It’s Wednesday, and this is the day we are supposed to do our final positional preview (the Tacoma bullpen candidates), but I’m postponing it until Friday. I have another project I need to complete today, and we also have some news we must attend to.
The Mariners made their first round of spring training cuts this morning. This coincides with the opening of minor league camp, which I believe was today (that’s always a little bit nebulous, because so many minor leaguers report days and even weeks early).
First, let’s clarify the wording on the roster moves: when a player is on the Mariners 40-man roster, he gets “optioned to (a minor league team).” That doesn’t mean the player is going to start the season with the specified team – he can be reassigned to any minor league level later in the spring – although it does give us a hint as to what the organization is thinking at this time. Players who are not on the 40-man roster are “re-assigned to minor league camp,” and these guys will be assigned to specific minor league teams at the end of the month.
Optioned to AAA TACOMA (1):
Left-handed Pitcher (1): Danny Hultzen
Optioned to AA JACKSON (2):
Left-handed Pitcher (1): Anthony Fernandez
Outfielder (1): Julio Morban
Re-Assigned to Minor League Camp (10):
Right-handed Pitcher (5): Jonathan Arias, Andrew Carraway, Stephen Kohlscheen, Mark Rogers, Chance Ruffin
Left-handed Pitcher (1): James Gillheeney
Catcher (2): John Hicks, Manuel Piña
Infielder (1): Gabriel Noriega
Outfielder (1): Burt Reynolds
Hultzen, of course, will be placed on the Tacoma disabled list for the season. It appears that we should pencil Fernandez and Morban onto the Double-A roster for now, although both could see time in Tacoma this season – or even make the Rainiers opening day roster.
All six pitchers reassigned to minor league camp are strong candidates to open with Tacoma. Rainiers fans have seen a lot of Arias, Carraway, and Ruffin the past two years.
We discussed the catchers five weeks ago, and the picture is a little bit clearer now. Manny Pina strained an oblique yesterday and is going to be out for several weeks, severely impacting his chance of opening the season with Tacoma.
Noriega remains a candidate to make the Rainiers infield, and I have no idea what’s in store for Burt “Cano’s Cousin” Reynolds.
- Bob Dutton talked to some veterans about the land of opportunity that currently is the Mariners starting rotation.
- Blake Beavan had a solid outing Monday, reminding people that he is still in the big league picture.
- Bob Dutton of The News Tribune did another of his insightful Q&A’s.
- Exhibition round-up: Felix Hernandez tossed two scoreless innings in a win over the Dodgers yesterday, but he wasn’t happy with the way he threw… the M’s had a split squad on Monday, winning both games. Potential Rainiers shortstop Chris Taylor launched a grand slam to beat the Reds, and Dustin Ackley continued his torrid Cactus League start in a win over the Rockies.
- The Times sent Jerry Brewer to Texas Rangers camp to check in on Russell Wilson. They also have a photo gallery. Someone asked ESPN prospect guru Keith Law on Twitter how he graded Wilson as a baseball player. Law said “non-prospect.” (Sorry – I have tried and tried, but have not figured out how to link to an individual tweet on the web).
- Brewer wrote a more Mariners-related column which basically says that Cano is correct.
- Wanna get an early taste of what the 2014 MLB season has in store for us? Baseball America’s team of editors answered some of the key questions going into the season.
- Torii Hunter kissed an alligator. Now remove that muzzle and do it again, Torii. I double-dog dare you.
Coming Friday, we look at the Tacoma bullpen candidates. Really, on Friday – I mean it!