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.
Chone Figgins said in an interview last week he wants out of Seattle. If he is having as much trouble leaving as he did getting hits, there are plenty of Mariner fans who will gladly show him the southbound lanes of I5.
In his first year with the Mariners Figgins hit a meager .259, far below his career average as well as fans expectations. In 2011 he hit .188 and in 2012 .181. If hitting below .200 was below the Mendoza line, then hitting below .190 is hitting below the Figgins line. There are many pitchers who hit better than Chone.
It has been a waste of money, one of the worst Mariner free agent signings in their mediocre history. And he is still owed around $15 million. I never liked the signing for two reasons. He is the same type of hitter that Ichiro was. A singles hitter. Having them bat one-two in the order was proposed because they both had speed. But Chone never liked batting number two, he was a leadoff hitter-at least in his mind. He was given that chance this season and he failed. The second reason is that he was moved from 2nd base to 3rd base, a position that is a power position and Figgins has no power. He is-or was-a 2nd baseman, leadoff hitter. He did not fit with Seattle.
When asked the other day about Figgin comments regarding his wanting out of Seattle, Jack Zduriencik, Seattle’s general manager, said, “that was not a smart thing to say.” I disagree. He should let everyone know his feelings, so the front office can be nudged to part ways with this lost cause.
Mariner fans want Figgins gone, and sooner, the better. Greenland would be a nice place. I have flown over that delightful place. It is a icy as Figgins character. Rumors are surfacing about Chone’s attitude, his personality, and that he is a cancer in the clubhouse. Whether true or not does not matter. The bottom line is Figgins must go.
Figgins is like that guy by the freeway exit with a sign asking for help. In Figgins case his sign reads: Out of hits. Please help. Anything will do.
The difference is that Chone has $15 million. But I will still pay his bus fare out of town. Or even the ferry.
Whether right or wrong, there is a longstanding believe that a lineup should have power at corner positions, those being left and right field and first and third base.
Since Ichiro foregos power for average, the lineup needs power from another position, but they don’t have it at short, catcher, or second, though Olivo has hit some home runs and Ackley has shown some pop in his bat.
No, not this type of power hitter.
But they have no power in left field, in fact that has been the Mariners black hole since they began play in 1977. Other than Phil Bradley, the Mariners have not had a strong left fielder.
Justin Smoak was to fill the power bill at first and he got off to a good start, but a thumb injury saw him go into a severe slump, so the jury is out on Smoak.
Carp has been playing a lot at first and has showed power, but third base with Figgins, when healthy, is another Ichiro type of hitter, a slap hitter with no power.
These guys are too small
Not that corner positions all need to hit thirty plus homers, but those are the spots that tradition holds a winning team gets run production from.
The Mariners have too many slap hitters. They need gap hitters with power and those needs should be addressed in the off season. Getting a journeyman DH will not solve the problem, certainly not a Jack Cust type.
Casper Wells has shown power of late and might be a fit for left field, but do the Mariners want him there more than Treyvon Robinson?
These guys are more like it.
The lineup is definetely off kilter and needs to be balanced. It should be an interesting off season.
The Seattle Mariners were unable to achieve immortality by setting a modern-day record for consecutive losses, having to settle with a franchise record of 17. I don’t think they will mind.
The M’s set a season high of 17 hits ending the 17 game skid in a 9-2 win over the Yankees in New York and now come home to play Tampa Bay Friday.
Every Mariner had a hit except Justin Smoak, disproving the notion that where there is smoke there is fire; sometimes it is just ashes. Even Jack Cust had a single sandwiched among three strike outs. While Ichiro had four hits it was the young guys, Dustin Ackley 3-5, 3 rbis and Mike Carp 4-5, 4 rbis who carried the load as Admiral Felix gets the win and is now 3-0 in the new Yankee Stadium.
This outburst comes the day after getting one hit in losing to the Yankees Tuesday night.
While it is good to celebrate the win, it is also a sad day for the Mariner family as Rick “the peanut guy” Kaminsky, who was the best peanut vendor in baseball, tossing bags of peanuts to fans behind his back with impeccable precision since the M’s came into existence in 197,7 died at age 67 of a brain aneurysm.
Friday night the Mariners are starting Eric Bedard fresh off the DL. Rumors fly that he is being showcased for a trade to a contender. With Blake Beavan showing he is ready to step and replace him in the rotation, it is likely that this will be Bedard’s last start in a Mariner uniform.
Whiles Boston as been mentioned as a destination, where he will go is only speculation, and the Mariners have done a good job preventing leaks that lead to rumors. Any team that is a contender is a possibility. It is doubtful the Mariners will get much in return because Bedard will be a free agent after the season and he has been injured each of his years in Seattle. But something is better than nothing.
Prior to Thursday’s game with Toronto, Mariner’s manager Eric Wedge said he was going with veterans, that “only veterans can get us out of this slide” meaning of course an eleven game losing streak.
But it is veterans who have gotten the Mariners in the slide to begin with. Ichiro .260 and .212 in last 30 days; Figgins .184 and .107 in last thirty; Olivo .216 and .169 in last thirty; Gutierrez .181 and .175 in last thirty.
The only two changes of note in the lineup were Figgins playing in left field and Jack Wilson at second. Wedge said he was going with veterans to snap the losing streak, but it may have more to do with showcasing Figgins and Wilson for teams looking to add veterans for the stretch. Not that the Mariners would get much, but Wilson is not part of the Mariner’s future and Figgins needs a change of scenery, as he has been a bust.
Today down 5-1, veteran Miguel Olivo belted the Mariners first grand salami of the season to tie game 5-5 in the 8th, but in the bottom half of the inning veteran Dave Pauley gave up two runs and Mariners lose again 7-5.
The Mariners offense came alive in Toronto, scoring 16 runs, but losing all three games, 6-5, 11-6, and 7-5. The bats warmed up, but the pitching deep-sixed.
It will be interesting if Wedge keeps Wilson and Figgins in the lineup when they head to Boston for a weekend season..More showcasing or more shake ups. Either way the Mariners have a chance to make history. They have lost 12 straight, two away from the team record of 14. If the Red Sox sweep them- a likely event-then a new record will be set with a chance to add-on when they go to New York Monday.
Time for the kids to play
The season is lost as far as any post season, so cheer on the team to set a new record in futility. Then hope they make some trades for decent prospects or at least warmer bodies, then let the kids play themselves into or out of jobs for next season.
Did anyone watching the Boston-Tampa Bay game Sunday night, that was 0-0 for fifteen innings with each side getting three hits during that span, think it was a Mariner inter-squad game?
Anyway . . .
Beginning Tuesday they play nine straight games, three each against Toronto, Boston and New York before a Thursday off day and a three game set with Tampa Bay to finish the month.
Okay, they have a chance against the Rays at home, but the road trip to the East is brutal with those lineups, even against Mariner pitching, for as we know, it only takes two or three runs to beat Seattle.
During the nine game losing streak the Mariners have 52 hits in 290 at bats, an average of .179-and 12 of those 52 hits game in one game.
Against the Rangers they were outgunned, shooting blanks, getting 20 hits in 126 shots, a .159 average.
The good ship Mariner, like the Titanic, is taking on water and sinking fast. With batting averages plummeting with no end in sight, they stand little chance against those eastern clubs.
The country may be in a recession, but Mariner bats are in a depression. Ichiro who had gotten hot has slipped back to .262. Now that is depressing.
If the Mariners were characters in a novel, they would be the Joads in “The Grapes of Wrath.” Their bats repossessed by the banks, the players itinerant; like the Joads, hopeless, forlorn, with tragedy looming on a daily basis.
The Joads trying to sort things out.
No trade can spark an infusion. Nor do they have much to trade, nothing to bring quality. They must stay the course of building from within with young players. They have given away to many young players in the past who are now stars for other teams-and the Mariners received next to nothing in return.
It will be a long summer in depression era Safeco for the Joad family.
Wrap up game with the Angels who bedeviled the Mariners the last two nights. The halos had the brooms out and ready to sweep the Mariners into Elliot Bay.
Scoreless game bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and Carlos Peguero up with a 1-2 count. He hits one up the middle and Aybar of the Angels is behind the bag ready to make the play to end the inning. But the ball smacks the bag, bounces high in the air and before things get settled two runs cross the plate.
Bedard pitched seven innings giving up three hits, no walks, striking out five before giving way to Dave Pauley. The usual reliable Pauley with a 0.94 ERA walked two and gave up an RBI single to Aybar to make it 2-1.
In the Mariner eighth Greg Halman, like Peguero, a rookie, who came in for defense replacing Mike Carp in left, blasted a ball over the centerfield fence for 3-1 lead. It was his first Major League homer.
Speaking of rookies, starting left fielder Mike Carp robbed an Angel of a home run early in the game, leaping high up on the left field fence, gloved hand and arm reaching over the fence to pluck a run away from the Angels.
So all three rookies had a big part in the Mariner win. Peguero, Halman, and Carp. They will delight M’s fans for years to come.
League came in the 9th for the save. A one out bloop single by Kendrick gave the Angels hope. Then a slow bouncer with Brendan Ryan charging into the infield grass and all in one motion scooping up the ball one-handed and firing to Smoak at first to get Trumbo for the second out as Kendrick took second. Then a harmless fly to center to end the game.
Ichiro who was 3-34 before being sat down for one game last week is 10-20 since his day of rest.
Thursday the M’s have the day off. Friday it is the Phillies with Oswalt and Pineda; Saturday it will be Worthy, a rookie, facing Admiral Felix, and Sunday it is Cole Hamels and Vargas.