Baseball can be such an odd game. With Bryce Harper struggling all season long, he hit two monster home runs in two at-bats in a pitcher’s park against Hishashi Iwakuma; a guy who doesn’t surrender a lot of long balls.
We all know the feeling – well, those of us that play fantasy baseball anyways. There’s that one owner who can’t help himself in every league. He just can’t stop offering his shit for your good players. He’s convinced it’s a win for both sides.
“He has made offers and then pulled back after we have said, ‘This is something we would do,”‘ one executive said. “He responds (by saying) it wasn’t an offer and that he will need to discuss it with his guys.”
Another executive added, “I don’t always get the sense that he knows what he wants to do. One day, he’s interested in one thing. The next day, he’s interested in another. That’s what makes it challenging.”
A third executive said, “They (the Mariners) don’t set out on a trade saying, ‘Here’s what we need. Let’s do what we can to get him.’ They think, ‘Who can we give up that will never be any good?’ They don’t want to give up anyone who will haunt them. That’s just flat-out fear.”
Zduriencik has responded to the criticism by saying this is just a normal course reaction of teams trying to do business. We have a feeling he really is this bad, possibly worse.
This is a stark contrast to former Mariner’s GM Bill Bavasi – who would fucking trade anyone for a flavor of the month type player or fringe prospect! I don’t know what’s worse really.
The Angels – if you watch them each day – they’re that team this year that is high on character. That team that never seems to be out of a game. They are a gritty, grimy bunch (not without their fine items) that just seems to hang around and never actually be dead.
Today they did it again. Another day in which Mike Trout filled the stat sheet and hit an incredible home run, his 23rd of the year. Trout literally willed his team to a win today. He added a single, and a walk at a critical juncture, scoring three runs.
Josh Hamilton had three hits, Kole Calhoun added three more including a home run.
But the memorable part of this game will be when Fernando Rodney blew the save – and possibly shot his arrow a bit too early on the Angels. This isn’t a team to be declaring that you shot Jesse James on until you’re certain that he’s dead.
And the Angels had a little fun with it. We’re so glad that they did. If you’re a baseball fan, and you’re not taking the time to stop and smell the roses and enjoy what the Angels are doing this year for their fans and for all of us that follow baseball, you’re missing out.
It was their league leading 30th come-from-behind win in baseball. That says a lot about the group.
I saw most of it – and I have to give the Angels bullpen credit. The last three pitchers who appeared; Fernando Salas, Cory Rasmus, and Hector Santiago all got out of jams where I said to myself ‘they’re going to blow it right here’. As a whole, the Angels pen threw ten innings of shutout baseball after Jered Weaver left the game.
Mike Trout had three hits and scored the winning run. At almost 3:00 AM EST, I woke up to see good old Efren Navarro hit his seeing eye single back up the box to score Trout from second.
The Angels have some serious magic going this year. On Sirius MLB Network Radio this morning the host – and forgive me for not knowing his name – said if the Angels could just add one more starting pitcher he would pick them to be a World Series team out of the American League. I don’t know about that, but they’ve caught my interest this year.
The 2014 previews continue onward, with today’s team being the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners preview is written by a Reds fan living in Seattle, Taylor Wolfe. Taylor has written for the site for a good long while. You can follow him on twitter here, or see some of his past work on MLB Beef or Diamond Hoggers.
The sun is just beginning to break through the gray of winter in the Pacific NW. The sun is a rare sight in the winter unless you are skiing in the cascades or up high enough in the mountains. But when the sun comes, it comes gloriously, bringing 70 degree days and baseball. The quality of the summer days cannot be debated. The quality of the team that trots out onto SafeCo field is another matter.
The Mariners made (maybe) the biggest splash in the offseason after several years of mediocrity – signing Robinson Cano as a free agent from the Yankees. The signing has come with surprisingly little fan far in Seattle. The biggest reason is likely that no one has been thinking about baseball while the Seahawks were winning the Super Bowl. With two highly paid veterans and most of the young talent on the club or quickly approaching, it seems the Mariners might be poised to contend. The biggest problem are 3 other teams in their division. The Rangers, Angels, and A’s all have real sights on the postseason.
So we know the Mariners dropped a pot of gold in Cano’s lap, but what else did they do anything else to help out a team that finished 71-91 last year. Continue reading →
I wasn’t really surprised when the Mariners shelled out big money ($175M for 7 years) for Felix Hernandez. Seattle loves him and he’s been by far the best player on the team since Ichiro began his decline. He even brought Seattle a perfect game.
He’s thrown over 200 innings for 6 years straight and 190+ the two years before that – an absolute workhorse. But allegedly the Mariners were worried enough about his health to put an injury clause in that mega contract. His stats actually were very good in 2013, posting a career high in K/BB of 4.70 even as his GB% shrank to near career lows. Fly balls aren’t really an issue in the cavernous SafeCo. This prediction is less base on skill degradation and more based on my expectation of an injury or playing through one.
I think he will still be a top 10-15 pitcher on a nightly basis when he goes, but getting value means having home out there every five days. If this doesn’t happen, the Mariners aren’t going to be happy plunking down $25M a year for 20 starts.
And fantasy owners using a third round pick aren’t going to overly thrilled either. Maybe take a shot at Carlos Gomez or Giancarlo Stanton instead. Wait two rounds and grab David Price, Chris Sale or Zack Greinke as your first pitcher.
Today is a day that belongs to Taijuan Walker. In the annals of baseball history, August 30th, 2013 will go down in history as the day that Walker was introduced to the baseball world. He’ll make his big league debut tonight against the Houston Astros
Here’s the scouting report. Since Baseball Prospectus (who we usually use for this portion) took the day off from their prospect scouting report, we use a site called Baseball Prospect Nation for the skinny on Walker:
Body: Absolutely flawless frame (6-4, 195) that oozes future projection. Has natural strength and room to add more without become stiff.
Makeup: I’ve heard nothing but good things about his makeup in my conversations with area scouts from his time as an amateur and in discussions with the Mariners.
Delivery/Mechanics: Everything is easy in his delivery. Employs a modest leg kick that allows him to maintain excellent balance over the rubber. His arm action is exceptionally clean and lightning fast. He finishes well out front and lands in a position that allows him to field come backers.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 99, Low – 92, Average – 94-95, Grade – 70/80
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 98, Low 92, Average 94-95, Grade – 70/80
Fastball (FB) Movement: Has good life and gets on hitters thanks to his long limbs and extension in his delivery. Will show some boring action in on right-handers at times. Shows aptitude to manipulate the ball. Grade – 50/60
Overall Fastball: Potential elite fastball velocity with such an easy delivery that it explodes to the plate and has added deception as a result. Grade – 70/80
Curveball (CB): Scouts saw both a true hammer and a loopier breaking ball from him in 2011. The hammer has elite potential and could be one of the better ones in the game if he can find consistency. Has 12-6 to 12-5 break that is hard and biting when it’s on. Grade – 50/70
Change-up (CH): Maintains arm speed and slot well but lacks feel for the pitch. Doesn’t always trust it and will try too hard to take some off it at times. Shows some sink when its working. Grade – 30/50
Control: Athleticism allows him to repeat his delivery well which helps him pound the strike zone with both FB and CB. Will work up in the zone too much at times, particularly when he tries to dial it up. Needs to trust natural velocity and pound the bottom of the zone. Grade – 40/70
Command: Locating within the zone is a work in progress. He will show flashes of moving the ball side to side and can intentionally elevate at times, but is too often just throwing at the zone rather than trying to hit a spot. Ultra-projectable delivery and athleticism gives plenty of projection. Grade – 30/60
Summation: You can imagine Walker becoming just about anything down the line. With crazy athleticism, great arm action, two pitches with at least 70 potential and a good head for pitching, he could be a true front of the rotation monster. He will require some developmental time but his potential is undeniable. The nuances of the game such as fielding his position, pickoff moves and pitch sequencing are still very much a work in progress, but they should come with experience. If the change-up leaps forward to be an average pitch there won’t be much left to stop him. The ace tag is thrown around too often by fans but Walker has everything needed to develop into a legitimate top of the rotation stud.
If a guy gets one of these posts, we’re clearly excited about the kid. Walker should have an electric future in the Seattle rotation. I’ll have at least one eye on it tonight as I follow the action around the league. Here’s to a decade of jaw-dropping stuff out of Walker.
Taylor is in a much more exciting place then the rest of us this week (India), so I’m taking over the IcyHot award and keeping it alive in his absence.
It’s only fitting that a guy in his city of residence take home the hardware for this week. Everybody, put your hands together for Seattle’s very own Tom Wilhelmsen. Last season, he was the best closer you had never heard of. If you’re like me, you went into this season not even knowing the origin of ‘The Bartender’ and wondering who the hell the guy was.
Wilhelmsen was barely good long enough for fans of the game to get to enjoy the best nickname in baseball. And HOLY SHIT look at the June the Bartender has strung together. My goodness, that’s ugly. The guy probably wishes he was pouring drinks for someone right now, it’s a good part of the year for bartender’s if they’re in the right establishment. Lately, he’s been serving up nothing but Jack and his only customers are big league hitters.
Ok, excuse my horrible joke. I can with Wilhelmsen a little bit. Not because I know what it’s like to have my act figured out in only being able to throw a straight fastball and curve, but because recently I moonlighted as a bartender. My wife caters weddings and the bartender was a no-show. I was asked to be the fill in. I decided it wasn’t such a bad gig at all. If interest rates keep rising, I might have to vacate my day job and try my hand at getting people drunk. Just don’t ask me to be the guy who is going to cut people off for being too drunk; because I’m not willing to be that guy.
Back to Wilhelmsen, his ERA has climbed from 1.85 at the start of this month to the present 4.22, somehow managing four saves in that time. In the week that was, Bartender served up batting practice to Oakland twice and Anaheim once. He only allowed three earned runs in 3 and 1/3 innings but none of the appearances were save situations. Because things are going a certain way recently for good old Tom; he still managed to blow a save in the 8th inning of a game.
It might be the least amount of innings an IcyHot Award Winner ever throws in a week, but Tom Wilhelmsen definitely deserves this one on the house!
My good friend and Mike Trout enthusiast (he’s also an Angels fan) remarked via text that this is what it must of been like to watch Mickey Mantle. Player steps to the plate in his final at bat needing to go deep to reach his historic feat. He sees a few pitches and then just goes ahead and makes it happen.
The Angels routed the Mariners 12-0 – and while this is just another chapter in Trout’s young and historic career – it also provides a nice highlight moment in the middle of what has been an 18-27 season for the Angels. In the wake of Miguel Cabrera’s three home run game on Sunday Night Baseball it’s a nice encore act.
I also want to say something I might change my mind on in a few weeks; but it’s not likely. I think Mike Trout is the best young talent in baseball, with Bryce Harper a close second. I might enjoy the ebb and flow of a Harper season a bit more because Trout is so good that he’s almost boring. With Harper, there is more chaos; in every way. Pound for pound, right now Mike Trout is on another wavelength.
Seattle came into Monday trying to avoid a sweep at the hands of red hot Cleveland. They nearly did…twice. First Tom Wilhelmson came in to the bottom of 9th with only a one run lead to protect. He did not – though he did not allow an earned run. The game tied, it went into extra innings. Seattle soldiered on and scored another run in the 10th. Then Charlie Furbush came in to get some kind of save. Let’s sort out the gory details below:
Note the two errors basically directly led to the run being scored. Use two hands kids! at least Wilhelmson can’t be too angry since one was his own. Onto the 10th.
Another error – although this one didn’t end up mattering except the the Indians won by 2 instead of. Relievers are supposed to forget easily…and they should. But blown saves in consecutive innings to get swept isn’t going to be an easy one to push out of their mind.
I’m going to spend some quality time with my wife tonight, and for the first time this season we’re going to watch her Yankees. I’m not particulary thrilled about having to watch the Yanks minus Jeter, or a true ace on the bump. There’s just not much to keep my interests.
And THEN I see who is pitching for the Seattle Mariners. I don’t mean to interrupt quality baseball posts with this nonsense that further fills the endless space of the internet, but doesn’t Hisashi Iwakuma look like Splinter? I have always thought that. Besides, this guy has received zero run-time and features some of the best stuff in baseball through 8 starts this year.
Nastiest splitter in the game, rat-faced Iwakuma (a valuable member of my fantasy team) brings his 0.74 WHIP and 6.38 K to BB ratio into Yankee Stadium. Most likely so that my wife’s Yankees can shit all over him. Ol’ Splinter here better have packed enough wise advice for himself and his four sons. He’s going to need it tonight, because regression is coming and Hell’s coming with it!
Didn’t Michealangelo and the rest of the turtles live in a sewer in New York City? Yes, I am screwed up.
Chris Davis, Michael Morse, Justin Upton. These are your current MLB leaders in home runs at 6. Who cares if it’s only April 11th. The season has been going FOR ALMOST TWO WEEKS ALREADY. Time to start keeping track. All three of these players were somewhat recently cast off by their former teams. Davis went to the Orioles last year, Morse was traded to the Mariners in the off-season, and Upton was trade for 50 cents on the dollar from the Diamondbacks. These guys have been hot to start the season and Upton is making my Upton brothers projection looking really stupid. The difference is that Upton is perennially touted as an MVP candidate. The other two are not so much. Here is the tally of their home runs so far this season.
Our team previews start in the northwest of the US where the weather says baseball is still months away, but I believe the calendar. The Seattle Mariners represent a bit of what I love about baseball. Perpetual hope. They might not be the best now, but they have plenty of young talent that make the future look brighter.
Let’s do a run down of the Mariners.
Major Off-Season Moves:
Acquired Kendrys Morales to bolster beleaguered lineup.
Acquired Michael Morse for the same reason.
Inked their ace, Felix Hernandez, to a 7 year $175m deal.
Moved the outfield walls in at SafeCo field.
Now on to who is going to take the field this year.