No major topic today, but lots of small items, so let’s get right to them:
- MLB.com’s “Prospect Watch” lists the top second base prospects in the minor leagues, and they lead off with our guy – Dustin Ackley.
- Former Rainiers pitcher Gil Meche retired yesterday, after over nine years of major league career. Meche pitched in a handfull of games for the Rainiers in 1999, 2000, and 2004. Four years ago Meche signed a big free agent contract with Kansas City and, in retiring, he actually walked away from about $12 million in guaranteed salary for 2011. Joe Posnanski wrote a good blog post on Meche.
- Apparently, trouble has found Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley once again. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has the story. Larry Stone wrote about how difficult it is for a baseball team to void a player’s contract.
- The Mariners signed a pitcher with a unique background in Keli’i Zablan. Zablan was an infielder for four years in college, but his pro prospects are on the mound. He may never reach Triple-A, but it is a good story to show that players can come from all kinds of backgrounds – there isn’t one true path to professional baseball.
- The M’s have beefed up the list of autograph signers for their annual FanFest, coming up on January 29-30. Here’s all of the info.
- Former Rainiers reliever Brian Fuentes signed a two-year contract with the Oakland A’s. He’s really had a nice career.
- Ex-Rainiers infielder (and South Kitsap High School product) Willie Bloomquist finalized his contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
- It’s that time of year when young major league players who are arbitration-eligible come to contract agreements – so you see lots recent Rainiers players in the news, with their contract numbers. Adam Jones and Shin-Soo Choo each got nice raises. In particular, I am happy to see that Mike Morse joined the seven-figure club.
- This is a great story about former #1 pick Matt Anderson, who is… shall we say… a colorful character. He once amused the entire Tacoma Rainiers team when, on a frigid day in Colorado Springs, he warmed up in the bullpen – to enter the game; he was going max-effort - with his thick winter Sky Sox jacket on. He did not remove the jacket until he ran in from the bullpen, reached the mound, and took the ball from his manager.
- I was interested to see that the Oakland A’s designated Clayton Mortensen for assignment. I’m not sure how much Mortensen can contribute in the majors, but the Gonzaga product has been one of the better starting pitchers in Triple-A for two years now (remember, a low-4.00 ERA is good for a starter in the PCL). Will anybody claim him and add him to their 40-man major league roster?
I have a Cheney Stadium walk-through scheduled for Friday, so I’ll post some photos and commentary soon.