Q&A Time

The wait continues, with no new knowledge about when we will return to our normal lives, and a return of baseball. It’s gonna be a while.

Despite having no idea at the moment when baseball will return, discussions have begin about how to handle the re-start. ESPN has a wide-ranging article on the many issues that have to be hammered out once we are cleared to play. In the story, it is revealed that the owners and players are quietly targeting/hoping for an early June opening day.

Meanwhile, the Mariners made some paper moves that will impact the Rainiers, once we get started:

Optioned to Triple-A Tacoma

Infielders (2): Donovan Walton and Patrick Wisdom

Right-Handed Pitchers (2): Zac Grotz and Taylor Williams

All of these players we expect to get Triple-A assignments once the season starts. Wisdom, in particular, is a nice add for the Rainiers as he is a proven powerful bat in the PCL. Walton should be Tacoma’s starting shortstop, while Grotz and Williams are relievers with good recent track records.

With little news to talk about right now – I was supposed to fly home from spring training today after four days of watching our team, which never happened – I put out a request for a Q&A last week. Got a few, so let’s hit ’em.

Hi Mike…

Thanks for sharing all the Mariner updates in your blog as well as your great work broadcasting Rainier games.

We often hear in the latter weeks of spring training that players are either optioned, or reassigned to minor league camp. I’ve spent many days the last few years watching workouts, sim-games and minor league games on the back fields. And regardless of current status, several minor league players not on MLB 40 or Non-roster camp invites, still get called up to play in MLB exhibition games.  Is this declaration just a procedural, contractual related announcement ?  What actual changes occur.  Do players move to different clubhouses on the Peoria complex?…if so what does that entail.

-Pat from Olympia

Thanks for the kind words, Pat – that gets you to the top of the line. To answer your question, the minor leaguers who get called to play in the occasional MLB exhibition game are usually selected as a reward, or in the case of pitchers because it is their day to throw. It’s not contractual, and they don’t change locker rooms or anything. The locker rooms are right next to each other in the Peoria complex, so there isn’t much change there. The players do get the experience of being closer to the major leaguers during the game, and benefit from that learning setting. Sometimes they play in the last inning or two.

Do you anticipate a change to roster limits, at both the MLB and minor league level, once the 2020 season starts? Perhaps more pitchers will be needed, and so rosters will be expanded. What might be some other structural changes to the 2020 season, due to the reduced schedule, disrupted spring training, etc.? In 1981 they improvised a split season with a division series.

-Arne

MLB is already moving to 26-man rosters, although we have not received official word about an increase for Triple-A. I could see a temporary increase if spring training is brief and there is an industry-wide belief that more pitchers are needed until the starters build up to full strength.

One change I could see being implemented is a schedule extension beyond the traditional Minor League Baseball end date of Labor Day. Adding another week or two could benefit all parties: player development to make up for lost time, minor league teams to recoup some of their financial losses, and fans who want to see more ball. Many cities in our league have great weather in September.

hey! my name is Jay! who is your favorite baseball player?

Hi Jay! My favorite player as a kid growing up was Darrell Evans. He played third base for my local team, the San Francisco Giants. He became my favorite because at the first game my dad took me to when I was eight years old, he hit a home run and had several of rockets hit to him at third base. I remember my dad explaining to me that’s why third base is called the “hot corner,” and I thought that was cool.

Today I don’t really have a single favorite player, but I root for guys who played for Tacoma and are now in the major leagues – even if it’s not with Seattle. If I get to know the player a little bit while they are Rainiers, I end up rooting for them down the line.

I’m sure Bishop is disappointed, that being said he is a tremendous asset for the Rainiers. Tacoma it seemed to me was playing much better last year when he was here. He reminds me of Daniel Robertson (2016) both were kind of a catalyst for their respective teams.

-Mark

I pulled this from the comments section in a previous blog post about Braden Bishop being optioned to Tacoma, because I thought it was interesting and made me wonder: is Mark right? Did the Rainiers play better when Bishop was in the lineup?

Bishop played in 43 games for Tacoma last year. Adding it up, Tacoma went 20-23 in the games he played in and 41-55 without him. That’s a winning percentage of .465 with Bishop, and .427 without him.

So yes, Mark, the Rainiers definitely played better with Bishop in the lineup.

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