Happy New Year

Hey guys – we’re back!

It’s 2014, so that means its time to start thinking about the 2014 Tacoma Rainiers. I know it is cold and wet outside, but in just six weeks we’ll be hearing about spring training camps opening.

The winter break was indeed a quiet one. The Mariners didn’t make any major league moves, but they did make a minor league acquisition that is likely to impact the Rainiers.

According to several reports, the Mariners signed veteran right-handed pitcher Matt Palmer to a minor league deal.

The 35-year-old has pitched in the PCL for Fresno, Salt Lake, Tucson, and last year for Albuquerque. He’s also pitched in 63 Major League games, going 13-7 with a 4.55 ERA. You can see his career stats right here.

Palmer had a great big league run with the Angels in 2009, posting an 11-2 record with a 3.93 ERA as a swing-man.

Last year Palmer was mostly used as a starter by the Isotopes. He went 6-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 22 starts, 133 innings. That’s a really good ERA for an Albuquerque pitcher – I checked his home/road splits, and they are remarkable: he had a 3.84 ERA in home games, a 3.84 ERA in road games, and all of his other numbers were nearly identical.

Palmer provides pitching depth that the Mariners need. They could use a little more of this, I think.

One other major need to take care of in terms of depth is catching. Look for the team to sign at least one and maybe two Triple-A catchers with MLB experience. Otherwise, it will be Brandon Bantz catching every inning of all 144 PCL games!

Two other Rainiers of note were in the news, right before Christmas.

First of all, pitcher Chance Ruffin cleared waivers and was outrighted to Tacoma. That means he is highly likely to be on the Rainiers in 2014.

Second off, popular former Rainiers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo cashed in – big time. The Texas Rangers signed him to a seven-year contract worth a reported $130 million. Happy holidays indeed, Choo.

We’ll be back on a normal blogging schedule now – two or three updates a week as we move into spring training. The Rainiers coaching staff should be announced any day now, and our position-by-position spring training previews will begin later this month.

Links From The Last Ten Days:

  • Here’s the link to Baseball America’s minor league transactions, which had the news on Matt Palmer.
  • The Mariners should make a big play for pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, John McGrath writes. Ben Badler ranks the Mariners as the favorites to land Tanaka.
  • McGrath is fretting over Jack Morris and his Hall of Fame ballot.
  • I really enjoyed this long, well-researched piece by Conor Glassey which looks at MLB players who never appeared on Top 100 Prospects lists – and tries to figure out why. This is excellent reading if you are into this type of thing.
  • For entertainment purposes, you can’t go wrong with Jayson Stark’s year-end look back at the 2013 season.
  • Former major league catcher Damon Berryhill will manage the Albuquerque Isotopes in 2014. Reminder: with the PCL realignment, Tacoma plays Albuquerque 16 times in 2014.
  • This story from Nashville has an aerial map that shows where the new ballpark will be in relation to downtown.
  • Baseball America’s business writer took a look at the company responsible for the recent wave of off-beat minor league team names.

I hope your holidays were happy!

One Response to Happy New Year

  1. Lonnie says:

    I hate the new alignment! Now the Rainiers, my sole connection to the Mariners, will not be coming to Colorado Springs in 2014.

    Blech!

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