Tag Archives: Jose Lopez

Opening Day Quick Hits

– Jack Hanahan starts at 3B for Cleveland. Jose Lopez starts at 2B for Colorado. These statements are surprising, but I should probably point out that Hanahan was 3-5 today with a homerun and 3 runs scored, while Lopez was 2-5 with a homerun, 2 RBI, and a stolen base.

– Seattle’s odds of winning the divison are about the same as the odds of Jack Cust hitting a home run. If the M’s fate this season came down to one at bat, in which Cust had to hit a home run, our odds would be slim, but I would definitely watch to see what happens. This is why I will watch the Mariners this year, and I hope you are encouraged to as well.

– In case you missed Jeff Sullivan’s post on SB Nation, here are the 5 worst team slogans for 2011.
(5) Toronto Blue Jays: Hustle + Heart (2.0)
(4) Seattle Mariners: Ready to play
(3) Houston Astros: We are your Astros
(2) Florida Marlins: Catch our moves
(1) Kansas City Royals: Major League moments-
The Mariners set modest expectations when they promised that their players would be ready to play baseball, but this is setting expectations as low as expectations get. All this slogan does is confirm that the Royals play Major League Baseball, and that over the course of their season there will be moments that take place during their games. It doesn’t say anything about whether those moments will be good moments or bad moments, memorable moments or forgettable moments. It just says that there will be moments.

– The Mariners are a 1/2 game back in the AL West. If they are to get out of last place, they had better start playing some games.

– I was browsing on USS Mariner today and I stumbled across a March ’09 post. The entertaining part was the comments section, as it often is. Some comments are stupid when they are written in present day, and the stupidity is often multiplied 10 fold as time passes. Here was the one that caught my eye-

Wait about 2 more years when Tui, Carp, Moore, Olson, Fields, and (most importantly) Aumont get called up among others and are more polished as major leaguers, along with the young guys we have now on the roster such as Jeff Clement that haven’t broken out yet but should at some point

I don’t know what to say about this, other than, yikes.

– Finally, opening day is refreshing for a number of reasons. For me, it signals the end of winter, though looking outside does not exactly back up that statement. But another refreshing part for me is that for the next 6 months, I can sit back and watch the most pure sport there is. Oh sure some will argue baseball is far from pure, and when it comes to balls and strikes, and safe vs. out, mistakes are made. But how often does a game end and one thinks, “boy, the umpires cost us that game.” In football, soccer, and basketball, refs drive me nuts, and there are times where I blame them for a part of my team’s loss. This rarely happens in baseball, and it is refreshing. No more Pac-10 officiating!

-Dan

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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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Mariners Make First Moves

The Seattle Times and others are reporting that the Mariners have declined options on Erik Bedard, Russell Branyan, and Jose Lopez.  Bedard was no surprise whatsoever, as he hasn’t pitched in a year and half and the option was for $8 mil.  The other two had a slight chance of getting picked up, but this was still expected.

Branyan and Bedard become free agents, with nothing to prevent them from resigning with the Mariners if everyone’s interested.  Lopez only has 5 years of major league service time, so he remains on the Mariners roster, for now.  They have about a month to decide whether to offer him arbitration, meaning he would get a contract next year, or non-tender him, making him a free agent.  Dave Cameron at USS Mariner has a post that goes into a little more depth on the options.  He says expect a trade, but any of the three are plausible outcomes.

In other related news, a bunch of guys were removed from the 40-man roster.  Ryan Langerhans and Guillermo Quiroz have refused an assignment to the minors, making them free agents.  Ryan Feierabend, Sean White, and Chris Seddon are still deciding whether to accept their assignments.  I can’t imagine anyone will be too interested in whatever happens with any of these guys.  Again, it’s possible they could all come back in some form or other, but it doesn’t really matter.  Brian Sweeney was also taken off waivers by the Diamondbacks.  He won’t be back.

-Matthew

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Your 2011 Mariners- Third Base

I’m not finding much time to write and even less I feel like writing about, but I’ll try to get through the rest of this series before free agency starts.  Enjoy the World Series.  It should be a fun one!

Third Base

Under Contract

Chone Figgins- Figgins is as big a mystery as any player currently on the team.  Defensively, he played a serviceable but not great second base last season, but popular opinion is he will move back to third base for 2011.  The big caveat there is that he may not be with the team, as I imagine the Mariners would be willing to move him if someone would give a good return or take all of his salary.  If he is back and at third, he used to be very good defensively there, and the hope is that the move back will get his bat going.  Who knows if that will happen, but he did finish the year hitting fairly well.  A rebound to even his career averages in 2011 might be the biggest addition the Mariners could make this offseason.

Matt Tuiasosopo- My hope has about run out with Tui.  He still has some offensive potential, but has shown no ability to hit in the majors.  His defense is scary at every position.  It might click for him eventually and he could be an average starter or decent utility man, but for now he’s just okay depth if you have a major injury. Continue reading

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Wow…

Ummm…. Jose Lopez just hit his 3rd home run of the game.  Did you hear that Hell froze over earlier today?

Andrew

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Mariners Recap – 5-28-10

Three in a row!

The Amazing Cliff Lee. That sums up how I feel about him. I simply cannot, as a baseball fan, miss one of his starts. I realize there is a possibility he won’t be with the Mariners all year, so I enjoy each inning he takes the mound. Last night verses the Angels, Lee showed why is a bulldog winner and someone I really hope the Mariners can convince to stay for the long term.

In the first inning, home plate umpire Brian Knight decided to squeeze Lee. Cliff walked only his second batter of the year, and he was visually annoyed on the mound, and I was visually annoyed from my couch. Lee was clearly throwing strikes. The small strike zone forced Lee to throw more down the middle, therefore allowing Angles hitters to get decent wood on the ball. Lee then committed an odd throwing error. Before we knew it, 2-0 Angels. That, though, is the end of the Angels success.

Over the next 7 innings, Lee proceeded to strike out 10 batters. Mixing his fastball with a devastating change, the Angels were so off balance it was embarrassing. Lee made legit big-league hitters like Abreu, Matsui and Hunter look like fools. One thing the Angels have is a solid lineup, there really are no slouches in there, and Lee worked with a break-neck pace mowing down one after another. There were a lot of heroes, Lee is one of them. Lee’s 14:1 K/BB still leads MLB. 42 K’s, 3 BB’s. Amazing.

At the plate, I was impressed with the Mariners hitters yet again. They stayed aggressive against Kazmir, who had control problems from the get go. They were selective, sitting on his very average fastball. Gutierrez, Bradley, and Lopez (yes, JOSE LOPEZ) all looked great at the plate. Sweeney was the only goat of the night, going 0-5 with 3LOB. Other than that, the Mariners kept the pressure on the Angels pitchers. Even Figgins and Robo Rob had good AB’s, staying patient and drawing walks or getting their pitches for RBI doubles.

Hero(s): Cliff Lee, Franklin Gutierrez
Goat: Mike Sweeney

Overall, impressive victory by the Mariners! Felix on the mound today!!

-Joe

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Mariners Recap — 5/21/2010

Mmm, 15 runs, it always goes down smooth. Beating up on San Diego brings to mind many Anchor Man quotes, but I’ll try and resist. First off, Sween Dog and Bard were fun to watch and cheer for last night. That is a scientific fact! Ok, I’ll stop with the Anchor Man fun. But really, who could have ever guessed those 2 vets could rack up 6 hits, 16 total bases, 3 home runs, and 9 RBI, in one game! Get used to seeing Bard behind the plate, because he has surpassed Hips and Moore’s combined performances in about 5 games.

This game was littered with statistical oddities, which is typical for a game where the teams combine for 30 hits and 23 runs. Baseball is a funny sport. The M’s scored 12 runs in 8 games between April 30th, and May 8th, a 78 inning stretch. Last night they scored 13 runs in 4 innings. Of course, they weren’t facing Wade LeBlanc during any of those abysmal 78 innings. I don’t understand how LeBlanc is good but I guess it helps pitching in the NL. It is also fun to look at how batting averages can change from one game to the next, when 15 hits are collected. The first number is the player’s average prior to the game, the second number is the new current average-

Sweeney- .226, .276
Bradley- .221, .244
Bard- .333, .400
Wilson- .239, .255

Here are a few more notes and hero/goat-

  • Milton Bradley had a great game. He worked the count, and his 3 hits were all stung. I could see him having a great rest of the year.
  • 347 pitches were thrown between both teams. I think that’s a lot.
  • I doubt Cliff Lee ever gets another win in a Mariners uniform when giving up 7 earned runs. But that’s what happened last night. Cliff didn’t have his best stuff, but even still, he didn’t walk a guy. His control is ridiculous.
  • The Padres didn’t draw a walk, and the Mariners scored 15 runs, but it was San Diego that had 3 more at-bats. Is this weird? I don’t know. I’m not sure why I’m typing this.

    Hero: Mike Sweeney and Josh Bard. Gotta go with co-heroes in this one. Those two were monsters last night.
    Goat: Jose Lopez. Lost in the fun and hugs from last night is the 0-5 night Lopey had. His defense has been great and with so many others struggling at the plate, Jose has flown under the radar. It’s tough to imagine Lopez gets anywhere near his 25 HR, 96 RBI from last year.

    Finally, if you didn’t read the live blog that Jeff Sullivan was doing over at LL, it is worth a read. I have pasted a few of my favorite lines. That dude is funny, and between the humor he recaps the game nicely too. Check that out after the jump! 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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