We are without a doubt seeing more small ball. More hit and runs, more steals and Tuesday night Ackley laid down a bunt, something manager Lloyd McClendon said we can look forward to seeing more.“I think he needs to do more of that and we have a couple of other guys that need to do that as well,” he said. “Four bunt base hits led our club last year and that is not good enough. We have guys that are very talented in that area that can be impactful. Almonte, Ackley, Miller, Franklin, even Saunders. We have guys who are capable of doing it.” Source Shannon Drayer at My Northwest
*Editor’s note: #FML.
Right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor threw very well in his latest live batting-practice session Tuesday, according to McClendon, and will throw to hitters again in the next few days as he continues returning from shoulder surgery.
“He threw the ball pretty darn good,” McClendon said. “I think he was 89-92 [mph], no complications, felt great. We’re very pleased with his progress.” Source: Greg Johns at MLB
I’m not getting the feeling that McClendon’s going to hit Miller leadoff, at least at first. I don’t get the impression that McClendon will do anything that creative or exciting. He’s kind of a bland retread and I haven’t seen anything yet with the M’s that makes me think otherwise. Source: Dan Szymborski at FanGraphs
Brad Miller had another big day with the bat going 3×4 with a triple. Miller is 14 for his last 22. He currently leads all of baseball this spring with a 1.000 SLG and 1.512 OPS. Source Shannon Drayer at My Northwest
New closer Fernando Rodney gave up two hits and two runs (one earned) with a walk and two strikeouts in another shaky outing, but McClendon said he wasn’t concerned despite the veteran’s 15.75 ERA — with nine hits and seven earned runs in four innings — after four outings. “The fact is, most closers stink in Spring Training,” McClendon said. “They pitch in the fifth, sixth innings. It’s tough. They’re a different animal and it’s hard to get their adrenaline going. We just need to keep getting him out there and getting his work in.” Source: Greg Johns at MLB (He’s doing a good job of stinking so far.)
I think the assumption coming into the spring was that Hart would hit cleanup and someone else – most likely Justin Smoak – would hit fifth. Well, that has yet to happen. Hart has hit cleanup six times but never in a game with Smoak. In that situation, like Tuesday night, it has always been Smoak at four, Hart at five. Source Shannon Drayer at My Northwest
Wherever he ends up, Nick Franklin’s BA won’t be as low as 2013. From: Dan Szymborski at FanGraphs
Comment From Brad Miller: I don’t care what you think, only what McClendon thinks. He’s batted me 8-9 all spring, any reason you have for thinking Lloyd will change aside from it being so obvious to you that he should?
Jeff Sullivan: I suppose it could end up being Almonte but I expect Miller to out-hit him and I expect that to become apparent. I don’t expect that McClendon will be batting Endy Chavez leadoff because I don’t expect that Chavez will be on the team.
Comment From Redmond: Should the Seattle Mariners have any interest in Pittsburgh outfielder Jose Tabata, who reportedly is being shopped by the Pirates? Would Justin Smoak or Logan Morrison be too much, or too little, to trade for Tabata?
Dave Cameron: Morrison for Tabata actually makes a decent amount of sense. (I had the same thought.)
“The things he’s [Roenis Elias] doing don’t surprise me,” said [M’s pitching coach] Rick Waits. “The kid has been on a mission since the first day he came here.” His emergence this spring has made the Mariners feel better about their mission in 2014. “You would like to go through the season with the same five [starting pitchers],” said Waits. “That doesn’t happen very often. You need the depth.” And the Mariners appear to be uncovering that depth this spring. Source: Tracy Ringolsby at MLB.com
AL West Commentary
Results of a poll by Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors
Who wins the AL West? Rangers – 36% Athletics – 37% Angels – 17% Mariners – 8% Astros – 2%
Jane Lee at MLB.com, the A’s beat writer, in response to a reader asking: What sort of situation would we have to get to for the A’s to look outside the organization for pitching help? To which she responded: “The time is probably now with so many question marks in the rotation, though it appears they’re set to forge on with what they have, at least for the moment — particularly since there’s not much available out there right now. However, I’d think it would only take one more starter either going down or greatly struggling to convince them to seek outside help. Their depth can only carry them so far, and it’s already thinned significantly with Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin out with injury. Moreover, they seemingly don’t have as many of those ready-to-win young pitchers as they did in the two years prior, so an additional proven arm would only be beneficial.” (The A’s also lost their best pitcher last season, Bartolo Colon to free agency.)
Comment From Ross: With Jarrod Parker going down for the whole season, can the A’s win the division again?
Steve Adams: Yeah, it’ll just be a lot tougher. Remember that Texas is without Holland for half a season, so it’s not like they’re injury free. They need Kazmir to step up big time, and Sonny Gray to progress as many (myself included) expect him to.
So they said
“I would like to play center field one of these days.” — RHP Felix Hernandez
“There’s a good vibe here,” [Giancarlo] Stanton says, before adding, “and I’d say so if it wasn’t.” Source: Jon Heyman at CBS Sports
“I’m saying, whatever. Put me anywhere, I don’t care, as long as I’m up here in the big leagues helping the team in any way,”[Stefen] Romero said. “I’ll catch bullpens if they want.” Source: Greg Johns at MLB
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
Pirates aren’t only team looking for 1B. Astros calling around on group that includes Mike Carp, Mayberry, Tyler Moore. All unlikely fits. From: Jason Stark of ESPN
The Pirates are shopping RF Jose Tabata. Will be interesting to see if there are any takers with three years and $12.25M left on his contract. It’s looking like RHP Vin Mazzaro (out of options) will be odd man out of bullpen, so the Pirates are willing to listen to offers. From: Rob Biertempfel at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Draft, Prospects & Farm News
The Mariners are honoring their Venezuelan Summer League team with a ring ceremony Thursday morning for winning the 2013 title. Source: Bob Dutton at Tacoma News Tribune
By The Numbers
In 2007, the Phillies Jimmy Rollins had 20 triples, most by a National League switch-hitter since 1898 when John Anderson had 22. Source: MLB Play Index
Over the last five seasons, the Braves have the best team ERA at 3.44, while the Orioles have the worst at 4.54. Source: The Bill Chuck Files
Comment From Peter: Fits for Jose Tabata?
Steve Adams: He’s under team control for so long that he could appeal to contenders and non-contenders alike. I think he could be somewhat attractive to the Mariners and Tigers based on their current needs… maybe a team like the Giants with a left fielder on a one-year deal and no heir apparent would make sense.
Comment From Rick: Are the Jays seriously going to go with Ryan Goins at 2B?
Steve Adams: I can’t imagine they’re not looking for an upgrade. Nick Franklin makes a ton of sense there. Goins strikes me as little more than the AL’s Darwin Barney.
Comment From Kendrys Morales: Am I signing somewhere after June?
Steve Adams: I’ve been telling myself it’s a bluff, but if there’s one agent who will follow through on that plan, it’d be Boras. Morales is even tougher to see signing than Drew for me, because there are fewer true fits (and he’s just not as good of a player).
Comment From Guest: What do the tigers give up for Franklin?
Steve Adams: I don’t think Franklin is an answer there. Split reviews on him as a shortstop, and then you’ve just got too many infielders when Iglesias is healthy. Signing Drew would make more sense to me.
Comment From Andrew: What would the ideal yet reasonable return for Nick Franklin look like for Seattle?
Jeff Sullivan: Second-tier big-league starter or second-tier big-league outfielder. Young. Sort of a SP or OF Nick Franklin equivalent
Comment From Chris: Are you bullish on Roenis Elias?
Jeff Sullivan: Had literally never heard of him before a few weeks ago. Haven’t seen him. I figure he tops out as a No. 4/5 and he doesn’t get me excited. If he does make the rotation, which he won’t, he’d be back in the minors within a few starts when the other guys are healthy.
Comment From Conrad: It sure seems like hanging on to Nick Franklin makes more sense for the Ms as the days go by….
Jeff Sullivan: That would make very little sense! He’ll get moved. Teams just need to get their scouting finished first
Comment From marinersvision: Is it weird to still have hope for Erasmo Ramirez?
Jeff Sullivan: He’s 23 years old and he can throw 96.
Comment From Jeff: Realistic expectations for Cano’s power numbers? Also, favorite Mariner’s commercial this year?
Jeff Sullivan: .180-.190 ISO, Crowned
Comment From Kimball: After the Mauer semi-debacle last year, do the Mariners keep Elias in the minors for most/all of the year?
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll be in the minors, because he isn’t really particularly special.
Comment From Guest: Quality of Al West rotations best to worst and post spring injuries—-Texas, Seattle, Oakland, Angels of Anaheim, Houston?
Jeff Sullivan: Looks right to me, also looks right to our projected WAR.
Comment From T-bird: How many wins for Jack Z to keep his job?
Jeff Sullivan: 80.
Comment From Lily: Do you think the super 2 date gets changed and done away with anytime soon… it really is counter productive.
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t be surprised if Super Two ended up being the thing players give up to get rid of the qualifying offer.
Comment From Logan Morrison: What are your thoughts on me as a baseball player?
Dave Cameron: You’re not very good.