The Mariners called up two players Saturday, Justin Smoak, whom they got in the Cliff Lee trade and relief pitcher Dan Cortes. Perhaps more are coming; in fact the Mariners should look at a third baseman Mike Mangini and starting pitcher Michael Pineda, certain to be in Seattle‘s future.
Smoak, a 23 year old switch hitting first baseman, struck out as often as Ichiro gets hits in his 63 at bats after coming to Seattle. He hit .159 with 2 homers and 5 rbi’s. Between Texas and Seattle he hit .198 with 10 home runs and 39 rbi’s. They want another look, especially after hitting .271 and belting 7 homers, driving in 25 in 35 games at Tacoma. In eight playoff games he hit .423 with a homer and 6 rbi’s. In his second at bat Saturday night he lined a single off, yes Cliff Lee, the man he was traded for.
Dan Cortes at 23 has already had two incidents of note in his life. In 2005 at the age of 18 and working a summer job at a sporting goods store, he was stabbed eight times while trying to break up a fight leaving a bowling alley. One of his co-workers was killed.
Then in January of 2009, he was arrested for public intoxication and urinating on a fence outside a bar. It cost him five hours in jail and over $600 for bail.
He was drafted in seventh round by White Sox and after one year in their organization was sent to Kansas City in a trade for pitcher Mike McDougal. Despite being one of the top ten prospects in the organization he did not progress as they had hoped. He was released and the Mariners signed him during the off season.
He had been a starter, at West Tennessee and in 16 starts was 5-4 with a 6.08 e.r.a. He asked to be a late inning reliever, with eyes on being a closer. In 12 2/3 innings he struck out 20 and had an e.r.a. of 0.71. He said he likes to air it out. And when you are 6’6”, 230 pounds with a 102 mile an hour fastball, by all means, air it out. Despite a mediocre record in the minors as a starter, the Mariners want to see what he can do in relief.
It is audition time for both Smoak and Cortes. Future stars or future busts? Something has got to break the Mariners way, don’t you think?