Mariners Mini Morsels: March 18

Elias has been good so far; I like his mound presence. However if Kuma and Walker were not out of the picture he probably would not be considered for the rotation when the season starts. Paxton, Ramirez and Baker have the best chance of joining Felix at this point. Given the circumstances, Elias has to beat out Wolf, Beavan and Noesi for the last spot. Maurer has back problems and won’t be ready. Wolf needs more time to recover from his TJ surgery to be effective. Noesi actually hasn’t looked too bad so far, and neither has Beavan, so they are his competition. Neither of them are a lock at this point; it’s still all to play for. Then there will be more competition to stay in the rotation when Walker and Kuma are ready. I’m feeling better about our rotation depth at this point than I was three weeks ago. —Maqman


Love the look that Roenis Elias is getting by Mariners. Mature beyond his years and never flusters. Devastating curve ball from left side. From: Chris Harris at the Jackson Generals


Manager Lloyd McClendon has repeatedly called [Roenis] Elias an “interesting” pitcher and said nothing changed after his Sunday start. The skipper took a low-key approach when asked about the youngster’s chances of cracking the rotation.

“Everybody that is in camp can win a job. That’s why they’re here,” McClendon said. “He’s still here.”

Elias is a confident youngster and Sunday’s effort only bolstered his belief that he can compete for a starting spot.“Why not?” he said. Told that it was rare for pitchers to jump from the Double-A ranks, he didn’t hesitate. “Well,” said Elias, “I may be one of them.” Source: Greg Johns at MLB


What’s the GM seat temp – cool, tepid, hot? When ownership spends $240 million on a player, as it did on Robinson Cano, it’s usual to expect measurable on-field improvement. So I don’t think Zduriencik survives another 91-loss season. Where, precisely, is the bar? I don’t know. Owners can have unreasonable expectations — sometimes higher, sometimes lower than fans. My view, for what it’s worth, is .500 represents a reasonable goal for this club. That doesn’t meant they can’t be better. The rotation, in particular, could come together in a big way. (It also might flop.) But .500 would represent a 10-game improvement over last season. That would be a definite step in the right direction. Source: Bob Dutton at Tacoma News Tribune


“He’s certainly in the mix,” manager Lloyd McClendon said Saturday of [Stefen] Romero. “I think we all know our need and desire for right-handed bats throughout the lineup.” Romero’s played that role well of late, with nine hits in his last 19 at-bats with two doubles, two triples and two home runs – one coming Friday night against Colorado. The surge followed an 0-16 start and came as Romero began to get more acclimated to his surroundings in his second year in a major-league camp (he had 14 at-bats in spring training with Seattle in 2013).

The team is also watching closely to see how he plays in the outfield; the position the team transitioned him to following the 2012 season. McClendon isn’t shy about expressing the need to improve the team’s defense in the outfield. McClendon, though, said Romero has impressed there, too, including a catch at the wall against the Rockies Friday night. “It’s been pretty easy (making the switch), going to Tacoma last year and playing the entire year there,” Romero said. “I feel much more comfortable and feel more sufficient in the work (in the outfield).” Source: Bob Condotta at the Seattle Times


Despite some encouraging reports from the bat of Jesus Montero, it soon became clear that it was “too much, too fast” to expect the full-immersion tough-love campaign to bring Mr. Zero Expectations all the way up to MLB contributor in a few weeks. And, we’ve never doubted that “next in line” among the in-house options was Stefen Romero.

What we have doubted, contrary to other voices is that Romero is ticketed to an everyday role in the majors as an impact hitter. Put differently: I would not project Romero as an impact hitter in the majors without a plateau-leap that is exceedingly rare for players over age-23. Q: Why?  A: Jose Lopez Disease. Jim P. (Spectator) at Mariner Brainstorm


McClendon blames pitchers for opponents stealing 22 bases in 28 attempts. “That’s something we’re going to address this morning.” McClendon also leaves door open on possibly of keeping both shortstop candidates, Brad Miller and Nick Franklin, on roster. From: Bob Dutton at Tacoma News Tribune
[Taijuan] Walker liked how things felt Sunday in his latest test. “I really wasn’t working on location, I was just trying to get a feel for it,” he said. “But I felt really good, so I just figured I might as well take the next step and I was spotting up pretty good. So I was, ‘OK, this is good. This is a good sign.'” Source: Greg Johns at MLB


[ColeGillespie, 29, seemed little more than organizational depth when signed Jan. 2 after closing out last season as a reserve on the Cubs’ bench. He’s probably bound for Triple-A Tacoma. But Gillespie batted .317 over the past four years in the minors, mostly at Triple-A, against left-handers. He also generally draws serviceable marks from scouts for his defense in the corners. He could fill a need. What works against Gillespie is he’d need to be added to a 40-man roster that currently has no vacancies. With a couple of strong pitching candidates in the same situation, his chances are really slim. Source: Bob Dutton at Tacoma News Tribune (Gillespie has hit .391/.440/.522 with 7 RBI and 2 SB this spring in 23 AB)


The two shortstops are long time friends. Though Miller is two years older, both grew up in Orlando, Florida and played together on several select All-Star teams during their youth. Miller has put up better numbers so far this spring, hitting .367/.441/.800 in 11 games, with two triples, three home runs and seven RBIs in 30 at-bats. Franklin has hit .276/.364/.483 in 10 games, with three doubles, a home run and five RBIs. But those are small sample sizes, obviously, and Franklin also played through a flu-like virus last week that has hit several players. Source: Greg Johns at MLB


“We think Nick Franklin is a talented young player,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said recently. “I don’t think you’ll see us make any move just to make a move.” Source: Bob Dutton at Tacoma News Tribune



Jeff Sullivan found that 40% of regular starters and 20% of regular relievers will go on DL in following season. From: Matt Eddy at Baseball America


AL West Commentary

Oakland got a double dose of bad news Friday afternoon, as the team announced that both Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin would be making doctor’s visits for arm injuries. Parker will have a consultation done by Dr. James Andrews because of a forearm strain, and Griffin will visit a doctor in Arizona due to discomfort in his pitching elbow. And regardless of what the medical report is, A’s manager Bob Melvin says that the team will not have either starter available to start the season.

Assuming the rest of the Oakland rotation stays healthy through the spring, the A’s now line up with Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Dan Straily, Chavez and Milone. The team also has former top prospect Drew Pomeranz, acquired in an offseason deal with Colorado for Brett Anderson, as a potential starter. Source: Jon Tayler at Sports Illustrated 


[Assistant GM David] Forst says that the Athletics have no plans to add pitching from outside of the organization. From: Joe Stiglich at CSN Bay Area


So they said

”I never even came out of a game because of a concussion. Never once. I never was knocked out. Never missed a game because of a concussion. Even the next day, it was no big deal. Until you get that last one, when your brain doesn’t run anymore. I’ll tell you. It’ll change your life. It changed mine. And I think a lot of people should read these stories from these other sports. I mean, scary stuff.” St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. Source: Jason Stark at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]


“Players hate the new numbers because they hate numbers with a minus or a zero in front.“ From:Manny Acta


Baseball Best Practice

Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik was a panellist at this week’s SABR Analytics Conference. Before he took the stage I asked him if he could share a story from his days as a scout. Here is what Zduriencik had to say:

“Back when I was a young scout with the Mets, I scouted the College World Series. Joe Magrane had been pitching and I was very impressed. This was right before the draft. I was in a bar after the game with Mike Roberts, a scout with the Cardinals. Hub Kittle walked in. Everyone knew Hub, with his big, raspy voice. I asked him, ‘Hub, what did you think of that big lefthander? He was pretty good, wasn’t he?’ Hub growled, ‘That big old donkey? Bah. You can have him.’ A day later, the St. Louis Cardinals took Joe Magrane in the first round. Hub was a big deal with the Cardinals, had been with them for years, and wasn’t giving away any scouting tips. I learned a lesson right there.” Source: David Laurila at FanGraphs


I talked to a bunch of GMs about instant replay. They agree it will change what has become a trademark of baseball — arguing with the umpire. Instead of the sideshow that these loud arguments have always been, managers will slowly walk out to talk to the ump, making sure they still have a line of sight to the dugout, and then make small talk with the ump until they get the thumbs-up or thumbs-down from the dugout about whether it’s worth a challenge.
Without the yelling and screaming, umpire-manager relationships are about to get a lot better. One GM predicted that by 2015 the challenge will take place without managers coming out of the dugout. One thing’s for sure, there will be a lot fewer ejections. Source: Jim Bowden at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]


[Ryan] Hanigan is also a master at stealing pitches, getting strike calls for his pitchers because of his positioning and framing of pitches. “I’m not trying to steal a bunch of pitches but maybe expand the zone a little bit and maybe get some calls that might be a little borderline and really establish that you’re not going to make the umpire look bad if you lose a call,” he said. “That’s a huge part of the game — the difference between 2-1 or 1-2 is huge. That part of the game has always been so important to me. I’m going to war with my pitcher, so I’m trying to get him anything I can.” Source: Nick Cafardo at the Boston Globe


By The Numbers

George Brett (1979) and Jim Bottomley (1928) are the only players in MLB history with 40+ doubles, 20+ triples, & 20+ homers in a season. Source: MLB Play Index


Over the last two seasons, more homers have been hit in Baltimore (458) than in any other ballpark. Toronto is next with 418. Only 195 homers have been hit in San Francisco. Source: The Bill Chuck Files


Alumni News

The Dodgers designated Javy Guerra for assignment and purchased Chone Figgins. From: Ken Gurnick at


Chone Figgins is scheduled to travel to Australia. From: Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times

Non-roster catcher Miguel Olivo has asked the Dodgers for his release after being told he will not make Sunday night’s flight to Australia for the season-opening series. Olivo said the club asked him to accept a Minor League assignment, but he felt he played well enough to win a Major League roster spot and would seek one if released. He said he will not report to Minor League camp. Olivo, 36, is an 11-year veteran of six organizations who had a strong spring with the Dodgers, hitting .263 with solid defense. Source: Tyler Emerick at