Jack Zduriencik, Seattle Mariner GM, came to the Mariners with a reputation for wheeling and dealing players, thus the sobriquet Trader Jack. But a closer look indicates he needs a new nickname.
There are 8 players of the top 33 on the Mariner roster who came via trades and only one in 2013 and that was last February when Seattle shipped Shawn Kelley to the Yankees for Abraham Almonte. At the moment, not a big move, though Almonte has a shot to be a starting outfielder this season.
Danny Farquhar came to Seattle in the Ichiro trade in 2012. That was a trade to improve the club by subtraction; publicly to give Ichiro a chance to play for a winner and privately to settle the Mariner clubhouse. Seattle was getting younger, Ichiro was getting older. The only other trade in 2012 came in January when Seattle sent Michael Pineda to the Yankees and received Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi. Pineda has not pitched in two years due to arm injuries and Montero proved he was no catcher a and it is questionable whether he will make the 2014 roster.
Justin Smoak and Blake Beavan came to Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade in 2010. Trader Jack and no choice as Lee was not going to resign with Seattle, so that was a forced trade. What Mariner fans got was the opportunity to bitch about Smoak for the last four years. In 2011 Charlie Furbush came to Seattle in the Doug Fister trade and Franklin Gutierrez came to Seattle in a three way trade two months after Trader Jack became the Mariners GM.
Eleven Mariners came through the amateur draft; one in a rule 5 draft; thirteen through free agency. I have only included the 33 players listed on Sports-Reference .com. I included Willie Bloomquist, who signed as free agent this offseason, not through the amateur draft.
The point is he has built the team through the draft and free agency and has not made many trades. Of the eight trades for players currently on the roster, two had to be made, Ichiro and Lee. So he really does not deserve the Trader Jack nickname. The question is what his nickname should be. I am sure former manager Eric Wedge has one or two, but probably not printable.
Maybe I can come up with one during the season. I am, however, taking printable suggestions.
Monday night Ichiro Suzuki played his first game with the New York Yankees. It came against his team from the previous day, the team he played for since 2001, the Seattle Mariners. He singled in his first at bat and stole second base.
Though I wish him well, I could not help but feel he was Benedict Arnold. A Yankee uniform! I did not want him to beat my team, his real team, the Mariners. Beat someone else. What are you doing trying to beat the team you played for all season-in front of your fans. Where is you loyalty? Those guys are your buddies. Don’t let the name Yankees fool you-they are redcoat torries.
He did make the final putout of the game as the Mariners fell 4-1, but it was ex-Mariners who haunted the good ship Mariner. Alex (AFraud) Rodriquez doubled, homered, and scored two runs. Raul Ibanez had an rbi double, and Rafael Soriano closed out the game for his 25th save.
Ex-Mariners haunted Safeco Field and spooked the M’s. They were responsible for the win. Thanks Alex. Thanks Raul. Thanks Rafael.
And tonight, Tuesday, another ex-Mariner takes the mound in Freddy Garcia. It could be another night of the M’s getting haunted by players from Mariner Past. But the M’s could also seek revenge on these ghosts and send Garcia back to the crypt.
The Mariners are not the only team with ex-players on the roster of opponents; it is just that Mariner ghosts, which are plentiful, always seem to beat the M’s. The list is too long for this column. It deserves its own installment. I could mention Adam Jones, Mike Morse, Asdrubal Cabrera , Shin-Soo Choo, David Ortiz (Mariner minor leaguer), and Doug Fister, just to rattle off a few names from the top of my M’s cap. But I won’t.
It is time for the Mariners to take charge and go after these poltergeists. You know who you’re gonna call. Ghostbusters!
Eric Bedard flunked his audition Friday night, but could yet be traded. What is sure is that Doug Fister is on his way to Detroit.
Bad night for Bedard, still being shopped
The run support Doug Fister got this season-one of the worst in years- is responsible for his 3-12 record, not his solid 3.33 ERA. When you give up three runs, but get only two runs from your offense, losses pile up. He deserved a better fate and he may find that in Detroit.
He was sent packing along with reliever Dave Pauley who pitched 54.1 innings allowing only two homers, sporting a 2.15 ERA.
In return the Mariners get pitching prospect Charlie Furbush who started two games with the Tigers and relieved in 15. In 32.1 innings he fashioned a 3.62 ERA and a 1-3 record. He is 25, 6’5″ and 215 pounds, another big pitcher the Mariners like.
Left handed pitcher Furbush
They also got outfield prospect Casper ‘the ghost’ Wells who played in 64 games with Detroit, but only had 113 at bats, hitting .257 with 4 homers and 12 rbis. Last year the 26-year-old hit .323 in 93 at bats, 4 homers, and 17 rbis with the Tigers.
The friendly Capser Wells
Another player coming to Seattle is 20-year-old third base prospect Francisco Martinez. He is hitting .282 with 7 home runs in double A.
Another third base prospect
What does that mean for Kyle Seager? Have the M’s given up on him because in a hand of full at bats he did not impress? What about Alex Liddi at Tacoma who is having a fine year? Now they have three prospects at the hot corner.
Reportedly the Mariners also get a proverbial player to be named later. Most likley not Miguel Cabrera.
The Mariners also sold Ryan Langerhans- who was at Tacoma- to Arizona. He was hitting .315 with 17 homers, 40 rbis but he has always hit well in triple A; a career .272 minor league hitter, but career .226 in the bigs.
And thankfully Jack Cust has been designated for assignment. Jack hit .213 with 3 homers and 23 rbis, striking out 38.6% of the time.
The Mariners are likely to make roster moves today and tomorrow. Stay tuned.
After Friday’s second straight shutout the Mariners have put 26 straight goose eggs on the scoreboard. Unfortunately none of the eggs are golden.
It comes at a time when the franchise is celebrating the number 116; a number not associated with the number of hits the 2011 team has gotten this season, but the number of wins recorded by the 2001 team.
It would be cruel and unusual punishment to compare numbers between the 2001 and 2011 edition of the Mariners, but comparing the last two seasons is fair game.
The Mariners were woefully seasick last season. Hitting .236, with on base percentage of .298 and slugging of .339. Pitiful numbers. This year is worse. Hitting .222 and dropping; on base percentage .288 and dropping; slugging .327 and dropping.
As the hitting as worsened the losses have increased.
But the pitching is better than 2010 which saw an earned average of 3.93, 9th in baseball with a .255 batting average against. This year the staff is 6th–they were third earlier in the season-with a 3.26 ERA and .235 batting average against.
Last year the team lost 101 games and at 43-50 the Mariners have played 93 contests with 69 left to go. It is unlikely they will lose 100, but don’t count them out as the numbers-to this point- are going down.
Doug Fister is the poor soul who pitches his heart out every start. His ERA is a solid 3.18; in fact, his ERA is 16th best in the American League. Yet his record is 3-11, the type of record one would expect with a pitcher with an ERA of nearly 6.00. But when he pitches the Mariner bats put goose eggs on the board like they were something to be hoarded in case of famine.
Doug Fister finds another goose egg on the mound
The Mariners have been last in hitting two years in a row. With better hitting they would be battling for the playoffs. Instead the brain trust and three hitting coaches in two years are as dumbfounded as the fans. The teeter is tottering and they need to get it balanced.
Doug Fister is the unluckiest pitcher in baseball. He has allowed three runs in his last 25 innings, giving up only 17 hits in the process, yet has no wins to show for it.
Saturday night was the toughest of all. In the fifth inning the Padres Cameron Maybin walked and eventually scored. But the problem, as the Mariner TV crew showed was that the count on Maybin was really 3-2, there was no ball four. The umpire, Phil Cuzzi had the wrong count. So did the scoreboard operator. And neither Fister nor Mariner catcher Josh Bard noticed; in fact manager Eric Wedge did not know; no one noticed, as everyone was asleep.
Fister pitched the complete game and lost 1-0 as Maybin scored the only run of the game, a run that should not have been.
Fister lowered his ERA to 3.02, yet is 3-9 on the season. He has absolutely no run support. In the last five starts it is 1.66. He pitches his heart out and the Mariners bats are bloodless when he pitches.
He was the unlucky pitcher against Washington, leading 5-1 after eight in the game the Nats won with a five run 9th off the bullpen. So even getting runs does not help Doug.
I do not recall a streak of great pitching with such terrible luck. How does an umpire and everyone in the ball park not be able to count to four? How did they all miss it?
Everyone trusted the scoreboard, apparently even Cuzzi.
If Fister were a puppy, he would be the sympathetic abused doggy on an ASPCA commercial that breaks your heart and you send in money to prevent such abuse of a poor animal.
At the very least he deserves a telethon to raise runs for his starts. I would suggest one of Jerry’s kids, but the Labor Day telethon may be too late for Doug. By Labor Day he may be to sick a puppy.
It is tough to win on the road, but when the road series is at home it makes it a bit easier. Thanks to a U-2 concert, MLB moved the Mariner road series to Florida back to Seattle with the Marlins being the home team and the Mariners wearing their road gray.
In Sundays finale, it was a typical strange game for the M’s. Great pitching by Fister who went eight innings allowing one run, that coming in the eighth. Fister also doubled in the game.
Fister scores first run in fifth inning after doubling earlier.
But in the top of the tenth Dustin Ackley led off with a double. It was his third hit of the night, getting a single and triple earlier in the contest. Ackley then went to third after Miquel Olivo flew out to left center.
The Marlin brain trust decided to issue an intentional pass to Carlos Peguero to set up a potential double play with Franklin Guteirrez coming up.
Cishek, the Marlins pitcher threw a pitch a little more outside than normal for an intention ball. I thought to myself Ackley should be alert. I was hoping to third base coach would tell Ackley the same. I should join the psychic hot line. The very next pitch Wild Thing Cishek threw the ball to the backstop and Ackley scored the go ahead run.
Cishek stunned after throwing a pitch to the backstop while trying to issue intentional pass.
Of course Seattle being the visiting team in their home stadium meant the Marlins had one last chance. But League got the save giving up a single.
The win got the M’s even at 39-39 and back in second place as the Angels lost.
Ackley, a homer short of a cycle, showed heads up base running when he tagged up on the fly ball to left field in the tenth. Not every baserunner does that. He is showing he can not only hit, but play smart baseball.
Even though the road series with Florida was played in Seattle, the attendance reflected road numbers, drawing 15, 279 Friday in a big win, then 16, 896 in Saturday night’s loss. Sunday’s contest moved to a night game due to afternoon soccer down the street, drew a very poor 10, 925.
Braves come to town next. It’s good to be back and batting last.
Pardon me for beating a dead seahorse, but without an offense, it is hard to win. The three game sweep by Washington illustrates the sea-sick sailors problem as the Mariners hull sank below .500.
Tuesday a Justin Smoak error in the 9th inning helped the Nats score 5 runs, but only two earned as the Mariners lost 6-5.
Wednesday the Nats scored two runs, both unearned, thanks to errors by Figgins and Olivo. Mariners lose 2-1.
Thursday Pineda pitches 8 innings, strikes out nine, allows no runs, but the Nats win again in the bottom of the 9th on a Sac fly.
The Mariners gave up only eight runs in three games, only four of the runs were earned. And they lose all three games.
The Mariners have to play perfect defense and get great pitching in order to keep the game close. A .230 team batting average, last in Major League baseball will not win games, not enough to get into the playoffs anyway.
But can they get a bat?
The picture is misleading. They are not icicles, but Mariner bats.
One will not do them any good. Even if they make a trade, they would have to trade low minor leaguers or a veteran like Chone Figgins. But who wants a third baseman hitting .190 with no power in a power position.
Therein lies the problem. Seattle has little to bargain with.
Maybe Doug Fister and minor league pitching prospects can be traded along with Figgins, with Blake Bleavan who came over from Texas in the Cliff Lee trade, taking Fister’s spot in the rotation.
Baseball is a game of highs and lows. The Mariners went from a high of taking two of three from Philadelphia to a low, losing three straight one run games to Washington, losing two in the bottom of the 9th.
Contrary to popular belief things to not even out. If it did very team would play .500 ball. If the Mariner bats do not heat up or if they do not make a big trade, then chances are the excitement they gave us in Spring will die in summer.