Yesterday we took a look at the Pittsburgh Pirates, now it is time to look at Seattle.
The Mariners were predicted by most people to win the American League West this season, because of their off-season additions. They added Cliff Lee in the trade with the Phillies, signed Chone Figgins, and acquired Brandon League for Brandon Morrow. They were projected to be one of the best defensive and pitching teams in the league.
…..That was not really the case. The Mariners finished 10th in the American League in fielding, only Boston, Kansas City, Cleveland and Anaheim behind them. Figgins had 19 errors, primarily at second base. Josh Wilson had 20, playing shortstop and third base. Jose Lopez made 18 at third base. So that must be the primary concern for the Mariners, right?
No. Have you seen their hitting stats? They finished worst in the American League in runs scored and batting average. And can you see why? Their cleanup hitter, Lopez, hit .239 with three home runs! Their first baseman, Casey Kotchman, hit .217 with nine home runs. Other than Ichiro Suzuki, who hit .315, their highest batting average was .259, by Figgins.
The Mariners will probably look at a first baseman next season. They have Justin Smoak, but he hit only .213 on the season, in both Texas and Seattle. They have Russel Branyan, but despite the twenty five home runs, he hit only .237. And do not be surprised to see Kotchman be non-tendered.
The rest of the infield does not look so pretty. They still have Figgins locked up another four years, and they are stuck with Jose Lopez and Josh Wilson. There is not too much infield depth after that, with Chris Woodward, Matt Tuiasosopoo, and Mark Mangini. I gave you the stats on Lopez, Figgins, and Wilson. The other three? Woodward hit.158, Tuiasosopoo .173, and Mangini .211. So that infield is not looking sharp heading into 2011. They might pick up a guy like Mark Ellis or Bill Hall to backup the infield and solidify some depth.
Now the outfield, which has some promise. Of course you have Ichiro, but what else? The Mariners are very high on left fielder Micheal Saunders. Saunders hit only .211 when he was up this year, with ten home runs. But it was his first year, and he is a top prospect of Seattle. He was ranked as their third prospect going into the season.
Their center fielder, Franklin Gutierrez, is an interesting case in himself. Gutierrez was acquired from Cleveland before the 2009 season. He did not hit for a high average in Cleveland, but he looked like a promising young player. When he was traded to Seattle, he had a career year, hitting .283 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases. Seattle had thought they had something in Gutierrez. This season, he hit .245 with 12 home runs. At age 27, in his fifth year, it’s time to say he is what he is.
The Mariners had yet another problem this season, and that is pitching. Many people,myself included, were calling Seattle the best pitching staff in the league because they had Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. Hernandez had a terrific year, putting up Cy Young numbers with a 2.27 ERA to lead the American League. His WHIP is 1.06. Cliff Lee had himself a good season too…. Just not all in Seattle.
When Seattle knew they had no shot in mid July, they traded Lee to the New York Yankees. The deal was done all but the paperwork, and Seattle was getting Jesus Montero, one of the best prospects in the game. But Texas jumped in at the last second, and offered Justin Smoak, their top prospect. Seattle ripped up their deal with New York, and sent Lee off to Texas, who won their division.
The rest of their rotation served a problem. Ryan Rowland-Smith, who they considered a promising young player, put up an ERA of 6.35 in 27 games. He will most certainly be non-tendered. Luke French, who Seattle acquired from Detroit for Jarrod Washburn, posted a 4.83 ERA. Jason Vargas, who was acquired from the Mets, had a decent year, with a respectable ERA of 3.83. His career best before that was 4.03 with Florida in 2005. Doug Fister’s ERA soared to 4.11, after leading the American League in ERA for around three months. The last pitcher on the Mariner’s staff was David Pauly, with a 4.07. So that pitching and defense thing? Yeah… That didn’t really work.
The bullpen was not much better. David Aardsma, who was Seattle’s closer last season, five blown saves and an ERA of 3.44. Brandon League had a good year, with an ERA of 3.42 13 holds. He did, however, have six blown saves. Garret Olson, who was acquired from Baltimore, had an Earned Run Average of 4.54 with a WHIP of 1.51. Sean White had an ERA north of five. Two young pitchers who had okay years in the M’s pen were Jamey Wright and Brian Sweeny.
So, what do the Mariners have to fix? Not much, just the bullpen, rotation, hitting and defense. That’s all. Some players Seattle may target in the offseason, trade or free agency, are Daisuke Matsuzaka, Juan Uribie, or Cody Ross
Yeah remember that article I wrote bitching to Theo? I may need to remove that. I am Theo’s biggest critic, but I must say so far his moves look good. Marco Scutaro so far for me has been a very pleasant surprise. Solid in the field and is hitting all over the place. John Lackey has been better of late as well. Adrian Beltre- wow. I did not like the pick up as much as first, but he has been great. He may even be an MVP canadate right now.
One thing that worries me is the overuse of Daniel Bard. He is very good, but he is on pace for the scond most appearences in the AL. That worries me. They need another bullpen guy to rely on. I’d love for that to be Hideki Okajima, but they may need to look elsewhere. Maybe Matt Thornton or Phil Coke could be options. Or calling up Robert Manuel.
Last night the Red Sox beat the Diamondbacks 6-2. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis hit two run homers.
The Yankees lost to the Phillies 6-3. Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard went back to back.
The Rays lost to the Atlanta Braves 6-2. Our old friend Eric Hinske had an RBI.
Tonight is game seven. Read all about it a BBS.
Hey, I’m still here, I’ve just been busy running NLL Blog lately. But anyways, I’m sure you wanna know my take on the season so far: I’m not ready to panic. Yes, they lost to the Phillies last night, Lackey was bad, and they are only one game over .500. But the team is hitting, and Ellsbury is coming back. Beckett is on the DL, so we don;t have to deal with his crap for a while. Lester is just plain awesome. Youkilis and Ortiz are hitting. I think this interleague crap has come at a terrible time, where all Beltre, Youk and Ortiz are hitting.
Onto by daily Theo bashing, what the Hell was he thinking signing Beckett? I mean, use that money to go out and sign a guy like Jayson Werth, or Carl Crawford. I’m not thrilled with Francona either. In that Tigers game that went extra innings, Daniel Bard was not available. Why? Beacuse he pitched 1.2 innings in a complete blowout.
Onto some good news, I will be going to the entire series vs the Tampa Bay Rays this week. So I’ll have updates about that.
Here is this week’s league leaders in Total Bases :
1. Vernon Welss- Toronto- 47
2. Nelson Cruz-Texas- 41
2. Matt Kemp-Los Angeles- 41
4. Jose Gullien-Kansas City- 40
5. Albert Pujols-St.Louis- 39
5. Dustin Pedroia- Boston- 39
7. Alex Gonzalez-Toronto-38
7. Chase Utley-Philadelphia-38
9. Casey McGee-Milwakee-36
10. Jorge Cantu-Florida- 35
I made my before-Spring Training predictions, here are my Opening Day Season predictions. Plus, check out the player to watch feature which gives you a player to watch on each team during the reaguler season.
AL East Player to watch:
Boston Red Sox (Jacoby Ellsbury)
New York Yankees (Marcus Thames)
Tampa Bay Rays (Ben Zobrist)
Baltimore Orioles (Nolan Reimold)
Toronto Blue Jays (Adam Lind)
Minnesota Twins (Orlando Hudson)
Chicago White Sox (Jake Peavy)
Kansas City Royals (Rick Ankeil)
Detroit Tigers (Austin Jackson)
Cleveland Indians (Micheal Brantly)
Seattle Mariners (Chone Figgins)
Anaheim Angels (Kendry Morales)
Texas Rangers (Neftali Feliz)
Oakland Athletics (Brett Anderson)
Philadelphia Phillies (Jayson Werth)
Atlanta Braves (Jason Heyward)
Florida Marlins (Mike Stanton)
Washington Nationals (Nyjer Morgan)
New York Mets (Kiko Calero)
St.Louis Cardinals (Colby Rasmus)
Chicago Cubs (Randy Wells)
Cincinatti Reds (Aroldis Chapman)
Milwakee Brewers (Alcades Escobar)
Houston Astros (Hunter Pence)
Pittsburgh Pirates (Garrett Jones)
Colorado Rockies (Jason Hammel)
Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw)
San Fransisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner)
Arizona D-backs (Justin Upton)
San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard)
1. Evan Longoria
2. Joe Mauer
3. Kendry Morales
1. Albert Pujols
2. Chase Utley
3. Ryan Braun
AL Cy Young
1. Jon Lester
2. Cliff Lee
3. Zack Greinke
NL Cy Young
1. Roy Halladay
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Tim Lincecum
1. Brain Matusz
2. Austin Jackson
3. Desmond Jennings
1. Jason Heyward
2. Mike Stanton
3. Madison Bumgarner
1. Don Wakamtsu
2. Ron Gardenhire
3. Joe Maddon
1. Bobby Cox
2. Tony LaRusa
3. Freddi Gonzalez
AL Comeback Player
NL Comeback Player
Those are my predicitions. My Internationl League predictions will be sometime next week.
Spring Training has come and gone for me. I went to my last game yesterday when I saw the Phillies and Pirates square off. But I decided to make this list for anyone who wants to go to Spring Training in the future.
Best Stadium: The best stadium was a tossup between Port Charlote and Clearwater. I like the Port Charlote Stadium beacuse of the boardwalk in the outfield. They have the “Baseball Boardwalk” in the outfield, with an outdoor bar and Philly Cheesestake stand along the Berm. The best atmosphere for sure. The best part was being able to stand above the bullpen and watch the pitchers warm up.
Best Food: Kissimee, where the Astros play. They had this chikin on a stick that was awesome, the best food I had at Spring Training. Close seconds are the Itailian Sausages at city of Palms and the Cheesestakes and Port Charlote.
Closest Seats: The closest seats to the field was the ones in Dunedin. The game was rained out that I went to, but the seats where so close that there was protective netting around the dugout area.
Best Seats: The best seats I sat in where in Port Charlote. Right next to the dugout. So close I could hear Dave Magaden give Kevin Frandsen a scouting report on Andy Sonnenstine. The dugout was very big, and you could see in it from seven rows back.
Best game: The best game I went to was actully a Red Sox loss. They where down 11-1 and came back to cut it to 11-9.
Most Fun: The most fun I had at any game was in Port Charlote.
I also got a few balls at games. victor Martinez flipped me a ball after an inning in Sarasota, and in Bradenton Jorge Jimmenez gave me a foul ball.
I got autographs from Terry Francona, Chuck Tanner, Ron Johnson, Mike Cameron, and Dave Trembley.
Sorry I have not wrote in a while, it’s been a busy week. I’ll catch you up with everything.
Red Sox: I was at Red Sox games on Monday, Wednesday, and Today. Monday they played the Tampa Bay Rays. Boof Bonser pitched, and got pretty roughed up. The minor leaguers came back, and Ray Chang hit a three run homer. I got an autograph from Terry Francona. Wednesday the Red Sox played the Pirates, and the Red Sox won. I got a ball from Jorge Jimmenez, my second of the spring, the other being from Victor Martinez. Today I saw John Lackey pitch vs the Orioles. He looked pretty sharp. I got an autograph from Dave Trembly.
Mike Lowell fowled a ball off his knee and left the game Friday. I expect this gives the Red Sox an excuse to put him on the DL. If that’s the case, expect Josh Reddick to make the roster.
Bruins: The Bruins won Tuesday night in Atlanta, a huge win. They laid an egg Thursday vs Tampa Bay, and won 5-0 vs Calgary today. Bergeron, Chara, Seidenberg, krejci and Recchi scored today. The Bruins hold a 4 point cushion for the playoffs and move to seventh place with the Flyers losing. The Thrashers play Carolina tonight.
Marc Savard spoke with the media today for the first time since being injured from a hit by Matt Cooke. He said that Cooke has tried to talk to him, but he does not want to talk to Cooke. I am hearing that Savard could return with a deep playoff run by the Bruins.
Vladimir Sobotka returned to game action today while Andrew Ference, just signed to a three year contract (for whatever reason) sat out with yet another injury.
Celtics: The Celtics lost to the Utah Jazz on Monday, while beating the Nuggets Wednesday and the Knigs last night to clinch the Atlantic divison. The Hawks lost to the 76ers, so the Celtics rank ahead of them by one game.
Kendrick Perkins missed last night’s game with a knee injury, and is expected to miss tomorrows vs San Antonio.
Blazers: The Boston Blazers play the last place Philadelphia Wings tonight. If Toronto loses to the Titans tonight, the Blazers with a win could move into second place all alone.
The Mailbag will be Monday. I am in Ft.Myers tomorrow. I will be in Port Charlotte Tuesday, and Sarasota again Wednesday to end my Red Sox spring schedule. I will be in Clearwater Thursday to see the Phillies and the Pirates.