Category Archives: Wait ‘Til Next Year

Posts about the makeup of the 2011 Mariners

MLB Division Series preview

Here are my quick picks for the various MLB Division Series starting this afternoon!

New York Yankees vs Detroit Tigers

How fun will it be to watch Justin Verlander vs CC Sabathia? A baseball fans dream to be sure. Because both pitchers are so dominant, they cancel each other out dramatically, so that perceived advantage the Tigers have evaporates quickly. I love Doug Fister, but who knows how he’ll do under the bright lights of pressurized playoff baseball. The Yanks have the best lineup in baseball, and I am encouraged by how well they played down the stretch. Detroit can hit, and the Yanks have issues in their rotation, but I can’t see anyone out slugging the Bombers. Yankees in 4.

Texas Rangers vs Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are rolling into post season on one of the most incredible runs ever. Boston’s collapse opened the door for Joe Maddon’s crew to take the AL Wildcard in an unforgettable Wednesday night rollercoaster. It’s a great story, and I admit I’m rooting for Tampa to win this series. The problem is Texas is a better team. People tend to forget Tampa was struggling to score runs most of the season, and even down the stretch it took Evan Longoria’s bat catching fire for them to win. We know Texas can hit and score with anyone. They have a deep, balanced lineup. I think Texas’s pitching is underrated, they have a legit #1 in CJ Wilson and good pieces behind him, with a strong bullpen. Tampa is rolling a green as grass rookie out there for game one, and who knows in game 2. Texas won’t see Shields or Price until games 3 and 4, and then potentially another rookie in game 5. All this means is Tampa’s rotation is messed up for a short 5 game series, while Texas is setting things up nicely. My heart wants Tampa, and hey Joe Maddon gets more out of less than anyone, but I just don’t see how they out hit the Rangers. Tampa will stay on a roll and force 5 games, but that’s it. Rangers in 5.

Milwaukee Brewers vs Arizona Diamondbacks

This is the great mystery match up of the playoffs. Two teams that get almost no national attention, yet are packed with ridiculous talent. The Brewers are lead by Prince and MVP candidate Ryan Braun, while Arizona is lead by Cy Young hopeful Ian Kennedy and young stud Justin Upton. I’ve been intrigued by both teams all year. I love the Brewers make up, a tough, brash arrogant bunch that simply bashes the ball and wins a ton of home games. They have a decent bull pen, with ok starting pitching that is supported by the power bats. Arizona is simply a reflection of their manager, Kirk Gibson. They play tough and together as well, also playing with a chip that borders on arrogance. The key to this series to me is simple: Milwaukee has the home field advantage, statistically the best in baseball. And even on the road at Chase Field, a very homer friendly park, they’ll mash big flys. I think Prince blows up in this series, especially when they go on the road and the DBacks fans boo him again for his perceived all star snub of Upton. Kennedy and Hudson are solid pitchers, but completely unproven in the post season, especially against a powerful lineup. I’m bullish on the Brewers here. Crew in 4.

Philadelphia Phillies vs St Louis Cardinals

The Phillies come into the post season as the perceived favorites in the NL, and for good reason. When you roll Halladay, Lee and Hamels out there for the first three games, it’s hard to see how the Cards win a game, especially when Carpenter isn’t available until they go home. For this reason, and this reason alone, I love the Phillies here. St Louis is much like Tampa: red hot coming into the playoffs, but they have a jumbled starting rotation with a woefully over worked bullpen. Yes, I know the Phils struggled quite a bit down the stretch, but that doesn’t concern me at all. This is a veteran team with one goal, and that’s to win the World Series. They’ll regroup and refocus with renewed energy. I know the Cards are a chic pick in light of their recent success, but I see a let down coming, and I also see the Phillies starters dominating. Cards win one at home with Carpenter on the bump, and that’s it. Phillies in 4.

Pumped for some fall baseball! Wish the M’s were in it! Sick of the losing, wake up Howard and Chuckles! Time to hit the road!




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Dumpster Diving Mariners

This morning I read Geoff Baker’s blog regarding the Mariners 2011 payroll situation. Chuck Armstrong states the M’s will not reduce payroll, and Baker does a nice job listing the projected payroll of the roster this coming year. Here it is:

Ichiro 17,000,000
Milton Bradley 12,000,000
Chone Figgins 9,500,000
Felix Hernandez 10,700,000
Jack Wilson 5,000,000
David Aardsma 4,500,000 est
Franklin Gutierrez 4,312,500
Miguel Olivo 3,500,000
Jack Cust 2,500,000
Brandon League 2,500,000 est
Dustin Ackley 1,500,000
Jason Vargas 1,200,000 est
Erik Bedard 1,000,000
Brendan Ryan 1,000,000 est
Josh Wilson 700,000 est
Michael Saunders 435,000
Shawn Kelley 435,000 est
Doug Fister 435,000 est
Adam Moore 430,000 est
Justin Smoak 430,000 est
Garrett Olson 424,000 est
Matt Tuiasosopo 424,000 est
Dan Cortes 414,000 est
Cesar Jimenez 414,000 est
Josh Lueke 414,000 est
Michael Pineda 414,000 est

Carlos Silva money to Cubs — 4,500,000
Yuniesky Betancourt salary — 1,000,000

Baker points out the M’s only have about $5m left to spend to round out the roster.

I’m not going to pretend I know more about baseball than my cohorts on this blog. They may have a different view than I do, but when I look at the roster above, I am not excited at all. The Ms will be forced to find some bargains to bring in, which isn’t great news. I like some of the young guys, but seeing the salaries for so many overpaid bums really puts things in perspective. This roster is a mess, and it’s going to take a couple years to clean it up.

Let’s hope Jack Z knows how to dumpster dive.



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Justin Smoak’s line in Tacoma’s 2 playoff games:

4-5, 6 walks, 0 K’s.  You don’t see people walk 6 times in 2 games very often.  The future is much brighter than the present!

Oh yeah, Dustin Ackley hit a grand slam tonight and is hitting .556 so far this series.

Tacoma has won the first two games of the series and will look to advance to the next round with a win this Friday at Safeco Field at 7 pm.  If you aren’t doing anything go watch the future!  Go Rainiers, believe big!


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Wait ‘Til Next Year- Outfield & DH

Since I started this little series, the Mariners looked a little better a couple of times and then lost a bunch a couple of times. At this point, the season’s pretty well over.  USS Mariner just had a good post about 2011, and the gist of it is Dave Cameron counts only 10 positions where the team should have no worries for the 2011 roster.  I’ve come to about the same conclusion through these posts.  The last group to cover is the outfield and designated hitter, half of which is the strength of the offense, but the other half has as much instability as any part of the team.

2011 Outfield


Franklin Gutierrez

Milton Bradley

Michael Saunders

I’m going to go into a little more depth on the minor leaguers this time, or at least until I get bored.

Currently at Triple-A Tacoma:

Greg Halman:  The man with probably the most athletic potential in the system, it’s looking more and more likely he’ll never put it together.  The quick overview: often compared to Alfonso Soriano, Halman has huge power but strikes out at an incredible rate.  A really incredible rate.  He could cut that rate in half and it would still be really high.  Supposedly he’s solid defensively, at least in a corner, but not really a standout there.

Ezequiel Carrera: Came over in the Putz trade, probably a fourth outfielder-type.  Very quick, but doesn’t quite have the game changing speed that might get him a full-time job in the Juan Pierre style.  Solid defensively, as you might expect, and that should get him a reserve job at some point.  Good on-base numbers, but no power, which has prospect watchers worried his OBP will drop when he moves up and faces pitchers who won’t be afraid to throw him strikes.

Mike Wilson:  Former college football linebacker who remains solid muscle.  Similar to Halman in the power and strikeouts area, but on a slightly smaller scale.  Doesn’t hit for much average.  Could probably come up and pop a few while taking a few walks, but it’s doubtful he’ll ever be a regular.  Also has a habit of getting injured a lot.

Other guys in the minors:

Carlos Peguero: Double-A.  Got everyone excited with a monster first month of the season, but has tailed off since.  Again, similar to Halman, tons of power, strikeouts, contact and defense are an issue.  He could pull it together, and the raw power is maybe the best in the system, but he’s still a longshot to ever help the big club.

Dustin Ackley: Double-A.  See the infield edition of this series for more, because he’s currently playing 2B, and will likely stay there.  Mostly thought of as an outfielder when drafted though, so he might end up back there if that’s where he’s needed.  Unlikely though.

Potential Losses

Ryan Langerhans: I assume he’s out of options or free agency eligible, but not a big deal either way.

Milton Bradley:  He’s signed for next year, but if he slumps in the second half, I could see the team releasing him and eating his salary.

2011 Designated Hitter

Milton Bradley

I won’t go through the trouble of listing a bunch of guys here, because it could be anyone.  See the Everidge, Nelson, Carp 1B group from the infield post especially.  There aren’t any great options here though, outside of Bradley.  Someone could surprise, but there’s no legitimately huge bat knocking at the door.

Potential Losses

Mike Sweeney


Ichiro and Franklin are obviously the offensive/defensive strength of the team right now and will continue to be so.  A lot will depend on what Bradley and Saunders do the rest of this season.  I’m sure the Mariners would love to have them starting next year at DH and left, respectively.  I wouldn’t be totally surprised if that happens, either.  Saunders is showing flashes.  His story wouldn’t be the first of a talented but not elite prospect struggling mightily and then putting it together over the next couple of seasons.  It’s hard to say what his upside would be at this point.  He reminds me of Shin-soo Choo, both in career path and the skillset he offers.  I’d say he’s definitely worthy of a near-regular role the rest of the season, unless the Mariners can get a really high level outfield prospect for Lee or something.

Everyone kind of knows where Bradley stands.  Personally, I don’t think he’s done and I see him improving throughout this year after that horrendous start.  If that happens, he’s a good option for DH or left, preferably DH.  Whatever the case with those two, the Mariners have to find a big power bat for either first, DH, or left.  Maybe it’s a young blue chip prospect, or maybe they go all in after a Prince Fielder type.  I’ll leave that up to Jack Zduriencik to figure out.  But with this team’s current make-up, I don’t think they can win anything without a true middle of the order bat at one of those spots.


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Wait ‘Til Next Year- Infield

Yes, Griffey just retired.  See Andrew’s post below, and I’m sure we’ll have more coming later.  I’ve had this almost finished for about a week and finally have a chance to finish it, so here you go.  There’s a good chance Carp or one of the other first base guys gets called up replace him, so pay attention there.  Or it could be Hannahan or a reliever, I guess. 

And poor Armando Gallaraga.  That was absolutely terrible.

The Seattle Mariners infield is a mess.  There’s really no way around it.  I’m going to spare everyone any preamble here and jump right into analysis.  Again, current 25-man roster guys signed for next year in bold, minor league depth below that.

2011 Catcher

Rob Johnson

Adam Moore

Josh Bard and Eliezer Alfonzo are the only other catchers currently on the 40-man roster.  Despite their recent power outbursts, these types of guys are a dime a dozen.  You call them up when your regular catchers are hurt, and they can probably do fine for a bit.  If you’re lucky you get a hot streak.  I’ll take Bard over Alfonzo, if anyone’s asking. The closest thing to a prospect in the minors is probably Travis Scott, but he’s not much of one and is still at High-A ball.  No help is on the way, in other words.

Potential Losses

Josh Bard:  Unless he has some monster year the rest of the way and there are a lot of teams interested in him after the season, I’m sure the Mariners could resign him for a major league minimum deal or close to it if they wanted.  All of the same goes for Alfonzo.


This position is in bad shape, as any Mariner fan could tell you.  Bard looks like the best of the bunch right now (assuming his injury doesn’t keep him out long), but he’s nothing incredible.  I’ve pretty well written off Johnson at this point, and I get the feeling that the Mariners aren’t too far behind, judging by their comments before Moore got injured.  If only he could learn to catch the ball, he’d probably be a fine back-up/half-time starter.  Moore is still the big hope here.  He’s looked terrible until the two games before he got hurt, but I wouldn’t rule out some progress over the second half of the season.  Within the organization, he’s really the Mariners only chance at finding a catcher better than Bard anytime soon.  A lack of progress from Moore and a bad showing from Bard could very well lead to a new starting catcher in the system, whether a free-agent veteran or a younger guy coming in a trade.

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Wait ‘Til Next Year- Bullpen

The bullpen is probably the hardest position to forecast because relievers tend to be pretty volatile in their perfomances.  Because they throw so few innings compared to starters, and because each outing is usually for a few innings at most, there can be a lot of luck in their numbers and perfomances.  Even if a guy’s not especially lucky in what happens when he throws the ball, it’s not uncommon to see a reliever have a great year followed up by a mediocre or worse season.  Most relievers are guys with positives (good stuff usually, maybe good command) but also glaring negatives (no command with the good stuff, etc.).  Sometimes they come out and everything is working, and sometimes it isn’t.  Sometimes that changes the next time out, sometimes it lasts all year.  Sometimes they’re just bad pitchers.

For all those reasons and others, bullpens tend to turn over a lot, year to year.  Relievers, aside from established closers and occasionally set-up men, don’t generall make big contracts, and with good reason, as we’ve discussed above.  Teams who give big contracts to relievers don’t often come out on top.  In recent seasons, especially since Zduriencik took over, the Mariners have mostly taken the approach of finding as many guys with big arms and good stuff as they can and waiting to see which ones work out.  Brandon League probably cost the most, as the team gave up Brandon Morrow for him.  Everyone else that I can think of was either in the system or signed or traded for with little talent or money lost.  The results have been mixed, but we’ll get into whether the process is good another day.

Roster breakdown after the jump!


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Wait ‘Til Next Year- Starting Pitching

It’s hard to get excited enough about Seattle sports lately to want to write about them, so I haven’t much lately.  The Mariners are in a weird spot.  The season’s not over, but they need to make a run and get to .500 or so at least by the all-star break.  They’re not an old team, necessarily, but they don’t have a lot of young guys who need playing time to develop.  Most of their top minors talent is at Class AA right now, at best, and would be pushing it to make the club next year, especially out of spring training.

Whether the team decides to trade Cliff Lee for some young talent or not, this team needs to make moves to get better for next year.  The next month or two will determine how focused on this year those moves also need to be.  I’m not writing off this year yet, but let’s take a look at how the team shapes up for 2011.

Current roster guys under contract for next year will be in bold.  I’ll also include minor leaguers who might provide depth, along with how soon and much they might contribute.

Note: after writing this starting pitching section, I realized this post would be a good 3,000 words, so I’m going to break it up by position.  Starting pitching today, bullpen up next when I get the chance.

Starting Pitching

Felix Hernandez

Jason Vargas

Doug Fister

Ryan-Rowland Smith

Luke French, Garrett Olson, Steven Shell:  Triple-A filler type.  Could step into the last spot in the rotation at any time and probably be okay.  If you get lucky one of them gets hot for a month or year, but not likely to have a lasting impact.

Michael Pineda:  The Double-A star.  Best stuff in the Mariners system, could move fast if he stays healthy.  Decent chance to be in the rotation at some point in 2011.  Actual results if that were to happen unclear.

Mauricio Robles, Steven Hensley, Daniel Cortes, Nick Hill: Rest of the AA rotation.  Less likely to see the bigs in 2011 than Pineda due to experience or talent level, but still a chance.  Much more upside than the guys in Tacoma, but not as ready even for the back end of the rotation.

Potential Losses

Ian Snell  Club has a 6.75 mil. option.  If it’s exercised, that means either Snell turned into Zack Greinke or Zduriencik went actually clinically insane.

Cliff Lee  Who knows at this point.  Team could try to resign him, but it’s doubtful he would do it during the season, and he might not fit the budget anyway.  He could be traded, or they could just let him walk and take draft picks.  Could still be signed after the season in either case, but that’s doubtful.

Erik Bedard  This is an even bigger mystery than Lee.  No reason to speculate either way until we see him on the field.


There’s Felix and a whole lot of question marks.  Even if Vargas and Fister stay close to their current level all season, I still wouldn’t feel completely comfortable with them as my 2 and 3 starters heading into the year.  They really need to either keep Lee or find a guy with decent upside and established success.  They need a legit #2 starter, basically.


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