Gearing Up For Spring Training

The Mariners had their big Ken Griffey Jr. media event on Friday night, and as part of the Hall of Fame celebration they announced that they are retiring his uniform number 24.

Not only are they retiring it in the major leagues, but they said that the number is retired throughout the minor league system. That means that no Tacoma Rainiers player will wear No. 24.

Tacoma had a No. 24 last year. Want to take a stab at guessing who the final Rainiers player to wear 24 is? I’ll give you the answer later in this post.

On Wednesday we’ll start our annual lead-in to spring training: the Rainiers position previews.

Each spring there are roughly 50 players in camp who could end up on the Rainiers opening day roster. Some of them are competing to make the big league team but will end up in Tacoma, while others may have been pegged for Double-A but impress in spring training and earn a Triple-A assignment. Over the course of six weeks, we’ll look at who those players are.

I divide them up by groups, and we’ll do it every Wednesday. Here’s the schedule:

  • Jan 13 – catchers
  • Jan 20 – corner infielders
  • Jan 27 – middle infielders
  • Feb 3 – outfielders
  • Feb 10 – starting pitchers
  • Feb 17 – relievers

The last one is always the worst. “Relievers” is usually just a list of like 20 pitchers.

Most of the Rainiers potential opening day players have been invited to major league spring training, which opens on February 19 for pitchers and catchers. Some of the younger guys won’t roll into Peoria until minor league camp opens on March 7.

OK, hopefully you had to scroll down on your screen by now. Catcher Steve Baron will go down in Tacoma history as the final Rainiers player to wear No. 24.

In a related story, what is Ashley (our Director of Baseball Operations) going to do with a suddenly useless set of No. 24 jerseys?

Links:

  • Not only are the Mariners retiring Griffey’s number, they are also having a Ken Griffey Jr. Weekend.
  • The Mariners signed right-handed reliever Ryan Cook, who has had success in the past but is coming off a down year.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. will go into the Hall of Fame wearing a Mariners cap.
  • Chien-Ming Wang signed with the Kansas City Royals. He finished the 2015 season with Tacoma, with the highlight being a complete game, three-hit shutout at Oklahoma City on August 15 which earned him a PCL Pitcher Of The Week award.
  • In the PCL, New Orleans named its coaching staff with former Red Sox first base coach Arnie Beyeler the new manager.

Check back for a new post on Wednesday when we’ll take a look at potential Rainiers catchers for 2016.

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