Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:22 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 2:35 pm
By Matt Snyder
The Mariners are coming off a 67-95 season, when they finished 29 games out in the AL West -- seven behind the third-place A's. It was the sixth time in the past eight years Seattle came in last and they haven't seen the postseason since 2001. One big trade headlined the offseason as they attempt to turn the tide.
Scott Miller's Camp Report: With Jesus, Seattle seeks resurrection | Likes, Dislikes
Major additions: C/DH Jesus Montero, RHP Kevin Millwood, C John Jaso, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
Major departures: RHP Michael Pineda, UT Adam Kennedy
1. Chone Figgins, 3B
2. Dustin Ackley, 2B
3. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
4. Justin Smoak, 1B
5. Jesus Montero, DH
6. Mike Carp, LF
7. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
8. Miguel Olivo, C
9. Brendan Ryan, SS
1. Felix Hernandez
2. Jason Vargas
3. Hisashi Iwakuma
4. Kevin Millwood
5. Hector Noesi
Blake Beavan and Charlie Furbush are also in the mix.
Closer: Brandon League
Set-up: RHP Shawn Kelley, LHP George Sherrill
Important bench players
C John Jaso, IF Kyle Seager, OF Casper Wells, OF Trayvon Robinson
Prospect to watch
With the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, the Mariners pegged left-handed starting pitcher Danny Hultzen from the University of Virginia. It's likely his presence -- in addition to Furbush, Beaven and prospects Taijuan Walker and James Paxton -- made it easier to deal Pineda for some offensive help. Hultzen appeared in the top 30 overall in most prospect rankings this spring and is said to be close to big-league ready. The M's likely don't have a reason to rush him, but if he's ready come June or July, it wouldn't be surprising to see him make an impact this season.
Fantasy sleeper: Kyle Seager
"Seager isn't much of a home-run threat, and playing home games at Safeco Field won't help matters, but his gap power and keen batting eye could help him to an average in the .290 to .300 range, if not higher. Owners may look at last season's .258 mark, his lack of prospect hype and his place in a less-than-imposing Mariners lineup and discount him. However, Seager's ability to get on base and rack up doubles makes him worth a late-round flier in mixed league formats." - Al Melchior [Full Mariners team fantasy preview]
Fantasy "head-to-head hero:" Dustin Ackley
"Ackley's in-the-park extra-base hits will make him one of the seven or eight best second basemen in Head-to-Head, but the potential for mediocre homer and run production makes him a later-round option for mixed league Roto owners." - Al Melchior [Full Mariners team fantasy preview]
Ackley and Montero become stars, Figgins returns to form, a finally-healthy Gutierrez returns to form as well and Ichiro thrives in the 3-hole, finally giving the Mariners a viable offense. Iwakuma adjusts to America impressively while Hultzen storms onto the scene in early June to provide an additional pitching boost. The Rangers and Angels suffer major injury and underachievement issues, and the Mariners shock everyone by winning the AL West.
Heading into this season, expect the Mariners to be picked third by pretty much everyone. Thus, the pessimistic outlook would be that the Mariners find a way to finish below the A's. If the offense sputters, younger players stall in their development and the rotation behind King Felix proves thin -- which is possible -- that last place finish could repeat.
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Tags: Adam Kennedy, AL West, Blake Beavan, Brandon League, Brendan Ryan, Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, Chone Figgins, Danny Hultzen, Dustin Ackley, Felix Rodriguez, Franklin Gutierrez, George Sherrill, Hector Moesi, Hisashi Iwakuma, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ichiro Suzuki, Jason Vargas, Jesus Montero, John Jaso, John Jason, Justin Smoak, KEvin Millwood, Kevin Millwood, Kyle Seager, Mariners, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Mike Carp, Shawn Kelly, spring training, Trayvon Robinson
Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 2:18 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
"Moneyball" hit movie theaters everywhere late this past summer and Brad Pitt-as-Billy Beane told us the A's have to be creative to compete in an unfair baseball landscape. There are haves and have-nots, the protagonist would tell us. And we all know the Oakland Athletics are have-nots in the salary-capless land of Major League Baseball. So what if the A's could afford to keep all their own guys? Surely they'd be much better, right? Uh ...
1. Jemile Weeks, 2B
2. Nick Swisher, CF
3. Andre Ethier, RF
4. Jason Giambi, 1B
5. Ryan Ludwick, LF
6. Kurt Suzuki, C
7. Ramon Hernandez, DH
8. Mark Teahen, 3B
9. Cliff Pennington, SS
1. Tim Hudson
2. Trevor Cahill
3. Dallas Braden
4. Tyson Ross
5. Joe Blanton
Yes, Braden was out for the season in real life, but we've got Rich Harden waiting in the wings. Oh, and yes, Harden is hurt all the time. So then we'd turn to Barry Zito.
Closer - Andrew Bailey
Set up - Huston Street, Santiago Casilla, Henry Rodriguez, Joel Peralta, Sam Demel
Long - Harden, Zito
Notable Bench Players
Miguel Olivo, John Baker, Gerald Laird -- yes, those three are all catchers, just like our DH -- Eric Chavez and Travis Buck.
Hey, at least we'd never run out of catchers with this group. There are four major-league caliber starters, even if some are lower-tier, and one quality backup in Laird. So the Athletics churn out catchers. Really, though, the strength of this team is unsurprisingly the pitching. The starting rotation is good, but not great. Hudson is steady and Cahill was very good in 2010. Blanton was good in 2009 but has battled injuries and ineffectiveness since then. Ross did show great promise before his injury last season, though. The bullpen is pretty good, too. Bailey is a solid closer and Street would be a fine eighth-inning man with Casilla and fireballer Rodriguez also setting the table.
Giambi and Ludwick in the middle of the order isn't near as potent nowadays as it would have been a handful of years ago. Plus, could Giambi even play everyday anymore? If not, our next option is playing a catcher, Chavez or Buck at first base. That's weak. In fact, at this point in time, there aren't many spots where the hitter is well above average for his slot. Swisher and Ethier are good, but they aren't elite second or third hitters. Weeks could prove an elite leadoff hitter as soon as 2012, but we don't have a large enough sample yet to declare that. Ramon Hernandez had a good past two offensive seasons, but take him out of the NL Central and Great American Ball Park and put him in the AL West in Oakland. That's a big difference. So while the offense isn't atrocious, it's not very good either -- and there is no bench depth anywhere but catcher. Also, Swisher's out of position in center, but, again, we don't have any other options.
Comparison to real 2011
While the rotation and bullpen are good, they are far from great, and the position players here just aren't enough. This team would be below average, an 85-90 loss ballclub. The real-life A's went 74-88, so I'd say it's just about the same result.
And we can now see the biggest problem. Of course it's tough to compete as a small-market team in a football stadium, but the A's haven't been drafting very well. They've made some good trades, sure, but also some pretty bad ones. For example, they spun Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith for Matt Holliday back in 2008, but then dealt Holliday at the next trade deadline for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson. So, yes, one reason the A's can't compete anymore in the AL West is because they don't have the money to retain or sign new expensive veterans. But another reason is they just aren't churning out draft picks like the Rays, for example, are.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Tags: Andrew Bailey, Athletics, Barry Zito, Billy Beane, Cliff Pennington, Dallas Braden, Eric Chavez, Gerald Laird, Henry Rodriguez, Homegrown, Huston Street, Jason Giambi, Jemile Weeks, Joe Blanton, Joel Peralta, John Buck, Kurt Suzuki, Mark Teahen, Miguel Olivo, Nick Swisher, Ramon Hernandez, Rich Harden, Ryan Ludwick, Sam Demel, Santiago Casilla, Tim Hudson, Travis Buck, Trevor Cahill, Tyson Ross
Posted on: May 1, 2011 1:43 am
Edited on: May 1, 2011 1:51 am
By Evan Brunell
James Shields, Rays -- Shields delivered a dominating performance and may be on the way back towards being an ace. However, Shields is an inconsistent player, so we'll have to see how he performs more. Still, he twirled a beautiful start against the Angels, going eight strong with an eyebrow-raising 12 strikeouts against one walk, six hits and an earned run. He combined to strike out the first three batters of the game six times, holding them to 1 for 13 with a walk. This game pushes Shields' ERA down to 2.14.
Roy Halladay, Phillies -- What else do you expect? Halladay rivaled Shields for best pitching performance as he pitched a complete game seven-hitter, allowing a walk and punching eight out. The Mets -- especially Jason Bay in an 0-for-4 night with three whiffs -- were helpless as Philly squeaked out a 2-1 victory. That offense is starting to run a little cold in Philadelphia, who were lifted by reserve outfielder John Mayberry Jr.'s first home run of the year plus a sac fly by Placido Polanco. Carlos Beltran did have two hits, continuing a nice return from knee problems.
Michael Brantley, Indians -- The league's best hitting performance that also directly won the game for Cleveland by Brantley, who sparked the team to victory by first tying the game at two-all in the sixth by ripping a solo home run and then scoring the winning run on an Orlando Cabrera single. All in all, the leadoff man who was playing center as Grady Sizemore took a breather, stepped up to the plate with a 3-for-6 night (so did Cabrera), scoring those two runs and driving in himself on the homer to edge the Tigers 3-2. Top Indians pitching prospect Alex White got throw his start by throwing six innings and allowing just two runs despite coughing up four walks and six hits -- two home runs -- and whiffing four.
Matt Thornton, White Sox -- Ozzie Guillen must be furious. In his house, that is, as he was suspended two games for his comments about the umpiring earlier in the week and then tweeting about it. Matt Thornton was called in by bench coach Joey Cora to keep the ChiSox in the game as they trailed 2-1 in the eighth. Phil Humber had a two-run, seven-inning start, calling into question whether he should be demoted when Jake Peavy returns. Against the Orioles, Thornton went as such: single, stolen base, strikeout plus Pierzynski error allowing a run to score and batter to reach, single, wild pitch, walk, infield RBI single, sacrifice fly, and -- that was it for Thornton as Jerry Gray sandwiched two outs around a hit by pitch. Not a good day at the park for Chicago's closer at the beginning of the season who has already lost his job.
Red Sox offense -- What can the Red Sox offense do for you? Well, it can mount a seven-hit attack on Doug Fister, walk six times, and ... leave 11 men on base in a 2-0 defeat. Awesome. David Ortiz want 0-for-4 with two whiffs, coming up in a key situation that could have changed the complexion of the game. The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the first (yes, really) and fourth, with Jacoby Ellsbury ending the threat in the fourth by getting doubled off second in a mistake. Oh, and no Mariners game is complete without a Milton Bradley ejection. The mercurial outfielder delivered a RBI double in the second to send Seattle up 1-0 then argued with the second base umpire about a play in which Miguel Olivo grounded to first and got the heave-ho. Skipper Eric Wedge was in the process of leaving the field after mounting his own complaint, but he didn't get tossed.
Kyle Drabek, Blue Jays -- Drabek got a little lesson in humility Saturday night, lasting just 2 1/3 innings. Drabek has been a bit up and down in his first full major-league season, but was still doing decently enough. Now his ERA rests at 4.45 after giving up five runs on seven hits, four walks and four strikeouts against the Yankees. He was dinked to death, but those runs count and can be even more deflating than a single big blow. You can attribute giving up a grand slam to one misplaced pitch, but you can't justify any of your stuff when everything is being rifled. Oddly enough, no Yank had more than one hit, but everyone did sans Derek Jeter (all together: when will he be demoted to No. 8 in the lineup? -- hey, look a reunion of the top two in the order from last season... at the bottom).For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL East, Alex White, Angels, Blue Jays, Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Doug Fister, Indians, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jake Peavy, James Shields, Jason Bay, Jerry Gray, Joey Cora, John Mayberry, Jorge Posada, Jr., Kyle Drabek, Mariners, Matt Thornton, Mets, Michael Brantley, Miguel Olivo, Milton Bradley, Orioles, Orlando Cabrera, Ozzie Guillen, Phil Humber, Phillies, Pierzynski, Rays, Red Sox, ROy Halladay, Tigers, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: April 26, 2011 7:47 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 10:09 am
By Evan Brunell
One of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a player is to get a handle on a fly ball, only to muff it up and end up giving the batter a home run. It's pretty much the equivalent of an "own goal" in soccer, and Jose Canseco is the posterboy for such shenanigans.
Ryan Raburn unfortunately finds himself linked to Canseco in that regard after a ball clanked off his glove in left field and over the fence, handing Miguel Olivo a solo home run in the top of the second inning to draw the score even at 1-1.
Raburn scrambled back to the fence to make a play on Olivo's fly ball, leaping at the beginning of the warning track and flinging his glove at the ball, making contact, then face-planting in the dirt. The velocity of the glove slapping the ball was enough to propel it the extra few feet needed to hop over the fence.
Just poor timing; that ball was destined to be a double, but instead, Olivo gets credited with his first home run of the year.
Posted on: April 17, 2011 11:07 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Grady Sizemore, Indians -- Off the disabled list, the Indians' center fielder homered in his second at-bat and also doubled, going 2 for 4 in his season debut for Cleveland. Sizemore missed 11 months with a knee injury. Cleveland also moved into sole position of first place in the American League Central with their win and the Royals' loss.
Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks -- Making his big-league debut, the right-hander pitched two perfect innings in the 11th and 12th against the Giants and picked up the win when Stephen Drew drove in the winning run in the 12th for a 6-5 Diamondbacks victory. Collmenter struck out two and 22 of his 30 pitches were for strikes. Collmenter has a severly over-the-top motion that he learned throwing tomahawks in the Michigan woods.
Miguel Olivo, Mariners -- Seattle's catcher came into Sunday's game mired in an 0-for-24 slump, but after going hitless in his first three at-bats of the day, he singled and scored the winning run in the seventh inning of a 3-2 victory over Kansas City. Not only did Olivo break his slump, it helped break the Mariners' four-game losing streak.
Ryan Franklin, Cardinals -- The Cardinals closer blew just two saves all of last year and has already blown four this season, including Sunday's game against the Dodgers. He's converted just one save this season and is 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA.
Tommy Hanson, Braves -- Hanson pitched well enough in his five innings, allowing five hits and three runs, striking out nine, but it was his work with the bat that lands him on this list. In the second inning, with bases loaded and one out, Hanson missed a bunt and Eric Hinske was caught out at home.
Astros defense -- With a 6-3 lead going into the seventh, the Astros made three errors leading to three unearned runs in the seventh and eighth innings of the team's 8-6 loss to the Padres. Pitcher Fernando Abad made two errors on one play in the seventh inning and shortstop Angel Sanchez added another in the Padres' four-run eighth.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 7, 2011 1:31 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 1:37 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The MRI revealed no tear of his strained groin muscle and the team said it would "proceed cautiously," the Seattle Times reports.
Olivo will continue to throw, but won't catch or hit.
As we talked about earlier today when discussing the Astros' search for a replacement for Jason Castro, there's not a whole lot of catchers out there. While the Astros would like another catcher, the Mariners will need one if Olivo isn't ready for the start of the season.
Besides Olivo, the team has just one other catcher on the 40-man roster and that's Adam Moore. Moore was scratched from Monday's lineup, so that's not good either. The team has Josh Bard, Chris Giminez and Steve Baron in Major League camp as non-roster invitees.
Olivo told reporters yesterday he would be fine for opening day, but players can afford to be more optimistic than front offices. Bard is the most experienced of the three remaining catchers in camp, playing in 39 games for the Mariners last season, while compiling 1,894 plate appearances in the big leagues over nine seasons. He's a career .256/.323/.387 and will be 33 by opening day.
In a quiet offseason for the Mariners, Olivo was the team's big splash, giving him a two-year, $7 million deal.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 7, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Orioles are a trendy pick to be better in 2011, and they should be. But no matter how the Orioles do on the field, things will be better this season in Baltimore because Natty Boh is back.
Before the take-over of the beer industry by the big brewing companies, regional beers were king -- be it National Bohemian (known as Natty Boh in Baltimore) in the mid-Atlantic, Hudepohl in Cincinnati or Hamm's in Minnesota.
These were different than the great microbrews of today, they were the macrobrews of yesterday. It's what you remember your grandpa dinking, whether it was an Olympia in Washington or an Old Style in Chicago. These were American, working-class beers. And they belonged with baseball, at the ballpark and at home, listening along to the local nine on the radio.
Well, one of these greats, National Bohemian, is back where it belongs, at the ballpark at Camden Yards. And for that, America and baseball are better than they were before. (Baltimore Sun)
For more fun, check out this video of old Natty Boh commercials (with an added bonus of Maryland history):
Jeter has batted first or second for most of his career, but it seems natural to put the speedy Gardner atop the lineup. Gardner had a .383 on-base percentage last season, along with 47 stolen bases. He also saw an MLB-best 4.6 pitchers per plate appearance, giving him a good case to bat first for the Yankees.
HOLD 'EM OR FOLD 'EM: Boston's Mike Cameron had his name thrown around a bit this weekend after Philadelphia lost Domonic Brown to a hand injury, but with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury roaming the outfield, is it wise for the Red Sox to get rid of any outfielder?
Although Cameron is making $7.5 million this season, that would hamper many other teams, but not the Red Sox. Cameron is also a rarity in the Red Sox clubhouse, a right-handed hitter. (Boston Globe)
HART SIDELINED: Brewers right fielder Corey Hart missed the last week after straining a muscle in his side. He was expected to miss two weeks, but after a setback during a throwing exercise on Saturday, Hart said he doesn't expect to be back in the original timeframe.
However, manager Ron Roenicke said he expects Hart to be ready for opening day. (MLB.com)
MOM KNOWS BEST: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he was feeling sorry for himself after suffering a broken bone in his left foot, until his mother set him straight.
"I woke up positive and [said] 'Let's do it,'" Cervelli told the New York Daily News. "That's it. Start the work, the therapy and get better. A lot of people in the world don't have legs or arms; I'm healthy. I just have something in my foot, but it's going to be OK."
MONTERO MAY BACKUP: Cervelli's injury may have opened the door for Yankees top prospect, Jesus Montero.
Many thought the Yankees would want him to play every day and not have him break camp just to back up Russell Martin. One who doesn't buy that theory, apparently, is Brian Cashman.
"There is a lot of knowledge that a catcher has to absorb that you just won't get at Triple-A," Cashman told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. "If it's the second week of April and he has only pinch-hit or started one game, I won't consider it a lost week. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that he has never experienced before.
"He can watch, see how [Martin] goes through it -- pre-game, advance scouting meetings, all those things. When he gets in there in the future, he'll be fully prepared, rather than just sink or swim."
The Yankees know Montero's bat can play right away, but many question his ability to stick behind the plate.
"I was pissed off. I'm not going to lie to you," Saunders told the Orange County Register.
Saunders said it was weird heading into the visitor's clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Angels' spring training home.
MULLET MANIA: Travis Schlichting has the greatest mullet in baseball history, and Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan has the story.
AUTHOR-PITCHER: Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst -- better known as the author of The Bullpen Gospels than anything he's done on the field -- said he's walked a fine line between being truthful and writing a tell-all.
Hayhurst's often hilarious characters in the book (really, it's worth checking out, a fun, quick read), are real, but he doesn't name names. He's also working on a second book and has a contract for a third, but those will also be done in his particular style, where the only specific player you get dirt on is Hayhurst himself.
The Rays seem like a perfect fit, if only for the fact that when asked about Hayhurst, manager Joe Maddon used the word "ameliorated" in his response. (St. Petersburg Times)
OLIVO CONFIDENT: Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo had a scare on Saturday when he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and had to be helped off the field. Olivo will have an MRI today, but he told reporters on Sunday that he's confident he'll be ready for opening day. (Seattle Times)
BOOF REMAINS A MYSTERY: Even Boof Bonser doesn't know how his name came about, even though he's legally changed it. (Star-Ledger)
FORTUITOUS CUT: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is pretty happy he cut reliever Cristhian Martinez last year when both were with the Marlins. Martinez was optioned to Triple-A at the end of spring training last season and then designated him for assignment on April 3. The Braves signed him and now he's competing for the final bullpen spot.
MAYBIN MAY RETURN: San Diego's Cameron Maybin may return to action today after suffering concussion symptoms when he hit his head on a post during Wednesday's practice.
Maybin, the team's newly acquired center fielder, took batting practice on Sunday and said he felt good afterwards. (MLB.com)
FIRST BASE BATTLE: Here's something you don't hear very often -- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said defensive will be a key component to the team's search for a regular first baseman.
ZAUN TO RETIRE: Veteran catcher Gregg Zaun is set to retire after 16 seasons in the big leagues.
Zaun, 39, was in the Padres camp. He's a career .252/.344/.388 hitter, but better known for his defense, spending most of his time as a backup catcher.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Angels, Boof Bonser, Brandon Allen, Braves, BRett Gardner, Brewers, Brian Cashman, Cameron Maybin, Christhian Martinez, Corey Hart, Derek Jeter, Derrek Lee, Diamondbacks, Dirk Hayhurst, Dodgers, Domonic Brown, Francisco Cervelli, Fredi Gonzalez, Gregg Zaun, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jake Peavy, Jesus Montero, Joe Saunders, Juan Miranda, Mariners, Mets, Miguel Olivo, Mike Cameron, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Rays, Russell Branyan, Travis Schlichting, White Sox, Yankees, Yankees
Posted on: December 9, 2010 2:46 pm
The Mariners' signing of catcher Miguel Olivo, which was reportedly done and then not done Wednesday, is now done, according to Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com. He says the deal is worth two years guaranteed for $7 million total, with a third-year option.
Olivo, 32, batted a career-high .269 for Colorado last season, with 14 homers and 58 RBI. This will be his second stint in Seattle, where he played between June 2004 and July 2005. He'll presumably start in front of either Adam Moore or Rob Johnson.
Olivo also picked up a $500,000 buyout that the Blue Jays decided to set on fire by trading for him and then not picking up his $2.5 million option for 2011. Turns out the Jays, who are still looking for a veteran catcher as they work in J.P. Arencibia, could have had him for $1 million under market value. Toronto does get a supplemental draft pick for losing Olivo, who was a Type B free agent.
-- David AndriesenFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.