New Year, New Season

Happy New Year!

We’re back in action. The Rainiers offices are open again, and we are gearing up for the 2020 season. Spring training begins in… holy mackerel, less than six weeks? Pitchers and catchers report on February 12. The Mariners season opener is on March 26, and the Rainiers start on April 9. We better get to work!

Our annual position previews for the 2020 Tacoma Rainiers will begin next week – I think we’ll post them on Wednesdays this year. We always start with the catchers and right now I know of exactly one catcher, so hopefully they sign the other one before next week. Help me out, Jerry.

Here’s a round-up of news and notes from the holiday season:

*We expect the Rainiers coaching staff to be officially announced soon. I’m hearing we’ll have a fourth coach this year, perhaps in lieu of a bullpen catcher. Overall, not expecting any sort of shakeup other than the pitching coach position we have previously covered.

* The Mariner signed corner infielder Mitch Nay to a minor league contract, and he becomes a potential Rainiers player. Nay was a supplemental first round draft pick out of high school back in 2012 (by Toronto), and he’s been on a slow boil in the minor leagues since then. He had his best year as a pro last season, posting an OPS of .927 in Double-A with the Reds affiliate before getting his first taste of Triple-A ball. Nay appeared in 32 games for Louisville, batting just .210 with four homers, but in Double-A he hit .304 with 13 homers in 253 at-bats. Could be a late bloomer?

*Some PCL teams have named new managers – check the links down below.

*Don Larsen passed away last week, at age 90. You know that he pitched the most famous game in World Series history, but did you know he pitched for the Tacoma Cubs in 1968? He appeared in six games for Tacoma that season, trying to hang on at the end of his career. Larsen was a true journeyman who lived an enigmatic life and had that one perfect day – this SABR bio is a good read if you have a few minutes.

Links:

  • Baseball America has a round-up of minor league transactions from the last six weeks. The Mariners were pretty quiet, but you can find a number of former Rainiers players signing with other teams.
  • Ryan Divish returned from the Winter Meetings and did a Mariners Q&A, which mainly focused on the possibility of a Kyle Seager trade.
  • marc w of USS Mariner wraps up the decade with a look at what went wrong for the M’s. This serves as a cautionary – and timely – tale about putting your faith in prospects.
  • Greg Johns writes that this will be the year of the rookie for the Mariners.
  • Lauren Smith of The News Tribune has a Mariners Mailbag.
  • Former Rainiers outfielder Ian Miller has signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs.
  • Ex-Rainiers reliever Tyler Higgins has gone to Japan, signing with Orix.
  • In the PCL, the Albuquerque Isotopes announced their new manager is Warren Schaeffer, who was promoted from the Colorado Rockies Double-A affiliate.
  • Fresno will be returning manager Randy Knorr, but has a new pitching coach.
  • Former PCL infielder, major league Gold Glove winner, and Oregon State Beaver Darwin Barney will be the manager in Nashville.

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