Checking in on a Tuesday with some notes and links from the past few days:
The Mariners made a trade, acquiring corner infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia from the Oakland A’s in exchange for Double-A starting pitcher Paul Blackburn.
Valencia is an established and oft-traded major league hitter. He hit .287 with 17 home runs last year overall – and against left-handed pitchers, he hit .318 with a .924 OPS.
At the moment, the trade appears to set up a likely first base platoon with Valencia and Dan Vogelbach. We’ll see if general manager Jerry Dipoto is willing to give the rookie Vogelbach a shot next year, or if he acquires another left-handed first baseman to replace the free agent Adam Lind.
Blackburn had a good year in Double-A and we had him penciled in the 2017 Rainiers starting rotation. As a prospect, most analysts have him projected as a future No. 4 or No. 5 starter at the major league level.
Left-handed reliever Kraig Sitton, who was a minor league free agent, signed with the San Francisco Giants.
Sitton pitched in 35 games for Tacoma last year, with a 2.93 ERA. In 43 innings pitched, he struck out 31 and walked just seven batters while only giving up two homers.
The M’s have a shortage of left-handed relievers at the major league and Triple-A levels. I thought they might bring Sitton back – and for all we know, they may have tried to – but he’s gone now.
Dipoto will be trying to acquire LHPs at both the major league and Triple-A levels this offseason.
According to Baseball America’s Minor League Transactions, the Mariners have assigned Rainiers reliever Andrew Kittredge to the Arizona Fall League. It does not indicate which pitcher he is replacing.
The AFL has Pitch FX data in (all or some of) the stadiums. I’ll be curious to see if Kittredge has maintained the increased velocity he developed during the 2016 season.
The folks at MiLB.com have posted the Park Factors for all 30 Triple-A stadiums, and once again Cheney Stadium has proven to be a great pitcher’s park.
Tacoma ranked as the 4th-best pitcher’s park among the 16 PCL stadiums, in terms of runs scored. Cheney ranked 4th-friendliest for pitchers in 2016, and also over a three-year window from 2014-2016.
Interestingly, Cheney Stadium ranked well below average in home runs in 2016 – but the stadium saw so many home runs hit in 2014 and 2015, that the ballpark’s three-year home run factor still ranks 6th-highest in the league. This is because of Cheney’s short distances down the lines.
The article can be found right here. The write-up on the bizarre numbers coming out of Colorado Springs is fun stuff. And check out the 2016 home run factor for the new park in Nashville!
- We’ll start with The News Tribune’s story on the Danny Valencia trade.
- The M’s roster is coming into focus already, according to Bob Dutton. He throws out some names of possible acquisitions in this story.
- The Mariners are fortunate that they don’t need to sign a free agent starting pitcher this year, Ryan Divish writes.
- Ken Rosenthal has an extensive story on ex-Rainiers lefty Mike Montgomery recording the final out of the world Series.
- The article nobody ever wanted to see: what do the Miami Marlins do with their starting rotation after losing their ace pitcher in a boating accident?
- Jeff Sullivan does this every year and it is fun if you want to read about a random mid-season game: he identified the biggest upset of the 2016 season.
Check back for a new post on Thursday, which will hopefully be a Triple-A All-Star Flashback, and hopefully won’t be a rant about the New Orleans Zephyrs new team name which is supposed to be announced later today.