Tag Archives: Dan Cortes

Checking in on the M’s

As you may have noticed, the blog has switched to football mode in the last couple weeks.  This was a combination of the Mariners sucking and football being a breath of fresh air.  There hasn’t been anything really exciting as far as the Mariners go lately but here’s what little news there is:

  • After Tacoma won the PCL Championship several players were called up.  These players were Justin Smoak, Dan Cortes, Matt Mangini, Greg Halman, and Anthony Varvaro.  Cortes has been by far the  most impressive so far.  He hasn’t allowed a base-runner in two innings of work and has struck out 4 of 6 hitters faced.  He’ll be in the bullpen next year all season, barring injury, and could take on the 8th inning role (which is basically what he’s doing now).  Mangini has hit pretty well since coming up to the bigs.  No one has questioned his hitting, it’s his defense that stops him from being a top prospect.  More on him below.  Smoak has gotten hot the last two days, with 4 hits including a home run.  He’s starting to look like the top prospect we traded for.  Halman and Varvaro haven’t seen a ton of action but Halman notched his first hit tonight and Varvaro is pitching as I type this.  All of them have been decent, if not more.  It’s a shame they weren’t up here sooner.  Update: Varvaro didn’t do so well tonight, but he still has a bright future as a lefty reliever.
  • The two big names not to get called up are Dustin Ackley and Josh Lueke.  Ackley just needed a break before he starts fall league.  Enough has been written about Lueke, so I won’t add anything.  I’m cheering for the guy but I have my doubts that he’ll ever be in a Mariner uniform despite his unquestionable talent.
  • The Mariners will score over 500 runs this year.  With 6 runs so far tonight, they are up to 497 runs.  That’s kind of too bad.  On the other hand, do you realize how pathetic it is that we can even talk about this.
  • Speaking of Mangini, with a little more success we could see him having a role on the team next year.  Jose Lopez will be gone, thank goodness, and if the opportunity comes to trade Chone Figgins the M’s might take it.  That would leave a hole at third base and why not give Mangini the opportunity?  Seattle won’t be good next year so I’d like to see as many young players as possible.  They may platoon him or he could be a good lefty bat off the bench, at least.
  • Speaking of Chone Figgins, he’s hitting .360 in September.  That is good news concerning next year.  He can still be a valuable player despite his big contract and down year.  He has more stolen bases than B.J. Upton.  That is weird to me for some reason.  I can’t even remember him being on base too many times.
  • Ichiro got over 200 hits, again.  This is because Ichiro is awesome.  He is worth his big contract, regardless of what other people say.  If you think he’s overrated please talk to me, I would love to have this argument.
  • The M’s need to go 4-3 the rest of the way to avoid 100 losses.  They are ahead by one right now in the 8th.  Needless to say, it feels a lot better to lose 99 games than it does 100.  Do we know why?  No.  Mainly just because the human race is weird.

That’s about all I can think of.  If you have any Mariner questions let me know in the comments and I’ll try to address them.

Andrew

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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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Tacoma Rainiers Update

The Mariners just promoted Mauricio Robles and Dan Cortes to Triple-A Tacoma from West Tennessee.  Cortes was no surprise, as he’s been ridiculously good since moving into the bullpen a few weeks ago.  Someone, I think Jason Churchill, reported that he hasn’t thrown a fastball under 97 mph, I believe, since the change.  If he keeps up anything close to that, I’ll be amazed if he’s not in the Mariners’ pen to start next year.  As it is, he’ll probably be called up in September anyway.

Robles is a little bit more surprising, but not incredibly so.  He’s having a good but not incredible year, but I think most would be pretty satisfied with his development thus far.  The lefty will start tomorrow, which pushes Pineda back a start.  I would imagine the major reason for these promotions are to help keep Pineda’s innings in check without depriving the Rainiers of talent while they fight for a playoff spot.  Both players are deserving though.

In other Tacoma news, Justin Smoak hit a homer last night and has three in his last 5 games.  He’s up to four homers and a .779 OPS at Tacoma after a terrible start when he was first sent down.  Dustin Ackley is hitting the cover off the ball, going 3-5 last night.  He’s at .304/.381/.471.  He’ll be starting at second in Seattle by July.

Thanks to Mike Curto’s blog, Mike… Off-Mic, for the info.  He’s the Rainiers radio announcer and an all-around good guy.

-Matthew

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Ian Snell DFA’d and Losing Trades

If you’ve followed the Mariners today, you’ve probably heard that Ian Snell has been designated for assignment.  It’s about time.  Ian Snell has been terrible the past couple years and was even worse this year.  Now, he’s gone and Brian Sweeney is up (more on him in a little while).

Ian Snell came over here last Summer in the Jack Wilson-Jeff Clement trade.  It seemed like a good idea at the time; Snell was a young starter who possibly needed a change of scenery and Jack Wilson was the shortstop who was going to captain the world’s best defense.  It hasn’t really worked out, to say the least.  Jack has been hurt more often than not since coming here and Snell has been terrible.  That leads to the obvious, and somewhat annoying, question, “Did the Mariners lose this trade?”  These questions usually rub me the wrong way.  This is because we are fans on the outside and the people who sometimes proclaim the trade as lost don’t know as much about the organization as they should.  Lets take a look at this example:

  • One team received a double-A starter who has a 5.92 ERA in 11 starts this year.  He is running out an 8.4 K/9 innings rate, which is really good but not much else seems to be going for him.
  • The other team received a shortstop who has been starting at the major league level.  This guy is hitting .281 and, although he has one of the worst UZR’s in the league, has a pretty solid fielding percentage.

Which team wins that trade?  Well, obviously the team with the shortstop right?  No.  That shortstop is Yuniesky Betancourt.  This is just one of many examples that show a trade can not be judged by an outsider without organizational knowledge.  The double-A pitcher I refered to above is actually a decent prospect.  His name is Dan Cortes and if he ever gains some control he could be in the majors.  Yuni sucks.  People don’t know these things when looking at stats, they only know them after reading scouting reports and watching them.  I think the Mariners made themselves a better organization by this trade even if Yuni is putting up solid numbers.  Can the same be said with the Royals?  I don’t know.  I don’t know enough about the Royals to make a fair judgement.  My first reaction would to be say no because of my experience with Yuni but that’s not fair to their front office.

So, back to the trade with Pittsburg last summer.  No, the Mariners did not win this trade.  Jack could come back and be a decent contributor this year and next but it’s probably not enough for me to say that this trade made the Mariners a better organization.  But did it make them worse?  Clement is hitting no better than Kotchman, .189, and has been moved out of the starting lineup.  Ronny Cedeno could put up the greatest numbers in the world and I wouldn’t regret trading him away.  Like Carlos Silva and Yuni, Ronny Cedeno wasn’t going to work in Seattle.  So, no I don’t think the Mariners lost this trade.  Clement could suddenly get better, he definitely has the brightest future of all of these players, but it sure doesn’t look like this will happen. 

Maybe no one won that trade.  It’s easy to see where both front offices were coming from in making the move.  So don’t think that this was a terrible move.  Jack Z wasn’t Bill Bavasi bad in this move.  He was just average, which is worse than usual with our GM.  It’s nice to say that.

A few more notes concerning this after the jump.  Continue reading

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