Seattle Mariners: Let’s Play You Are The GM

Been having interesting discussions on twitter today, and I thought it would be a fun chance to play a game. Every year I blog on my guesses/wishlist for the Mariners for the upcoming offseason, and I would invite you to do the same in the comments section. I will post who I hope the Mariners will go after. I want to mention that none of this may be possible, but it’s still fun to think about right? For this I’m gonna stick to just the 2016 free agent list.

  1. Sign Dioneer Navarro to catch with Mike Zunino
  2. Sign Yoenis Cespedes
  3. Sign Scott Kazmir
  4. Sign Tyler Clippard
  5. Sign Joakim Soria

Okay this is my wishlist, what do you think? What moves would you make?

Seattle #Mariners The Bullpen

The Mariners bullpen has improved immensely here recently. Mark Lowe is one of the names that stands out, and he has been sensational. He still throws a good hard fastball and his slider has really improved since the last time he was here in Seattle. It almost appears to be a slurve when you watch Lowe closely. Carson Smith has been fantastic as the 8th inning guy.

Obviously the weakness in the bullpen is in the closer role. Fernando Rodney has struggled and has indirectly been taken out of the closer’s role. Everyone is clamoring for Carson Smith to take over that role especially with his save yesterday. I’m a huge fan of Carson Smith, but I believe putting him in the role now might be a mistake. Slowing easing him into that role would make more sense. Yes I know he has closing experience in the minors.

But we have to remember this is his first full season in the majors. Pitching every 2-3 days is a lot different than pitching 3 consecutive days. And remember as a closer you could throw upwards of 25-30 pitches in an outing. Many of the Mariners writers have already mentioned earlier in the season where Carson pitched 3 consecutive days, and we saw his velocity drop on that third day. And when your velocity drops many of your pitches can have less movement and end up being up in the zone.

For Carson to be successful he has to have that good velocity on his fastball as well as the slider with that awesome break to it. I don’t think right now is the appropriate time to dub him the closer. I think down the road as the future closer sure. The Mariners need an experienced closer. I was thinking about a 2 player deal where the Mariners could get Harang and Papelbon. But the Mariners don’t need Papelbon’s bad attitude and diminishing velocity. His contract could be an issue as well, and he can make the 9th inning exciting like Fernando does so it may not be the right option. But how about this guy in a trade?

http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/5357/francisco-rodriguez

A trade for him and Jean Segura would be quite interesting..Do you all like this idea?

Seattle #Mariners Oh The Starting Pitching..

You can’t talk about the Seattle Mariners without talking about their starting pitching so let’s start at the top.

1. Felix Hernandez – He is the king, he is the ace. He is the #1 starter and that is not gonna change. We have to remember the King will not be perfect all the time, he will games where he struggles.

2. Mike Montgomery/James Paxton – Montgomery pitched very well in both of his outings, and fell victim to the lack of run support. When Paxton returns though Montgomery will most likely be the odd man out. I’m sure Montgomery left a really good impression on the team though. Paxton was just starting to break out before he got hurt. He was throwing his fastball with that great velocity, and mixing it with his offspeed stuff very well. As long as he uses the good velocity with his fastball, he should continue to be a solid #2 starter behind Felix I would not change that.

3. Roenis Elias/Hisashi Iwakuma – Roenis Elias has been sensational and I believe has thrown better than last year, and you really see it in his changeup which shows the Felix influence, if he can continue to mix his fastball and curveball in as well. He is going to be tough to beat! I would still keep Elias in the rotation myself because he has proven that he can pitch right now and pitch very well. Iwakuma is working his way back, and I love the guy don’t get me wrong but obviously he was not healthy at all at the start of the season. He has to be healthy and be able to keep his pitches down in the strikezone which is tough when you are pitching hurt. There is no way to know for sure if Iwakuma will be himself when he comes back, or if he can stay healthy. I’m 50/50 on this. This is one of the areas where the team may need to go and pursue a starter via the trade market..

4. Taijuan Walker. I think he stays. He is really starting to show signs of the talent that he is and why the team did not trade him. He is throwing with more velocity and aggression, and seems to be more comfortable with his offspeed stuff. To me watching closely he did not look very comfortable throwing anything besides his fastball and slider, and he has appeared to have gotten over that hurdle. Remember he is just a kid! He is allowed to make mistakes! I will say this though, with the playoffs on the line should he be allowed to learn at the major league level?

5. JA Happ has been everything that the Mariners could have asked for. I think the team won the Saunders trade. He is giving them solid starts just about every time he pitches. He gives you 6+ innings every start and he keeps you in games. What more can you say? He is giving you the veteran innings that you have kept in your rotation since the past few seasons, which includes Kevin Millwood and Chris Young. I guess the question is can he stay healthy for the rest of the season.

Verdict: Go and trade for a starter like Aaron Harang, and you will see in a later post why I say Harang specifically because in a trade with the Phillies, the Mariners could fill 2 of the holes on the roster..

The Seattle #Mariners Outfield Situation

Especially after today’s loss I felt it was appropriate to talk about the state of the Mariners outfield. The outfield is one of the biggest holes on the team, with many issues. Let’s take a look..

Probably the one aspect the Mariners don’t have to worry about is CF at least for this season because Austin Jackson can really cover a lot of ground in CF, and his speed really works to his advantage even in the outfield. Austin Jackson is starting to turn around with the bat and is collecting hits, he even showed his power yesterday with his home run. I agree with everyone though stealing bases is not one of his strengths.

I don’t know the reason why, it appears at times as though he does not get very good jumps, and his timing always seems to be off by a second, and in baseball an extra second makes all the difference. The Mariners do need to however consider a backup in CF for Jackson in the event he gets hurt. We saw Jackson hurt his ankle, and right now their backup CF is Dustin Ackley. Ruggiano was designated for assignment, but that’s a different discussion.

Ackley is average in the outfield, he can make the occasional catch at the wall, but his weakness in the outfield is his weak throwing arm. Even a James Jones could be the backup in CF and play the corners for you as one of your extra outfielders. But here’s where we get into some of the perplexing aspects of the outfield and it’s structure.

Right now in right field you have Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith basically splitting time. Cruz is fine splitting time there, but ultimately he should not be in the outfield a lot. Cruz is not known for his defense and as the season progresses, his defense now might change 6-7 weeks down the road. I guess what I’m saying here is Cruz in RF in spurts is acceptable, more than that you are exposing a weakness to the opposing team.

Seth Smith has been a pleasant surprise putting up very good at bats and getting on base at a decent rate. He has been fielding well also. The Mariners have been very smart with using Smith, in these platoon situations. Again if the Mariners play him too much (ie: against a LHP late in games) the team exposes a weakness.

And your platoon in LF is basically Dustin Ackley/Rickie Weeks. First with Dustin Ackley I basically described his defensive abilities above, and that’s not the issue, the issue obviously is his bat and his general offensive numbers. I don’t profess to being an expert, but I have been watching Ackley’s at bats a lot more closely. You will notice in many of his at bats that Ackley likes to chase the ball down and away. It gets him every time.

I did play baseball for a short time and I will say this, Ackley is not extending his swing through the strike zone if that makes any sense. I guess what I’m saying is watching his stance and his overall demeanor at the plate you see him going back to old bad habits that he has to get out of. Not saying it will be easy..I’m 50/50 a lot of people want to see the team move on from Ackley. The Yankees were rumored to be interested in him at one point. I would at least see what the Yankees would offer, you never know maybe you get another Farquhar out of it.

Rickie Weeks is not much better, to me he is the definition of an all or nothing hitter. His defense is tolerable in the outfield. He has not been the bat off the bench that many were hoping him to be. And that’s not entirely his fault. He has been put in matchups and situations that set him up to lose. Rickie Weeks has faced more RHPs than I had anticipated to unsurprising results. I will say this when he gets a hold of a ball, he sure hits it hard as evidenced by his home runs. I think it’s time however to give up this idea of making Weeks a utility guy, he is not like his brother Jemille.

Verdict: Trade for an outfielder who can get on base and improve your overall defense!

And I know you’re asking is there a perfect solution out there? Tough to say..this name intrigues me, tell me what you think.

***I went through some names and stats, and I really couldn’t find an ideal guy to my solution because many of these players most like won’t be traded. I mean Ben Revere of the Phillies could be interesting, but a quick look at his offensive numbers doesn’t scream excitement..

Seattle #Mariners Shortstop Situation + 3rd Base

First of all there’s no question about Kyle Seager right now he is one of the few consistent hitters the team has right now, and he is playing gold glove defense. He is your 3rd baseman end of discussion, hopefully though the team will give him a day off here and there..

Brad Miller is your current shortstop with Willie Bloomquist as the backup. I want to mention this first, I firmly believe that had Chris Taylor not gotten hurt, he would still be up here in Seattle. In fact I think he was still playing hurt during his last stint in Seattle. Until he is fully healthy, I don’t think we will not what he is capable of. He is still most likely a defensive shortstop in the long run. Right now the Mariners are hurting for offense at the shortstop position.

I think the Mariners should make a trade here. The tough part is figuring out the options on the trade market. This name is intriguing, and I’d be curious to see what you think:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/31037/jean-segura

I’ll say this..his OBP and OPS sure standout when compared to other players on the Mariners roster.

The Every Popular 2nd Base Situation For The Seattle #Mariners

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock Robinson Cano is the 2nd Baseman for your Seattle Mariners. That is not gonna change anytime soon especially with Cano originally signing a 1/4 of a billion dollar contract with the team. It’s no secret that Cano has been struggling offensively. I don’t think we have to worry about him defensively, he is one of the best defensive 2nd baseman in the sport. I don’t think anyone would argue against this.

Cano is not hitting like the Cano we all know. He is hitting in the low to mid .200s, when we are so used to see him hitting ~.300. So the question is what is going on with him? There was an article out there saying that Cano may be “homesick.” I think that is one of the dumbest statements I have ever seen. If he is homesick, wouldn’t he have struggled and been home sick last season?

I believe the issue is now with the additions of Cruz and Trumbo, opposing pitchers are pitching differently to Cano than they did last year. Right now it’s so obvious that Cano is pressing to break out of his slump. Cano has to make the adjustments to how he is being pitched or he is never gonna get over this hurdle. He has to turn things around offensively, if the team wants to stay in contention. So my verdict is to stay the course because my gut tells me that he will turns things around.

Your thoughts?

Seattle #Mariners 1st Base Situation

I’m gonna work my way around the diamond, no pun intended. Now let’s take a look at the first base situation. Right now your starter is Logan Morrison and the backup now appearing to be Mark Trumbo.

Logan Morrison has a 13 game hitting streak going and has seen a lot of his offensive numbers rise since the early part of the season. Defensively LoMo has really improved at 1st base. Earlier this season fans were clamoring for the Mariners to bring up Jesus Montero. My questions were always whether Montero’s success in Tacoma would translate at the Major League level. How would Montero do defensively at 1st base?

Then LoMo started to collect bunches of hits and is slowly bringing his numbers up, he continues to do well defensively at first base. And now with Trumbo, LoMo can get an occasional day off. My thought is to stay the course with Morrison, however he is one of the bats that must start to drive in runs if the Mariners want to be successful this season..

Verdict: Stay the course

Would anyone disagree?