Just a quick update today to pass along a few links accumulated during the week, and to let you know what’s happening in this space in the future.
Things should be picking up late next week. The Mariners will hold their annual Pre-Spring Training Media Luncheon on Thursday, and I’ll have a report on the Rainiers-related news from the event.
The following week – I’m eyeing Tuesday, January 29th – we’ll begin our weekly Rainiers spring training previews. In each post we look at a positional group and the players who could make the Rainiers opening day roster. These get sorted into catchers, corner infielders, middle infielders, outfielders, starting pitchers, and relievers.
That project will lead us into March, when spring training will be in full swing.
A word about spring training: if you are planning to go to Arizona this year, keep in mind that the major league squad is departing very early because of the Japan trip. You’re going to want to go in early-to-mid March if you want to see the big league team. The late-March Cactus League games will feature mostly Rainiers players, which will be kind of fun – instead of playing on a dusty back field, the Tacoma players will be in the major league spring training parks.
- Greg Johns has a story on Mariners first base prospect Joey Curletta, who we expect will be the Tacoma Rainiers first baseman on opening night.
- One of the most successful baseball players to ever come from Washington state, Mel Stottlemyre has passed away. Don’t miss Larry Stone’s heartfelt obituary.
- Darrin Beene – the sports editor at The News Tribune – revealed his Hall of Fame ballot and has a column explaining his picks.
- Former Rainiers pitcher Hector Noesi is back in the states, signing a minor league deal with the Marlins. He’s been pitching in Korea since 2016.
- Jonah Keri checked in on relief pitcher Oliver Drake, who set a new record by pitching for five different teams in one season last year. He’s a walking waiver claim – kind of amazing that Jerry Dipoto never grabbed him.
- In the PCL, we have a new manager for the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Travis Barbary will lead a PCL team for his first time. He’s a catching expert, and the Los Angeles Dodgers top two catching prospects are both expected in Oklahoma City this year.
- Memphis has been announced as the host of the 2019 Triple-A National Championship Game. The Redbirds have played in this game each of the last two seasons, and now they are hosting it.