Congratulations to the Houston Astros organization, winners of the 2017 World Series.
As a baseball fan, I found the series to be entertaining all the way through. In fact, this was a great October for baseball – most of the other playoff series were outstanding as well.
Now the offseason begins, and front offices will go to work to improve their teams for next year.
Today the Mariners announced their major league free agents. Hisashi Iwakuma, Yovani Gallardo, Yonder Alonso, Jarrod Dyson, Gordon Beckham, Carlos Ruiz, and Danny Valenica are free to sign with any team.
The Mariners needs in the offseason are a first baseman, an outfielder who can play center, and all of the pitchers they can find.
Here in Tacoma we had some big non-baseball news last night.
The Tacoma Rainiers and Seattle Sounders announced that the S2 team will play its home games at Cheney Stadium, starting this coming March. Cheney will house the team as plans to build a 5,000-seat soccer stadium in Tacoma continue to develop.
The to-be-named S2 team is the top feeder club of the major league Sounders, just like the Rainiers are the top affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. It’s the same basic deal: the Sounders will provide the players to the Tacoma team and run the on-field side, while the Rainiers front office will handle the business of marketing the team and operating the stadium experience. I like to think the Rainiers front office is really good at this, and it should work out well for soccer fans in Tacoma.
The conversion of the field back-and-forth from baseball to soccer will be a challenge for the Cheney Stadium grounds crew. The Rainiers front office has studied this and learned from other ballparks that host both baseball and soccer, including Yankee Stadium.
The article in The News Tribune covers some of the questions about how soccer will look at Cheney Stadium – you can read it right here.
In addition, Matt Driscoll has a story on the long-range plans for soccer in Tacoma.
The Mariners have pulled top prospect Kyle Lewis out of the Arizona Fall League after just two games, causing further concern about the outfielder’s health.
This is the third time that Lewis has stopped playing in games, due to ongoing knee discomfort.
The Mariners first round pick in 2016 suffered a major injury to his right knee while playing for the Everett Aqua Sox on July 19, 2016. The knee had to be surgically rebuilt, with a long rehabilitation process.
He tried to come back in June, 2017. He played in two games for Class-A Modesto before it was decided that he needed more time to rehabilitate. He sat out for two weeks, then re-started his rehabilitation in the Arizona Rookie League.
After some starts and stops in the Arizona Rookie League, Lewis rejoined Modesto on July 20 and played consistently until the end of the California League season. He was used as a designated hitter at first, but started to see regular time in center field at the end of the season.
That was all really encouraging, and the M’s announced Lewis would play in the Arizona Fall League.
But Lewis did not immediately report to the Arizona Fall League, with the Mariners announcing he was back on a rehabilitation program. He eventually reported to the league, played in two games, and was shut down by the Mariners for further rehabilitation.
This progression is unusual and concerning, but according to this report from Shannon Drayer Lewis has had an MRI that came back clean. Hopefully a winter of further rehabilitation can prepare Lewis for everyday play in 2018.
- Ryan Divish has a story on the Mariners free agents, with comments from general manager Jerry Dipoto.
- Today the Mariners claimed major league utility man Andrew Romine off waivers from the Detroit Tigers. You may recall he played all nine positions in one game on the last day of the season.
- Pitcher Casey Lawrence was removed from the Mariners 40-man roster and outrighted to Tacoma. Because he has over six years in the minor leagues, I believe he can declare himself a free agent despite being outrighted.
- The Mariners are restructuring their medical department. Larry Stone has a column on new department head Lorena Martin, who sure has an interesting background.
- Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel generated plenty of headlines during the World Series. His father Lourdes was part of the greatest Cuban National Team of recent history (and maybe ever). That team played at Cheney Stadium during the “Red, White and Blue” exhibition tour in July of 1990, beating Team USA 16-2. ESPN.com has a fun story in which Lourdes recalls that team.