Mariners Mini Morsels: March 4

Logan Morrison saw his first action in the field this spring Monday, starting at first base and going 1-for-3 in Seattle’s 6-5 split-squad victory over the Reds. This after playing strictly DH his first two games as he returns from knee issues that caused him to miss most of the last two springs. He’s hitting .625 (5-for-8). Source:Greg Johns at MLB

 

Hart had a solid lead and was moving down the line at third when speedster Xavier Avery took off for second in the two-out situation. So when the throw from catcher Michael McKenry bounced away from shortstop Christhian Adames, Hart kept going and crossed home plate standing for a successful double steal. His manager’s reaction?

“I fainted,” said skipper Lloyd McClendon.“He wasn’t supposed to be going. But to his credit, he read the ball in the dirt and it worked out for the best.” McClendon intends to give the nine-year veteran some time in the outfield later this week, but initially intended to take things slowly. So did he have words for Hart after his aggressive bolt for the plate? “No,” said McClendon. “They were still trying to revive me.” Source: Greg Johns at MLB

 

Wolf said he threw all his pitches, working mostly on keeping his fastball down and adding in a new splitter he feels will be helpful. And Wolf could help the Mariners if he returns to the pitcher who threw 212 or more innings in three straight years with the Dodgers and Brewers from 2009-11 and posted a 37-29 record and 3.70 ERA in that span before his elbow started acting up again.“I’m an average to above-average Major League pitcher. And obviously when I’m not healthy, I’ve been horrible. And I admit that. I really feel the way I’ve prepared over the past 15 months, if this ligament holds up, I can pitch in the big leagues and really help a team.” “I’ve got a long way to go,” Wolf said, “but it was a good first step.” Source: Greg Johns at MLB

 

For now club officials appear content to evaluate who’s on hand and show little urgency to deal Franklin — willingness, yes, but little urgency — because he has minor league options remaining. That is, he can be sent to Tacoma if Miller retains the starting job. The same holds true for Miller if Franklin wins it.

“Where we’re at right now,” Zduriencik said, “is we’ll let this thing play out in spring training. And we’ll see. No one has to do anything. Nick Franklin and Brad Miller are both very talented players. We’re not making any decisions until we see what’s going on there. I don’t think you’re going to see us make any move just to make a move.”

That said, if the right offer comes along, Zduriencik indicated the Mariners won’t hesitate to pull the trigger because they believe they possess sufficient depth to weather the departure of either player.“We’ve got a battle going on at shortstop,” Zduriencik said, “but we’ve also got other players sitting right there, like Carlos Triunfel. Or Gabriel Noriega, who wants to come in here and make some noise. Then we’ve got Chris Taylor, a young kid who everyone is impressed with. A little below that, we’ve got a young kid named Ketel Marte. We’ve got a kid named (Jack) Reinheimer who we like quite a bit.”

For now, though, the Miller/Franklin competition continues.“I hope that’s the way it is,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “That means they’re both playing extremely well. That’s what I anticipate.” Source: Bob Dutton at The News Tribune

Seattle has had a scout at every Mets spring game (former Mets GM Joe McIlvaine) while the Diamondbacks have not. And Zduriencik did say, “We have a surplus at a desired position and that has generated a lot of interest.” Keep this in mind, though: The Mets are not the only team looking for a shortstop. The Yanks, for example, would like to add someone who provides infield depth now and would replace Derek Jeter in 2015. Source: Joel Sherman at the New York Post

 

So they said

“There’s no reason for me not to play every day,” Ichiro.  Source: Wallace Matthews at ESPN New York (The Yankees, of course, committed more than a quarter-billion dollars to three outfielders this offseason — $153 million and $45 million respectively to free agents Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, and another $52 million to their own farm-raised Brett Gardner. That might be a reason for the non-delusional.)

 

Mariner’s potential off-season targets

Now that the games have begun, scouts and player personnel staffs are starting to fit last-minute pieces onto rosters. Much of this involves acquiring or trying to move players who are out of minor league options. Teams risk losing these players if they don’t keep them on 25-man rosters. Some are worth losing because they haven’t been able to perform consistently.

The Twins, for instance, have three pitchers competing for the No. 5 spot in their rotation in Scott Diamond, Vance Worley, and Samuel Deduno. The Twins could put those who lose out in the bullpen, but then that gets too crowded. So, they will have a pitcher or two to deal.

The Orioles have a similar situation with Zach Britton, who finds himself outside the starting five. He could win a bullpen spot or be traded. Britton was once considered a guy who could dominate in the majors, but it hasn’t worked out that way. He may still be worth a gamble. Royals outfielders Justin Maxwell and Jarrod Dyson are out of options but have skills, so the Royals will have to make tough decisions. At least one will make the team as a backup.

Toronto will have choices to make with veteran right-handers Esmil Rogers and Tim Redmond, starters on the outside looking in if the Jays’ rotation is R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, J.A. Happ, and Kyle Drabek. If Drabek falls back to the minors, Rogers or Redmond has a shot. Source: Nick Cafardo at the Boston Globe

 

The pitcher who the Tampa Bay Rays were most likely to trade for Nick Franklin was Alex Colome, and he is still the favorite to be part of a deal now. Despite his potential, he is somewhat of an “odd man out” in the organization at this point–especially with Karns and Bedard in the mix–and he is the type of pitching prospect the Rays would be willing to trade for the right price. With their number two starter, Hisashi Iwakuma, now facing a strained tendon on his middle finger, a pitcher like Colome could be even more attractive to the Mariners. Expect the Rays’ best offer to be Colome and an A-ball prospect or two in exchange for Franklin, and we will have to see whether that will be enough to make a trade finally happen. Source:Robbie Knopf at Rays Colored Glasses

 

Prospect watch

Though Maurer worked out of the bullpen at times last year, McClendon said the 23-year-old is definitely in the starting mix this spring.“I saw him live against us in Detroit last year,” McClendon said. “I thought his stuff was tremendous. Plus fastball, plus slider. I think the biggest thing with him is getting connected with his inner self and understanding who he is and what he’s all about when he’s on that mound and not getting too emotional. If you’re a starter, you can’t get too caught up in the emotions. You have to keep everything under control and that’s one of the things he’s working on this spring.”

Source:Greg Johns at MLB

 

McClendon says Stephen Pryor looked good Saturday in a bullpen workout. Asked about facing hitters:“Eventually, he’s not there yet.” From: Bob Dutton at The News Tribune

 

“Sometimes people say, ‘Oh man, you’re a base stealer,'” Xavier Avery said. “But I always want to say, ‘No, I’m a base scorer.’ That’s what you want to do, score runs. It’s big to steal bases because it helps you score runs, but my main objective is to score. If I can distract them and get under their skin just standing on first like I did there and make it easier for our hitters to get hits, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll pick my chances.

“If they’re not paying attention, then I’ll make them pay attention by stealing. It’s kind of a cat-and-mouse game. It’s fun to see guys get nervous. That’s what I want to do, make guys nervous out there. I want to have their full attention.” Source: Greg Johns at MLB

 

Baseball Best Practice

[Astros GM Jeff] Luhnow has also hired journalists to work as part of his front office in recent years, and emphasized that communication skills should never be lost in the advanced world of analytics.

“The technical skills are huge, but if you can’t communicate them effectively, then you’re going to lose the impact,” Luhnow said. “You could have the brightest analysts, but without the ability to package the information and communicate to the decision makers properly, you’re going to lose the ability to have an impact. People who have spent a lot of their time trying to communicate their findings to the world through BP [Baseball Prospectus], or wherever, have figured out how to communicate in writing and using the verbal word as well. You get the best of both worlds when you hire a technical person who has some experience in communications.” Source: Chris Cotillo at MLB Daily Dish

 

The reality is, MLB teams (especially National League teams that can’t afford to pay a DH) are starting to understand that outfield defense is important. How important is a question for someone much smarter than me.

It remains to be seen if [Chris] Young will out produce [Nelson] Cruz this year, but it’s a little logistically fuzzy to assume that because Cruz hits dingers in a hitter’s park, he’s automatically a better option. He may very well have a better year than Young at the plate, and since the O’s will likely DH him, that will help his overall value as well. But in Citi Field’s vast outfield, the Mets, like many others, are putting a greater emphasis on outfield defense and run prevention now. Young is a big part of that. How baseball teams view outfield value is evolving. Source:Jon Presser at The Shea Faithful

 

By The Numbers

The 1987 Reds are the lone 100+ home run and 100+ stolen base outfield in MLB history. From:MLB Play Index

 

Buster Posey is a .299 lifetime batter as a catcher and .357 as a first baseman. Mauer is a .328 lifetime batter as a catcher and .324 as a first baseman. From:The Bill Chuck Files

 

In 1993, the Seattle Mariners used a record 23 players at DH. From:MLB Play Index

 

 

Alumni News

Will a team such as the Brewers or Pirates buy into [Mike] Carp being capable of being a full-time first baseman? Both could use a first baseman and Carp is coming off a big year off the bench. But even with his tremendous power and stroke, he remains a mystery. Scouts from both teams are already watching the Red Sox, and Carp in particular. Source:Nick Cafardo at the Boston Globe

 

Eric Wedge, for one, is surprised [Oliver] Perez is still out there. “He did a great job for us last year,” said the former Mariners manager.“He’s a good guy on the team. Very dependable for us.” There were four teams who were on the verge of signing him two weeks ago, but nothing has transpired. The Yankees, who are relying on Matt Thornton as their main lefthander out of the pen, or the Nationals, could surely use Perez. Source: Nick Cafardo at the Boston Globe

 

Joe Saunders is still out there. While reports have linked him with Twins, officials of that team deny any interest. From:Nick Cafardo at the Boston Globe