigger on any such deal. Whether the Mets would part with a prospect the caliber of, say, Rafael Montero also remains to be seen. Source: Adam Rubin at ESPN New York (The Mariners insistence on Franklin being legitimate competition for Miller at shortstop during spring training may well be an attempt to polish his bona fides at the position to whet the Mets appetite for him.)


AL West Commentary

Rangers Matt Harrison has clean MRIs. Expected to start throwing program Thursday. He won’t be ready for start of season. From: Richard Durrett at ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth


So they said

Frank Thomas sleeps well because he did it the right way. “I’m not a sore loser because I had so much fun in the major leagues. I know a lot of guys had great talent against me. I know guys made decisions a lot of them are regretting right now, but I’ve never been one who was all upset with them because they made the decisions. They made them for their families,” he continued. “But I’ve already told a couple guys, don’t come crying now, though. Once you crossed that line, don’t come back crying when something is found out, and a lot of guys did that. That’s the only thing that upset me, because guys knew what they were doing.” Source: Associated Press via the Boston Herald


Union head Tony Clark is concerned that free agents who would cost a team a draft choice for signing them are still without jobs.” We believe it’s in everyone’s best interests that the teams who want the best players have an opportunity to access those best players,” he said. “The idea that there is a climate right now that doesn’t appear to afford everybody an opportunity to do so for whatever reason is a concern. How we change that going forward, we’ll have to see.” Source: Associated Press via ESPN Boston


Mariner’s potential off-season targets                           

Scott Boras, the agent for shortstop Stephen Drew and first baseman-designated hitter Kendrys Morales, also suggested that his clients might not sign until after the draft, when compensation no longer would apply. Even delaying new deals until after Opening Day would benefit the players. An eligible free agent cannot receive a qualifying offer unless he is with his team for an entire season, according to the collective-bargaining agreement.

Boras noted that other clubs also have incentives to wait until after the draft since they do not need to give up a pick to sign the player. He also notes that a signing would mean that those clubs would also potentially avoid the need to sign a future compensation player, and could potentially reap a future pick of their own when the player’s deal expires. “A road map for this strategy has been figured out,” said Boras. “There is a significant advantage under this system for teams to develop a plan to sign premium free-agent players — the top 6 to 12 percent — where they can gain draft currency and also improve their team in the current and long-term.”  Source: Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports


Executives from rival clubs say Nelson Cruz turned down multiple 2 and 3 year offers before signing 1-year deal with Orioles. From: Jerry Crasnick at ESPN


Baseball Best Practice

“I don’t know if maybe it’s just a cycle that we’re in right now, but if you asked any manager or general manager what they’re looking for, everybody’s looking for the same thing—everyone wants power,” says Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond. “Everyone wants power arms who can dominate hitters and, let’s be honest, those guys who throw 95-96 just have a better chance to get guys out and win ballgames. Everybody wants those power guys with the plus fastball and plus breaking ball. There’s not a ton of them, but there seem to be more coming to the big leagues now than ever.” Source: Jesse Spector at the Sporting News


As a five-time Gold Glove outfielder, when Andy Van Slyke speaks, his new Mariners pupils listen. But the Mariners outfielders are doing more than listening to their new position coach this spring. They’re running through difficult drills, making challenging catches against the wall, running down drives in the gaps, avoiding coaches flashing cards that require them to look down and call out the number they see and then look up again and relocate the ball on high popups in the wind. “I have a pretty simple theory about playing the outfield,” said Van Slyke, a three-time All-Star with the Pirates during an outstanding 13-year career. “I try to make practice faster than the game.”

Van Slyke’s approach is straightforward. He believes the way to get better is to make the hardest outfield plays routine by practicing them over and over, and he wasted no time throwing that theory at his new crew this spring. “Why practice a routine fly ball?” Van Slyke said. “I can pull anybody out of the stands to make those catches. They win prizes [in pregame contests] for catching routine fly balls. So I don’t practice routine. You take the hard play and make it an average play,” he said. “You take the great play and make it highly probable. You take the impossible and make it possible.” Source: Greg Johns at MLB


By The Numbers

Gaby Sanchez and Sam Fuld led the majors with 89 hitless games last season. Source: The Bill Chuck Files


Alumni News

John Farrell says Mike Carp will work out at a position other than 1B and LF this spring. ‘Stay tuned.’ Carp has 12 games at 3B in minors. From: Alex Speier at WEEI

The Red Sox are pondering having Carp learn to play third base to increase his versatility and give him some more opportunities at the plate. He has not played third base since his first two seasons in the minors, in 2004 and ’05. “I’ll do whatever they ask,” he said. “I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m in the big leagues and winning, that’s the ultimate goal. Coming back this year, what a difference. I feel like I’m back with my family and we’re ready to go to work.” Source: Peter Abraham at the Boston Globe


Given the status of the Rays’ roster this spring, some decisions about who will make the final cut could depend on injuries as well as which players have options. Players who are out of options include Josh Lueke. Source: Bill Chastain at


Oliver Perez, LHP, free agent — The former Met and Mariner was supposed to decide on one of four teams late last week, but it didn’t happen. Perez had a good year in Seattle and seems to be a better option for the Yankees than Matt Thornton.

Source: Nick Cafardo at the Boston Globe