The Seattle Mariners made a trade on Sunday night, sending relief pitcher Josh Lueke to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for catcher John Jaso.
This trade is going to make a big, positive impact on the 2012 Tacoma Rainiers.
Catching depth in the upper levels of the Mariners minor league system was really thin at the end of the 2011 season. Tacoma played most of the season with a catching tandem of Ralph Henriquez, who fared admirably in his first Triple-A season, and Jose Yepez - but Yepez left as a free agent, signing with the Atlanta Braves.
The Mariners were hit hard by injuries to Adam Moore and Chris Gimenez last year – a big part of the reason why Henriquez and Yepez were the Triple-A receivers.
After this trade, the Mariners are looking at a catching duo of Miguel Olivo and Jaso. That means that Adam Moore will possibly continue rehabilitating from his knee surgery in Tacoma – and Gimenez will try to fight for a super-utility job on the Mariners bench. We should have at least one experienced catcher in Tacoma to start next year.
As for Josh Lueke, this trade presents opportunity for him.
Lueke will get a chance to contribute in the bullpen for a team that will contend in baseball’s toughest division, the American League East. We wish him the best with the Rays.
The funeral for Rainiers and Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was on Sunday in Holland.
From following players twitter accounts, I know that teammates Mike Carp and Matt Mangini flew to the Netherlands to attend. I’m sure several other players attended, as well as some Mariners executives.
The Rainiers are making plans to honor the memory of Halman at some point in April, probably surrounding the season opener.
A few links to pass along today:
- Geoff Baker has the story from the Seattle Times on the Josh Lueke - John Jaso trade.
- Larry LaRue of The News Tribune reminds us that you can’t win with one big step – you need to take a lot of small steps, first.
- David Cameron at USS Mariner likes the acquisition of Jaso, and here’s why.
- There is a spirited discussion about the Mariners minor league organization occurring over at John Sickels’ blog.
- The latest round of Baseball America’s minor league transactions confirms that the M’s have signed Luis Rodriguez, Matt Fox, and Steve Garrison to Triple-A contracts.
- In the PCL, the Reno Aces coaching staff will remain intact for 2012, starting with manager Brett Butler.
Looks for the stove to really heat up this week, as we should see quite a bit of baseball news soon.