Hey, it’s opening day!
In the majors.
We still have a week to wait in the minors. The MLB and MiLB schedules are mismatched this year, for the first time that I can remember. This will be particularly stark at the all-star breaks, which are not at the same time.
The Mariners open at home and host Cleveland tonight at 7. It’s a nationally televised game on ESPN or you can watch our local broadcast on Root.
Seattle set its opening day roster yesterday. You can see it right here.
The final decision hinged on whether Ichiro was ready to play or not. He’s OK, so Taylor Motter was optioned to Tacoma, and Kirk Niewenhuis was re-assigned to minor league camp. We should have both on the team next week.
We had some other important news regarding our veteran team.
Gordon Beckham is back. After having an excellent performance in the Cactus League, Beckham opted out of his contract on March 24 to see if he might get a better shot at a big league job elsewhere (since the Mariners infield is set). A couple of days later he re-signed a minor league deal with the Mariners, who clearly still like him, and Beckham will open the season with the Rainiers.
Outfielder Ben Gamel may be rehabilitating with Tacoma right out of the gate. Reportedly he is about ready to start playing in games. He’s going to work out with the Rainiers at Cheney next week while the Mariners are on the road, and then will be activated for a rehab assignment when he is ready – which could be very soon.
And then there is Jayson Werth. Yes, Jayson Werth. The Mariners signed the former Phillies and Nationals star to a minor league contract earlier this week. Now 38-years-old, Werth has not been playing this month so he’ll need some time in extended spring training before he comes to Tacoma.
Werth is interesting. He’s made millions in the game and is obviously not doing this for the money. He must have a tremendous desire to continue playing. He is from a baseball family: his father Dennis played for the 1978 Tacoma Yankees and helped win a PCL Championship for our city.
At this point it is not known how long it will be before Werth joins the Rainiers.
Lots of opening day links – you can read stuff all day until first pitch. Here we go:
- The story on the Jayson Werth signing includes comments from Mariners manager Scott Servais.
- Welp, it seems that the Seattle Times baseball preview section focuses on the Mariners playoff drought. Despite the dreary subject, the main story is a must-read as Ryan Divish unleashes his writing chops to make it entertaining. The players think it has gone on too long, Matt Calkins writes. Larry Stone doesn’t think that the drought will end this year, but notes that this is the time of year for hope. There is a multi-media timeline of events that led us here.
- Mike Marjama is fired up about making the Mariners opening day roster.
- TJ Cotterill has a fun story on Ichiro.
- Ichiro is over his calf problem and will be in the starting lineup tonight. Here’s a Seattle Times multi-media production on the Mariners starting lineup.
- John McGrath writes that the King’s Court needs to make a slight change.
- McGrath shared his 2018 baseball wish list with us.
- He also has a column on the Mariners window of opportunity – is it closing?
- The News Tribune has a recap of Mariners spring training.
- The paper also has a Q&A with Mariners manager Scott Servais.
- We have a compilation of what the nation’s baseball experts think of the 2018 Mariners.
- It was a quiet offseason for Jerry Dipoto.
- Former Rainiers outfielder Boog Powell is going to be the Oakland A’s starting centerfielder.
- Baseball great Rusty Staub has passed away. There is a terrific anecdote about his notebook on opposing pitchers in this story.
- Last May, Iowa Cubs catcher Victor Caratini hit a liner up the middle – and off the head of Memphis pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon. Poncedeleon suffered life threatening injuries, but thankfully he not only recovered, but has returned to pitching. And oddly enough, he got a new friend out of the ordeal.