Jan 17, 2013, 1:18 AM EST
In Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik’s defense, he did aim high, pulling off a deal for Arizona’s Justin Upton that was negated by the right fielder’s no-trade clause. However, the moves that he’s actually completed this winter to aid the offense don’t bode particularly well for the Mariners’ 2013 hopes.
- Signed DH/LF Jason Bay to a one-year, $500,000 contract
- Signed DH/LF/1B Raul Ibanez to a one-year, $2.75 million contract
These transactions completely contradict the defense-first strategy that made Franklin Gutierrez a prized early addition for Zduriencik and has led to Brendan Ryan‘s continued employment. Ibanez and Morse are two of the game’s very worst outfielders, and Morales has played 28 games at first base since suffering his devastating leg injury in 2010.
Also an issue: none of these guys are particularly outstanding hitters. Morales is certainly pretty good and Morse did have the big 2011. However, in 2012, all of these guys finished with OPSs under .800 (Morales and Morse just barely). Jaso outhit all of them by batting .276/.394/.456 in his 294 at-bats as a platoon player last season.
It’s also worth noting that none of these guys are necessarily long-termers. Morales and Morse are both free agents next winter. Morales turns 30 in June, while Morse turns 31 in March. Neither is exactly over the hill, but the risk would outweigh the potential reward in giving either a multiyear extension.
Jaso, on the other hand, is three years away from free agency.
But this isn’t really about Jaso, who likely played over his head last year and is a pretty poor defensive catcher. It’s about the Mariners seemingly playing next season at the expense of the long haul without really improving themselves for 2013.
- With Morales, Morse, Ibanez and possibly Bay cluttering up the first base, left field and DH spots, there’s no room for Justin Smoak, Mike Carp or Eric Thames anywhere. Now, Smoak has had his chances, Carp has struggled to stay healthy and can’t help defensively and Thames probably isn’t going to hit enough to overcome his poor glove. But there’s still some upside there. Morse didn’t have his first promising half-season until 28. For Ibanez, it came at 29. Smoak, Carp and Thames are all 26 at the moment.
- The presence of those veterans also figures to put Jesus Montero back behind the plate fairly regularly, even though it’s obvious now that 2012 first-round pick Mike Zunino is the team’s catcher of the future. The Mariners are just delaying the inevitable, which is that Montero is going to end up as a first baseman or a DH. And they’re going to have a crappy defensive catcher while they’re at it. Worse, they’ll probably end up signing a non-entity like Rod Barajas to pair with Montero.
- The pitching has gotten worse with Vargas’ departure. The Mariners did manage to re-sign Hisashi Iwakuma to a club-friendly two-year deal, so they dodged that bullet. Still, he’s not an ideal No. 2 starter behind Felix Hernandez, and behind him are promising sophomore Erasmo Ramirez and the homer-prone Blake Beavan. None of the team’s top pitching prospects figure to be ready to make an impact early on this season. If the season started tomorrow, Hector Noesi would likely be the fifth starter.
Of course, the winter isn’t done. The Mariners could still sign Michael Bourn to replace Gutierrez (not recommended) or maybe Kyle Lohse to serve as the No. 2 starter. They could try another trade to improve the offense (Jacoby Ellsbury? David DeJesus?). As is, it’s hard to imagine them contending in an AL West with a top three that averaged 92 wins last year (the Mariners were 75-87). And if they don’t, it doesn’t seem at all likely that Zduriencik will get another chance in 2013.
Dec 9, 2013, 1:50 PM EST
I was born (and raised) to post this: The night before becoming Hall of Famers, Torre & La Russa bumped into John Mayer in Orlando. pic.twitter.com/TT3dXpWUsX — MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) December 9, 2013 That meeting, while seemingly weird, will all make perfect sense some day. And when that meeting was over, all they ever…
Dec 9, 2013, 1:40 PM EST
From this afternoon’s SportsDash show, live from the Winter Meetings. Well, it was live at the time. Now it’s not live. You get the idea:
Dec 9, 2013, 1:28 PM EST
The Phillies’ Domonic Brown had a breakthrough season at age 25, finishing tied for fourth in the NL with 27 homers and appearing in the All-Star Game. That would seem to make him a centerpiece player, right? Sources: Phillies actively shopping OF Domonic Brown. Looking for controllable starting pitching in return. Idea is to sell…
Dec 9, 2013, 1:20 PM EST
Magglio Ordonez ran for mayor of Sotillo, Venezuela … and he won. And here are some interesting details from the Associated Press: Ordonez’s victory in the city of Sotillo in eastern Venezuela was announced by President Nicolas Maduro at a rally Sunday for pro-government candidates who won the majority of 335 races nationwide. The socialist…
Dec 9, 2013, 12:53 PM EST
According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, free agent Jeff Francouer recently had LASIK surgery and has decided to go to a lighter bat in an attempt to salvage his career. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Francoeur finished last season out of the league after being let go by the Giants in late August. On the heels of a…
Dec 9, 2013, 12:40 PM EST
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times wrote a fascinating article about the Mariners’ dysfunctional front office, featuring vicious quotes from former manager Eric Wedge and former assistant to the general manager Tony Blengino. And now general manager Jack Zduriencik has issued a statement in response. It’s too long to reprint in its entirety–you can get…
Dec 9, 2013, 12:16 PM EST
Along the same lines as David Price‘s tweet about female drivers right before Thanksgiving, here’s Logan Morrison just now: I dont think Rachel ray is attractive. Then she started cooking, got slightly attractive. she stopped cooking. she stopped being attractive — Logan Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) December 9, 2013 Sigh. (Last year Morrison tweeted criticizing mothers for…
Dec 9, 2013, 12:04 PM EST
You won’t be shocked to hear that baseball’s union leaders, past and present, issued statements late this morning condemning the Veteran’s Committee for not electing Marvin Miller. First up, current MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark: “Words cannot adequately describe the level of disappointment and disbelief I felt when learning that once again the Hall of…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:58 AM EST
Roy Halladay‘s shoulder let him down in the end, but not until after one of the best 10-year runs in memory. From 2002-2011, Halladay went 170-75 with a 2.97 ERA and 1,699 strikeouts in 2,194 2/3 innings. He went to eight All-Star Games, won two Cy Young Awards and finished second twice more. During that…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:33 AM EST
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers have contacted the Rays to discuss a potential David Price trade. But don’t get too excited, as Hernandez says the Dodgers “don’t plan to aggressively pursue Price” because they don’t want to completely deplete their farm system. Still, you can’t count the Dodgers out…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:08 AM EST
Three years ago Roy Halladay was arguably the best pitcher in the National League, going 19-6 with a 2.36 ERA while finishing runner-up in the Cy Young voting to Clayton Kershaw after winning the award the previous season. And now, as Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly tweeted, Halladay is retiring at age 36 after struggling…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:03 AM EST
I think Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox are no-brainer Hall of Famers. Congrats to them and to the Committee for voting them in. I think that the rest of the Hall of Fame ballot contained mostly borderline selections. I’d vote for Ted Simmons. I’d consider Steinbrenner for historic reasons. But I shed…
Dec 9, 2013, 10:47 AM EST
Jorge Cantu, who played eight seasons in the majors, has signed a one-year deal with the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization. According to the Yonhap News Agency he’ll earn $250,000 up front, plus another $50,000 in potential incentives, which is about the middle ground between what he’d earn at Triple-A in America and…
Dec 9, 2013, 10:20 AM EST
This should super-charge the Matt Kemp trade speculation: Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he’d “be surprised” if the outfielder isn’t traded by the Dodgers. “I haven’t heard a player’s name floated around like that and something not happen,” Stewart noted, adding that “Matt wants to be a…
Dec 9, 2013, 10:14 AM EST
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — For the first time in a long time we have living, breathing inductees for the Hall of Fame. The Veteran’s Committee has elected Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. They will be inducted next summer in Cooperstown. La Russa – unanimously elected by the sixteen member Veteran’s Committee…
Dec 9, 2013, 9:28 AM EST
Yesterday we learned that Orel Hershisher is leaving ESPN to take a job broadcasting Dodgers games. Because, for some reason, ESPN thinks that a three-man booth is good for baseball (it isn’t) they felt obligated to fill Hershiser’s spot. And because, for some reason, ESPN thinks Curt Schilling is someone people want to listen to…
Dec 9, 2013, 9:19 AM EST
Fox’s Ken Rosenthal reports that ”teams are pushing Chicago to consider” trading Chris Sale. Intriguing, but it seems to me unlikely. Mostly because I have found it useful in life to go back to the idea that if people keep telling you that you should do something you weren’t already considering, it’s more in their best interests…
Dec 9, 2013, 8:59 AM EST
Tim McCarver retired as Fox’s leading analyst after the World Series. But he’s not dropping the mic just yet: Fox Sports Midwest is about to hire him to do a limited number of Cardinals games next season. The idea is for him to do 20-25 games, with opportunities coming as a result of an expected reduction…
Dec 9, 2013, 7:56 AM EST
The Hall of Fame will gain a few members later this morning as the Veteran’s Committee will vote on inductions this morning. The official announcement will take place at 10AM. The nominees: Dave Concepcion Bobby Cox Steve Garvey Tommy John Tony La Russa Billy Martin Marvin Miller Dave Parker Dan Quisenberry Ted Simmons George Steinbrenner…
Dec 9, 2013, 7:40 AM EST
Munson. Martin. Mariano. Mattingly. Mandela. Wait, what? During a triumphant visit by Nelson Mandela to New York in June 1990, shortly after he had been released from a South African prison, one of his most memorable stops was a rally and concert at Yankee Stadium, where he put on a team cap and jacket and proclaimed, “I am…
- Roy Halladay is retiring 44
- Tony La Russa Bobby Cox, Joe Torre all unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame 32
- Tony Blengino says recent report on Seattle front office is “just the tip of the iceberg” 50
- Rakuten Golden Eagles appear likely to allow Masahiro Tanaka’s departure to MLB 46
- 2013 Winter Meetings Preview 23
- Robinson Cano agrees to $240 million deal with Mariners (260)
- Yankees agree to seven-year, $153M contract with free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (160)
- Report: Mariners willing to offer Robinson Cano a 10-year, $240 million deal (143)
- Report: Yankees have agreed to a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran (125)
- Brett Gardner is drawing “significant” trade interest (112)