Tag Archives: Greg Halman

Mariners-2 Must Make Moves

To the surprise of everyone, here in early June, the AL west is wide open and the M’s could very well contend into the summer. Let that sink in for a moment. What this means is as long as the division is within reach, the team can’t afford to roll out all their youth at the cost of losing, and in case you had not noticed, the Mariners are not getting production out of left field. I suppose that statement has been true for the last 30 years, but now more so than ever, LF has been a joke. Ken Rosenthal sums it up well in a tweet I saw today- “Least productive OFs in majors by OPS. Mariners-30th, Tigers-29th, Angels-28th.”

Cutting ties with Milton was the right move, and initially I liked the platoon idea of Peguero and Mike Wilson. Well, despite a monster home run and a game winning hit (if Hunter’s sun drop counts as a game winner), Peguero really has been bad. He is batting .169, and striking out nearly 40% of the time. Also, his defense is sub-par, and that’s being generous. It isn’t fair to make too many conclusions on Mike Wilson, because he only has 25 at bats, but he has just 4 hits. I want to think these guys will get it going and they have only been major leaguers for 1 month, but here’s the bottom line: Carlos Peguero is not ready for the big leagues, and Mike Wilson has been a minor leaguer for 10 years, and there’s probably a reason for that.

The M’s want to know what they have in their young outfielders, particularly Saunders, Peguero, Wilson, Carp, and Halman, especially heading into an off season where Jack will have money to spend. I think the M’s now realize that 3 of those guys, Peguero, Saunders, Wilson are not going to be their starting LF in 2012. So, you keep shuffling the cards, bring up Carp, and maybe later give Halman a shot. If those guys are also hitting .160 in a month, and the team is still contending, then you make a trade when the market opens up. Is this too simple in my head?

There have been compelling arguments made around the Mariners blogosphere, regarding this LF dilemma. Should the M’s call up Ackley, and stick him in the outfield, where he played in college? What about Kennedy, can he play LF? How about trade options, like Chris Denorfia or Carlos Beltran? I suppose anything is possible, but my hope is that Mike Carp is roaming around in the outfield this weekend, or in the very near future. Carp is hitting .330 in Tacoma, with 15 HR and 45 RBI in just 50 games. And contrary to what Dave Cameron says, “Mike Carp is a 1B/DH, and if Wedge won’t use Cust or Wilson out there, he’s certainly not going to use Carp” Carp has actually played 35 of 50 games in the outfield this year, and been the DH in the other 15! So to say he is just a 1B/DH is not true, and actually, his defense has looked decent according to the people who know this stuff.

Oh, and Carp is just 4 months older than Smoak, so it’s not as though he can’t still turn into something. If he does, that JJ Putz trade looks better and better (Guti, Vargas, Carp). In this scenario, I still like Mike Wilson starting against southpaws, and for now the team needs Saunders to back up Guti, pinch run, and be a defensive sub. Ultimately, Saunders needs to play everyday in the minors to fix that swing, and I suspect this will happen if and when Halman is ready for a call-up.

The other must make move? Giminez down, Bard up. I wish I knew what the M’s see in Giminez, to justify him backing up Olivo instead of a proven veteran like Josh Bard. Giminez seems like a cool guy, but he is a career .165 hitter. Bard is 33, a career .260 hitter, with 40 HR. He has some pop, and normally I could care less who the backup catcher is, but when you have 2 options, and one clearly makes more sense, I can’t help but be annoyed that the team chooses the other.

Soon enough, Dustin Ackley will be here too, which presents another tough decision, and one that could spell the end for Jack Wilson or Luis Rodriguez. But for now, Peguero down, Carp up; Giminez down, Bard up.

-Dan

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Your 2011 Mariners- Outfield

With the World Series over, free agency is right around the corner.  It’s coming even earlier than usual this year, so I’ll try to get through these overviews of the team before much happens.  Up next:

Outfield

On the Roster

Ichiro– Ichiro had a slightly down year for him in 2010, but he was still the best offensive player on the team.  He’s one of the only players on the roster worth coming to the park to see, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be just as good and probably better next year.  Sure, he’s paid a lot, but nothing’s changing that now, so sit back and enjoy him.

Franklin Gutierrez– After a fast start, Guti joined the rest of the team in having an extremely disappointing year.  2009 Franklin is a guy to build a team around; 2010 Franklin is a borderline starter.  Now probably isn’t the time to trade him, but I’d be open to the possibility if the team has confidence in Michael Saunders and thinks he can play center.  In reality, I think he’ll be starting again in center in 2011, barring some mega-deal where he’s one of several pieces going out.  He still has a lot of potential, and the defense didn’t really dip, but the jury’s now out on Gutierrez. Continue reading

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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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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 Greatest Team Ever

In the Mariners spring training bout with the Arizona Diamondbacks today, new ace and enforcer Cliff Lee was ejected for throwing over Chris Snyder’s head.  The two had gotten tangled up on a play at the plate earlier when Snyder was waving for a teammate to slide and Lee took him out going to back up the play.  Snyder’s quote on the incident, taken from Baker’s blog, written by Good Guy Bob Condotta

“Two guys going to where they need to be and we collided. Hell, he got me good, man. He Charley-horsed my leg. I still feel it. He almost clipped me twice. My leg hurt every time I squatted, then he threw a ball at my head. He’s up two-nothing on me. … He got me better than anybody coming around third. I aint been taken out like that in a couple of years (sic).”

His next time up, Lee threw one inside and then another that went over Snyder’s head.  Snyder dropped his bat and took a few steps toward the mound, benches cleared, etc.  Lee was ejected.  The two said the earlier incident had no impact on the latter, Lee said he wasn’t throwing at him, everything played down like usual, although the benches did clear again later.

Anyway, good story, but what I’m really writing about is my response to the text Andrew sent me about Lee being ejected, which was, “Nice! Way to go Cliff! This team could do almost anything and I’d be excited.”  And that’s totally how I feel about the Mariners right now.  They have so much goodwill built up from last year, and they’re so genuinely fun to root for, that I’d almost rather hang out in the clubhouse with them than watch them play a game.  Not that I don’t enjoy watching them play.  They’re just an incredibly entertaining, enjoyable, dynamic team.  Everything they do I get excited about.  A short list of awesome things from spring training off the top of my head so far:

  • Lee getting ejected
  • Griffey and Sweeney putting together A Mariner Idol and then coaching a practice in the span of a couple of days
  • Sweeney starting 12-15 when no one gave him a chance to even think about making the roster
  • Tuiasosopo hitting almost .500 while playing 4 positions so far, one of which he was playing it for the first time in over 2 years even thought it’s the hardest position on the field (SS)
  • Shawn Kelley possibly starting
  • Garrett Olson being just as bad as last year, so as not to delude anyone
  • Lopez and Chone trading positions, just because
  • Wak’s never-ending positivity about everything, including Lopez’s continued errors
  • Adam Moore playing like a good catcher and Rob Johnson not playing at all
  • Byrnes and Moore (? I think) falling flat on their faces before reaching the bag in consecutive games

There’s just an overall feeling that this team can do no wrong.  That’ll probably change at some point this year, but maybe not.  Coupled with the realization that this team has a lot of really good players (Lee, Felix, Ichiro, Figgins, Guti, hopefully Bedard), it’s hard not to be excited.  I don’t think we’ve discussed how great Felix, Lee and Bedard at the top of the rotation would be if Bedard comes back throwing well.  Those are three pitchers who could each be the best in baseball any given year.  Will it happen?  Maybe, maybe not.  But that’s kind of how the whole year is.  Maybe they’ll win a lot, maybe not.  It’s just the excitement of knowing there’s the possibility that’s enough for now.

A FEW QUICK NOTES AFTER THE JUMP! Continue reading

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