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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!