Tag Archives: Ichiro Suzuki

A Couple Of Thoughts On The M’s

As I write this, the Seattle Mariners are on a plane headed to Japan.  A week from now, they’ll have two regular season games under their belt and will be headed back to the states for another week of wonderful spring training baseball (sarcasm).  I’ll try to catch us up on some Mariner news.  If you have anymore questions about the M’s put them in the comments and we’ll address them.

  • As I said, the Mariners are on their way to Japan at the moment which means that they had to cut their roster to 30 for the trip.  Kevin Millwood (who we’ll discuss later) is not on the trip but will be in the starting rotation to start the year.  Him and Japan don’t get along.  This all gets a bit confusing as far as the rosters go for this trip, so stay with me.  I think I understand them.  30 players are on the trip and they’re all allowed to play in the exhibition games against the Japanese teams.  I’d have to take a look at the Japanese teams rosters but it’s hard not to imagine that the Mariners carrying Casper Wells AND Carlos Peguero for these games won’t give them an insurmountable advantage over the Tigers and Giants of Japan.  Unless they are actually Japanese tigers and giants.  Anyway, back on track.  After the exhibition games the Mariners then have to cut down to 28 players for their games against the Oakland A’s of Japan.  That has to be the day Guillermo Quiroz is dreading.  Of those 28 players, only 25 of them will be able to play in the actual games against Oakland.  Kevin Millwood, and any other players they left at home who they expect to open the season with the big-league team (there probably aren’t any), must count against the 28 players but not against the 25.  So, the Mariners may have a different 25 players available in the season opener than their first game stateside.  It’s a bit confusing, really and probably not worth your time to understand.
  • Anyway, here’s the 30 guys going to Japan by position:  Starting Pitchers – Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez (although he may be used in the bullpen for the M’s) Relief Pitchers – Hisashi Iwakuma, George Sherrill, Tom Wilhelmsen, Shawn Kelley, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League, Chance Ruffin, Steve Delabar, Charlie Furbush Catchers – Jesus Montero!, Miguel Olivo, John Jaso, Guillermo QuirozInfielders – Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley!, Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins, Kyle Seager, Munenori Kawasaki, Alex Liddi  Outfielders – Mike Carp, Michael Saunders, Ichiro Suzuki, Casper Wells, Carlos Peguero.
  • So, you have those 30 plus Kevin Millwood to choose from for your final 25.  We know the starting rotation (Felix, Vargas, Noesi, Beavan, and Millwood), so I would imagine Erasmo Ramirez starts in Tacoma.  I think Furbush will also start in Tacoma.  Then, the M’s will chose between Luetge, Delabar and Ruffin for the last 2 bullpen spots.  I think Ruffin starts in Tacoma.  That puts the team at 12 pitchers and 28 players.  Quiroz and Alex Liddi will almost surely start in Tacoma.  So, I’d say the last roster spot comes down to Peguero and Wells.  I really hope that the front office picks Wells and I think they probably will.  There’s your 25 man roster.
  • I mentioned the starting rotation above and don’t really have any objections with those 5.  Blake Beavan is a little boring and Iwakuma is somewhat intriguing but I was never high on Doug Fister either and he proved me wrong plenty of times.  Beavan is in the same mold and could do the same.  Marc at USSM had a good article on the argument today.  Really we don’t know if any of these guys, aside from Felix, will be here the whole year.  Vargas has always been a subject of trade talk and the others could just be passed by better, younger pitchers.  For now though, I think these five will do.
  • Last time Matthew posted on the M’s, Michael Saunders was a big topic of conversation.  Since he has hardly done anything in the games (blame Matthew).  He finished the spring with a lower batting average than he had last spring.  I’m not saying he didn’t improve because I think he did, I’m just not a belie
    Bad Guy of the Day

    Bad Guy of the Day

    ver yet.  Here’s to hoping he proves us wrong.

  • Spring training stats are meaningless, so stop looking at them.
  • Today, Jon Heyman who reports for CBS Sports had an article on Ichiro.  The main idea was that Ichiro should not be back on the Mariners next year because he holds too much power over the organization.  To put it plainly, I think it was a ridiculous piece.  Yes, there needs to be a discussion about what the M’s should do with Ichiro and maybe they should let him go.  They definitely need to agree to a smaller contract after this year but that’s because of his age and performance last year.  Heyman mentioned his on-field performance but chose to focus on issues that came up in the 2008 season.  Heyman had a ‘source’ (Carlos Silva, anyone?) who said Ichiro caused problems in the clubhouse because of his egos.  All of these things were mostly taken care of in the 2009 season and have been non-issues since.  By the way, the person who called Ichiro out during the 2008 season was Carlos Silva, who said Ichiro was selfish.  Ichiro hit .310 that year and had 214 hits.  Carlos Silva was 4-15 with a 6.46 ERA that year.  Heyman finishes the article by saying Ichiro refused an interview before his spring training game and still treats himself like a superstar even though he isn’t playing like one.  He has never granted interviews before the game.  There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I’d say that means he’s focusing on the actual baseball being played, which is something Heyman needs to do.
  • All of that to say, be cynical with what you read in sports especially when it comes to the national media.  Heck, be cynical when it comes to what you read here, if you think I’m on Ichiro’s side too much I understand.  There’s enough good Mariner blogs that don’t form opinions of players without actual stats supporting them.  Jeff Sullivan and Matthew at Lookout Landing are the best at this, and the best at trying to understand things from all the points of view.  Try to do that as well, it’ll make you a better fan.
  • The last bullet holes I have are just informative things around the blog (I doubt anyone has made it this far in the reading anyway!).  If anyone’s interested in forming a fantasy baseball league, I would gladly be the commissioner.  I don’t know if any of the other Good Guy writers will join but if you want to leave a comment or email me at andrew.long09@northwestu.edu.  Also, we will be watching the season opening game next Wednesday live at 3 AM.  If any of you are interested in joining us, shoot me an email and we’ll try to have a good time watching some very early morning baseball.

Thanks for reading!

Andrew

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Filed under M's Transaction News, Mariners

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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Game Recap – 5/12

Well, that was frustrating.  That game, and a sweep, would have been really nice to have but the crazy thing about baseball is that even the worst teams (and the Orioles are as bad it gets) still usually win about 60 games.  As much as sabermetrics do work for baseball, the favorable matchup doesn’t always win.  With that being said, I’m not sure the Mariners had the favorable match up today.  Lets looks at a few matchups in this game:

  • Ryan Rowland-Smith vs. Brad Bergesen.  Let me start off by saying that Hyphen is a good guy.  I like him and have yet to hear anyone write/say that they really disliked him.  But, he just isn’t very good right now.  I want him to succeed as much as anyone but he doesn’t look like a quality starter right now.  Brad Bergesen on the other hand has turned his season around a little bit.  He’s no Cliff or Felix, heck, he’s not even Doug or Vargas, but if given a choice between Hyphen and Bergesen I would chose Bergesen.  This may not be the case in a couple months or years but it is right now. 

The Mariners obviously rolled out a better defensive unit than the Orioles but lets look at thelineups hitting wise tonight.  We’ll play our series preview game with tonights lineup (winners in bold):

  • CatcherO’s-Wieters.  M’s- Moore. This really is a no contest.  Moore looks awful right now, he might need to go back to Tacoma.
  • 1st base:  O’s- Atkins.  M’s- Kotchman.  Yes Kotchman is a better player but looking at this hitting wise, Atkins is a little better in my opinion.  It’s close, but neither guy is really hitting right now.
  • 2nd base:  O’s- Wiggington.  M’s- Figgins.  Yes, I’d rather have Figgy on my team than Wiggington but Ty is hitting the ball.  Chone really isn’t hitting the ball at all.
  • SS:  O’s- Izturis. M’s- Jo. Wilson.  This is a sad contest but Wilson wins.
  • 3rd base: O’s- Tejada.  M’s- Tui.  Tui is another guy who looks lost, right along with Adam Moore.
  • LF:  O’s- Patterson. M’s- Saunders.  I don’t need to explain.
  • CF:  O’s- Jones.  M’s- Langerhans.  This one is closer than it should be.  Langerhans is one of them most productive hitters on the team right now, which is sad, but I still think Jones strikes more fear in pitchers hearts.
  • RF:  O’s- Markakis.  M’s- Ichiro.  Ichiro seems to be on his usual May hot-streak.  This is good.
  • DH: O’s- Luke Scott.  M’s- Lopez.  Jose can’t hit right now.  Scott’s average is lower but he’s shown a lot more power than Jose.  Lopey was so close to a home run tonight but more on that later.

So, looking at the matchups hitting wise the O’s held a 6-3 advantage tonight.  I know defense is an important part of the game and the Mariners run out a good defense usually but this just shows how inept this offense can be.  The Mariners are better than the Orioles but tonight the matchup never really seemed to be in our favor.  4/9 of our starters were in Tacoma last week.  Four of the other starters are hitting .214 or below.  That leaves Ichiro and he can’t do everything himself.  The lineup should be back to normal tomorrow, which still isn’t anything to be excited about but at least we’ll have a better matchup.

Goat/Hero and a few notes after the jump.  Continue reading

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