The Mariners made a trade this week that could have an impact on the 2013 Tacoma Rainiers.
Relief pitcher Shawn Kelley, who was designated for assignment earlier, was traded to the New York Yankees. In exchange, the Mariners received minor league outfielder Abe Almonte.
Almonte played in Double-A with the Yankees Trenton affiliate last year. He had some injury issues and appeared in just 76 games, hitting .276 with four home runs and a .350 on-base percentage.
The big thing Almonte brings to the table is speed. He stole 30 bases in just a half-season last year, and he was caught only five times. The 23-year-old apparently has some pretty good wheels.
We’ll talk more about this when we get to the outfield in our position-by-position preview, but it seems all but certain that the Rainiers opening day center fielder will be named Almonte. The first name, however, is unknown: will it be the newly acquired Abe Almonte, or last year’s Double-A center fielder Denny Almonte? We’ll find out on April 4.
One thing is for certain: if Abe Almonte plays for Tacoma, somebody needs to make sure he gets a Lincoln Abes t-shirt.
We have some interesting news in the PCL today: the Albuquerque Isotopes – in conjunction with their parent club the Los Angeles Dodgers – are installing a baseball humidor at their ballpark.
The humidor was first used at Coors Field in Colorado, to try to temper the effect of high elevation on the game. It worked there, so last year the Rockies had one installed at their Triple-A Colorado Springs affiliate. That appeared to work also, so now Albuquerque is jumping on board.
I imagine that Reno and Las Vegas are also candidates to add the humidor. We may eventually see one in El Paso when they open up in 2014, too.
The Rainiers have put together an Opening Weekend special that is a terrific deal: you pick the game (April 12, 13, or 14) and you get a reserved ticket, plus a hot dog, chips, and a drink for $10. That’s an awesome deal – a reserved seat alone is normally priced at $11. The deal is for a short time only so hit it right here.
- Here is the story from Albuquerque on the humidor. The Dodgers are all on board.
- As you have probably heard by now, Mr. Felix Hernandez had an emotional press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Columnists reaction: Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times, and John McGrath of The News Tribune.
- From the TNT, here is Ryan Divish’s notebook on day two of spring training.
- Geoff Baker spoke with potential Rainiers pitcher Kameron Loe, who said that he likes starting more than relieving. He has done both – in fact, he was used exclusively as a starter the last time he was in Triple-A, although he has been primarily a reliever in the majors. Also, Loe had to give away his 7-foot snake when he went to pitch in Japan.
- Baker also talked to projected Rainiers starter Danny Hultzen. Hultzen talked about some of the things he learned in his first full professional season last year.
- The News Tribune ran a feature on new starting pitcher Joe Saunders.
- On the TNT Mariners blog, we have a story on Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma.
- Larry Stone notes that a some analysts are predicting the Mariners as a “surprise team,” yet the statistical projections strongly disagree.
- The Nose thinks that Cheney Stadium should have made the list of the “Eleven Wonders of Tacoma,” and we agree. As for the rest of his list: Frisko Freeze, sure, but Hooters? C’mon, Nose.
- Ex-Rainiers reliever Chad Cordero is attempting a comeback with the Angels. He’s been through a lot.
- Former Rainiers outfielder Trayvon Robinson was recently designated for assignment by the Orioles. He cleared waivers yesterday and will report to Orioles spring training on a minor league contract.
- This is your chance to apply for a job as a racing president mascot for the Washington Nationals. Dreams can come true, so get your application ready.
Have a great weekend!