jump to navigation

Burke Non-Tendered Saturday, December 13, 2008

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

As much as I like the guy, the M’s officially decided not to offer a contract to Jamie Burke. Looks like we’re finally going to have a normal number of catchers heading into this season… Maybe Joh’s really the man of the future after all? We’ll see how Clement does in another role. Does this make him the DH? Only time will tell.

Mariners’ Position Analysis: Closer Friday, December 12, 2008

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

With Wednesdays big move sending Putz to New York and dozens of national correspondants already trying to analyze our gap in the ninth inning, I thought it was time to bring some local perspective to the situation.  So with Putz gone, who exactly will make those last three outs?  I think you’ll be surprised with the number of options we actually have.

Sean Green was easily our most used reliever with a massive 72 appearances, and he likely would have been one of our first choices had he not gone to the Mets with JJ.  Brandon Morrow is the most logical second choice and that’s why his name has been bandied about with the most frequency as our new closer.  But I think in this case, Morrow’s value increases tenfold as a starter.  He’s more than earned his place in our starting five.

Also talked about after his inclusion in the massive three way trade on Wednesday is Aaron Heilman.  Even USSM thinks he could be a good fit at closer, but I disagree.  He wants to be a starter, he was a huge disappointment last season and at least according to the New York media (which we all know is not necessarily a reflection of reality) he had some attitude problems.  Basically, he’s not going to get what he wants.  He won’t start, he’s not the right character to close and he’ll be miserable in the ‘pen.  Look for him to play the role of “disappointing move” at some point in Zduriencik’s future.

That leaves us with, in my opinion, two other options.  There’s Ryan Rowland-Smith, who doesn’t quite have the kill factor necessary for a closer, but has some decent heat (his consistency and control are also at issue).  And there’s the only Mariner with major-league closing experience: Miguel Batista.  Obviously, he’s the biggest disappointment among our pitchers with his once again miserable performance last year, but let’s face facts: we can’t trade him, and we’re stuck with his salary for the rest of the season.  If we’re smart, we’ll stick him in a role where he’s actually had some success and maybe up his value enough before the All-Star break that we can get a decent prospect for him.  At that point, I’m more than comfortable with a closer-by-committee option.

And if you doubt his ability to close, just look back to his statistics in 2005.  He didn’t start a single game for the Jays, saved 31 games in 39 chances and had a meager (quite meager for him) 4.10 ERA.

In my opinion, Batista’s first choice.

New Squad to Be Built Around JJ, Reed and Green: To Be Called “New York Mets” Thursday, December 11, 2008

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Just when I was getting ready to type a long, ranting post about how JJ wasn’t going anywhere and any speculation otherwise was a waste of time, the Indians, Mets and Mariners made one monster of a deal last night.  Because there were so many players involved, and many of them are young and unknown, I’ll do my best to lay out some information to clear it all up.

The Mariners lose:

J.J. Putz: The centerpiece and one of the few leaders in the clubhouse, let alone the bullpen is gone, and the M’s now have a very gaping hole in the closer position.  Putz struggled a ton last season, but it was clear to see that he still hadn’t lost any of what made him an All-Star in 2007.  Now it’s up the M’s to once again find a nobody to stick in the closer role until he becomes an All-Star and is tossed out the window.  You can say a lot of things about the M’s, but we always manage to create a competent ‘pen.

Jeremy Reed: Although he never found his rhythm at the plate, he still retained his stellar defense and would be missed in the field if we didn’t just manage to somehow upgrade in that particular category with some of our new outfielders.  He and Putz are both character-players (ie, they have a love for the game that few still retain in the modern MLB) and will be missed for that quality.

Sean Green: He was stellar in the ‘pen last year, but never struck me as having anything we couldn’t fill with another arm.  Even so, Mets’ fans will likely underestimate his skills.

Luis Valbuena: You’ll likely hear some sobs from local bloggers about losing this second-baseman, and many saw him as Jose Lopez’s replacement in a year.  I personally don’t think he has the potential to be anything more than a great bench player, although he did show a lot of promise last year working his way up from AA and not losing a step in Tacoma.  He’s major-league ready and we’ve already got a second baseman, so it can hardly be seen as a loss to see him go.

The Mariners gain:

Aaron Heilman: Heilman is a more-than-competent reliever, but don’t look to him to fill in as our closer.  He’s one of those many relievers who didn’t quite make it as starters in the show.  Think of him as a Ryan Rowland-Smith level guy with some experience and a few less innings per appearance.  He struggled last year, but has been consistently low in ERA and tends to keep the ball down.  We’ll see how the NL to AL transition affects him, but it shouldn’t be major.

Endy Chavez: Known best for “the catch” that made him famous (2006 NLCS Game 7), Endy is mainly known for his speed and defensive skills and not his bat (.267 last season), but wow is he fantastic defensively.  Ichiro may have his hands full showing off next season with this guy sharing the big green.  Endy will likely fill in for us in left at some capacity (plus he’s a lefty).

Jason Vargas: Vargas may not be available right away because of some hip and elbow problems, but even then isn’t exactly stellar as a pitcher.  He’s a conundrum because he can hit pretty well and he can pitch pretty well, but he’s not spectacular in either role.  He’ll likely be an extra arm in AAA next year for us.

Franklin Gutierrez: Now Franklin is a catch.  Don’t let his bat fool you (and at .248 last year, it’s likely to…), he’s actually brimming with potential.  Did we solve our need for power?  No.  But if you’re drooling over “Dandy” Endy’s defense, this guy will turn you into Pavlov’s dog.  He’s probably our center fielder for next year, which is good, because we didn’t exactly have anyone other than Jeremy.

Mike Carp: Carp played pretty good ball at AA Binghamton last year (.299 with an OPB of .403 and 17 HRs).  He’s likely a firstbaseman/utility outfielder of the future.

Maikel Cleto: Cleto might be a wash, but we’ll have to see how he pans out next year as a starter(likely in Everett).  He pitched a ton of innings (135+) but lost half of his starts and finished with an ERA over 4.25.

Ezequiel Carrera: Carrera kicked butt in the Mets’ rookie league two years ago and then settled down a bit last year in High A St. Lucie.  He’s got some serious speed and a good batting average overall, but could use a little more patience at the plate.  He’s a centerfielder, and with some time could be a good or even great outfielder in some capacity.  He’s definitely got the wheels for it.

Basically, we gained a lot of players for a few.  None of these moves really solved our need for a necessary amount of power to compete in the AL, but we’ve got some exciting new names to toss around in our lineup next year, and this doesn’t necessarily signify the end of our moves this winter.  Branyan, Chavez, Heilman and Guiterrez have completely changed this team and at this point, any change is good change.  We’re going to be hard-pressed to replace J.J., and we might be looking at the first M’s lineup since before Kazahiro Sasaki where we don’t have a clear closer.  All I know is that I really want Brandon Morrow to start next year.  He’s earned it.

And the Free Agent Is… Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

A couple days ago, Zduriencik mentioned to the press that he had made an offer to a free agent.  The morons in the mainstream press immediately jumped to a big conclusion like Adam Dunn or a shortstop like Furcal or Orlando Cabrera.  However, any good Mariner fan knew right from the beginning that we were looking at a one year deal to a relative unknown.  That’s why it wasn’t a huge surprise to hear that the player in question was one Russell Branyan.

The amount of the deal has yet to be released, but we’re likely looking between 1 and 3 million dollars.  Not a significant investment on the Mariners’ part, but it fills a role where we struggled last year.  And no, that’s not at third base.

The rumors are already flying about an Adrian Beltre trade, but don’t look for Branyan to get much playing time there.  He was brought in specifically to fill a hole at first base and possibly DH against right-handed pitchers.  It doesn’t make sense to trade Beltre yet, especially with Tuiasosopo not quite ready for the big leagues.  Throw it out of your mind, because Beltre’s here to stay.  Now, if you see us sign Crede, then you might want to rethink that possibility.  But Branyan’s not our man at third.

Does Branyan fill a gap?  Yes.  Does he have a little bit of power?  Yes.  Which is something we’re desperate for.  But will he be effective on a full-time basis?  I seriously doubt it.  He’s a .230 career hitter, and batted a mere .250 last season with 12 homeruns in 132 at bats.  He struggles against left-handed pitchers so much, that the Brewers barely gave him a chance to hit against them last year (14 plate appearances with no hits or walks).  This has been the case his entire career, so unless 7 other teams made a mistake by not giving him a chance to hit more frequently against lefties, I don’t see him doing anything of substance in that situation.

With some other right-handed batters floating around in the 1B and DH realm like Morse and Clement, Branyan’s struggles should be covered.  This is a smart move at a minimum cost, and as much as I was hoping we’d pick up a new shortstop with Z announcing a free agent signing, it’s a good start.