Getting Closer To A Rainiers Roster

The 2013 Tacoma Rainiers took some form over the last five days, as the Mariners have made a bushel of roster moves. Let’s take a look at them:

Optioned to Tacoma: Danny Hultzen, Hector Noesi, Alex Liddi, Bobby LaFromboise, Yoervis Medina, Vinnie Catricala, Carlos Triunfel.

Reassigned to minor league camp: James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Jhonny Nunez, John Hicks, Ronny Paulino, Stefen Romero, Andrew Carraway.

The players “reassigned to minor league camp” can be sent to any minor league affiliate, and the organization will determine which team they are going to during the next two weeks. My opinion is that Carraway and Paxton are certain to come to Tacoma. I’m not so sure about the free agent signings Nunez and Paulino (for more on Paulino see link No. 2 below); and Romero is currently injured (strained oblique). Hicks appears ticketed for Double-A, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Walker joins him there.

The Mariners also optioned young outfielder Julio Morban to Double-A Jackson in what had to be one of the most awkward conversations of spring training.

On Friday the 21-year-old Morban – in his first big league spring training camp – hit two home runs in an exhibition game against the Angels. After the game,  he was optioned to Double-A Jackson.

That must have been a strange meeting in Eric Wedge‘s office. Obviously, he should have hit three homers. Or maybe four?

Morban played at Class-A High Desert last year and a promotion to Jackson is a natural progression for 2013. We’ll see him in Tacoma down the road a bit.

I had a blast attending the Pac-12 basketball tournament in Las Vegas this past weekend. If you are a fan of one of the teams and a hoops junkie I highly recommend it – even if your team gets knocked out early (like mine did), it is a ton of fun.

Now I am locked in on baseball. Next week (Tuesday) I go to spring training and will have daily reports from the Rainiers camp. There are 16 days until the PCL opener and it is time to get in gear.

The season must be coming, because this is the best collection of links we have had in quite a while:

  • Baseball America has a look at park factors from around the minors, including an “in-focus” look at Cheney Stadium. After two years in the new park, Cheney ranks as the best pitcher’s park in the PCL despite an increase in homers since the renovation. We have more home runs but fewer total runs scored per game (park factor) relative to the league average. To get that weird mix of results Cheney must have fewer walks, singles, doubles (and definitely triples) than the majority of the league.
  • Ryan Divish has some thoughts on the Tacoma catching situation – no answers here, yet. It all hinges on the Mike Zunino placement.
  • Reliever Danny Farquhar is still in big league camp, fighting to make the Mariners roster. If he ends up getting sent to Tacoma, manager Daren Brown may use him as the Rainiers closer. Here’s video of Farquhar talking about a new pitch he’s working on.
  • I was going to recommend Baseball America’s google maps view of every minor league stadium, except the Cheney Stadium marker points you to some guy’s back yard in Fircrest. Whatever.
  • Double-A Jackson broadcaster Chris Harris is in spring training camp right now, and he blogged about some Tacoma players today.
  • Contrary to popular opinion,  Larry Stone writes that the Mariners are loaded with veterans.
  • Jeremy Bonderman impressed on Friday. At the end of the story, Bonderman says he has not yet decided if he is willing to open the season in Tacoma.
  • Jim Caple wrote a story for ESPN about catcher Mike Zunino.
  • Geoff Baker wrote a feature on Mariners minor league outfielder Kalian Sams, who grew up with the late Greg Halman.
  • Former Rainiers reliever Steve Delabar could end up as the Toronto Blue Jays closer.
  • The Mariners invested in a teenage pitcher from the Dominican Republic.
  • If you haven’t checked out Lookout Landing since Jeff Sullivan left, they have introduced their new team of writers who are already providing some good content.
  • I’ll admit that the reason I was looking at the San Francisco Chronicle sports section was for Cal NCAA Tournament news, but instead I found a feature on Silverdale native and UW baseball product Todd Linden. He’s in Giants camp and is probably going back to Fresno to start the season; he seems to have a good outlook on life.
  • From Reno, five things to watch with the Aces this year. They’ll have WBC star Nelson Figueroa in the starting rotation.
  • The news that some MLB owners want to abolish the pension plan for front office workers and scouts is rather disgusting.
  • From disgusting to heart-warming, News Tribune columnist Larry LaRue returned to his baseball-writing roots with this piece on a University Place man who brings baseball equipment to Cuba every year.

Check back often – the push to opening day is on!

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