Tag Archives: Seattle Mariners

Mariners Expected to go After Victor Martinez

Victor Martinez Mariners

It isn’t a shocker that the Seattle Mariners are expected to go after Detroit Tigers catcher Victor Martinez in free agency, right?

Martinez is one of the best pure hitters in MLB and he’d fit right in as a designated hitter batting behind Robinson Cano and in front of Kyle Seager. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has already made public comments that he considers adding a power bat as the greatest offseason need.

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon has already stated that he expects two, TWO power bats to be added before next season starts. I guess it’s good to ask for two, that way it’s expected for his GM to at least accommodate him with one, if anything.

Victor Martinez batted .335/.409/.565 in 151 games with 32 home runs and 103 RBI. Those totals would have led the Mariners and surely would have sent them to the playoffs had one of the current players contributed them to the already improved offense.

The Tigers will surely try to retain their free agent but as we saw with Robinson Cano, talented players can be lured away to the Pacific Northwest, for the right price of course.

What that price might be is unclear. But we already know that payroll will be increasing next season thanks to the improved attendance at Safeco Field. A contract somewhere near 3-years and $45 million just might do the trick, and add even more butts in the seats for next year.

Mariners at Red Sox Series Preview

mariners at red sox series

mariners at red sox series

The Mariners split the series between the Twins and now travel to the East Coast for a rematch with the Red Sox. Of course you remember that the Mariners lost 3 of the 4 games in the last series against these Red Sox. The Mariners managed to score 30 runs in the series, yet the Red Sox scored 34 and won in large part to late inning implosions from the M’s bullpen.

Since that series the Mariners are 10-3 and are only 5 games under .500. Michael Morse also returns from a trip to the DL that lasted over a month, adding another heavy hitter to the lineup. The Mariners have their best starters going against the highest scoring team in the American League. Joe Saunders opens the series and has posted a 5-2 career record against the Sox with a 4.11 ERA in 10 games. Hisashi Iwakuma takes the mound in Game 2, his career against the Sox is short…..in fact he’s only pitched in one game against them and only lasted 3 innings allowing 6 runs on 8 hits. Finally we have Felix Hernandez, whose career against the Sox has been very successful. In 13 games that Hernandez has started against the Red Sox he has a 7-2 record with a 3.13 ERA in 92 innings.

The key in this series for the Mariners is keeping the lead. Last series the Mariners bullpen was unable to hold onto the lead and gave up runs late in the game, costing the Mariner at least a split in the four-game series. The offense is clicking for the Mariners and if the bullpen can handle clutch situations against a playoff team then they’ll have a shot at winning the series. The Mariners have an all-time record of 163-223 against the Boston Red Sox while going 71-116 in Boston.

Checking On The Mariners Defense

Raul Ibanez

In the off-season, it was clear that the Mariners had taken a route in which they emphasized power over defense. Their new acquisitions on the hitting side were all hitters with power (but often low OBPs) and little or poor defensive value. Whether these were just the players the Mariners targeted in the off-season, or whether or not it was a clear shift in focus by the front office is a little unclear, but it was a clear sacrifice that most could see from a mile away.

While defensive metrics have their problems, it is usually understood that 3 years of data is a good sample size of defensive statistics. If we assumed a player played 150 games in a year, that would mean 450 games over 3 years. If we wanted to look at a team, we would assume that 50 games would be a decent sample size (450 divided by 9). At the time of writing this post, this is where the Mariners are at this season. So let’s compare the 2012 data to the 2013 data. Let’s see if we can measure the actual sacrifice the Mariners made this off-season by using a variety of defensive metrics.

We must note that things like BABIP may also be driven by the new park factors that will come with the new Safeco. The new Safeco may turn more balls into homers, which would lower the BABIP, or more balls into hits off the wall, etc. The point is, all variables should be considered and these numbers don’t come in a vacuum.

[table id=38 /]

By every single metric and measure, the Mariners are a worse defensive team this year. They went from being in the top 5 of 11 of the metrics, to only top 5 in the crudest of all metrics, fielding percentage. The team was top 10 in 10 of the 11 metrics in 2012, and this year, they are top ten in just two, the other being double play runs (which isn’t that surprising, as it has still been mainly Brendan Ryan and Dustin Ackley up the middle so far, we will see how the Nick Franklin/Ackley swap changes this, most likely making them worse defensively). They went from a team that helped their pitchers defensively, to a team that is very clearly hurting their team defensively, going from an average rank of 6th to an average rank of 20th. The team is now, as was projected in the off-season, a bad defensive ball club.

But has the tradeoff been worth it? So far the Mariners have still been a below average team overall, giving up much more runs than they have scored. Overall offensively, according to wRC +, the Mariners have went from 27th in 2012, to 19th in 2013. They have clearly improved offensively, but they are still below average. Even when looking at power, the team is 18th in Isolated Slugging. They went from a good defensive team and bad hitting team to a bad defensive team and slightly below average hitting team. The trade-off, at least so far, isn’t working if you believe the data, and certainly is not helping the already struggling Brandon Maurer, Aaron Harang, and Joe Saunders.

Is There Something Wrong With Lucas Luetge?

Lucas Luetge

Lucas Luetge was a rare successful Rule 5 draft pick in 2012, proving to be a serviceable LOOGY, getting lefties out at a very good clip and having a nice year until the last two months of the season, where he struggled enough that it made him replacement level for the season. However, 2013 has been less kind, as he struggled in spring training, struggled in the short sample size in the Majors, and has even been in the minors some this season. One big problem I think, is that Eric Wedge has used him in less of a strict platoon manner than last year. In 2012, he faced lefties in 55 percent of his at-bats.  This year, he is facing lefties just 30 percent of the time. Luetge is clearly not a guy who can get righties out (one reason we will see, is that his changeup is almost never thrown), as his minor league splits show he can’t get out righties, and last year showed he couldn’t get out righties. So Wedge and company don’t seem to be giving him or the team the best shot to succeed (perhaps out of necessity, perhaps not), but I wanted to see if Luetge is pitching differently, and whether we could pinpoint anything he is doing differently, or whether the difference in effectiveness is just because of usage. I looked at his Pitch F/X data from 2012 and 2013 (including his spring training outings in Pitch F/X parks in both years).

Let’s compare his stuff from 2012 to 2013 to see if the problem lies there.

Lucas Luetge 2012 Spin and SpeedLucas Luetge 2013 Spin and Speed

It actually looks like he is throwing harder this season than last, with fastballs that reach, or are at least close to, 95 MPH. His curveball (the pitch with above 300 spin and the slowest pitch) also seems harder. So if anything, the stuff is better for Luetge. Why this is the case is unclear. He is 26, pitchers usually start losing velocity and stuff at this point, and it seems like too much of a difference for it to be a Pitch F/X error.

His release point looks the same (it looks a little cleaner, but that is probably just because the sample size is smaller, and the more parks a pitcher pitches in, the more different his release point looks as some parks are slightly off when measuring release point, distorting the data somewhat):

Lucas Luetge 2012 Release PointLucas Luetge 2013 Release Point

The data does suggest, and you can see it in the graph, that he is releasing the ball slightly higher and closer to the center of the rubber this season. This would most likely be considered better, even though the results aren’t there.

What about where he is throwing the ball? His average location charts, with MLBAM tags as labels:

Lucas Luetge Average Pitch Locations 2012Lucas Luetge Average Pitch Locations 2013

While we saw some differences in release point and stuff, the differences in location is even more dramatic. He has turned from an extreme glove side pitcher to an extreme low ball pitcher. Why would this be? The new release point? Something he is doing on purpose? If I was forced to make a judgment, I would probably say that he is pitching differently because he is facing less lefties. Luetge succeeded against lefties last year by keeping the ball away from them. It wouldn’t make sense to approach righties this way as he would be hurt badly, so instead, there are more balls in the middle part of the strike zone and down.

To me, the data suggests that Luetge is a better pitcher than he was last year. However, he is being used differently. The more traditional relief role doesn’t play into his strengths and emphasizes his weaknesses. The Mariners already have Charlie Furbush and Oliver Perez (with Bobby Lafromboise and perhaps even Brian Moran waiting in the wings), so they really don’t need a LOOGY, and Luetge’s role is somewhat redundant. Maybe this makes him trade bait, or more likely, a guy they can just stash in the minor leagues for a while, but pitching him in a traditional relief role helps no one.

What Went Wrong: Jesus Montero’s 2013


Jesus Montero’s 2013 season has gone about as badly as it could have. Montero was sent down in part because of his defense, as the Mariners seem to be finally moving towards giving up on his ability to catch, as it is apparent (as it was to Baseball America years ago, who kept projecting him as a first baseman or a DH in Yankee prospect lists) that he doesn’t belong behind the plate. However, it is unlikely that he would have been sent down if he was hitting. He clearly wasn’t, and you don’t need advanced metrics or stats to tell you that things weren’t going well at the plate in 2013.

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When you look at just some of his peripherals, he looks okay, or at least, not that bad. A 2.7 HR %, reasonable K/BB % (you would rather have some more walks and more strikeouts honestly), the HR/FB % is a little low (which could just be luck at this sample size), not an overly high GB %, actually about half a percent lower than it was last year, and not many infield fly-balls. However, his overall power, outside of homers, was atrocious, as was his batting average on balls in play. Baseball Heat Maps batted ball distance suggests he wasn’t hitting the ball very far, suggesting he wasn’t hitting it very hard and was deserving the low BABIP. Here is his spray chart, courtesy of Texas Leaguers:

Jesus Montero's 2013

If I told you that Montero was a left-handed hitter and you ignored the infield, this spray chart would make a lot of sense. Most of his power comes on balls hit the other way. The scouting report was always that he had a lot of opposite field power, but he has a real absence of pull power, or at least this year, is not pulling many balls for extra bases. One would think, even if a player has really good opposite field power, that they would still have better pull power, unless they are just lacking in bat speed. Keeping this issue in mind, let’s take a look at his pitch data.

First, let’s look at his average locations, where pitchers are throwing it to him, along with his hits, outs etc.

Montero Average Strike Zone

While his hits are more inside than anything else, his runs scored plays (which include homers) are around the rest of the pitches, but a little higher than the average pitch. Nothing out of the ordinary really.

One of the things I found interesting about Montero as a minor leaguer was that he was a highly rated prospect, but he was an all-bat prospect, and he didn’t walk a lot or have great OBPs. I think patience in general has been somewhat of an issue for Montero, as generally he has contact skills, but it sometimes works against him, causing him to make some weak contact and make easy outs. Here are the pitches he swung at in the Majors this season:

Montero Swing Map

Honestly, this doesn’t look bad, rarely swinging at pitches above the strike zone. He has chased some really inside pitches, and a few low and away, but he is getting strikes and swinging at them. I don’t think those pitches that he chased in this chart are the reason he has struggled so far. His outside the zone swinging percentage is higher than league average, but it was actually better in 2013 and 2012.

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This spin and speed looks at only the pitches in play or whiffs, in an attempt to see what pitches he is struggling with:

Montero Spin and Speed

While strikeouts aren’t a real problem for Montero, his swinging strike percentage has gone up. As you can see, Montero was swinging and missing at quite a bit of breaking pitches, especially curveballs. He handled fastballs pretty well, but was not really seeing a whole lot of elite fastballs (weirdly his average fastball velocity seen has gone down each year in the Majors so far, a strange, and random, trend).

If strikeouts aren’t the problem, and we are trying to figure out where his power went, whether he is having problems with inside pitches, or whether he is just unlucky on balls in play, it makes sense to take a look at the pitches Montero has made outs on. Here are the release points and the strike zone locations for the outs for Montero so far in 2013:

Montero Release Points

Again, the vast majority of them are in the strike zone. A good number of them are inside, which explains all the groundouts to shortstop and 3rd base in the spray chart above. He doesn’t seem to be doing very well on pitches up and in the zone. As far as release points go, it is a little strange how many outs he has made on lefties that are low and out. Then again, we saw that many of his pitches he swung and missed at were high spin curves, which are curves usually thrown by lefties. Lefties that are far and out can just drop curveballs on him, and even if they are in the zone, he is either missing or turning them into outs.

There doesn’t seem to be a real easy answer such as “he should quit swinging at these kind of pitches” or “he doesn’t have big league power or bat speed”. Maybe it is just lack of athleticism, as there may be a lot of balls that would lead to getting on base that turn into outs just because he is so slow.  I don’t really believe that is a real answer, but the evidence points a lot to bat speed and guessing, which seem unlikely for a guy that was so heralded in the minor leagues, but then again, prospect gurus miss on guys all the time. Perhaps Montero’s offensive tools were overstated to begin with.

Brandon Maurer, Kameron Loe, and Recalling Spring Training


Kameron Loe wasn’t a Mariner for a very long time. In fact, he threw all of 6.2 innings for the team before the plug was mercifully pulled on the experiment. After he was DFA’d, he was claimed by the Cubs, pitched poorly in 8.1 innings, and then was released (and signed by the Braves, though he hasn’t pitched yet).

His big problem with both teams was the long ball. Somehow, nearly half of his fly-balls turned into homers and he gave up 9 homers in 13 earned runs. Loe was originally signed as a minor league free agent, but made the team rather easily, which raises the question of whether or not the Mariners should have seen the problems with Loe. Since the team plays so many games in a Pitch F/X park during Spring Training, we can look at the data of his spring training outings and compare it to the regular season outings.

I decided in this post to focus on location, so here is where Loe has given up homers this year in the regular season, along with the approximate velocities:

Kameron Loe's Homers

As you see, they really haven’t been in the middle of the plate, or high in the zone. There doesn’t seem to be much tendencies either arm side or glove side, or a certain pitch.

Here is where Loe has thrown pitches on average this year, with results:

Kameron Loe Average Strike Zone

Loe is an extreme low ball pitcher, using his height to sink the ball. Even his average home run is on pitches below the middle of the strike zone (and humorously, the average groundout were on pitches higher than the average pitch).

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Now let’s go back to spring training, here is the average location in spring training for Loe:

Kameron Loe Spring Training

That is basically right on the dot of his average pitch so far in the 2013 regular season. So his spring training location was predictive of where he would locate in the regular season, but not really a location that you would expect would yield a lot of homers. Loe wasn’t the only Mariner that 20/20 hindsight shows probably shouldn’t have made the team out of Spring Training, the other one seeming to be Brandon Maurer, with a high home run rate and 4.44 kwERA. So let’s give him the Loe treatment, and see if there was anything that should have told us, location wise, that he shouldn’t be in the Majors.

Here was Brandon Maurer’s average location in spring training:

Maurer Spring Training

Maurer basically threw the ball right down the middle. You can have success throwing down the middle, and there really isn’t a preferred location inside the strike zone when it comes to frequency of all pitches and success (especially if you throw hard, which Maurer does), but one would think it isn’t ideal. Here are Maurer’s average locations so far this year:

Maurer Average Strike Zone

Rather than throwing the ball a bit glove side, he is throwing more pitches on the arm side of the plate. Most of his whiffs come at the bottom of the zone glove side, but the rest of the pitches have roughly the same average location (suggesting that selection, something we noted in a previous article on Maurer is a bigger problem for him than location).

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I wanted to dig a little deeper, so I gathered the data from all right-handed pitchers that threw on Friday and looked at their average locations:

Average Right-Hander Strike Zone

Not surprisingly, homers are above the average pitch and whiffs are below. Balls that contact were made on (versus just the average pitch) were a touch more armside than the average pitch, and not surprisingly (if you believe in DIPs philosophy anyway) the non-outs and outs are roughly the same. When you compare the average right-handed pitch versus Maurer and Loe, we see that Maurer is right on average and Loe located the ball much lower than average with the Cubs and Mariners. There wasn’t anything average location wise, either in Spring Training data or in regular season data, that tells us Loe and Maurer should struggle with homers or hard contact. Rather than it being location, the problem for Loe might have just been stuff, and for Maurer, pitch selection (mainly, slider usage).

Does The Mariners’ Minor League System Have a Contact Problem?


As I was watching Brewers’ minor leaguer Tyler Wagner and his 90 MPH fastball (he was a 4th round pick in 2012 to be fair) strike out 10 and shut out Clinton’s lineup in a 7 inning game, I started thinking about the Mariners’ minor league contact problems. It seems that the Mariners have had a lot of major strikeout players over the past couple years in the minors, whether it is Kalian Sams, Joe Dunigan, Guillermo Pimentel, Denny Almonte, and even at times, Mike Zunino. Of course, the importance of minor league strikeout rates for hitters can be overstated, and in my research minor league strikeouts only really matter in the context of strikeouts versus walks.

So I wondered if the Mariners’ minor league system has a contact problem, in the context of walk percentage and strikeout percentage. So here are the 2013 affiliates so far (as of Tuesday May the 7th, the games on the 8th aren’t included):

[table id=34 /]

Here is what they looked like in 2012 (just the stateside affiliates):

[table id=35 /]

Here are the league averages for those leagues (2013 for the full season leagues, 2012 for the short season leagues)

[table id=36 /]

Clearly AAA Tacoma is having a lot of problems making contact so far, but they are also walking a decent amount as well. AA Jackson is striking out a lot and they aren’t walking either. High Desert was a heavy contact team last year (and several of those players are now on Jackson, which explains their low walk rate this year), but this year, they have maintained their strikeout rate, and are walking more. I complained about Clinton in the opening, but they are doing a good job so far this season of limiting strikeouts and walking quite a bit.

It seems that you can complain that a few of the Mariners’ affiliates have been strikeout heavy, but a lot of them were walking as well. I don’t think the data suggests that it is a systematic problem, though there are certainly a few players in the Mariners system that have have epic strikeout problems.

A Deep Look at Aaron Harang and Meta-Narratives


The Mariners traded right-handed reliever Steven Hensley and some cash to acquire Aaron Harang from the Colorado Rockies. Harang is a 34 year old who has started 293 games in the Majors. He never actually pitched for the Rockies, as they traded for him from the Dodgers, but immediately designated for assignment.

From 2010-2012 (he hasn’t pitched yet this year) he had a -2.1 WAA, mainly because of an awful last season with the Reds. The Reds have a very hitter friendly ballpark and Harang really struggled with homers that year. I don’t have batted ball factors for the Reds park but Harang’s average batted ball given up was 264.88 feet in 2010. In 2011, in his bounce back year at Petco, his average batted ball given up was 259.814 and 262.135 in 2012 with the Dodgers. Maybe the ball carries more in Cincinnati, or maybe he just pitched better from 2011 to 2012. For what it is worth, and maybe not a whole lot, K/BB says he has not pitched better, getting worse actually (which one would expect from a 34 year old).

Of course, Pitch F/X can tell us a lot more about Harang than numbers can, especially the basic numbers. Since 2011, Harang has thrown 6305 pitches in Pitch F/X ballparks (when you count a few Spring Training outings). This is the data we will look at this post.

Let’s start by looking at Harang’s release point:

Aaron Harang

As you can see, that is a high release point. Here is Harang’s release point compared to other Mariners:


He becomes the highest release point right-handed Mariner. This size gets him on top of the ball pretty well, giving him good plane, and should allow him to be a little more consistent and a body that limits injury. However, you will notice that the release point above is terribly inconsistent horizontally. I thought this just meant he had changed his spot on the rubber at sometime or changed his delivery, but this doesn’t seem to be the case as he has this difference from game to game. I then thought that maybe it had to do with platoon splits, as maybe he was one of those pitchers that moves on the rubber depending on what kind of hitter is up at the plate, but the data doesn’t seem to support that either. It also doesn’t seem to have to do with pitch type either, and he doesn’t have a high walk rate or a long recent injury history, so I think it means nothing honestly. I just wonder why he does it.

As far as pitches go, here is Harang’s Spin Graph, which I think helps us with pitch classification:

Harang Spin Graph

Of course, the first question that arises from the graph is why do some sliders and curves spin? And which are better? The majority of pitchers, though there are exceptions, do not have much spin on their curveballs or sliders.

I count 453 curves than spun less than 100 degrees and 73 curves that spun over 300 degrees. Here are where the non spin curves were located:

Non Spin Curve Locations

Here are where the spin curves were located:

spin curves locations

It is hard to see much of a difference there except non spin curves seemed to get low and away from righties more than then spin curves, while the well located spin curves were more likely to be just down and not down and away. Both pitches stay more arm side than glove side for Harang. As far as actual results go, just one of the spin curves have been turned into a run scoring play, while 6 of the pitches were swinging strikes. It is a smaller sample size, but compare this to the non-spin curves have a 24 to 7 ratio. So it seems that the spinning curves are actually better. The pitches get a little bit different movement as well:

Spin curves:

-2.26 overall

-3.58 vertical

-.93 horizontal

Non spin curves:

-.75 overall

-3.78 vertical

2.28 horizontal

So the non-spin curve gets a touch better vertical movement and much better horizontal movement, which would suggest that this is the better pitch and the results are mainly just noise. I wanted to see if he throws the different curves on purpose, if there was a specific count he threw them in. He throws the non spin curves with an average of .8 strikes in the count and the spin curves with .75 strikes in the count for the non-spin curves, which is completely unhelpful. It didn’t appear that this was a Pitch F/X error, as he threw both pitches in multiple parks. The spin curves are thrown at an average 74.96 MPH, while the average non-spin curve was thrown at 74.99 MPH, so it has nothing to do with speed. On average, his non-spin curve was released very slightly lower and a little bit closer to his body than his spinning curve. While it might be a reach, this may be where the different movement and spin comes from.

We have already talked too much about the curveball, especially since he throws his just 8.88% of the time. Harang throws a lot of (36.1 percent of the time) what is classified as moving fastballs at an average of 90.09 MPH. His 4-seamer averages just barely higher, at 90.27 MPH. He throws some kind of fastball 63.4 percent of the time. For comparison, here is a graph of how Harang’s fastballs compare to the Mariners’ rotation’s fastballs. I used Harang’s data versus each of the Mariners’ starters last start (For Felix I used Brooks Baseball’s classifications because MLBAM has confused his fastball and changeup).


As you can see, the Mariners’ (22nd in starting pitcher fastball velocity) don’t have a hard throwing staff and Harang fits right in there. His fastball doesn’t get much horizontal movement comparatively, but gets good vertical movement. He also uses his fastballs more than everyone in the rotation other than Saunders’ in his last start. While his fastball is not as bad as Saunders’, one wonders why Harang uses his fastball so much when it seems to be a tick below average once you consider handness, velocity, and movement. Like most pitchers, Harang also throws a slider and a changeup.

Harang’s slider averages 82.48 MPH, in the bottom 30 percent of right-handed starter sliders. It is a pitch he can throw for a strike though, almost 68 % of the time (which would actually seem too high). It also isn’t as effective as the curve, even though he throws it more, as 40 of them (in our sample that we have been looking at) have been hit for runs versus 207 whiffs.

Harang’s change is even less effective. He throws it for strikes just 53 percent of the time, with 6 hit for runs and 18 for swings and misses. It is not a big part of his pitch selection, throwing it just 5.6 percent of the time. He also doesn’t throw it very hard, at 82.6 MPH on average, indistinguishable from the slider velocity wise.

If one were talking about Harang as a pitching prospect, we would note that he has no plus pitches. His fastball is below average and he doesn’t have a big swing and miss pitch. Because of this, he doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts and usually struggles with home runs (as evidenced by the poor end to his Reds career). One quickly asks if Harang is an upgrade from Jon Garland, who the Mariners let walk in spring training to allow Blake Beavan and Brandon Maurer to round out the rotation. It is perhaps convenient that the Mariners got Harang from the Rockies, who signed Garland after he left the Mariners. The Rockies traded for Harang, but had no interest in placing him in the rotation over Garland. The Mariners let Garland walk for free, because they didn’t want to commit him to the rotation, but here we are less than two weeks into the season, one home series into the season, and the Mariners trade for a pitcher that the Rockies clearly think is worse than Garland. Note, we must make some qualifiers. When looking at the Rockies, every move they make has to be interpreted in the context of Coors Field and the crazy Park Factors that come with playing in Colorado. The Rockies may not be saying that Garland is better than Harang in a vacuum, but perhaps that Garland is a better fit than Harang in the ballpark. While Garland doesn’t “miss bats”, the groundball rate certainly points to this being the case. Also, we have to take in account the Rockies front office. The front office is in a weird state of flux right now, with Dan O’Dowd not the GM and basically still the GM at the same time. Also, and this is a meta-narrative, the Rockies off-season before the 2012 was pretty historically poor. The team made a laundry list of mistakes, trading for a bunch of mediocre fly-ball pitchers and watching those pitchers go down in a ball of flames, their lineup suffer from losing those traded hitters, and eventually going to a terrible pitching plan. After losing over 90 games, the team then traded for a veteran reliever, giving up a young starter and a minor leaguer. Even if the Rockies’ front office came out and said that even in a vacuum, Garland is better than Harang, we would have no reason to believe that they are right. They have been wrong quite a bit. The acquisition of Harang in the first place happened because they thought that signing Ramon Hernandez and starting Wilin Rosario would be a good plan at catcher and make Chris Iannetta expendable. They traded Iannetta for Tyler Chatwood, who has been awful as a Rockie, while Rosario proved to be some kind of poor man’s Jesus Montero, some raw power, but no on base skills, and unable to really play catcher defensively. Ramon Hernandez proved to be old and ineffective as a backup and Yorvit Torrealba, a catcher that played for 3 different teams last year, was a better option as a MiLB deal. Also, the Hernandez-Harang trade, and flipping Harang to to the Mariners, saved the Rockies 2.5 million dollars. If they started Harang over Garland, they don’t save that money. So I don’t think that we should read too much into the Rockies choosing Garland over Harang. That doesn’t mean the Mariners didn’t make a mistake.

Luckily for the Mariners front office, it wasn’t a big mistake, especially if Harang could just outperform Beavan. Steven Hensley is not much a loss. He is 26 and had no path to the big leagues with the Mariners. In fact, the Rockies sent him to AA. He has a below average right-handed fastball out of the bullpen without a real plus breaking ball (relying mainly on the slider).

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