The Mariners signed two familiar players to minor league contracts, inviting both to major league spring training.
Returning to the organization are veteran reliever Scott Patterson, and catcher Guillermo Quiroz.
You know Patterson – he’s been the tall, gangly rock of the Rainiers bullpen for the last year-and-a-half. All he has done is put up numbers and get hitters out, using his unique over-the-top throwing motion that appears even more deceptive due to his 6-foot-7 height.
The Rainiers are happy to have Patterson back in the picture: in addition to his excellent on-field performance, the 32-year-old is often one of the first players in line to sign up for the various community appearances and autograph signings during the season.
Patterson is also a character. He gives hilarious half-ironic, half-serious pep-talks to the team – if we are on the road and there is a bus to the ballpark and that bus has a microphone system, I know we are in for a treat. You can tell what kind of guy Patterson is just by reading the good-natured shot somebody took at him on his Wikipedia page.
Quiroz is another returner to the organization, although he spent 2011 with the Padres Triple-A club in Tucson. Quiroz has appeared in a few games for Seattle over the years, but has spent most of career in Triple-A.
Quiroz has played for Tacoma for parts of three seasons: 2006, 2009, 2010. Quiroz works hard and is respected by the pitching staff. He usually provides some offense, too, but last year he struggled to a .240 average with Tucson.
Here’s a little-known fact about the catcher everyone simply calls “Q”: he helped lead Maracaibo, Venezuela to the Little League World Series championship in 1994. After that series, Quiroz became one of the most sought-after players in Venezuela and many teams vied for his services once he was eligible to sign a pro contract.
We’ve talked about how catching depth was a problem for the Mariners last year; they are obviously addressing that now.
Catchers With AAA or MLB Experience
- 2011: Miguel Olivo, Adam Moore, Chris Gimenez, Josh Bard.
- 2012: Miguel Olivo, John Jaso, Adam Moore, Chris Gimenez, Guillermo Quiroz, Ralph Henriquez.
As you can see, the Mariners are much deeper now and should be able to withstand injuries at the game’s most demanding position. Henriquez is just 24 and got his first Triple-A experience last year – he could open the season in Double-A and be ready to move up when the inevitable injuries occur. Gimenez has additional value because of his ability to play multiple positions, which could allow either Seattle or Tacoma to carry him as one of three catchers.
Lots of people on the internet try to rank every organization’s minor league prospects. These are always fun lists to read – everybody wants to get excited about the future, its human nature.
There are four national prospect analysts whose rankings I pay attention to. These guys have been analyzing prospects for years, they have contacts throughout baseball, and they have track records of success. My Big Four are Baseball America, Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus, Keith Law at ESPN.com, and John Sickels.
Sickels posted his Seattle Mariners Top-20 Prospects on Friday, it’s free, and here it is.
On a personal note, I have no real opinion on these rankings. I never see the players until they reach Triple-A, so how could I have an opinion on, say, LHP James Paxton? I know he put up good numbers in Double-A last year, I know that I’ve heard a bunch of good things about him, I’ve read a little about his background – but how do I know if he’s better than, say, Erasmo Ramirez? I’ve seen one pitch in Triple-A, I’ve never laid eyes on the other. I don’t know who is better.
For me, these rankings are simply excellent entertainment.
- Geoff Baker has one of his patented Long Geoff Baker Blog Posts comparing the Seattle Mariners to the Toronto Blue Jays, who are in a ten-year rebuilding plan. There is a lot of interesting history in here, and the comparison does have some merit. Let’s hope he’s wrong.
- Larry Stone writes that despite the Angels and Rangers moves, the Mariners should not trade Felix Hernandez.
- Lots of new entries over at USS Mariner, where Dave Cameron comments on players the Mariners are rumored to be interested in, and discusses extending Michael Pineda’s contract early. Now that he’s “official,” Cameron is churning out content!
- Florida Marlins catcher John Buck had a crazy week – he was hunting in the wilderness while his team signed three star free agents, and then he saved two old ladies from a smoldering car. How was your off-season?
- Federal Way native Travis Ishikawa, the former SF Giants player, has signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.
- The Ryan Braun story came out of nowhere. Here is a look at his defense.
- Former Tacoma Tigers pitcher Jose Rijo is on the lam in the Dominican Republic.
- Sorry, ladies: Joe Mauer is engaged.
- Lots of off-the-field PCL news out of Tennessee: the Nashville Sounds have a preferred site for a new ballpark, and the Memphis Redbirds have improved their debt situation and may be placed on the market.
- We’ll wrap it up with some rumor mongering: is Boise a future PCL city?
Probably won’t have an update on Tuesday due to another project, but should be back at it on Wednesday.