Roster Moves Coming, Vasquez’s Big Scare

I’m back! Sorry for the lack of updates the last 6-7 days, I was out-of-town but that’s all over now. I’m hunkering down for the winter and will be with you for the remainder of the off-season. We have lots to go over so let’s get to it.

Sometime before 9:00 tonight the Mariners have to set their 40-man roster to protect players for the Rule 5 draft. To keep it simple, certain minor league players are eligible to be drafted by other MLB teams if they promote that player to the majors for the entire season. Eligible players have either three or four years of minor league experience, depending on how they were drafted/signed.

Anyway, it means that the Mariners are probably going to cut a few guys from the 40-man, and add a few as well.

Seattle Times scribe Larry Stone runs through some of the options on his blog right here.

The 2012 Rainiers had two players that will create interesting decisions.

Left-handed reliever Bobby LaFromboise is the player most likely to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Left-handed relief specialists historically get picked in the Rule 5 Draft, and LaFromboise appears ready to pitch in the majors. So, easy decision, right? You put him on the 40-man. Wait… it’s not so easy, because the Mariners already have three excellent left-handed relief specialists on the roster in Charlie Furbush, Oliver Perez, and Lucas Luetge. Only a rash of injuries – or a trade – would cause them to need more left-handed relief help.

Then there is the confounding Vinnie Catricala situation. Catricala was the Mariners Minor League Player of the Year in 2011, but he struggled mightily throughout the 2012 season during his first Triple-A campaign. If he was eligible last winter, he would have been placed on the 40-man roster in a no-brainer decision. But after the 2012 season, would any other team draft him and keep him in the majors all year? It seems unlikely… but Catricala did just play in the Arizona Fall League, which is heavily scouted by all 30 MLB teams. What are those other teams thinking on Catricala? Can the Mariners risk leaving him exposed?

The one no-brainer the Mariners have is Double-A starter Brandon Maurer, who was tremendous for Jackson in 2012. He’s going on the 40-man roster, and he’ll probably be in the Rainiers rotation come opening day.

The Mariners made a trade today, sending outfielder Trayvon Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles for utility infielder Robert Andino.

We’ve talked about how Robinson is out of options and is either making the opening day roster or being exposed to waivers. It was going to be hard for Trayvon to make the team, so I think this is a good deal.

Andino will take the utility infield position that opened up when Muneori Kawasaki was released. Andino is a high-energy player and a lively clubhouse guy, if my experience seeing him in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Toledo a few year ago is any indication.

Hopefully Trayvon will have a good experience in Baltimore and will get a decent shot at making the Orioles roster.

Rainiers pitcher Anthony Vasquez had a serious scare over the last week, and after what could only have been a terrifying ordeal his prognosis looks good.

Vasquez had emergency brain surgery on Friday, and the situation was life-threatening. Fortunately – before we even learned this was happening – Vasquez had a successful surgery and it appears that he is in the clear.

Can you even imagine? Please, send some positive thoughts Anthony’s way.

The whole story on Vasquez was published by Greg Johns of MLB.com, you can read the details right here.

Links:

  • The Peoria Javelinas won the Arizona Fall League championship on a disputed call. The Mariners supplied seven players to the Javelinas, so congratulations to Vinnie Catricala, Nick Franklin, Bobby LaFromboise and the rest of the fellas.
  • At USS Mariner, marc w has a post on Mariners prospects in the Fall and Winter leagues. I’ll have my own post on these leagues later on – maybe next week?
  • Popular ex-Rainiers infielder Matt Tuiasosopo has signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers. That means that if he doesn’t make the big league club, he’ll be a Toledo Mud Hen.
  • Former Rainiers reliever Brian Fuentes announced his retirement. A member of Tacoma’s 2001 PCL Co-Champion team, the left-hander was named to four major league all-star teams.
  • Former Rainiers pitcher R.A. Dickey won the National League Cy Young Award.
  • Former baseball scout turned baseball writer Bernie Pleskoff has a glowing report on Mariners catching prospect Mike Zunino. He uses the phrase “impact player” – that’s a term scouts don’t throw around casually.
  • David Schoenfield wrote a column on how the Mariners could contend next year.
  • Ichiro announced he will not play for Japan in the World Baseball Classic. Ichiro had the game-winning hit in the championship game the last time the WBC was played, in 2009.
  • The Mariners are selling a DVD of Felix Hernandez‘s perfect game, and it’s priced right at ten bucks.
  • I know I’m fortunate that I don’t have to buy tickets so my perspective may be off-base, but this Tacoma Rainiers Black Friday season ticket deal looks like a straight steal to my eyes.
  • Trades? 40-man roster decisions? Brain surgery? Rhubarb The Reindeer celebrated Thanksgiving, and we have video.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a look at the Mariners 40-man roster moves.

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