We’re going to have something that we haven’t seen in Tacoma in a few years: an older Triple-A team.
Earlier this week I wrote about Franklin Gutierrez and Joe Saunders agreeing to Triple-A deals. The Seattle Mariners continue to add veteran players on minor league deals, with Joe Beimel the latest edition.
Add in veterans like John Baker, Justin Germano, Rafael Perez, Mark Lowe… that’s a lot of big league experience.
Even the players who are younger in age have quite a bit of big league time. Roenis Elias, James Jones, Jesus Montero, Stefen Romero… none of them will qualify as a major league rookie the next time they get called up.
After years of having a Rainiers roster full of prospects, the Mariners are going old in Tacoma for a reason: they expect to win in the major leagues, so they want to have experienced players in Triple-A who are capable of stepping in for an injured player if needed in the majors.
The last time this happened was 2010. In 2009, the Mariners won 85 games and thought they could contend in 2010. They brought in numerous major league veterans who opened the season in Tacoma: Josh Bard, Chris Woodward, Jack Hannahan, Ramon Vazquez, Mike Koplove, etc.
That turned out to be an awful season in Seattle and a great season in Tacoma. The Mariners imploded, fired the manager, called up half the Tacoma team, and lost 101 games. Tacoma built a huge lead in the division with the veterans, held on with a bunch of young kids who were called up from Double-A after the vets were promoted (or let go), and then got hot in the playoffs and won a PCL championship.
As fun as that season was here in Tacoma, it would not be good for the organization to have a repeat of that scenario. Lots of people are counting on the Mariners to have a good season, to a point in which it is expected.
The season starts next week, so here’s what’s going to happen on the blog:
Monday and Tuesday we’ll have new posts, with a PCL preview of sorts and hopefully a Rainiers opening day roster (I’ll post the roster as soon as we get it – it could happen over the weekend).
Wednesday I travel to El Paso. This is the toughest PCL city to fly to from Tacoma and it’s going to be an all-day travel day, so we won’t have a blog update. Thursday we start the season and we’ll have broadcast details, pitching match-ups, etc.
- The Mariners signed veteran left-hander Joe Beimel to a minor league contract yesterday. I’m sure we’ll see him in Tacoma soon.
- Ryan Divish has an excellent story on the development of Nelson Cruz.
- Dave Boling tackled this whole Mariners-as-favorites situation.
- The Mariners have a lot of expectations, Larry Stone writes.
- All of this talk about the Mariners winning is great, Jerry Brewer writes, but they are still going to need some of the young players to improve.
- Hisashi Iwakuma had his final preseason tune-up last night.
- Christian Caple has a feature on Mariners top prospect Alex Jackson.
- Rob Neyer has his three reasons to watch the Mariners this season.
- Jeff Sullivan has a scientific look at Taijuan Walker‘s change-up.
- If you’re a uniform nut, the Seattle Times has a walk through Mariners uniform history.
- The Associated Press released some MLB payroll and salary figures, and Bob Dutton breaks it down.
- Home runs are getting rarer in the major leagues, Ryan Divish writes.
- Some tough love for former Rainiers: after a long battle to make the big league club, Carlos Peguero was sent to Round Rock by the Texas Rangers. The San Francisco Giants released pitcher Travis Blackley.
- Get your brain into a PCL state of mind by checking out Baseball America’s article on the most extreme ballparks in minor league baseball.
- This has nothing to do with the Rainiers or Mariners, but if you want to read a really good story on a first base coach and what he does, head here.
- Wonderful article written by major league reliever Burke Badenhop, discussing the various bullpens of the major leagues. Safeco Field’s ‘pen gets some attention.
It’s the last weekend of the offseason. Baseball shall fill the next 30 weekends.