There are car nuts who love shopping at wrecking yards for car parts. I am a baseball nut, not a car nut, but I assume it is cheaper to buy parts on the scrap heap then at an auto parts store. The Mariners remind me of wrecking yard shoppers. This offseason they signed Logan Morrison and Corey Hart, both of whom missed significant time last season with injuries. They came off the scrap heap. Today they are both on the disabled list.
Last season the Mariners tried Aaron Harang and Jeremy Bonderman from the pitchers scrap heap. They also gave Michael Morse and Jason Bay a shot. None of them worked out. Now they have signed Xavier Nady, a right handed hitter.
Nady has played for eight teams; the Padres, Mets, Pirates, Yankees, Cubs, D-Backs, Nationals, and Giants. He is in extended spring training and will be assigned to Tacoma to get some at bats.
Manger Lloyd McClendon refers to Nady as a professional. That is a true statement because baseball players who are paid are professionals. McClendon said Nady got off to slow start with the Padres, his second tour of duty with them. He hit .135 in 22 games before being released. But he only hit .240 in 19 games with the Giants in 2013 and .157 in 2012 with Washington in 40 games. Nady is 35 and clearly on the downside of an average career.
Hart missed all of 2013 and went he went on the DL he was hitting .209 with 5 homers. He might return around the all-star game. Morrison hit .150 in 8 games before straining his right hamstring. He is currently rehabbing in Tacoma and is 7-21 (.333) with a homer run. At the moment the wrecking yard sale hasn’t helped. But Chris Young who missed all of 2013 and only pitched in four games in both 2010 and 2011, after starting 20 in 2012 and who has not won more than 4 games since 2008 when he won seven with San Diego is 4-2 with a 3.30 ERA.
I doubt if Nady makes it to Seattle will be any better. The Mariners favorite thing is to say, it can’t hurt, it’s worth a shot. But how many true bargains to you get at a wrecking yard?
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.
Going into play July 23rd, 2012, Seattle was 42-55, thirteen games below .500. Sounds like most Mariner teams of the past decade. But after that date they were 33-32, one game above .500. What happened on July 23rd was that Ichiro was traded to the Yankees. Seattle played better without him.
Coincidence? Perhaps, but consider that some players on the team felt Ichiro was not a team player. They don’t say so in public, but there have been interviews where players strongly hint that was the case. The old saw says veteran leadership is important, yet the two veterans that should supply leadership did not. Ichiro did not want to be the face of the franchise, went for individual numbers, did not want to bat lower in the order-until he was traded to the Yankees, and the other veteran Chone Figgins, was not only the biggest free agent flop, but sulked, and had the leadership of a lemming.
King Felix is the face of the franchise. He is approachable, smiles, and will lead the pitchers. And the Mariners have Michael Morse, a veteran who is approachable, likeable, wants to be a Mariner, wants to change the perception of the Mariners to other players in the league, and both he and Kendrys Morales can hit with power. They will provide protection for the still young Mariners, taking the pressure off Smoak, Ackley, et al.
The Mariner clubhouse will be more enjoyable because there is better chemistry. So says Brendan Ryan who thinks this years team will be more close-knit. When talking about last year, though not naming names, it was clear, the clubhouse and what happened when the press was not around was not a smooth sailing cruise.
Of course the Oakland A’s in the mid 1970s’s were contentious, often fought with each other in public and private, had a discordant clubhouse, a fractured team with more hate than love for each other. But they won and won and won. It was a different era. They could play between the lines. I don’t think in todays age that can happen.
But the fact Seattle played better without Ichiro; said goodbye to Figgins, and traded Vargas; while adding big bats, moving in the fences, signing their ace through the next seven years, and having young players either on the roster or in Tacoma ready to move forward, points the Good Ship Mariner in the right direction. They just need to follow their compass and not get lost.
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.
Congratulations to the Mariners for setting a new team record in futility, having lost their 15th consecutive game. They did so in style getting bombed inBoston 12-8.
It came on the worst start in Michael Pineda’s career, giving up seven runs and not being able to get out of the 5th-I mean the inning, not the bottle.
In 1889 Louisvillelost 26 straight. Cleveland lost 24 straight in 1899 and Baltimore lost 21 straight in 1988-and those were the Orioles first 21 games of the season. So the M’s still have some goals ahead of them.
I wrote in an earlier blog prior to their embarking on this road trip they might not win until August. Now, having been swept by Toronto, and Boston, with the Yankees looming in the Bronx, that scenario is close to reality.
The Mariners have for the most part gotten hits and runs of late, scoring 29 runs in 6 games, a 4.8 average, though they still blew golden opportunities. It is the pitching that sprung a big leak, one as large as the hull of the Titanic after colliding with an ice berg on its first road trip. Starters or relievers, both are guilty, giving up 46 runs, a 7.6 average.
Brendan Ryan after his grand slam. Some thing positive
It was pitching that dominated before the all-star game for the Mariners. Perhaps the arms grew weary or the pitchers minds lost their grip, lost their concentration; but surely lost something.
There is nothing to do but continue to go on the field and play.
Eventually they will win, by accident if not by desire; by odds if nothing else. But win they will. Good teams find ways to win, bad teams find ways to lose and the Mariners are finding every way imaginable to lose.
The dog days of July
They are playing to win, but like trying to run in a swimming pool, trying is useless. There is nothing they can do; they are treading water as they sink lower into the pool.
Seattle did not get the chance to swab the decks of the good ship Mariner as the Yankees won game three by a 7-1 score, resulting in a bit soiled poop deck.
Justin Vargas, like Pineda on friday and Felix on saturday struggled early with control. Unlike the other two, he was unable to escape, going three innings allowing five hits, walking four, and giving up six runs, five coming in the third. Vargas tossed 82 pitches in three innings. That is a mitt full.
Two of those runs in the third should not have happened as Gimenez, Mariner catcher tagged out a sliding Swisher, but umpire Gerry Davis missed the tag on Swisher’s elbow. It should have been the third out, but the run counted as did the next. So it goes.
Jeff Gray made is second Mariner appearance in relief, pitching four innings giving up one run. Chris Ray pitched two scoreless innings.
Justin Smoak did hit a home run, his seventh, giving Mariner fans something to cheer about.
Texas, Los Angeles, and Oakland all won, so Seattle drops into a tie with Oakland for third, but only 1.5 games back of Texas.
Still winning two of three from the dreaded Yankees and A-Fraud is a positive. Tomorrow is a Memorial Day afternoon game against the Baltimore Orioles, a team the Mariners should be able to handle, but after the Yankees, a let down must be guarded against. So the M’s need to pluck some feathers.
Jack Cust did not play Sunday, so after hitting his first homer in his 164th plate appearance his second is still pending, holding at 19 plate appearances.
Ex Mariners on the move; Russell Branyan released by Arizona is with the Angels; Josh Wilson also relased by Arizona is with Milwaukee, and Jose Lopez, released by the Rockies, is yet to be claimed.
Adam Kennedy’s bases loaded single against Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 12th got the Mariners a 5-4 win over the Yankees, moving the M’s into second place at 26-25 and beating the mighty Rivera for the third time in 56 appearances. Kennedy had been 1 for 12 against Rivera.
Security was a bit lax at Safeco Field Saturday night. There were three separate incidents of fans running onto the field, the last one being a streaker, reflecting, perhaps, the Mariners recent streak of winning; but the streaker had nothing on the Mariners who wore uniforms during their streak. He did get more laughs than the Mariners however.
It was a tight contest with Cano homering in the second and Teixeira in the third.
Olivo had an rbi ground out in the second, beating out a relay throw that could have ended the inning on double play. He also doubled in two runs in the fourth and scored the M’s fourth run on a Ryan single.
Granderson had a two out triple in the seventh to tie game 4-4.
Admiral Felix, like Pineda Friday night, struggled with his control, pitching seven innings and tying a career high with 128 pitches, walking five and striking out four. He gave up four runs leaving with the score 4-4.
The brooms will be out on Sunday to see if Jason Vargas and the M’s can beat C.C. Sabathia and the Bombers. Sail on Sailors!
Jack Cust watch: 1st homer at 164 plate appearances; second homer pending at 19.