Rainiers Rotation Round-Up

January 30, 2013

Today we start our position-by-position look at the spring training battles for spots on the Rainiers opening day roster. We’ll begin with the starting pitchers.

Assuming I didn’t accidentally miss someone, there are eleven candidates to make the Rainiers five-man starting rotation. Let’s run through the candidates:

THE VIRTUAL LOCKS

  • Andrew Carraway: The returning Rainiers starter made 20 starts last year, going 6-7 with a 4.66 ERA. He had flashes of brilliance, and he now has a bit of PCL experience that will help the club. I expect to see Carraway in the Rainiers rotation.
  • Brandon Maurer: The Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year award winner last year, Maurer went 9-2, 3.20 at Double-A Jackson, with 117 strikeouts in 137.2 innings. After the season, the Mariners protected him on their 40-man roster. We can count on Maurer getting the promotion to Tacoma in time for opening day.
  • James Paxton: The left-hander overcame a mid-season knee injury to put together a very strong finish at Jackson, ending up with a 9-4, 3.05 line. Paxton had 110 strikeouts and 54 walks in 106.1 innings. He also pitched in the Arizona Fall League and is set for a bump up to Tacoma.

I think those three above are near-locks to make the Rainiers opening day starting rotation – whoever the new Tacoma clubbie is, he can start stitching the names on the back of the jerseys.

THE PROBABLE TACOMAN

  • Danny Hultzen: The most confounding Mariners pitching prospect, Hultzen’s spring training performance will be watched like a hawk. After dominating Double-A Jackson last year, he was bumped up to Tacoma and could not find the strike zone, walking 43 batters and drilling four more in 48.2 innings. However, he has great stuff and Triple-A hitters didn’t hit him very hard. It seems highly likely he’ll break camp with Tacoma, but what happens if he can’t throw strikes in spring training? For me, this is the No. 1 story to watch in Peoria.

OK, now we have two players with Triple-A experience who could be starters or relievers.

WHAT’S THEIR ROLE?

  • Hector Noesi: The right-hander acquired from the Yankees has good stuff, but boy-oh-boy did he struggle in the majors last year. His results in Tacoma weren’t all that great, either: 2-6, 5.74 in 11 starts. He tossed 64 innings for Tacoma and had 55 strikeouts and 22 walks – good numbers, yeah, but he allowed 80 hits and seven dingers. He reaches a consistent 94 mph as a starter, so the Mariners might be interested in seeing what happens with a move to the bullpen. One other factor: as of today, he is penciled in as the Mariners No. 5 starter… at the big league level.
  • D.J. Mitchell: Of everybody on this list, Mitchell had the most success in Tacoma last year. He made eight starts after the Ichiro trade, posting a 2.96 ERA. He doesn’t have the pure stuff of Noesi, but he has savvy and intelligence on the mound. Mitchell also has more Triple-A experience than everyone else, making 49 career starts at this level. It seems logical for Mitchell to be in the Tacoma rotation – but if all of the kids get moved up, there might not be room for him at first. It’s possible he could be in the bullpen to open the season; it’s also possible he could get the start on opening day.

There are candidates who we should keep an eye on, but health issues are the main concern.

THE GET HEALTHY GUYS

  • Anthony Vasquez: The lefty reached the majors in 2011, but he struggled with elbow problems in Tacoma last year. In November the real trouble came: emergency brain surgery. Last we heard, he was recovering and hoping to be able to participate in spring training. We wish Anthony the best – and it would be quite a story if he returned to the mound in Tacoma.
  • Jeremy Bonderman: The Mariners took a flier on the former major leaguer, who hasn’t pitched since 2010 and is coming off elbow surgery. He is in camp on a minor league deal, so I am including him here because it is possible he could be with the Rainiers. However, we won’t have any idea how he is progressing until we get into spring training and people see him pitch.

We already have two rookies in the probable rotation, in Maurer and Paxton. There could be more!

THE KIDS

  • Taijuan Walker: Considered to be the top pitching prospect on the Mariners farm, Walker spent all of 2012 with Double-A Jackson. He made 25 starts, going 7-10, 4.69. He supposedly has the best stuff and the best athleticism of the M’s pitching prospects. His mediocre numbers last year have been attributed to the development process: he spent a lot of time working on his complimentary pitches, trying to improve his change-up, rather than just blow hitters away. Walker is only 20 years old and a return to Jackson to open the season is expected – although we should see him in Tacoma at some point in 2013.
  • Anthony Fernandez: A 22-year-old lefty who came on strong last year, Fernandez was added to the Mariners 40-man roster in November. He has just 13 Double-A starts under his belt, but they were good ones. I think he’ll open the year in Jackson, but keep this name filed away. We’re gonna see him eventually.

Every Triple-A team needs a swing-man; a guy who can pitch in the bullpen and also in the starting rotation, moving between roles as the situation changes. We have one for 2013.

THE CAGEY VETERAN

  • Brian Sweeney: The rubber-armed veteran will be with the Rainiers. He will start the season in the bullpen but you can count on him to swing into the rotation at some point. My favorite get-away day pitcher since Rusty Meacham, Sweeney works quickly and throws strikes. Sweeney can also be a positive influence on the young pitchers.

Want to take a stab at the Rainiers opening day rotation? Go for it in the comments. Here is my guess, based on nothing but my gut feel here on January 30: Mitchell, Carraway, Hultzen, Maurer, Paxton.

Links:

I plan to be back on Friday with a news round-up. The next Rainiers position we will cover will be the bullpen, and that is coming on Wednesday, February 6.


The Road Ahead

January 28, 2013

Our preview of the position-by-position battles for spots on the Tacoma Rainiers opening day roster will get underway this Wednesday, and will continue each Wednesday through the first week of March. Here’s the schedule:

  • January 30th – potential Tacoma starting pitchers
  • February 6 – Tacoma bullpen candidates
  • February 13 – Tacoma catchers
  • February 20 – Tacoma corner infielders (long list!)
  • February 27 – Tacoma middle infielders (short list!)
  • March 6 – Tacoma outfielders

By the time we’re done, we’ll be well into spring training. Looking further down the road, I’ll be in Arizona for spring training the final week of March, and will have daily reports on how things look for the 2013 Rainiers as we approach opening day.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to update the blog during the week whenever appropriate. We do have a few baseball stories of note today, so check ‘em out.

Links:

That’s it for today – we’ll talk potential Tacoma Rainiers starting pitchers on Wednesday. It will be interesting, as there are more than five legitimate candidates.


Mariners Pre-Spring Media Event – Triple-A Trickle-Down

January 24, 2013

Due to some nifty schedule-shifting help from a co-worker I was able to attend the Seattle Mariners “Pre-Spring Training Media Luncheon” yesterday at Safeco Field.

This annual event is a two-hour press conference in which numerous members of the organization speak about the upcoming season. You can really get a feel for what the team thinks its outlook is for the upcoming season, based on what they say and also by reading between the lines.

For 2013, I think that the permeating feel of the organization is this: “we’ve made small improvements the last two years by breaking in a bunch of rookies, and now we are trying to make a move over .500 by adding a few veterans to the mix. “

On the whole, it was a tone of cautious optimism.

For coverage of the major league side of the event, please check out the links below. All of the media outlets were there, and the coverage is top-notch.

Now, let’s get to the Tacoma side of the equation.

I hauled it up to Safeco specifically to talk to Mariners Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn, to get some scoop on what the 2013 Rainiers are going to look like. I have lots of details, so let’s do it bullet-point style.

  • On the starting pitching prospects Brandon Maurer, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, Gwynn said “a lot of them could end up in Tacoma, probably all of them at some point” this season. Personally, I do think it is a reach for all four to break camp in the Triple-A rotation, but three of them plus Andrew Carraway and DJ Mitchell seems like a reasonable season-opening rotation.
  • Infield prospects Stefen Romero and Brad Miller had similar seasons last year, putting up big numbers before and after mid-season promotions to Double-A Jackson. Gwynn thinks that one of the pair could open the season in Tacoma, but probably not both – and possibly neither. We’ll talk about this in the position-by-position outlook (starting next week!), but much of it will come down to who the Mariners send down at Tacoma at the end of spring training, and what openings remain on the Tacoma roster after that happens.
  • Romero is a man without a position. Gwynn indicated that he’s about to become a man of many positions – it sounds like the Mariners are going to play him a lot of different spots, to increase his value via versatility.
  • Carlos Triunfel (still pronounced “tru-en-fel” by people on the baseball side of the Mariners operation) and Nick Franklin will, in all likelihood, continue to flip-flop between second base and shortstop for Tacoma. However, I noticed that more people in the organization are willing to verbalize the fact that Triunfel is the superior defensive player at shortstop; it will be interesting to see if Franklin starts logging more time at second base.
  • Gwynn was very cautious when talking about catching prospect Mike Zunino, reminding us that he has only 160 professional at-bats and has played in just 15 games at Double-A. He told me not to count on him opening the season in Tacoma; he suggested that Jesus Sucre and Brandon Bantz will be in the Tacoma catching mix. Also, it was noted that the Mariners still plan to sign a free agent catcher – maybe two.
  • I heard even more strong reviews on Jesus Sucre’s defense behind the plate. I’m actually looking forward to seeing this.
  • Gwynn – a veteran of the Triple-A Wars from his playing days – recognizes the value of a veteran rubber-armed guy like Brian Sweeney, who can be a real “pitching staff savior.” I can hear Daren Brown and Dwight Bernard releasing a sigh of relief from here.
  • Center field is a potential problem area for the Rainiers. Gwynn lauded the defensive ability of Denny Almonte, who played all of 2012 at Double-A Jackson. Almonte seems primed for the promotion. Hopefully he won’t get hurt, because there doesn’t appear to be another true center fielder in the upper levels of the minor league system.
  • With regards to the lack of Triple-A veterans signed this off-season (only first baseman Mike Jacobs has been acquired), Gwynn pointed to guys already in the organization as the veterans. Examples would be DJ Mitchell, Alex Liddi, Carlos Peguero, Brian Sweeney, Danny Farquhar, etc.

On the whole, the event succeeded in getting me excited about the season. Opening Day 2013, coming up on April 4 in lovely Fresno, California! The home opener is April 12 and you should mark that on your calendar right now.

Links:

  • At The News Tribune, Ryan Divish wrote a recap of the event for the morning edition. For a longer recap with a few more details, check out Divish’s blog post.
  • Also at the TNT, John McGrath wrote about Raul Ibanez and the leadership he is expected to provide.
  • If you prefer your Mariners news to come from the Seattle Times, here is Larry Stone’s story on the event.
  • Stone – who is a professional typist – typed entire transcripts of the media sessions for Eric Wedge (here) and Jack Zduriencik (here).
  • Jeff Sullivan attended the event, which led to this happy result: he wrote about it.
  • With rumblings that the Mariners and Felix Hernandez might work out a long-term contract extension, Rob Neyer reminds us that multiple-year contracts for pitchers rarely have a happy ending.
  • Former Tacoma Rainiers owner Nick Lachey is coming back to town with his boys.
  • Former Tacoma Rainiers manager and current Gig Harbor resident Dave Myers was officially announced as the returning Durham Bulls hitting coach – he’s had this position for several years now.
  • In case you haven’t heard, the Arizona Diamondbacks traded Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves for a bushel of prospects. You can always rely on Baseball America to give you the lowdown on the prospects.
  • I enjoyed this Fangraphs Q&A with 1970s relief pitcher Tom Burgmeier, in which he talks about bullpen usage in his day.
  • I’m happy to read that the Tucson Padres have a radio deal for 2013. I was concerned that they might go silent in their “lame duck” season.

Next week we begin looking at the 2013 Rainiers position-by-position battles. I think we’ll start on the mound this year. First up: starting pitching candidates.


Mariners Reportedly Add Catcher

January 22, 2013

There were reports online yesterday that veteran backup catcher Ronny Paulino agreed to terms with the Mariners. We are still awaiting details of the contract – is it a major league deal and a spot on the 40-man roster, or a minor league deal with an invite to spring training?

Either way, Paulino has a real shot at winning the Mariners backup job. The team has only one catcher on the 40-man roster right now, and that is Jesus Montero. Prior to Paulino, the No. 2 catcher in the organization appeared to be Jesus Sucre, who I have penciled in as Tacoma’s everyday receiver to start the season.*

Paulino, 31, has roughly seven years of major league experience, including two seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates starting catcher.

One interesting note for Rainiers fans: Paulino spent time in Triple-A Norfolk last year, logging 40 games there. It was his first minor league time since 2008. If he does sign a minor league contract, and somebody beats him out for the big league backup job, Paulino could be with the Rainiers this season.

On a totally different note, I learned today I will be able to attend the Mariners media event Wednesday and still make it back to town in time for a speaking engagement which I previously thought was at the same time. It’s not. So, I’ll have a full report on the Mariners event for you on Thursday – a report that will look at the Tacoma-related news of the day.

Links:

* I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I just plain don’t believe that Mike Zunino is ready for Triple-A after only six weeks of professional baseball. Of course, he could prove me wrong in spring training.


Loss Of Greatness

January 21, 2013

Baseball lost two of its inner-circle Hall of Famers over the weekend, when both Stan Musial and Earl Weaver passed away.

I’m too young to remember Stan Musial. To me, he’s always been a revered name with ridiculously awesome statistics on the back of his baseball card.

Earl Weaver, however, is another story.

I saw Weaver blow-ups on TV when I was a kid, and I saw him bring his Baltimore Orioles into Oakland in the mid-1980s, when he made his ill-advised managerial comeback. But most of what I know about Weaver comes from books written by an umpire.

American League umpire Ron Luciano wrote a series of funny and entertaining books in the 1980s, and I gobbled them all up as a teenager. In these books, he discussed his career-long feud with Weaver, which started in the low minor leagues and continued in the majors.

If I didn’t have about 15 books in my “To Read Pile,” I would go back and re-read the first Luciano book. I wonder if it is still fun, as an adult 28 years later.

Weaver himself has a must-read book: his 1984 book Weaver On Strategy is generally considered to be the most important book ever written by a manager. In it he discusses many of the strategic ploys he developed. The book has riveting sections on his scouting reports and his in-game maneuvering.

If you love baseball, you can knock out a big chunk of the off-season reading Earl Weaver related stuff.

Weaver Links:

  • Weaver is believed to have the record for most times ejected. His Retrosheet page has a list of his ejections with a brief explanation of the reason why. My favorite is “shredded rulebook.”
  • The Sports Illustrated vault has Tom Verducci’s 2009 feature on Weaver, this is tremendous.
  • The SABR biography of Weaver runs through some of the strategies he developed, some of which were banned, and many of which are still used today. The piece also has the background stories behind the widely viewed (and profane) Weaver YouTube videos.
  • Former general manager Dan Evans remembers his first meeting with Weaver.

Musial Links:

Non Musial/Weaver Links:

We should have some Rainiers-related news later this week. The Mariners hold their annual Pre-Spring Training Media event on Wednesday, and some good tidbits usually come out of this. Unfortunately I will miss it for the first time in years due to a scheduling conflict (a Rainiers speaking engagement), but the team will have somebody there to get some info. The plan is for that to be the next blog update, probably on Thursday.


Sweeney Coming Back?

January 18, 2013

Yesterday the rosters were announced for all of the World Baseball Classic teams, and local media reported the various Mariners who dot the rosters. Included in the reports was a note that Rainiers pitcher Brian Sweeney is on the roster for Italy, and that he is “likely to sign a minor league deal with the Mariners.”

It would be great to have Sweeney back on the team this year. The team needs a certified strike thrower, especially considering the youth – and wildness that can come with it – of Tacoma’s prospective starting rotation.

Sweeney would also provide some veteran leadership on a team that right now appears to be severely lacking in that area.

Left to ponder, however, is the question of how Sweeney ended up on Team Italy.

Here is a list of all of the former Tacoma players on the World Baseball Classic rosters. I think you guys will be interested in Team Australia’s players.

  • AUSTRALIA: Ryan Rowland-Smith, Chris Snelling, Brad Thomas
  • BRAZIL: (none)
  • CANADA: Michael Saunders
  • CHINA: (none)
  • CHINESE-TAPEI: Yung-Chi Chen
  • CUBA: (none of course)
  • DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Miguel Olivo
  • ITALY: Alex Liddi, Brian Sweeney
  • JAPAN: (none)
  • KOREA: (none)
  • MEXICO: Oliver Perez
  • NETHERLANDS: Wladimir Balentien
  • PUERTO RICO: (none)
  • SPAIN: (none)
  • USA: Willie Bloomquist, R.A. Dickey, Adam Jones
  • VENEZUELA: Asdrubal Cabrera, Felix Hernandez, Cesar Jimenez

On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone who offered words of support in the comments and via Twitter and email regarding the Mariners radio position. Obviously, I wanted it, but that didn’t happen. I recently found out I didn’t get it, and that means you are stuck with me in Tacoma in 2013.

The Mariners had over 150 applicants, and they decided to go with a young gun in Aaron Goldsmith, who was in Triple-A Pawtucket for one season. Goldsmith rose to the top of a field in which dozens had substantially more experience than him, and that means one thing: the Mariners must believe he has a special talent for broadcasting. I don’t know him – shoot, I had to Google him when I heard he was a candidate – but I ask you to please give him a fair chance.

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest, Aaron. If you happen to be reading this while in the process of moving here, please be advised that they are not joking when they say that it rains all of the time here.

Links:

Have a great weekend!


Mariners Get More Morse

January 17, 2013

The Mariners reacquired former Rainiers slugger Mike Morse yesterday, sending John Jaso to Oakland as a part of a three-team trade. The A’s sent some prospects to Washington, who flipped Morse to the Mariners.

This trade caused some rather extreme reactions in the land of social media.

Morse is popular. Not just in Tacoma, where he played parts of four seasons and was a fan favorite. Morse won over the fans in Washington, where he had an incredible season at the plate in 2011.

However, the Mariners gave up Jaso, who built his own fan club by being the best hitter on a poor-hitting Mariners team last year.

The two drawbacks in the eyes of most analysts are big ones: Jaso has three years left on his contract while Morse has just one, and Jaso plays a position the Mariners now need help with while Morse is yet another in a long list of Mariners first basemen/DHs.

In addition to sorting out the 1B/DH/LF logjam, the Mariners will need to acquire a stop-gap catcher to share duties with Jesus Montero.

This leads me to some thoughts on catching prospect Mike Zunino, the Mariners first round draft pick last year.

Fans are going to place large expectations on Zunino, who now has a crystal-clear path to the majors. I think we all need to show some patience here.

Zunino has played in only 44 career minor league games. Buster Posey – the last college catching star to be drafted high in the first round and reach the majors in a hurry – needed 172 minor league games before he was ready. On top of that, it is unfair to compare Zunino to Posey; Posey is already a two-time championship player who has won an MVP award.

If Zunino develops into half the player Posey is, that would be a huge benefit for the Mariners. Considering catching loads in the minor leagues, Zunino is still slightly more than one year away from reaching the majors if he progresses as quickly as Posey did.

Just some food for thought on that one.

Links:

  • We start with the news story on the trade from The News Tribune.
  • On the TNT Mariners blog, Ryan Divish talked about the trade and has several links.
  • Larry Stone of the Seattle Times is cautiously optimistic about the trade.
  • Bloggers, however, have a different opinion. Dave Cameron thinks it’s a disaster, while Jeff Sullivan did a Q&A with himself about the trade.
  • Rob Neyer isn’t convinced that this is a bad trade for the M’s, but he is concerned that it could be the deal that gets Jack Z fired.
  • ESPN analyst Keith Law says the trade makes no sense for the Mariners.
  • Three former Rainiers players are on the US Team in the World Baseball Classic: Adam Jones, R.A. Dickey, and Willie Bloomquist. The full roster is right here.
  • According to an industry website, the Mariners hired a new broadcast partner to work with Rick Rizzs, and it’s Aaron Goldsmith. Goldsmith moved through the minors faster than anyone I have ever seen: he spent one year with Triple-A Pawtucket last year and has just two seasons of lead broadcast experience in the minors. This kid must be some sort of prodigy!

What’s Coming

January 16, 2013

Just a quick note to let you know what is on tap here at the blog, as we gear up for spring training.

A week from today (next Wednesday) is the Mariners annual pre-spring training media event. This event always generates a bit of news and we’ll cover it here on the blog.

Once that is done, we’ll begin our annual look at the position-by-position battles to make the Rainiers opening day roster. I pledge to start this project the final week of January.

I still believe that – despite the proximity of spring training – the Mariners are still actively trying to make moves to improve the roster. Heck, just last week they worked out a mammoth trade, only to have it vetoed by the player. We could still have some major roster-related news here, at any time.

A few decent links:

  • Ryan Divish notes that there could be a few minor baseball rules changes implemented before the season. I assume these would apply to the majors and the minors.
  • Former Rainiers lefty Ryan Feierabend signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers.
  • The Salt Lake Bees announced that they are bringing back the same coaching staff as last year, including former Rainiers infielder Francisco Matos as hitting coach.
  • It’s off-subject, but worth a read: Tacoma’s own Isaiah Thomas is playing for the Sacramento Kings, who could end up in Seattle soon. Todd Dybas of The News Tribune caught up with him recently. Rainiers fans can include “I.T.” as part of the family – he often wears a Rainiers hat on TV, and has attended games (and thrown out the first pitch) at Cheney Stadium.

M’s Sign Potential Rainiers Reliever

January 14, 2013

The Mariners announced their list of non-roster spring training invitees late on Friday. This is of note for the Rainiers, as it is usually with this announcement that we learn of any minor league free agents that the team has signed.

This year, the list is almost all prospects who are not yet required to be protected on the 40-man roster. Then there are the two veterans signed to minor league deals that we already know about: first baseman Mike Jacobs and pitcher Jeremy Bonderman.

There was one surprise on the list: relief pitcher Jhonny Nunez was signed as a minor league free agent, and we can add him to the list of potential Rainiers.

Nunez is a 27-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic. He pitched in seven major league games with the White Sox in 2009, and has spent the last three seasons in the Triple-A International League, with Charlotte and Durham.

Last year with Durham, Nunez appeared in 22 games (three starts) and went 2-2 with a 6.57 ERA. He pitched only 37 innings, giving up 45 hits including eight home runs. He walked 26 and struck out 29.

Obviously, that is not a very strong season statistically. He was released by the Durham Bulls shortly after the all-star break.

It certainly appears that Nunez will have to look impressive in spring training in order to make the Rainiers roster.

Links:

  • From Larry Stone at the Seattle Times, here is the complete list of non-roster invitees to major league spring training.
  • Clint Hulsey has a thorough report on new (possible) Rainiers reliever Jhonny Nunez. I’ve had a personal contact tell me that Nunez, when healthy and at full strength, tops out at 92 miler per hour.
  • No surprise here: former Rainiers outfielder Michael Saunders is going to play for Canada in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
  • Baseball America reports that the Mariners have signed a teenage Dominican outfielder with the wonderful name of Luis Liberato.

Tough one for the Seahawks yesterday. The good news is that they are a very young team and this should be just the beginning for them.


Upton Says “No,” Rainiers Stay Intact

January 11, 2013

According to multiple reliable sources, yesterday Seattle worked out a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks to acquire young slugger Justin Upton – only to have Upton invoke a “no-trade clause” in his contract and veto the trade.

Just like that, no trade.

When I heard the rumored details, I thought to myself, “It’s too bad that didn’t go through, because the Mariners could really use Upton. But that trade would have destroyed the 2013 Rainiers!”

According to published reports, the Mariners would have given up:

  • one of the three top pitching prospects, probably Taijuan Walker
  • infielder Nick Franklin
  • major league relievers Charlie Furbush and Steven Pryor

Purely from a big-league perspective, I like the deal. The Mariners would have traded two major league relief pitchers and two guys who might, someday, reach the majors for an established star. Upton can’t become a free agent until after the 2015 season so it’s not a “player rental” or anything like that.

(I know a lot of fans don’t want to trade the minor league prospects that the team has been hyping recently. Yes, the Mariners have been burned by doing this in the past – see Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera and Adam Jones – but all of those guys were traded for players who did not have a long-term purpose for the Mariners, whereas Upton would be here for a while. As a high-ranking baseball official I know likes to say, “You know what a prospect is? A minor leaguer.”).

Once I let the nixed deal settle into my brain a bit, I realized something: it would have crushed the 2013 Rainiers roster.

Think about it:

  • we lose one Tacoma starting pitcher
  • we lose one Rainiers starting infielder, probably forcing team to rush-promote one of the AA guys
  • we lose two Tacoma relievers to the big leagues

The last problem appears that it would have been the biggest right now. Unless the Mariners sign one or two Triple-A/MLB vets to minor league deals before spring training (think Josh Kinney/Oliver Perez/Sean Henn from last year), the Rainiers are going to be very young and inexperienced in the bullpen. This trade would have really thinned it out!

The other thought I had: “I can’t wait to see the crazy numbers Nick Franklin would post in that launching pad at Reno.” Glad we don’t have to worry about that now.

OK, wow, that was a lot of wasted words on something that didn’t happen. Moving along now.

Links:

This will be a fun football weekend. As many of you know, I grew up in the SF Bay Area and I am a Niners fan. That being said, I am rooting for both SF and Seattle to win this weekend. I think that 49ers-Seahawks, Round Three to see who goes to the Super Bowl would be the most fun game for next weekend. Go Niners and Seahawks!


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