Tag Archives: Adam Moore

Welcome to Spring Training!

While Seattle is alternating between snow and sun, the Mariners are already a few weeks into spring training in Peoria, Arizona.  Talking to people and reading different thoughts about this year’s team, it seems there are two predominant reactions.  For those who are fans but don’t necessarily get deep into following the team, there’s a lack of knowledge and sometimes interest.  And who can really blame them?  If you don’t care that much about the offseason stuff, the onfield play has given no reason for hope.  These people also tend to blame almost everything on Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln, but that’s a different issue.

The second reaction is that even the people who know this team well aren’t sure what to expect.  Part of that is natural, as the Mariners have a lot of guys who could rebound significantly, as well as a plethora of young players who could improve dramatically.  None of that is certain, though, so outside of Felix, this is a tough team to predict.  I think another factor in the uncertainty is that this is a team unlike any Mariners fans have seen in some time.  It’s legitimately build on solid young talent.  There are some veterans, but they’re either young, like Felix, or will not likely be here long, like Ichiro and Miguel Olivo.  The core of this team is young.  The last time I remember that being the case is probably back in the early and mid 90’s.  They’ve had quality prospects since then, although many haven’t panned out, but those kids were joining veteran-dominated teams.

Now the focus is squarely on the Ackleys and Smoaks and Monteros, and it’s a little hard to know what to expect.  This year should start to indicate who will be part of the team longterm and who won’t cut it, but until then, there is plenty of room for knowledgeable fans to disagree on what to expect in 2012.  Young teams are unpredictable, and most of us haven’t watched one on a daily basis in a long time.

Just for fun and as a general catchup for those who haven’t been paying a lot of attention to spring training, here’s a little fake Q & A post.  If you have real questions, put them in the comments and we’ll give you any thoughts we have.  People’s real questions would be more fun to answer than these ones I’m making up!

Any big stories so far?

The biggest has probably been Franklin Gutierrez.  This was good at first, as he reported in great shape and seemingly fully recovered from his GI issues of last season.  All anyone could talk about was how great he looked, and then he went and hit a homer off Felix in an early intrasquad game.  Unfortunately, a couple of days later he tore a pectoral muscle, which sounds terrible, and he will be out at least 4 weeks before he does anything baseball related.  Don’t expect him back before May.  In fact, if you want to be safe, don’t expect him back at all.  He should come back at some point, but given his recent struggles, it seems smarter to just keep the hopes as low as possible and then get excited if he suddenly does return and play well. Continue reading

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Does Prince Fit? The Mariners by Position

Prince Fielder has dominated Seattle Mariners offseason talk thus far, which is saying something since their offseason really started back in June.  Offensively, it’s hard to imagine a better fit for the Mariners than Fielder, but there are other issues besides his bat, including but not limited to: money, weight, defensive position, and possibility of the Mariners contending in the forseeable future.

Every Mariner writer (and there are many good ones) has weighed in on the issue.  Other than those people who think that Fielder is going to fall apart next year, its hard to argue with any objections to signing Prince.  It’s going to cost a fortune, he’s not a great fit for the current team defensively, and there’s a decent chance that he could be breaking down by the end of the contract.  Most people agree on all of these issues to varying degrees.  Some are willing to accept them and still make a deal, others aren’t. Both viewpoints are completely understandable.

I’m pretty firmly on the “Sign Prince” side, but I thought I’d step back to see where the Mariners stand, both for next year and the future.  I’m going to work through this positionally, probably out of order.  I’m not going to make an effort to talk about how to improve the position, unless I feel like it.  I’m just going to lay out what’s there and what is in the system that might help soon. Continue reading

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Ranking Your 2011 Mariners

The big news today is basketball related, with Isaiah Thomas announcing, rather unexpectedly, that he will indeed forgo his senior season at UW. He’s off to the NBA, which sucks for Husky fans. Time will tell whether this is a wise decision by IT, but I’m happy for him. Next year’s expectations will be lower now, and it could very well be our last year watching Terrence Ross, but the team should still be good, and contend for the conference yet again.

With that news, I’m officially closing basketball talk on the blog, until at least the draft in June. Why? Because today is opening day! As Andrew noted, things have been dry on here lately, but nothing like some M’s baseball to stir conversation. In case you have not heard, the 25 man roster is official. Looking over the team last night, I started ranking guys in my mind, and that’s what this post is all about. In addition to ranking the 25 man roster, in terms of most valuable to the team in 2011, I’m also throwing 3 more guys into the conversation: Ackley, Gutierrez, and Aardsma. The latter two are on the DL, and Ackley will probably be up sometime in June, so they belong on this list too.

    Ranking the Roster (Most Valuable to Least Valuable)

1- Felix Hernandez—He is the King of Seattle, and the best pitcher on planet Earth. Yes, Felix is the Mariners’ most valuable player. Go away trade rumors!
2- Ichiro—The team’s best hitter and most valuable everyday player. Also, the coolest Mariner ever.
3- Justin Smoak—I want to fall in love with Justin Smoak, and so does this city, but he has a lot to prove. IMHO, this guy is the lynchpin to the M’s offense in 2011.
4- Franklin Gutierrez—I fear for Guti’s long-term health with every day that passes without an explanation, but assuming this mystery stomach ailment gets treated, Guti is the team’s best defender, and a top 5 hitter, a valuable asset indeed.
5- Milton Bradley—Depending on which Milton shows up, batting 3rd, Bradley could easily lead the team in production this year. But can he stay healthy AND out of trouble? I wouldn’t bet on it.
6- Erik Bedard—Hard to argue that a guy who did not pitch last year could hold much value, but IF healthy, Bedard provides huge value to this team. And IF his spring performance is an indicator of what’s to come, his worth is as high as a #2 starter.
7- Chone Figgins—This guy had better bounce back, and I expect he will now that he’s back at 3rd and settled into Seattle. The M’s should be annoying to play, and Figgy leads that annoyance.
8- Jason Vargas—I still don’t think of Jason Vargas as a #2 starter, but he earned this spot after last season. Can he provide an encore?
9- Jack Cust—Batting clean-up for your Seattle Mariners…Jack Cust. Really? You better believe it! He will strike out a ton, but I gotta think he is an upgrade at DH, and he is an awesome interview.
10- Miguel Olivo—The team’s main acquisition this winter, Miguel can’t be worse than our catchers last season, but he must improve on his first go around in Seattle if he is to win over the fans. Continue reading

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The Return of Miguel Olivo

The Mariners have just signed catcher Miguel Olivo to a 2 year contract, with $7 mil. guaranteed.  Most Mariner fans might remember Olivo for a brief and disastrous earlier stint with the Mariners, after he was acquired in the Freddy Garcia trade.  He was as bad a hitter in that year plus period as anyone the Mariners have seen recently.

Since then, he’s become a decent catcher.  At the plate, he’s similar to Jose Lopez, with no selectivity, but a little more power and less contact.  He’s going to strike out, and he’s going to hit some homers.  There’s concern that Safeco will completely rob his pull power, which is possible, but it’s one of those things you just have to deal with.  Behind the plate, he gives up some passed balls but has a big arm. 

Olivo’s a legitimate major league starting catcher, and that’s something the Mariners did not have recently.  This isn’t my favorite move, and he might not hit at all, but it could make the Mariners a lot better at a good price, so I’m having a hard time getting worked up about it.

Some other Mariner thoughts, since I rarely have time to post lately (Christmas break is coming!):

  • This move could mean a few things for Adam Moore.  I’ve already seen speculation that he’s automatically a trade chip now.  That would not surprise me a bit, although I have no idea what his value in trade would be.  Not overly high, I would bet.  More likely, I think he’s Olivo’s back-up, catching 50 games or so.  If he progresses and improves, Olivo can be traded.  If he doesn’t, at least they have Olivo.
  • My initial thought on the Jack Cust addition: helpful but unexciting.  He should be a huge improvement to the lineup, but he’s never been one of my favorite players.  A three true outcomes guy with declining power just isn’t my kind of guy.  Still glad to have him over some other options.
  • As everyone knows by now, Jose Lopez is now a Colorado Rockie.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had a solid year this year, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t a bad move even if he hits 30 home runs or something.  He wasn’t going to succeed in Safeco, and sometimes it’s just time to make a change.  You can argue that the Mariners sold way low on him, which is true, but his contract really forced the issue.  I can’t think of another way they could have gone with this.  He was just a bad fit for the park and wore out his welcome on the field.  Best of luck to Jose in the rest of his career, though.  He always seemed like a good guy, and he underwent some horrible personal issues that made it hard not to root for him, even when he was struggling.  I hope he finds some happiness and homers in Colorado or wherever he ends up.

I would expect there’s at least one moderately big trade coming for the Mariners, but we’ll see.  Going out on a limb, I would bet that Zach Greinke is in a Mariner uniform by the start of 2012.  More later when there are some more moves and I’m done with classes for the semester.

-Matthew

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Your 2011 Mariners- Catcher

I guess I’ll get this position over with so we can look at some slightly less depressing spots on the roster.

Catcher

On the Roster

Adam Moore- Not having paid much attention to the last couple of months of the season, I busted out Moore’s monthly splits.  I was under the vague impression that his bat was a little better after he returned to the Mariners.  I was wrong. He did show a little more power, with three homers from August on, but that’s the extent of anything promising.  His best stretch of the season was for about three games right before he got injured.  Lots of rookies struggle, especially if they’re catching, but it’s not looking good for Moore.  I’d be curious as to how his defense looked by the end of the year.  Any thoughts?

Rob Johnson- Just going to move on.

Contract is Up

Josh Bard- Technically, Bard is a free agent, but I’m sure the Mariners could resign him if they want to.  Bard was probably the best catcher on the roster, but that’s not saying a lot.  He’s a decent backup, which is all he should be.  Unfortunately, in 2010 he was frequently the best option to start that the Mariners had. Continue reading

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Y2012M!

Last March, Matthew started a series called “Y2010M!” (standing for Your 2010 Mariners).  It provided the reader with information on players from the 2010 Mariners.  It seemed like a logical thing to do at the time.  The Mariners were supposed to be good, and there was more optimism in Seattle than there had been in quite a while.  This season didn’t work out though.  Frankly, Y2010M’s suck.  In fact, you probably don’t want to call them yours.  I don’t want to call them mine.  While next season will certainly be a little better, it can’t get much worse, it isn’t something that we should be extremely excited about.  Playoff chances will be slim and the casual fan probably won’t enjoy watching as the young players progress next season.  On the plus side, the Mariners could have about 3 legitimate candidates for Rookie of the Year.  Because of that reason, I am led to 2012.  The Mayan’s aren’t the only ones predicting big things that year.  Unlike the Bavasi years, there is actually hope in the future now.  Z has put good prospects in the system and the future looks much brighter than it did when he took over.  Yes, I know the future doesn’t make the present any more bearable, but at least there’s some hope.  So, lets take a way too early look at your 2012 Mariners.

Starting Rotation
The starting rotation is the place where we know the least about so I’ll start there.  Obviously, you have Felix as your ace.  I don’t need to say anything about him because he’s awesome and everyone should know it.  Then, almost as certain, we have Mr. Pineda.  Pineda is a top 3 prospect in the Mariners system and is a top 30 prospect in baseball.  He is better than everyone in Seattle’s rotation right now, aside from Felix.  No one’s a safe bet, but Pineda is about as close as they come.  He is one of those rookie of the year candidates.

After Pineda, it gets a little blurry.  There’s Vargas and Fister, who are very solid back of the rotation guys.  I think Vargas stands a better chance to still be around in there just because he has better pitches.  That’s not to say Fister isn’t capable.  He could be a very good 5th starter.  That leaves the 2nd, 3rd, and/or 4th spot in the rotation open (assuming Felix is the ace, Pineda is either the 2nd or 3rd starter, Vargas at 4th or 5th, and Fister maybe at the 5th spot).  So, who will fill either one or two spots?  I wouldn’t be surprised to see an innings eater (like a Kevin Millwood) added via free agency.  But, there are several options in the system.

Ryan Rowland-Smith has been much better in Tacoma lately but I wouldn’t count on him.  Same goes for Luke French.  There’s Mauricio Robles, who has more upside than both of those guys but has a longer way to come.  Robles was acquired in the Washburn trade and has the upside of a 3 starter.  He’s a short little guy who throws pretty hard and is left-handed.  He has high strikeout rates but also has high walk rates.  If he can learn to control his stuff, I think he’ll be in the rotation at some point.  If not, he may be moved to the bullpen.  Nick Hill was once highly thought of but he’s struggled this year.  There are also this years draftees but counting on the starters by 2012 isn’t a very good bet.

The 2012 rotation will depend on the emergence of Pineda and the ability to sign or trade for a veteran.  If Pineda is as good as we think, the rotation could be quite good.

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Working On the Farm- AAA Tacoma

After a long season that I really don’t have the words to describe, the Mariners are finally down to about 2 months and 60 games left.  While the trade deadline and maturation of Michael Saunders have made the last month a little more interesting, something else that is both significantly better and more interesting is the Mariners farm system.  Most of the affiliates are hovering near the top of their leagues, a nice sign for a franchise that needs to learn how to win.  More importantly, the talent level has improved to the point where each team has more than a few interesting players.

There’s a lot of interest in the Mariners’ minor league system right now, for good reason, so I thought I’d take a walk around the farm and give a quick rundown of who to watch at each level.  One caveat: I’m no scout and haven’t seen more than a handful of these players in action.  Everything you’ll see here is my composite memory of scouting reports and media pieces I’ve read.  There are some good writers, local and national, who know a lot more.  Jason Churchill at Prospect Insider typically has a lot of good information from a scouting standpoint, while Jay Yencich at Mariners Minors puts out a ridiculous amount of recaps, etc.  Jay also does a great weekly Minors Recap at USS Mariner that will keep you up on the majority of the system goings-on.  Here’s this week’s.  There’s plenty of other good stuff out there, especially Jon Shields at both ProBallNW and Lookout Landing.

I’ll take these one at a time and hopefully bust through them in the next few weeks, before the minor league seasons end and I take another vacation!  First up:  AAA Tacoma. Continue reading

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The Worst Case Scenario? Pretty Close…

Following the ridiculous 6-5 loss to Baltimore on Thursday, I was listening to Brock and Salk on 710 ESPN, and Dave Cameron from USSM was on the show. Cameron said the pre-season likelihood that the M’s would have finished the first 34 games at 13-21, would have been about 7-10%. This number is not a scientific fact, but anyone who knows a thing about baseball can look at the roster Seattle assembled, paired with the weak division they play in, and conclude that a 13-21 start would have been tough to imagine. Is this the worst case scenario? Well, of course it’s not the absolute worst case. That would be a winless team with multiple injured starters, a manager soon to be fired, and a clubhouse that is fist fighting. But this is pretty close to the worst possible scenario I could have thought up back in March. Here are 5 reasons why the M’s are where they are. (And sorry, this gets a little lengthy)

1) Bad luck (aka sucking in crunch time)
Last year, the M’s made hay in 1-run games. Despite giving up more runs than they scored, the M’s won 85 games, which by most standards, was an anomaly. The odd that Seattle could have racked up 85 W’s last year was slim when the year began. It was a pleasure seeing my team hang on in close games and show grit time and time again. This year, the Gods have not been so kind in similar games. In fact, in 9 of Seattle’s 21 losses, the M’s either led or were tied going into the eighth inning. That is a staggering result. If the Mariners could have won even just 4 of those 9 games, we would be talking about a 17-17 team heading into the Tampa series. The worst part is that in most cases, one minor miscue has been the difference between a win and a loss. The Byrnes whiffed bunt. The Johnson passed balls. The poor execution of bases loaded in extra innings. Those are the type of missed opportunities that has defined this team through 35 games. If you care to look at just how those 9 gut wrenching games played out, take a look at the quick summaries Shannon Drayer put together-http://www.mynorthwest.com/category/mariners_blog_articles/20100513/Too-Many-Tough-Losses

2) Slow start offense
In addition to the close losses, the Mariners are not hitting. Figgins, Kotchman, Griffey, Lopez, Bradley, Moore, Johnson and Jack Wilson are all off to slow starts. Typically you assume a few regulars will start slow, but it’s hard to win when all but 2 starters are hitting around .200 or lower. The offense is without a doubt the biggest reason the M’s are sitting where they are.

3) The Bullpen
The Mariners have a solid bullpen. I’d bet as many as 4 of our relievers could be closers on some major league teams. But despite good overall stats, some untimely blow ups have resulted in numerous losses. Lowe, League and Aardsma have combined to give up 6 home runs. That’s not the astounding number though, as 6 home runs between 3 relievers in mid-May is not unreasonable. What is astounding is that all 6 of those home runs were either game tiers or game winners, and all came in the 8th or 9th innings. Ouch. Often times home runs are not all the pitchers fault, because even perfectly executed pitches can be hit 400 feet by major league hitters. A lot of the bullpen’s failures are just plain bad luck. That’s just baseball. The bullpen is not a major concern for this team.

4) Off the field issues
The Bradley fiasco and the Griffey nap have been the two biggest off the field incidents thus far. The Milton thing was almost to be expected, considering his past, while the Griffey thing has snowballed from a minor issue to headlines on ESPN. That whole thing is just weird. You could include injuries in this category I suppose, to Cliff Lee, Mark Lowe, and Jack Wilson.

5) Inconsistency
The problem with this team is similar to the problem with my golf game. If I’m driving and putting well, my irons and chipping are failing me. If my short game is on, my drives are erratic. For the Mariners, the offense, starting pitching, and defense was great on Thursday. The bullpen was not, and so despite playing well in 3 out of 4 facets of the game, that one poor area bit us hard. It seems like that’s how it has gone all year. We just can’t play well in all aspects, and even when we play well in 2 or 3 areas, the 1 that we suck at ends up costing us the game.

Reason for hope after the jump! Continue reading

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