Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seattle Mariners Spring Update

I'm all therapy'd up and ready to roll
So our beloved Mariners are now 13-7, the bats have started to rattle a bit, and the pitching staff is starting to come together. I don't know about you, but this has been the fastest Spring Training in recent memory - perhaps that's just because I'm so busy. But damn if these M's don't look like they're ready to not lose 90-plus games again! Hopefully those aren't the words that Wedge uses to inspire. 

Anyway, with that in mind, let's take a quick peek at what we have headed into the final stretch before the big April Fools Day where Felix shuts down the Athletics.

  • Ichiro: Awesome
  • Figgins, hitting .361 with a pair of doubles, 7 RBI and 4 stolen bases.  
  • Bradley, hitting .355 with a home run, 10 RBI, 4 doubles, and only 6 strikeouts in 31 AB's.
  • Cust, hitting .255 with 3 HR's, 9 RBI and a whopping 19 K's in 47 AB's.  Yep, that's about what we expected.
  • Adam Moore, .381 with two doubles, a triple, and 7 walks in 21 AB's. This is encouraging.

On the pitching side:
  • Jamey Wright has unfortunately been impossible to hit, so he probably makes the team
  • Josh Lueke has been very, very good - likely makes the team
  • Vargas and Fister both still oddly effective in their how-did-they-do-that way
  • Bedard appears really ready to go with a 1.69 ERA over 10 2/3 IP with 10K's and 3 BB.  Please oh please give us half a season to trade you, Erik.  
  • Laffey has zero strikeouts over 6 IP since coming over from Cleveland. I don't know about you, but I want the M's to trade for Kevin Slowey so we can have Laffey and Slowey on the same team.  We could market some kind of Mariner Smurf bobblehead "Laffey Smurf" "Slowey Smurf" "Figgy Smurf" "Grumpy Smurf" (Bradley, of course). And the two smurfs that nobody wants to party with, "Fister Smurf" and "Frenchy Smurf".
  • Luke French and David Pauley are battling for the best AAAA starter in camp, with Frenchy currently leading 1.13 ERA to 1.29.

Oh, and you've likely read that Jack Wilson moves to 2B and Ryan is our starting SS. Look for that tandem to turn some sweet double plays and combine for 6 HR's. One wonders if having Wilson at 2B provides the team a nice excuse to rush Ackley once Wilson goes down with a (insert body part) injury in May. We'll see.

Watch what happens on the whole Ring, Wilhelmsen, Delcarmen front... that ought to be an interesting narrative down the stretch here.  Geoff Baker has a pretty good rundown of the complexities of roster building for the M's right now relative to who has options, who is on the 40-man roster, etc.

Go M's.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mariners and Pearl Jam Team Up This Summer

Checkout this cool promotion between the Mariners and Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready.  McCready will be playing the national anthem before the Mariners take on Tampa Bay on June 3rd.  What's even more interesting is that fans can get a free bobblehead of Seattle's greatest living guitarist if you purchase tickets to the game through this link

McCready's performance is in support of the CCFA foundation, a charity he regularly supports.

PJ fans know the band frequently wraps up concerts with Yellow Ledbetter followed by the Star Spanged Banners. Here's a video of them doing just that at their most recent show in Seattle.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Mariners Ads Are Up - Slogan Hysterically Stupid.

Seattle Mariners, "Ready to Play". It's almost as ridiculous as the slogan from the mid 80's "Hit it again".  I mean, well, 'duh'.  That they're 'Ready to Play' doesn't inspire visions of historic achievement, but after being one of the worst teams in the history of baseball, I guess you need to take baby steps, eh?

But putting that aside, the M's have their new crop of ads out - available on - and you really have to hand it to Kevin Martinez, Jim Copacino and whomever else may have pitched in - they do some pretty funny ads year to year. I particularly liked "Encore" with Felix although I had to watch it twice because I was mesmerized by the size of Eric Wedge's stomach on first watch. I also thought the "Painful" one was well executed, and registered on the "had to be said" level in addressing just how bad 2010 was.  Well done.

That said, I hope to never see Fister's acting career once he leaves baseball.  My God, how uncomfortable does he look in that commercial?

The one thing that always makes me a little nervous is each year you watch these ads and you know with certainty that several of the featured players won't be around by the end of the season. I mean, how hard was it to watch that Ryan Rowland Smith ad from last year knowing that he was in AAA?  I watch these and wonder which commercial will be obsolete first.  My bet - it's the Fister/Vargas one. Something's gotta give there.

But head over and take a look and talk them up or down in the comments or over at the Facebook page - I'm interested to hear what you all think.

Go M's.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Ridiculously Early Look at the Mariners Spring Stats

Hitting the broad side of a building
No, you can't draw conclusions from Spring statistics. No, the sample size isn't big enough to really give you anything to sink your teeth into.  No, it probably doesn't matter if the Mariners offense is fantastic or rotten down in Arizona. But it's still fun to look, isn't it?

First of all, I'm going to ignore anyone that doesn't have at least double digit at bats, because, well, even I have standards. But the following is a list of the highs and lows of the Mariners offense this Spring:

Jack Wilson - hitting .500 with a triple, 4 RBI, and no strikeouts in 4 games.  Kinda funny that there have actually been 9 Spring games, so it's fitting that he's played in less than half of them.

Milton Bradley - he's smashing the ball in Spring (I just couldn't help it...) - hitting .357 with a pair of doubles and a stolen base in 14 AB's.

Greg Halman - has one of the five (cough, cough) HR's the M's have hit this Spring, hitting .300, and in a very Halman-like-way, augmented the soothing cool breeze at the stadium with 4K's in 10 AB's.

Miguel Olivo - before the injury, he was hitting a sizzling .100 in 10 AB's.

Gabe Gross - making that final surge for a starting gig, giving Michael Saunders the push he needs, Gross is hitting .091 in 11 AB's with 5 K's.  Wow.

Justin Smoak - .118 with 6 K's in 17 AB's.  (Repeat after me, Spring stats don't matter, Spring stats don't matter, Spring stats don't matter...)

Brendan Ryan - .118 in 17 AB's.  2 total hits (but one's a double!).

Jack Cust - .235 in 17 AB's with no home runs, one walk, 7 K's and an OBP of .278.

Overall, the M's are 23rd out of 30 teams in runs scored this Spring and as a team, they're hitting .235, which places them 28th. They've hit 5 HR's placing them 26th and stolen 4 total bases which ties them with Mike Aviles of the Kansas City Royals.

No, folks - Spring stats don't matter.  But I for one am going drinking now.  Who's with me?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

This One Goes To 1000!

We're pleased to announce that the Facebook page has surpassed 1,000 fans! The Log is the first Mariner Blog community to hit the 1,000 fan mark on Facebook.  1,002 actually, but who's counting?

Congrats to all of our fans and Go M's!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Seattle Mariners and Addition by Subtraction

You may have read where Miguel Olivo has a strained abductor and is undergoing therapy and there's currently no timetable for his return, but Olivo says he'll be ready for opening day.  If you didn't read that, you can get it here or here or here.

What I find particularly ironic about this development is that if he winds up on the shelf for a significant amount of time, the Mariners will be one of the first franchises in recent memory to be better for losing their big offseason acquisition.

Triple-slash projections for our two catchers (BA/OBP/SLG) from the venerable Bill James:

Adam Moore: .256/.303/.379
Miguel Olivo: .229/.271/.382

How about ZiPS?

Adam Moore: .243/.290/.349
Miguel Olivo: .228/.270/.413

In the James projection, Moore is superior to Olivo and in the ZiPS, they're about a wash.  What I think you can hang your hat on is that we know Olivo is probably going to suck while Moore still occupies that purgatory of "prospect" status while we wait for him to prove he's either Dan Wilson or just a slightly better version of Miguel Olivo.

So from where I'm sitting, I really don't care too much about Olivo's injury.  In fact, take your time Miguel.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Seattle Mariners in 2011 and "What-Ifs"

Someone get a hit.  I'm ready.
There's something really liberating about Spring Training.  Everyone has a proverbial even playing field, everyone has the same 0-0 record, and almost all fan bases across baseball are hopeful that their team might compete.

Hope, it seems, has the power to induce amnesia.

Most of what we read about the Mariners is realistic about their chances in 2011 with many predictions of last place, or perhaps competition for 3rd place, flirting with 82 wins.  I think it's good to be realistic.  But allow us, just for a few hundred words, to be unrealistic and wonder if there's a Ying to the 2010 Yang.

Since the Mariners were historically, uncharacteristically, and unpredictably horrible in 2010, could we be historically, uncharacteristically, and unpredictably good in 2011? Wait, don't answer that, you'll ruin the fantasy.

So let's ask some what if's, and dream a little.  Why not?

What if Justin Smoak hits?  I mean, what if he really hits - i.e. becomes that guy that was called a "switch hitting Justin Morneau." What if Smoak threw up a .275/25/95 line and played a terrific first base to boot?

What if Chone Figgins, in his glorious return to third base, gets comfortable again and starts looking like...well, Chone Figgins.  He was a 6 win player in 2009 before he turned into a pumpkin in Seattle.  What if he returned to his slap-hitting-high-average-scoring-runs-by-the-truck-full ways?  .295, 100 runs, 40 stolen bases anyone?  How about some fantastic defense for a 4 WAR season?  Anyone? Bueller?

What if Doug Fister and Jason Vargas continue to have success? Fister was 2.9 wins above replacement and Vargas was 2.6 in 2010.  If they could replicate that kind of success, it would certainly go a long way towards solidifying a rotation that really seems to feature an ace and four #5 starters.

What if Erik Bedard stayed healthy all year?  We already fantasized a bit about Bedard's contributions to this team in 2011 back in January.  But what if he finally put together the season that Seattle fans have been dreaming of for the last three seasons?  An ERA in the low 3's, K/9 rate in the 8's, the #2 starter we haven't seen since a few months of Cliff Lee. 

What if Olivo delivers?  Could he have truly matured as a hitter since his last go-round with the M's?  Can he be a middle-of-the-order power source to drive in precious runs?  Can he go .260-20-70?  Production behind the plate?  Yes, please.

Alright, I sense your collective eye-rolling, so I'm going to stop here.  But again, you can only flip the coin and come up tails so many times.  At some point, you'll get heads.  The problem for the M's is all of the above would probably need to come to fruition in order for them to be at all competitive for the pennant in the West, combined with assumed awesomeness from Felix and Ichiro and other contributors not laying eggs.  So no, it's not likely.

But that it's not impossible makes it nothing other than Spring Training.