There was an unexpected turn in the composition of the Tacoma Rainiers roster over the weekend.
The Mariners announced that veteran first baseman Mike Jacobs asked to be released, and the Mariners agreed. So Jacobs – who I expected to start at first base and bat in the middle of the lineup – is out of the picture.
Just as I was contemplating how this would change the team, the Mariners announced that they had signed veteran outfielder Endy Chavez to a minor league deal. In a news story (linked below), Chavez said that he expects to open the season in Tacoma.
The 35-year-old Chavez has a ton of big league experience (stats). He’s always been a defense-first outfielder, and I assume he can still hold his own out there in center field. That seems to be where he’ll be playing; we were previously looking at playing a Triple-A rookie in center field (either Abe Almonte or Denny Almonte).
Unless I’m reading the tea leaves incorrectly, we’re looking at a Tacoma outfield of Eric Thames, Endy Chavez, and Carlos Peguero.
First base could go two ways. Manager Daren Brown could run Vinnie Catricala and Alex Liddi through first base – although, as I have stated many times, I think that is a waste of Liddi’s defensive talents. Liddi is a good third baseman and it would be nice to see him actually play his best position.
The other possibility is that longtime Double-A first baseman Rich Poythress could finally get promoted to Tacoma. Last year Poythress posted a huge on-base percentage (.404) but did not show much over-the-fence power (six HRs, although he did have 21 doubles in 303 at-bats).
They’ve got a week to figure this out.
I’m off to Peoria, Arizona early on Tuesday morning. I’ll be blogging daily from spring training for the remainder of the week, although the new updates will come at unusual times – I’m guessing late in the afternoon, or perhaps later in the evening. As usual we’ll have notifications of new posts going out via Facebook and Twitter.
- The Mariners could not commit a starting rotation spot to non-roster veteran Jon Garland, so he took advantage of his contract right to become a free agent. This helps clarify the Mariners starting rotation plans (a little bit).
- It appears that Erasmo Ramirez is not going to start for the Mariners and he may pitch from the bullpen.
- Outfielder Endy Chavez knows he is opening the season in Tacoma.
- New Mariners reliever Kameron Loe talked about how a sports psychologist has helped him.
- From Baseball America’s minor league transactions we learn that the Mariners released ten low-level minor leaguers.
- Veteran pitcher Nelson Figueroa lost to Reno in the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game last year. This year, he’s going to play for Reno. Figueroa has 103 career Triple-A wins – pretty amazing, if you think about it.
- Many analysts have Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar ranked as the top prospect in the minors. He may open the season in Round Rock.
- The Angels sent down eight players, which I mention here because these guys are going to be on our division rival the Salt Lake Bees.
As long as I don’t have any flight delays, I’ll be at the Tacoma Rainiers vs. Omaha Storm Chasers game tomorrow in Surprise, Arizona. Surprise! Hoping to have a blog post up on that game sometime Tuesday evening.