Mariners Mini Morsels: March 8

This would have been longer but I had to read this. Pump up your Saturday morning with @edsbs‘ Q&A with an SR-71 pilot: http://sbn.to/1oxNC3N. As John Lennon said “Time you enjoyed wasting wasn’t wasted.” True. I’ve been an SR-71 fan for many years; they used to be operated by my old Air Force unit. maqman

Mariner Media Commentary

Friday a Reds split-squad team topped the Mariners, 10-9, at Peoria Stadium. Wolf and Bawcom didn’t look good but

[DJ] Peterson went 2-for-3 in his second straight game with the big league club and is 3-for-6 in three Cactus League games. The Mariners also got an RBI double from Stefen Romero, a two-run double by Cole Gillespie and an RBI double by Jesus Montero in the sixth off Reds right-hander Daniel Corcino, who pitched in Triple-A last year. Gillespie added an RBI single in the eighth to give him three RBIs. Source: Greg Johns at MLB

New [Mariners] hitting coach Howard Johnson was a switch hitter during his own playing days, which may be key to [Justin] Smoak’s season.One question of Smoak that has come up over the past year or so is whether or not it would make sense for him to give up switch hitting and focus on one side — the 27-year-old was significantly better in 2013 as a left-handed batter — but Johnson shot down that idea, saying “it’s too much of an advantage,” to switch-hitting. If Smoak, for example, were to scrap switch-hitting and become a lefty stick only, he’d have to start from scratch facing left-handed pitching as a left-handed batter.

Johnson also opined on the effect of the Mariners’ $240 million man, noting Cano “has a big impact on everything we do,” but also says the M’s know they can’t be a one-or-two man show. Source: Steve Sandmeyer at 1090am The Fan

[Joe] Beimel, 36, is one of a handful of pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery who agreed to Minor League deals with the hope of proving they’re ready. And the former Dodgers workhorse has been impressive thus far.

“He’s looked great,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He looks healthy, he’s taken the ball every time we’ve asked. He’s an interesting guy, a veteran guy that has pitched in big ballgames and has the ability to get guys out from both sides of the plate. We’ll continue to look at him and see what he has to offer.” Source: Greg Johns at MLB

jemanji at Seattle Sports Insider has put together a not wanted list entitled Fizzlers offering advice on which Mariner’s spring training attendees you might want to avoid wasting time rooting for. These include Randy Wolf, Blake Beavan, Nick Hill and Stefen Romero. Click on Fizzlers to read his explanations.

AL West Commentary

In an e-mail to the Silicon Valley Business Journal Oakland A’s co-owner Lew Wolff stated: “I am hopeful of expanding our lease at the Oakland Coliseum for an extended term,” Wolff wrote. “If we cannot accomplish a lease extension, I hope to have an interim place to play in the Bay Area or in the area that reaches our television and radio fans — either in an existing venue or in the erection of a temporary venue that we have asked our soccer stadium architect (360 Architecture) to explore. Looking outside the Bay Area and our media market is an undesirable option to our ownership at this time.” Source: Joe Stiglich at CSN Bay Area

So they said

“My pitching philosophy is simple – keep the ball away from the bat.” Satchel Page.

“We liked what we saw,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. [After Michael Pineda’s first outing.] “I don’t want to make too much of it, but I’ve said all along that he looked different, what we’ve seen this spring compared to a couple of springs ago. The ball coming out of his hand, I thought he’d cleaned up his mechanics a lot. This is a good step.” Bryan Hoch at MLB.com

“You can go around to the clubhouses and check scars on guys’ elbows, and they’re still pitching because of that (surgery)…I really think (doctors) deserve a place in the Hall of Fame (to) get the recognition they deserve.” [Randy] Wolf on the legacy of Dr. Frank Jobe, who pioneered Tommy John surgery. Source: Bob Dutton at Tacoma News Tribune

Mariner’s potential off-season targets

The Chicago White Sox have gotten calls on both Viciedo and De Aza, they are currently battling for the left field job. From: Jon Heyman at CBS Sports

Sources: Ervin Santana now seeking a one-year deal, and wants to sign as quickly as possible. Santana wants to sign with a strong offensive club. Both Blue Jays and Orioles fit that description and have shown interest. Santana unwilling to wait on 1-year deal, even though he would be exempt from 2014 qualifying offer after Opening Day. Wants to be in camp now. From: Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports

Despite word Santana will take a 1-year deal, [GM Dayton] Moore says the Royals “moving forward” without him. “The candidates for our rotation are in-house” he said. From: Andy McCullough‏ at the Kansas City Star

If Ervin Santana in fact negotiates his own deal, he should know that teams are very leery of his medicals and fear an elbow blowout. From: Buster Olney at ESPN

Ervin Santana is talking to the Blue Jays and Orioles about possible deals in the range of $14 million for one year, and could have a deal soon with one of those two teams or possibly a third team in the NL that is still on the fringe of the talks.

Toronto and Baltimore are the clear favorites now, with a deal likely being struck in the next day or two. Source: Jon Heyman at CBS Sports

Draft, Prospects & Farm News

Scott McKinney at Royals Review has written a detailed study of the Success and failure rates of top MLB prospects that is well worth the time spent reading it. He based his research on players who have appeared on Baseball America top 100 prospect lists from 1990 to 2003. He stopped at 2003 because that is the last data for which the vast majority of prospects have exhausted their cost controlled years.

Just a few of his conclusions from his study include:

About 70% of Baseball America top 100 prospects fail.

Position player prospects succeed much more often than pitching prospects.

About 60% of position players ranked in Baseball America’s top 20 succeed in the majors.

About 40% of pitchers ranked in the top 20 succeed in the majors.

About 30% of position players ranked 21-100 succeed in the majors (with the success rate declining over that ranking range from about 36% to about 25%)

About 20% of pitchers ranked 21-100 succeed in the majors (with the success rate declining over that ranking range from about 22% to about 15%)

This only a portion of the information available in his study, there is much more detail available by clicking on the study title above.

Baseball Best Practice

Playing under baseball’s new expanded replay system, Rays manager Joe Maddon — to the surprise of absolutely no one who knows him — already has been hard at work finding the first of what could be several loopholes, or as he prefers, nuances, in the program to exploit. “I think the what-ifs are almost limitless,” he said. “And that’s the part people don’t even understand. When you open Pandora’s box, it’s not as cut and dried as you think.” So that’s why the Rays infielders were doing a drill Wednesday where, with a runner on second and a ground ball hit, they got what theoretically was the third out of an inning at first base, but they threw home anyway to potentially get another out.

Maddon’s premise? That if the call at first was reviewed and that runner was ruled safe, that continuing the play to the plate could lead to the other runner being called out to still end the inning, or at least sent back to third when the umpires decide on placement since he would have been out. Source: Marc Topkin at Tampa Bay Times

By The Numbers

Joe Mauer is the only catcher in history to have won three batting titles/ How many other catchers in history can match or beat his .405 career on-base percentage (with at least 5,000 plate appearances)? Just one (Mickey Cochrane). How many other catchers can match or beat his .873 OPS? Only two (Cochrane and Mike Piazza). Source Jason Stark at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]

Alumni News

Oliver Perez, Diamondbacks sign two-year, $4.25 million deal. The 32-year-old was 3-3 with a 3.74 ERA last year in his second season with the Seattle Mariners after spending 2011 in the minor leagues. He has a 62-75 record in 195 starts and 105 relief appearances over 11 big league seasons. Source: Associated Press via Sports Illustrated

It’s been more than two years since the Yankees dealt their top prospect for Michael Pineda, yet his next official pitch in pinstripes will be his first. After two frustrating seasons following shoulder surgery, Pineda took his first step toward redemption Friday night, throwing a pair of scoreless innings against the Tigers in his spring debut at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

“I know it’s been a long time not seeing a major league hitter,” said Pineda, who allowed one hit and struck out four, throwing 21 of his 27 pitches for strikes. “I had a good focus tonight. I showed Michael Pineda.” If Pineda is able to build on his first outing, the competition for the No. 5 starter job won’t be much of a competition. Source: Mark Feinsand at the New York Daily News