Tag Archives: Josh Wilson

Your 2011 Mariners- Shortstop

Shortstop is currently in the worst shape of any position on the Mariners roster, outside of maybe catcher.  There’s a bright star in the minors, but the next couple of seasons are going to require some creativity if Jack Zduriencik wants to improve the position.

Shortstop

On the Roster

Jack Wilson– Wilson brother #1 will receive $5 mil. in the last year of his contract.  I don’t even know what else to write.  I can’t see any way they could trade him at all, much less get any salary relief or anything good in return.  He can’t stay healthy, and if he is on the field, he can’t hit.  He’s still a slick fielder, if not quite at his previous level.  The Mariners hope has to be that he’ll revisit the retirement thoughts he had briefly this season, but that’s pretty doubtful as well.  Despite all that, I’d say the odds are 50-50 that he’s the opening day shortstop.

Josh Wilson- This is so depressing.  Wilson #2 is pretty much like #1, giving away some defense for durability.  I guess I might prefer Josh to Jack, but does it really matter?  At least he’s cheap.

In the Minors

Nick Franklin– Finally, some hope.  Franklin, a 19-year-old 2009 first rounder, put together a huge season at Low-A Clinton this year to jump into the discussion of the top shortstop prospects in the minors.  Viewed as a switch-hitting baseball rat with a good bat but little power, Franklin proved all that true expect the power.  He started hot and ended with 23 homers and a .485 slugging percentage.  His defense doesn’t sound elite, but it shouldn’t be an issue to stay at the position.  He ended the year at Double-A to help out in the playoffs, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he stayed there in 2011, skipping High-A altogether.  There’s been talk that he’ll be in Seattle at some point next season, but that’s pretty premature.  Not impossible, but I’m not planning on anything before 2012, and even that might be too soon.  He’s entering just his second full season in the pros and has issues to work on with his swing from the right side, but his future is extremely bright.

Carlos Triunfel– Carlos, the perpetual prospect.  I’m not going to rehash his whole story, so here’s the short version: been around forever because he started playing at 17. Looked like a mega-star in the making. Injuries and a lack of production have taken the tarnish off.  Has great contact ability, but can’t take a walk and the power hasn’t come around.  Not likely to stay at shortstop long term.  Still time, as he’s only 20 and lost a whole year to a badly broken leg, but he needs to show big improvement this year or the system’s going to pass him by.

Analysis

Not too be too dramatic, but the situation’s pretty dire.  Ideally, the team would find an average stop-gap they could sign for a decent price who would fill in until Franklin is ready.  Basically, what they tried to do with Jack Wilson.  I thought Hiroyuki Nakajima, a Japanese star, might be that guy, but reports differ on how good he is, if he can play short in America, and whether he’ll even be posted for major league teams.  Otherwise there aren’t a ton of options.  This position needs a massive upgrade, but I just don’t know if it’ll happen.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they go with the Wilsons again for next year until Jack’s contract expires, but I’m sure they’ll look everywhere possible for an upgrade first.  Jack Z., our prayers and hopes are with you.

-Matthew

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Mariners Weekend Recap — 5/29-5/30

Some games feel bigger than the one W or L that they represent on the schedule. When the M’s win in dramatic fashion on a Saturday night in front of 40,000 at Safeco, it seems odd that that win means just as much as a 10 am weekday win against Kansas City, in front of 11,000 fans. Likewise, a loss like yesterday kind of feels like 10 losses, rather than just one. The fashion in which the Mariners blew a 7-2 lead in the 5th inning yesterday, although not surprising based on how this year has gone, left me feeling frustration that should be reserved for only the most painful, playoff losses; not a regular season game in May.

I should be talking about a Mariners team that is miraculously just 5 games out of first place today. The M’s should have won yesterday, and should have won Saturday. The streak of horrible weekend games should have come to a halt, but alas, the M’s lost on Saturday and Sunday, providing further proof that while good teams find ways to win games, Seattle finds ways to lose them. Thus, they are not a good team. I have so many thoughts, opinions and observations from this weekend series because I saw every inning, and both games had so many layers. Rather than recap both games in typical style, I think I will just bullet point the good and bad that stood out.

The Depressing Stuff:

  • Ian Snell pitched well through 3 innings, but then I jinxed him by noticing this, and his control went haywire. I’m sure Snell will be gone at the end of the season, if not before then, and with Jack Wilson on the shelf and probably never returning to his old form, it’s probably accurate to say we lost that trade with the Pirates. I would have done it myself, and the trade won’t set the organization back much, but Jeff Clement at least has some potential, whereas Snell and Wilson don’t appear to.
  • Felix pitched well enough to win on Saturday, 8+ innings of 1 run ball, but the M’s offense was MIA and Brandon League showed again an inability to keep the ball in the park when it matters most.
  • On Sunday, Jesus Colome and Kanekoa Texeira pitched the 5th and 6th innings, and despite yielding just 2 hits, neither pitcher had much control. Of the 40 pitches they threw, 25 were balls. 4 walks were issued, plus a catcher’s interference, and suddenly the Angels had scratched out 3 runs off 2 singles, and the score was 7-5 heading into the 7th. This felt like the turning point in the game.
  • Yesterday, David Aardsma entered the 9th with a 1 run lead. The odds of winning may have been 75%, but in reality, it felt like a 50/50 game at this point. Aardsma had Matsui struck out on a full count, but the ump called it a ball, which was a horrible call. Once Matsui walked, I felt things slipping away. Rivera proceeded to crush a ball that somehow stayed in the yard, but it felt like a foreshadow of things to come. A fluke infield hit followed, and the wheels were coming off. Kendrick then blasted a fastball (of course) the other way and the game was over. But back to why things never feel safe when David Aardsma enters the game…

    The fact is, Aardsma usually has decent control, but everyone knows he will throw a 93-96 mph fastball about 90% of the time. If that pitch is not located perfectly, it’s a meatball. There really isn’t any deception to Aardsma’s pitching. The hitters just have to sit dead red, make a nice swing, and hope the ball lands in a good spot. Effective closers need not have 3 great pitches, but if he chooses to throw 1 pitch 90% of the time, it had better be a great pitch. Aardsma’s fast ball is not a great pitch, especially if it is not properly located. Aardsma will continue to get hit well for this reason, and sometimes the ball stays in the park or he gets lucky with a ball hit right at someone, but a lot of time the outcome is what we witnessed yesterday. It’s just really frustrating, but really, who didn’t expect him to regress this year? His true colors are showing. Aardsma depends on location and luck, and often one or the other fails him. He seems like a really cool guy though, for what it’s worth.

  • Our 3rd base coach is awful. I talk to Andrew about this often, and yesterday’s send of Wilson was his worst of the year. Base coaches are like referees in that if no one is talking about him, he is probably doing a good job. We have talked about Mike Brumley way too much this year, thus, he is doing a bad job.
  • Saturday and Sunday has not been kind to the Mariners this year. Seattle is 3-13 in weekend games, including 6 straight Saturday losses, and currently the team has won just once in its past 13 weekend games. In their 13 losses, 6 have been walk-offs, and 9 have been the crushing loss type, whereby the M’s were either tied or leading in the 8th inning.
  • 9 times the M’s have given up a walk-off hit. Conversely, Seattle has just 1 walk-off hit this season.
  • The Mariners are 0-6 in extra inning games this year.
  • Only 3 teams in baseball have a worst record than the M’s.

    Do I enjoy digging up these stats? Actually, no. I don’t drink alcohol, but this team brings me closer each weekend!

    Positive notes, plus hero and goat after the jump Continue reading

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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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    Game Recap — 5/11/2010

    Nothing like seeing Baltimore on the schedule to cheer up a blue Mariners fan. They are really bad. And yesterday, we looked really good. It appears the team is rallying around the Griffey story and if that’s what it takes to come together, then I’m all for it.

    The quick analysis is Cliff did his thing, the Tacoma bats continued their hot hitting, and the M’s took care of business in efficient fashion. Speaking of those Tacoma bats, Langerhans, Wilson, and Saunders combined to go 5-11 with a homer, 2 RBI, and 9 total bases. I especially love seeing Michael Saunders play well, because left field is a position of need for the M’s. If his early success continues, we may look back and point to his call up from Tacoma as the turning point in this season.

    Cliff Lee is fun to watch. I love his first pitch strikes. I love how fast he works. I love that he doesn’t walk batters. I love his cool demeanor. I love you Cliff. Now, please engage in the following conversation, because I’ve had this dream a couple times already.

    Jack Z: Hey Cliff, thanks for coming in, take a seat.
    Cliff: Whats up?
    Jack Z: Well, I noticed your contract is up at year’s end and, well, let’s see if we can’t figure something out to keep you a Mariner a little while longer.
    Cliff: Hmm, I usually don’t do this type of thing mid-season, but I sure love being part of baseball’s best 1-2 punch. Awe heck, let’s bang something out.
    Jack Z: Perfect. How about 3 years, 52 million.
    Cliff: That is generous, but 55 million has a better ring to it. Deal?
    Jack Z: Deal! Now, excuse me while I go get you some bats. I hear Mauer is available, let’s see what Minnesota thinks of Rob Johnson.

    Then I wake up from my dream.

    Some more quick notes and hero/goat after the jump! Continue reading

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    Game Recap – 5/9 (Mariners Win!)

    We may have been slacking on recaps lately but can you really blame us?  This week has been terrible and extremely frustrating.  Today was fun though!

    Jason Vargas pitched a really solid game and the offense finally came alive to score 8 runs.  I know that it was just one game but maybe this will jumpstart our team a little bit.  While this losing streak has been extremely annoying this team, with the rotation it has, could start a winning streak with any offensive consistency.  A post on whether we can expect any offensive consistency will come sooner or later.  

     Through 4 innings it looked as if it would be another close, frustrating loss.  Vargas was on top of his game and the Mariners would come extremely close to scoring but then wouldn’t.  Then Josh Wilson hit a home run.  Josh Wilson!  Josh Wilson has more home runs this year than our DH duo.  That shows how awful our DH’s have been.  Wilson went on to have a great day; he would have had another RBI if Jose Lopez knew how to run.  That Wilson home run was followed by a Saunders home run.  What are the chances?  Before this game the Mariners had 10 home runs in 988 at-bats.  That’s almost 1 home run per 100 at bats.  But baseball is a game where the unexpected happens and that was the case with these back-to-back home runs.  Saunders also went on to have a nice day.  He looks like a different player than he did last year.  He already has 2 extra base hits which is the same number of Griffey.  Wow. 

    After that 4 run inning the Mariners kept adding on.  This is something they haven’t done all season.  Even when they’ve blown teams out it was because of one big inning.  The offense added 1 run in the 5th and then 3 in the 8th.  It was great.

    The pitching was solid too.  I really think that Vargas and Fister will be the ones in the rotation once Bedard comes back.  I know Hyphen eats innings and has a better history than the other guys but Vargas and Fister look good.  Really good.  Fister has been nothing short of amazing and Vargas has that plus-plus changeup to carry him through.  The number of swinging strikes Vargas is getting is really impressive and his control has been much better this season. 

    As Lookout Landing pointed out, if we were going to go 1-8 on this homestand the last game would be the one to win.  Yeah, this sucked but at least we won the last game and Cliff Lee is pitching on Tuesday.  Hopefully, things will carry over.  Just in case they don’t, remember this day because it felt so good to win.

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

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    A Tale of Two Miserable Weekends…and some ridiculous stats!

    I didn’t think things could get more painful than watching the Mariners give up 3 late game homeruns on route to being swept last weekend in Chicago. All 3 games were 1 run losses, and I remember thinking the M’s should have legitimately taken 2 of 3 in that series. Despite the frustration, those losses were a product of a few hiccups, albeit in consecutive games, by our usually solid bullpen. There wasn’t too much analysis required, and while it sucked to have them happen in a row, that’s baseball. We moved on.

    This past weekend, however, had many more layers of dreadfulness. To condense this mess, I’ve bulleted 5 events that were pretty unbelievable (not in a good way), and another 5 RIDICULOUS facts that may require reading with a puke bucket by your side…

    1. Sweeney’s double play: When a walk, sac fly, base hit, or really anything past the infield would have won the game, Mike swung at the 1st pitch from Darren O’Day, a slider low and away, and ended the bases loaded threat in the bottom of the 10th on Friday. Although I must say, none of this surprised me.
    2. Byrnes whiffed bunt: This oddity captured the short Eric Byrnes era well. With the bases juiced just one inning after Sweeney failed in the same situation, Wak called on Byrnes to just make contact on a bunt attempt. I liked the call because asking Byrnes to not strike out or pop it up to an infielder is a tall task. Still, he failed…and then struck out for good measure.
    3. Bradley’s blown pop up: Many say Milton just gave up on this play, while some argue the sun got in his eyes. Regardless, this ball needed to be caught, because it allowed 2 runs to score with 2 outs after Felix had fought back from bases loaded and none out.
    4. Aardsma’s blown save: For the 2nd consecutive game following 8 dazzling innings by “Can’t buy a break Fister,” Aardsma surrendered a lead-off walk, then after a stolen base and a base hit, the game was tied, the save was blown, and Fister was given another no decision. I’m scared every time Aardsma enters the game and starts firing fastballs. This past week reminded me why I have this fear, despite his league leading 8 saves.
    5. 2 passed balls in 1 inning by Rob Johnson: Perhaps the previous events are explainable, but this one is not. Andrew touched on “Hips” and his lack of catching in his recap from yesterday’s game, so I won’t ramble. This tweet from Dave Cameron pretty well sums it up-

      “Rob Johnson had as many passed balls in 1 inning yesterday as every non-Mariner AL team has all season.”

    What is especially disappointing about all this is that if ANY one of these scenarios hadn’t happened, the M’s would likely have won the game. But it all happened, and as the wheels came off, it was like watching a bad horror film that started off decent, turned frustratingly unrealistic, and ended up humorous. The snowball of unfortunate events that overcame this team could not be stopped, and this team was coming up with new ways to blow games.

    And now, grab your bucket… Continue reading

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    Mariners Recap – 5/2

    It was an interesting day in Mariner land.  Some roster moves along with a game make for a lot to cover in shorter post.  I’m going to tell the story of this game largely through my goat and hero:

    Hero:  Doug Fister.  Wow, this guy is incredible right now.  He’s been legitimately better than Felix so far this season.  Think about that.  I know this high level of pitching probably won’t last all season but he’s shown that he’s a quality starter and has rightfully earned his spot in the rotation once Bedard is back.  The most amazing thing is he’s doing this with basically one pitch, his fastball.  Fister is throwing with Maddux and Moyer like control right now and is reaping the benefits.  Today he threw 8 shutout innings and didn’t give up a hit until the 6th inning.  He was helped with a beautiful catch by Ichiro that brought a home run back but that’s the benefit of pitching for this team.  For those keeping track, Fister has took no-hitters into the 6th and 7th inning this year.  I was at both games, so naturally I’m going to take the credit.  I keep waiting for Fister to flounder but it hasn’t happened yet and he’s not showing many warning signs that it will happen.  Unfortunately, he didn’t get the win today but this rotation looks crazy good.  Think about this:  Lee-Felix-Fister-Bedard.  I don’t know if it’ll be in that order but, admit it, you smiled when you read that.  After watching this game we all need to smile a little bit.  That leads me to…..

    Goat:  Rob Johnson.  I don’t get very vocal during Mariner games.  I mean, I’ll cheer and clap just as much as anyone else but I don’t out many yells, and I hardly ever yell at our own players.  There will always be my sarcastic comments like, “Bases loaded, no out, Eric Byrnes up.  Time to take a nap.”  but these comments don’t usually make it out from under my own breath.  Today was different because Rob Johnson can’t catch a frickin’ ball.  In the top of the 11th, with the game tied and a guy on 1st, Elvis Andrus squared to bunt.  Mark Lowe threw a fastball a little off the plate, but not far from where Johnson set up.  Hips (I’d call him Robo Rob but a robot could catch a baseball better than he could, a dead robot could catch a ball better than he could, my sister could catch a ball better than he could) moved his glove a little bit and then the ball simply bounced off his glove and headed for the backstop.  The runner advances to second.  I yell, “Rob, you suck!” probably scaring the people I’m sitting with.  This pitch didn’t have a lot of movement.  It was a fastball just off the outside corner.  I could write about how much this play changed the game but instead I’ll get on to the next passed ball.  With a run in already and a guy on third Rob made absolutely no effort to stop a slider that broke off the outside corner.  This one was tougher to stop than the prior passed ball but, there’s a guy on third for crying out loud.  Move your feet and block a ball, don’t stab at it.  I let out another, “You suck Rob!” and buried my head in my hands.  Rob Johnson is not a good catcher.  People will argue that he called a good game today but I tend to disagree.  I guarantee you Rob didn’t put much more thinking into the game than, “Hey, people still aren’t hitting Fister’s fastball because he locates better than any pitcher I’ve ever caught.  I’ll call it over 80% of the time because that’s what’s working.”  Stop giving credit to our catchers for calling great games and start giving credit to our pitchers for hitting their spots just about every single time.  Hips did drive a ball to the centerfield warning track which is the farthest he’s ever hit a ball.  Ever.  Otherwise, he was useless at the plate again.  I can’t stand Rob Johnson.

    As for the rest of the game, well, it was more of the same.  We didn’t hit very well, caught some bad breaks, and ended up losing a close one.    We did hit some balls hard but most of the time they were right at people or the cold air kept them in the ballpark.  Lopez hit a hard, line drive to the first baseman which got Figgy doubled off second.  Guti hit one to the wall in right that didn’t carry as far as I thought it would.  Rob hit one to the centerfield warning track that would be a home run in most ballparks.  Kotchman hit the ball hard several times but they were all right at someone.  This is more than we can say in the past few games.  Unfortunately, the team doesn’t hit  many balls hard and when they do it’s right at someone right now.  The Rangers’ pitchers were good this series.  Credit where credits due I guess.  The bullpen was a little shaky but not enough to worry about.  Lowe was a victim of Rob Johnson and a perfect bunt.  Aardsma was a victim of a ground ball placed in the right spot.  It happens, and it seems like it happens a lot to this team. 

    Notes on the roster moves after the jump.  Continue reading

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    Two More Weeks

    The Mariners season opener is just two weeks from yesterday.  Luckily we have the NCAA tournament and the Huskies to watch those two weeks, because we have reached the official spring-training-is-incredibly-boring point.  This is also the point, though, where players start to round into shape and stop experimenting with swings and new pitches and such, so the results begin to mean a little more, but not really.  A look at some issues and questions still out there in Peoria after the jump! Continue reading

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