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Tag:Ichiro Suzuki
Posted on: October 12, 2010 12:11 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:29 am
 

Bobby V. interviewed with Mariners

Bobby Valentine Oh, don't you just need more Bobby Valentine news?

Well, Valentine interviewed for the Mariners job on Monday, the Seattle Times ' Larry Stone reports . He also notes former Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon will interview this week.

Cecil Cooper is interviewing today. Former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons and former Indians manager Eric Wedge are also expected to interview this week.

Valentine is considered a "leading candidate" to manage the Marlins, as well.

Valentine was the Mets Triple-A manager when current Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik was the team's farm director. In addition to managing the Rangers and Mets, Valentine has two managing stints in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Marines. The Mariners not only have Ichiro Suzuki, who has said to want Valentine, but rare also owned by Nintendo of America.

McClendon is currently the hitting coach for the Tigers.

Stone notes the Mariners are still interested to see what happens with Tony La Russa and the Cardinals. The team would be interested in La Russa if he left St. Louis.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .








Posted on: October 6, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 5:32 pm
 

R.I.P. Mariners: From hopeful to hapless

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Seattle Mariners.

A new day seemed to have dawned for the Mariners as 2010 approached.

The 2009 season had brought a winning record and a 24-win improvement over the previous year. General manager Jack Zduriencik had added to the offense and stunned baseball by bringing in ace Cliff Lee, who would create a devastating 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez atop the rotation.

Many in the media picked Seattle as the favorites in the American League West, and if they made it to the postseason with Lee and Hernandez , well, anything could happen.

Oops. Instead of a playoff contender, the Mariners were the worst team in the AL, and featured the least productive offense fielded by any team in the designated-hitter era. After 101 losses, Zduriencik’s master plan was left in shambles.

A National League talent evaluator who watched the Mariners late in the season told ESPN’s Buster Olney “That is the worst group of position players I have ever seen. They make the Pirates look like the '27 Yankees.''

So, yeah, it’s that bad.

WHAT WENT WRONG

What didn’t? They had injuries, poor performances, internal strife and became almost painful for fans to watch as they flailed at the plate.

Seattle scored a horrific 513 runs, 100 fewer than the next-worst AL offense and 75 less than the 105-loss Pirates. It was the lowest full-season run total for a team since the 1971 Padres. Apart from Ichiro Suzuki’s .315, none of the regulars batted above .259.

Milton Bradley, who was supposed to provide the power punch Seattle was lacking, played in just 73 games. He walked out on the team in the middle of a game, went for counseling and said he contemplated suicide.  He didn’t play after July 26 due to a knee problem.

Ken Griffey Jr., the greatest player not only in the history of the Mariners but the history of the city, batted .184 and became so disgusted with his playing time and his performance that he left Seattle without warning in June, reportedly not even calling to let the team know he was gone until he’d hit Montana.

Chone Figgins instigated a dugout scrum by going after manager Don Wakamatsu during a game. Figgins wasn’t disciplined, never even apologized, and Wakamatsu walked the plank three weeks later.

The Mariners traded Cliff Lee in July, and the can’t-miss prospect they got, Justin Smoak, has mostly missed. Another prospect in the deal, Josh Lueke, turned out to have a serious legal problem the team might or might not have known about.

And that’s just a sampling. Basically, this season was an unqualified disaster.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Well, there was Hernandez and Ichiro and … uh … give me a minute …

By far the highlight was Hernandez putting on an exhibition in domination just about every five days. He led the AL in ERA, innings, quality starts, fewest hits per nine innings, and finished one behind in strikeouts. The shame of it was that he managed just 13 wins, and his offense probably cost him the Cy Young. But he was a pleasure to watch.

Felix Hernandez Ichiro quietly led the league in hits, amassing his 10th 200-hit season in 10 years, the first player in history to do it 10 times in a row.

The Mariners got some promising pitching from Jason Vargas and relievers David Aardsma and Brandon League.

HELP ON THE WAY

On the bright side, the Mariners got ample chance to see their up-and-coming players, looking like a Triple-A team on some days in the second half.

Smoak has all the tools, and there remains optimism that he will put it together. Infielder Dustin Ackley, the second pick in the 2009 draft, is developing, and the Mariners are excited about pitcher Michael Pineda.

But other than Ackley and Pineda, all the young players with the potential to impact the big-league club in the next several years got a shot this season. None of it exactly wowed the Mariners, but there is some hope.
 
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

One thing is for sure: They’re not going to fool anyone into thinking they’re contenders again next year. This has been exposed as a team that’s a very long way from contending, and despite a respectable payroll, there’s so much of it tied up in Ichiro, Bradley and Figgins that they will be limited in how much outside help they can get.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

Beyond Ichiro and Hernandez, you have to think the Mariners will consider nothing sacred in their system with the possible exception of Ackley.

The Mariners need help pretty much everywhere. They’re not that “one player away” team that can go grab a couple of high-priced veterans and think it will make a difference. Zduriencik and his staff will have to work smart, and abandon the notion that defense and pitching are enough.

One suggestion I’d make is for the team to emphasize character and chemistry. By all accounts the atmosphere around the Mariners was toxic from early on this year, from the clubhouse to the front office, and it was a factor in the team collapsing when things got tough instead of pulling it together. Giving Figgins a free pass for attacking his manager sent a terrible message, and allowing the situation with Griffey to deteriorate the way it did was embarrassing.

Start with a manager who is going to demand accountability, and give him the best tools you can find to work with.

2011 PREDICTION

It’s probably not going to get a lot better in Seattle next season. The good news, if you can call it that, is that it doesn’t have a lot of room to get worse, either.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. teams here.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Posted on: October 5, 2010 12:54 pm
 

Ichiro has never heard of Matt Murton

Matt Murton Matt Murton broke Ichiro's single-season hit mark in Japan, notching his 211th hit on Tuesday for the Hanshin Tigers -- then adding two more later in the 17-4 victory over the Yakult Swallows. But Ichiro apparently had never heard of Murton until the former Cub tied his record.

Yakyubaka.com translates Ichiro's comments from Nikkan Sports :

"[Murton] did that in his first year in Japan. I've never heard of him. A player like that goes to Japan, has 210 hits so far in his first year, that's kind of shocking to me," Ichiro said. "So he's a player that never made it as a starting outfielder. But he did it in hs first year. That made me think that you can't take America too lightly."

The two played against each other just once, June 12, 2007 at Wrigley Field. Suzuki went 1 for 6 with a  double, while Murton was 0 for 3 in a 5-3 Mariners victory.

The one comment on the entry is from Jason Standridge , one of his teammates with the Tigers (or someone pretending to be him).

"What Matt has done this year for our team is nothing but amazing," Standridge wrote. "To also accomplish this feat in his first year in Japan, truly is really special."

Murton's record can be compared to Roger Maris breaking Babe Ruth's single-season home run record, both were aided by added games.

In 1994, Ichiro had 210 hits in a 130-game season. Japanese teams now play 144, and Murton's hit came in his 142nd game -- something Murton acknowledged in his remarks about the record.

"1994 and 2010 are two different seasons," Murton told the Associated Press . "He did it 130 games. it is what it is, it's a great honor. In terms of Ichiro, this doesn't change anything. He's one of the best players in baseball."

Matt Murton Murton was a first-round selection of the Red Sox out of Georgia Tech in 2003 and was part of the four-team trade that sent Nomar Garciaparra (and Murton) to the Cubs.

In four years with the Cubs, he actually played decently, hitting .294/.362/.436 with 28 home runs. Still, to listen to Cubs fans, he was as bust (seriously, read any Cubs blog or message board about Murton and they'll say the Japanese Leagues must be equal to the Little League World Series because Murton set a record there).

Murton was less successful in limited time with the Rockies (2008) and the A's (2009) before going to Japan for the 2010 season. He's flourished with the Tigers, hitting .351/.396/.502 in Japan with 17 homers.

What I find more interesting is that in the past, Japanese teams would be wary of letting foreign players break the records of Japanese-born players, but it doesn't seem like Murton dealt with that at all. That's a welcome progress in Japanese baseball.

There's an outside chance Murton won't hold the record long -- Yakult's Norichika Aoki has 205 hits with three games remaining, so if he had three hits a night and Murton goes hitless in his two remaining games, Aoki would win the hits title. The Swallows center fielder leads the league with a .358 average and is hitting .358/.435/.510 overall.

Meanwhile it's not as if Suzuki is crying over his lost record. He finished with his 10th consecutive season in the big leagues with at least 200 hits, making him the second player in history with 10 200-hit season along with Pete Rose.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .



Category: MLB
Posted on: September 28, 2010 12:46 am
Edited on: September 28, 2010 12:47 am
 

M's prez: Zduriencik's job safe

Jack Zduriencik
As long as we're talking about baseball people with really complicated names, there's news on Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. Team president Chuck Armstrong told FOXSports.com Jack Z's job is not in jeopardy.

“We’re not thinking about changing the general manager at all,” Armstrong said.

Assuming it's not one of those public shows of support that's true until it's not (you know, like Zduriencik's vote of confidence in manager Don Wakamatsu shortly before firing him), Zduriencik should be counting his blessings. When you consider how amazingly badly this season has gone, and how much of it can be laid directly at Zduriencik's feet, he's lucky the organization has a longer leash for GMs than for field managers (Seattle will soon be on the hunt for its seventh since Lou Piniella left).

The Mariners were a trendy pick to win the American League West, but will finish with the league's worst record and need some luck to avoid their second 100-loss season in three years. Then there was the awkward Ken Griffey Jr. retirement. And Wakamatsu being physically attacked in the dugout by Chone Figgins, who not only was not disciplined, he never even apologized. And Wakamatsu's firing. And the legal troubles they reportedly overlooked in one of the prospects they got in the Cliff Lee trade (one of Zduriencik's close friends, director of pro scouting Carmen Fusco, lost his job as the fall guy for that one).

Zduriencik built the Mariners to win with pitching and defense, but underestimated the need for offense (or overestimated how much he had, or both). Now he's got one of the worst offenses in recent history, and is paying nearly a quarter of the payroll to two leadoff hitters (Ichiro Suzuki and Figgins). It's not going to be an easy road back, but it looks like the Mariners have decided who's driving.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .



Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:47 pm
 

Cabrera becomes third AL player with 30 IBB

The designated hitter changes many things -- but no record seems to have a bigger split among leads than the one for intentional walks.

The Major League and National League record is 120 -- set by Barry Bonds in 2004. The American League record is nearly a fourth of that -- 33, done twice -- by John Olerud in 1993 and Ted Williams in 1957. It should be noted, of course, that this statistic wasn't kept until 1955, so Babe Ruth isn't on it (but he had some pretty decent protection in the Yankees lineup).

Miguel Cabrera On Friday, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera became just the fourth American League player to ever receive 30 intentional walks in a season. In addition to Olerud and Williams, George Brett was intentionally walked 30 times in 1985.

It's a different story in the National League, where Barry Bonds had nine different season with 30 or more free passes, and Pujols has three.

MLB.com's  Jason Beck had a good article on this today, with this great statistic -- entering Friday's game, one in every 14 intentional walks in the American League have been to Cabrera.

"Believe me, I don't care who hits behind Cabrera," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said told Beck. "I will walk him. We did it three times in Chicago [in mid-August]. We did it [Wednesday] night. We only failed once."

The fact the Tigers have had injuries and nobody near as fearsome as Cabrera in their lineup has led to the free passes. And that's why it worked for the Orioles on Friday.

After Austin Jackson tripled to lead off the seventh ina tie game, David Hernandez struck out Will Rhymes and got Johnny Damon to pop up before giving the free pass to Cabrera. Ryan Raburn then struck out to end the inning before the Orioles scored two in the eighth to take a lead.

"I try to impress upon him to just take it as the highest compliment you can get," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

So far this season, only one National League player, Albert Pujols, has more than 30 intentional walks. He's been given 34 free passes. Adrian Gonzalez is the only other NL player with more than 12, with 26. In the AL, Ichiro Suzuki and Joe Mauer are tied for second with 13 intentional passes.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Posted on: August 23, 2010 6:18 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:12 pm
 

This week in free stuff: Aug. 23-29

A look at this week in promotional giveaways from around baseball:

Monday, Aug. 23
Florida Marlins -- cam floppy hat. It's a floppy hat, but nobody can see you.
Hudson Valley Renegades (New York-Penn League) -- mystery bobblehead. The team website doesn't say what the bobblehead will be, just that if you're one of the first 1,500 into the park, you'll get one.

Tuesday, Aug. 24
Carlos Ruiz Philadelphia Phillies -- Carlos Ruiz Bobble figurine. I guess it's a "figurine" because it's smaller. But it still looks pretty cool.
Los Angeles Angels -- fleece blanket. My dog loves his SGA (eBay lingo for stadium giveaway) fleece blankets.
Las Vegas 51s (Pacific Coast League) Holly Madison bobblehead. Yeah, it's the head that bobbles. I think they missed a good opportunity there.
Binghamton Mets (Eastern League) -- plunger. Really, just what it says. Hey, you probably need a plunger more than a bobblehead.

Wednesday, Aug. 25
Buffalo Bisons (International League) -- Fernando Martinez bobblehead. Martinez his hitting .253/.317/.455 with 12 homers, 33 RBI and 4,000 bobbleheads.
Trenton Thunder (Eastern League) -- back-to-school notebooks. Who couldn't use a notebook for school? Or do kids still use those?
Binghamton Mets (Eastern League) -- sling bag giveaway. The classic, jersey look. Again, a good, practical giveaway.

Thursday, Aug. 26
Springfield Cardinals (Texas League) -- winter cap
Hudson Valley Renegades (New York-Penn League) -- dog leash. The first 500 dogs get a gift, not their people. My dog would prefer to be let off the leash instead of a new one.

Friday, Aug. 27
Ichiro bobblehead Seattle Mariners -- Ichiro bobblehead. I don't currently have an Ichiro in my bobblehead collection -- maybe if I just knew someone in Seattle.
Syracuse Chiefs (International League) -- Stephen Strasburg action figure
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Eastern League) -- frisbee
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) -- Frank Howard bobblehead. The former Tiger will be at the park for his bobblehead night.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- Ron Darling bobblehead
Vermont Lake Monster (New York-Penn League) -- Mystery bobblehead. I'll be interested to know if it's new, or just old stuff they had in the storage room.
Yakima Bears (Northwest League) -- Mel Stottlemyre bobblehead
Greeneville Astros (Appalachian League) -- blanket

Saturday, Aug. 28
Los Angeles Angels -- candy jar. The Angels have had some of my favorite promotions this year, and this is another winner.
Texas Rangers -- t-shirt. Classic baseball style with red sleeves and a white base. It's for kids only, so it'll make some emo college kid happy.
Washington Nationals -- Ivan Rodriguez bobblehead
Colorado Rockies -- coffee tumbler. I still use my Dan Haren A's tumbler.
San Diego Padres -- Everth Cabrera bobblehead
San Francisco Giants -- Joe DiMaggio SF Seals bobblehead
Bowling Green Hot Rods (Midwest League) Cave Shrimp bobble-tail. So, the Hot Rods ran a contest to name the team. Hot Rods, obviously, won. Cave Shrimp was another entry and this is the "What Could Have Been" promotion. I may have to eBay this badboy..
Tulsa Drillers (Texas League) -- ONEOK Field replica
Visalia Rawhide (California League) -- reusable grocery bags
Quad Cities River Bandits (A) Matt Holliday bobblehead
Everett AquaSox (Norhtwest League) -- Ryan Rowland-Smith bobblehead
Idaho Falls Chukars (Rookie Appalachian League) -- Billy Butler bobblehead.

Sunday, Aug. 29
CC Sabathia Milwaukee Brewers -- CC Sabathia bobblehead day. I'm not exactly sure why the Brewers are honoring a guy who pitched 17 games for them, but oh well. It's a cool looking bobblehead.
Toronto Blue Jays -- Dave Stieb bobblehead
Chicago White Sox -- Frank Thomas Bobblehead
Texas Rangers -- kids chest protector backpack
San Diego Padres -- metal lunch box
Inland Empire 66ers (California League) -- Dodgers fleece blanket
Stockton Ports (California) -- Ports mini basketball and hoop set
Beloit Snappers (Midwest League) -- Ben Revere bobblehead

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .





Posted on: August 20, 2010 5:23 pm
 

Rangers could be poised for awards sweep

Josh Hamilton In 54 years, no team has ever claimed all four major awards -- MVP, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Manager of the Year -- in the same year.

As Tom Singer of MLB.com points out, this could be the year that changes, as the Rangers have solid candidates in every category in the American League.

Manager Ron Washington, who in spring training looked like a longshot to keep his job after admitting he tested positive for cocaine last year, seems a favorite after leading the Rangers through an impressive campaign.

League-leading hitter Josh Hamilton is playing about as well as a guy can play lately, making clutch plays at the plate and in the field. Miguel Cabrera definitely has MVP numbers, but the Tigers have become irrelevant down the stretch and the award traditionally favors players for playoff teams.

An early-season injury has kept Cliff Lee from piling up big win and strikeout totals, but he's been incredibly impressive in both Seattle and Texas. He has seven complete games, a 3.44 ERA and leads the league in WHIP. The Rays' David Price might have a better case, but Lee is getting a lot of attention.

The AL rookie award seems pretty wide open, but Neftali Perez has a good shot. He has 27 saves, and as Singer points out, the rest of the rookies in the league have 20 combined.

The Cardinals have a longer shot of pulling off the sweep in the National League, though there are big obstacles for manager Tony La Russa (Bobby Cox will be a sentimental and dserving favorite) and rookie Jaime Garcia (a raft of rookie stars led by Jason Heyward). Adam Wainwright might end up ahead of Ubaldo Jimenez for Cy Young, and Albert Pujols is poised to win his fourth MVP.

All four awards are voted on by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The last team to come close to the awards sweep was the 116-win Mariners of 2001. Ichiro Suzuki won the rookie and MVP awards, and Lou Piniella was Manager of the Year.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: August 16, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:57 am
 

Is Ichiro lobbying for Bobby V?


Ichiro Ichiro Suzuki may or may not have talked to Mariners brass about hiring Bobby Valentine.

Peter Gammons tweeted that he did, while Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports a Mariners officials told him there's "no basis" to the report.

However, Stone curbs his report by saying his official talked to Mariners chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln about the report. While Lincoln runs the show, the king Mariner is Nintendo chairman Hiroshi Yamauchi, and Ichiro would have as much access to Yamauchi as anyone. Stone says the two have a "special relationship."

It would make sense, as Valentine is an even bigger name in Japan than he is in the United States, having managed the Chiba Lotte Marines there.

Stone's source says Lincoln doesn't have any knowledge of a conversation between Ichiro and Yamauchi. But again, that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Valentine seemed like a natural pick anyway because of all the Japanese ties with the club, if he does end up getting the gig, it'll be interesting to see if anything comes out about Ichiro's vote.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com