Tag Archives: Trayvon Robinson

The Mariners sign Garland, Former Mariners Disperse Elsewhere

jon garland mariners

jon garland mariners

The past couple of days have been extremely busy when it comes to Mariner notes, so here is another collection of information and thoughts.

Friday evening, it was announced that the Mariners had signed Jon Garland to a minor league deal. Jason Churchill had been talking about how the Mariners were interested in him and watched him throw. Evidently they liked what they saw. I don’t have any info on the throwing session, and Garland didn’t pitch in 2012, so here I will just look at what Garland was when he was pitching. This is limited info and it is hard to currently know what is and isn’t relevant, but, just like with the Jeremy Bonderman signing, but less extreme since Bonderman hasn’t pitched in two years.

It is possible that with a year off, one or both have gained a lot of velocity and gotten healthy. It could technically be possible that both have lost a lot of velocity or stuff, but it would be unlikely they would be signed, even on a minor league deal, if they had lost a lot of velocity. So here, we will just assume (or infer from the data that he was signed) Garland is about the same when it comes to stuff as he was in 2011. Garland originally looked like he had a MiLB deal with the Indians in 2012, but strangely refused to take the physical and was released. In 2011, he made 9 starts in the Majors with the Dodgers, throwing 54 innings (limited thanks to shoulder issues).

While his actual run prevention numbers weren’t bad, he struck out just 12.2 % of batters and walked 8.7% of them. His fastball lost a full MPH, sitting at just 88.2 MPH, well below average for a right-hander and lower than new Mariner Joe Saunders. His sinker lost 2 MPH according to basic Pitch F/X data and he seemed to use it more as well (though Brooks Baseball suggests he didn’t. The classifications of the different kind of fastballs remains the most pervasive scouting problem in Pitch F/X). He also used the combination of his curve and slider more. He was a 200 inning pitcher as recently as 2010, when the Padres made a magical run that ended in a one game playoff. His peripherals still weren’t good, but thanks mostly to Petco, he did a good job of limiting homers. He has also consistently outperformed his peripherals in his career, thanks to a low BABIP, lower than average OPS on ground-balls and fly-balls, and solid IFFB%.

Again, since we don’t know what he looks like scouting wise, projecting Garland for 2013 is hard, but Oliver projects a .297 BABIP for some reason (almost .015 points higher than his career and recent averages) and 4.29 ERA/4.19 FIP (again, why is he predicted to under perform his peripherals?). I don’t think you should take that very seriously. When he has pitched in the past, his heat maps have shown that he keeps the ball low, avoiding high and inside to righties especially. With Safeco projecting to play like a normal park in 2013 (according to my estimation and batted ball studies), this will be helpful, especially if he can get a lot of ground-balls for Brendan Ryan and Dustin Ackley to eat up.

I am extremely interested in seeing the Pitch F/X data of both Garland and Bonderman when they pitch in Pitch F/X Spring Training parks this year. The obvious comparisons for these two veterans is Kevin Millwood’s 2012, but he actually pitched the previous year, and even though I didn’t believe it at the time, showed signs of competence in Colorado in 2011. Expecting either of these two to perform like Millwood did is just unrealistic and unlikely. The Mariners have got a lot of help from players that were expected to do nothing over the last 2 seasons (Wilhelmsen, Delabar, Perez, and Kinney come to mind), so maybe they have a good eye for this kind of talent, but that doesn’t explain why they have had serious problems evaluating prospects in trades (Chiang and Smoak come to mind). It would seem, that while evaluating skill certainly plays a role, they have also been pretty lucky in this regard.

The Orioles designated Trayvon Robinson for assignment for Todd Redmond. I wrote about Todd Redmond here and find it a little odd, that even with the Orioles mediocre rotation depth, that they would trade Redmond for Robinson. I don’t think Redmond is a big league pitcher. Of course, I thought at the time of the Robert Andino/Robinson trade that the Orioles got the better part of the deal. I think I am the last Robinson believer. It is funny that both players in the trade have already been exposed since the trade before ever playing for the team (Andino was non-tendered before a deal was quickly reached). It won’t happen, but it would be cool to see the Mariners claim Robinson and have him replace Peguero, and designate Jason Bay to make room for Joe Saunders (or as Churchill suggested, trade Yoervis Medina or Mike Carp for low level prospects not on 40 man rosters).

Chone Figgins signed a minor league deal with the Marlins. This is a pretty obvious destination as the team seriously needs a 3rd baseman. Obviously Figgins was a disaster in Seattle, and there isn’t any real reason to believe that he will return to the form he showed with the Angels that got him the contract with Seattle, but NRIs are designed to work this way. They aren’t married to him, just like Seattle isn’t married to Garland or Bonderman, and the Marlins were not married to the obviously washed up Aaron Rowand last season.

Mark Lowe signed a minor league deal with Dodgers. Lowe was the other pitcher Seattle sent to Texas in the Cliff Lee/Justin Smoak trade. He was an interesting case because he was injured at the time with a back injury and didn’t come back until late September and really struggled for the Rangers. Overall, he pitched 87.1 innings with Texas, at a .3 WAR and -.2 WAA pace. In 2012, despite an injury that cost him time, he was excellent in 39.1 innings, with a .6 WAA, pitching pretty successfully despite pitching in an average park factor of 111.9, which is over 20% of a more offensive friendly environment than what Safeco played. With that said, he did see a drop in strikeouts and velocity. His FIP – was about career average, and he clearly knew he wasn’t throwing as hard, as he threw more sliders than he ever has.

He has always been known as a hard thrower, but hasn’t really put it all together in the Majors, at least not like you would think. Just on statistics, you would think he was worth a MLB deal, but teams seem to be concerned with the injury risk, and the decreased velocity. Churchill reported that the Mariners were one of the teams that were interested in Lowe and watched in throw in a recent workout in Arizona (along with former Mariner Ryan Rowland-Smith). Evidently they were not impressed, or the Dodgers came with a better offer. At a random AA Frisco game I went to in 2012, he pitched on a rehab assignment and happened to give up a monster home run to Padres prospect Edinson Rincon. Enjoy.

Mariners trade Trayvon Robinson for Robert Andino


The Mariners traded Trayvon Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles for infielder Robert Andino on Tuesday.

Trayvon Robinson has been written about on here quite a bit (as just typing in Trayvon Robinson into the search function on the site will show. I encourage you to read some of those articles as I am not going to rehash all of the arguments both pro-Robinson and anti-Robinson). He was out of options, so he would have had to have made the 25 man roster out of spring training or be subject to waivers where anyone could claim him. Considering the way he had hit in both MLB stints with the Mariners and in Tacoma in 2012, there was a good chance that he wouldn’t make the 25 man roster. He has some decent tools, especially baserunning and defensively, but he was limited by the strikeouts (that didn’t come with anything close to elite power) and a weak throwing arm. The Mariners need an outfielder to hit right-handed pitching, and while he would have been a somewhat creative option for 2013, he wasn’t one that you would have to rely on. Baltimore will most likely rely on him as a 5th outfielder that can come in late and play defense (especially when they showed that they liked to play Chris Davis and Steve Pearce in left and right field. It is not an organization that puts a lot of value on defense, or at least that didn’t last year). I think I liked Robinson more than most Mariners’ writers, but it would be hard to bring in other outfielders without risk losing him. In that way, he was expendable, and at least they got something for him (more on that below obviously). The biggest benefiery of this move may be Eric Thames. Since he has options left, there was no way I saw Thames making the 25 man roster to start the 2013 season. Unless the Mariners bring in at least 2 outfielders, he most likely will make the team now (if he can beat out Scott Cousins at least) and avoid a stint in Tacoma.

Andino is also out of options, but he is an infielder that has played SS, 3B, and 2B (along with 8 games in the outfield) in the Majors, making him a utility option. According to the measurements both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs use, he is a good defender as well. However, Baseball Prospectus’ FRAA, Andino doesn’t make the plays you would expect him to make. In fact, I have at times remarked that Andino doesn’t have the range or athleticism that you would expect for his kind of player. “Range Factor” may not be the best defensive stat because it is unable to take into account some variables (like that a shortstop may not get to as many balls when a fly-ball pitcher is pitching, etc.), but Andino has a below average RF/G at all 3 infield positions. While speed doesn’t always correlate to range, it is still a skill that you look at in players and it seems that Andino’s speed is below average. According to times I have collected, the right-handed hitters time to first is a little under average. His Speed Score in the Majors is also a 4.0, while league average is 4.6. However, despite this lack of speed, he seems to be a good baserunner, as both FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus have him as positive when it comes to baserunning value (and Baseball Cube gives him a 68 out of 100).

While his value both defensively and as a baserunner seems somewhat murky, what about Andino’s bat? After all, offense is the biggest need for the Mariners, and that seemed to be why Trayvon Robinson didn’t work out in Seattle. Now you don’t expect a lot of offense from a utility infielder. In fact, the average 2nd baseman in the Majors had a 88 wRC + and average shortstop had a 86 wRC + in 2012. This is why Dustin Ackley and Brendan Ryan’s offensive output is acceptable, as they also provide baserunning and defensive value. While Andino has played in 266 games over the last two years (with a subpar 73 OPS +), he would not be expected to play that much for the Mariners that much in 2013, although injuries do happen (the health of Seager, Ryan, and Ackley was nice in 2012 as you never had to run out Munenori Kawasaki for any lengthy period of time. The health of these 3 might not repeat, so you have to be prepared, and this is why utility infielders can be really important). With that said, Andino’s bat has been poor in even by comparison to other middle infielders as his career wRC + is worse than Brendan Ryan’s (at 67 wRC + to 75. Brendan Ryan’s 2012 was a 61 wRC +). Out of the 304 players that have at least 500 plate appearances over 2011-2012, only 19 have a worse wRC + than Andino. 3 of them are Mariners (and 3 of them were Tigers as well) and another one is former Mariner Yuniesky Betancourt. So Andino is one of the worst (at least out of the ones that have been given a lot of plate appearances) hitters in baseball. This obviously speaks to how bad he is offensively, but it may give us a little insight into how the Orioles viewed his defense, versatility, and baserunning. It is not like the Orioles are a deep organization and their preferred 2nd baseman simply can’t stay on the field, but it seems reasonable to think that at least they thought he was a good defender and baserunner. The argument goes something like this: Andino is obviously a bad hitter (it is not even like he puts up a good batting average), the Orioles let Andino play in 82% of their games, therefore the Orioles thought Andino provided value that made him worth playing (and it isn’t a leap to say that the value is defensively or at least baserunning). That is as far as we can go though, without falling into argumentum ad verecundiam (or “argument from authority”). While front offices have data, scouts, and experience that you or me might not have, they make mistakes. Sometimes teams pay Jeff Francoeur a lot of money and play him every day despite the obvious fact that he isn’t helping the team. Sometimes, the team with the most extreme hitters park in baseball trade for a bunch of fly-ball pitchers. Before 2012, the Orioles’ reputation was one of a terrible front office that had no idea how to put together a team. Reputations perhaps matter a little when evaluating how a team is run, but reputation cannot be used as an argument. To simultaneously live in a world that seems highly mismanaged with human beings that make tons of mistakes and say “well he/she says it is true, therefore it must be true” is a logical contradiction that even the most small minded among us pick up on quickly. The average front offices are obviously smarter than the average fan or average writer, but that isn’t a reason to not look at data with seriousness and use a critical (not as in a negative outlook, but as in one that looks at everything rationally and tries to look seriously at both the good and bad side to every baseball move) eye to evaluate moves as well as we can. Even at the smartest front offices, there are mistakes. Tim Williams, a writer at Pirates Prospects that I respect a lot, often says that when he looks at a move, he always thinks “what would the Rays do”. Even for them, for every Fernando Rodney signing, there is the Pat Burrell signing, or the Luke Scott signing, or the 2nd Carlos Pena signing, or even the Jaso/Lueke trade. Smart front offices use their resources wisely and make more good choices than bad choices, but they all make bad choices.  In a game that can be so volatile and at times just random, no front office is perfect and sometimes they even make choices that are clearly wrong even with the information that is publicly available. This is all a long way of saying that just because Andino played so much with the Orioles, doesn’t mean he should be a starter or even a guy that gets a ton of playing time. If you trust the defensive and baserunning measurements of Baseball Reference (and the way they are combined with the offensive statistics), Andino was worth 8 runs less over that time than a league average player would be. FanGraphs and BR both have him as an above “replacement” player (while Baseball Prospectus does not, because of how they rate his defense), meaning he most likely belongs in the big leagues on a 25 man roster, but he isn’t a guy that you want to play a lot. To me, Andino is more of a sure thing than Robinson, as at age 28, we pretty much know what Andino is. Robinson, at age 25, has a higher ceiling. Andino is not really going to improve. He is in his peak years, this is who he is. Robinson has still not hit his peak. There could still be a little more power and contact there (or perhaps he doesn’t improve and stays where he is now, a player that is a borderline MLB player). That remains to be seen, but I do at least understand the trade from a personnel point. With that said, Andino made 1.3 million this year and is 1st year arbitration eligible according to Baseball Reference and MLB Trade Rumors projects that he will make 1.8 million dollars next year. While that is more than Robinson will make in 2013, it isn’t enough to make a big deal out of (the Mariners aren’t going to decide against signing a free agent because of the extra ~1.3 million dollars).

This would seem to rule out the Mariners signing a serious utility option this off-season and probably hurts the chances Carlos Triunfel had of making the 25 man roster out of spring training as a utility man. Some think that this means the release of Chone Figgins will finally come, as midnight tonight is when eligible players have to be placed on the 40 man roster or they can be subject to the Rule 5 draft (most of the ones not added are obviously not drafted in the Rule 5 draft anyway. Lucas Luetge proved to be a nice add by the Mariners, and if they add anyone to the 40 man roster, I will write a post on those players). I would obviously support a release of Figgins, and I would use that roster spot to sign another middle infielder (I suggested some, most that would only take minor league contracts, here). If I were the Mariners, I would not want to be in any situation in which I had to play Andino for any kind of significant time. This means that there are more moves to be made. The off-season is young.

Mariners Claim Future Tacoma Rainier Scott Cousins


The Mariners have claimed Scott Cousins off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Cousins never played for the Blue Jays. He was designated for assignment by the Marlins (who drafted him in 2006. Cousins had played his whole career with them) and claimed by the Blue Jays in October. The Blue Jays almost immediately designated him for assignment. The 27 year old outfielder has played all 3 outfield positions, with center-field being the most common. Perhaps unfortunately, Scott Cousins will always be known for running over Buster Posey and ending his season in 2011. Honestly, it was the first thing I thought of when he was claimed by the Mariners.

Since breaking into the Majors in 2010, Cousins has split significant time between the Majors, AAA, and the DL, totalling up to 128 games in the National League. While he has one option left, he has really struggled in the Majors with a -.5 bWAR and 0 fWAR. His hitting statistics are downright laughable and he averaged just 250.951 feet per battled ball and striking out 30.9 % of the time.

Cousins is a big guy, around 6-1 200. It is a calm collected swing but is pretty slow. It became pretty apparent to me that he would struggle with hard stuff, but I wanted to look at more data. It turns out that he is getting absolutely torched by fastballs according to Brooks Baseball and Baseball Prospectus:

He doesn’t seem to have great plate discipline when I went back and watched him play some. However, it is not awful, he isn’t swinging at everything and he has decent walk rates through out the minors and has a 3.90 Pit/PA in the Majors which is pretty solid.

He has struggled so bad in the Majors, that looking at the left-handed hitter’s MLB splits probably isn’t very helpful, but as bad as he was against righties, he was even worse against lefties. In AAA, his splits have not been very dramatic. Despite this, the Marlins have basically only let him face righties (having the platoon advantage 85% of the time), and he has failed.

His best tool according to the Baseball Cube is his speed, which rates at 84. His biggest problem is contact, rated at just a 37. You know whose ratings those are really similar to? Trayvon Robinson. Robinson has the same exact speed rating but a little bit lower contact rating (19!). Cousins has the better speed score but Robinson has a better wRC + in the Majors (though Cousins had a better wRC + in the PCL this year). Cousins runs at least a 4.14 to first, which is pretty solid (though not amazing). He was a pitcher in college, shouldn’t be any problems with his arm (which is Robinson’s worst tool). It looked pretty strong when I saw him, but isn’t elite or anything. Good enough for right-field and probably center as well. Defensively, Cousins is rated positive by Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, and Baseball Reference (basically all of the defensive metrics). He is a better all around player than Robinson with better tools, but his bat has a lot of problems. With that skill set (the size, the speed, and the arm), I am surprised he lasted to the 3rd round in the draft. The contact problems must have been visible even back then, and obviously it is not always helpful to question draft picks several years in hindsight (and he hasn’t had any MLB success anyway). His inability to hit, at least so far, has really diminished the impact of those tools.

The move to claim Cousins was met with quite a bit of scorn from respected Mariner writers and bloggers. However, there does seem to be some kind of thinking that makes sense here. He is a left-handed hitting outfielder, which the Mariners need, with a very similar skillset to Trayvon Robinson (a switch hitter). There are reasons to think that he is better (or at least might be) than Robinson. Plus, he has an option left, making it possible to give Robinson one last shot in the big leagues while Cousins hits in Tacoma. If Robinson struggles in 2013 and proves not to be in the Mariners future plans, they can designate him for assignment and have a possible replacement in Cousins. This is a really cheap possible solution to the left-handed hitting outfielder problem. It also doesn’t have a very high probability of working, but it is a no risk move. I think Robinson has more of a chance of succeeding in the Majors than Cousin, but I can see why the Mariners did this.

3 Cheap Outfielders for the Mariners to Consider


We have already looked at some cheap bullpen options for the Mariners to purse this off-season, and it is time to look at 3 cheap outfield options that the Mariners may be wise to pursue. The Mariners’ 2012 outfield had a 98 wRC + against left-handed pitching and 84 wRC + against right-handed pitching. The average MLB outfield had a 105 wRC +, so the Mariners have to improve on both sides of the plate. However, since the problem against righties is worse, I will highlight two left-handed hitters and one right-hander. The problem with this approach is that there simply aren’t many left-handed hitting options in the outfield free agent market.

We will start with the right-hander: Scott Hairston.

When you look at Scott Hairston’s career statistics, they aren’t overwhelming. He has been about a league average hitter for his career, with a 100 OPS + and 99 wRC +. Defensively, he has been slightly above average according to both major defensive metrics in his career, but has been below average the last 2 to 3 years. At age 32, it is perfectly legitimate to believe that he has regressed somewhat defensively. As far as speed and baserunning goes, I got him at 4.15-4.25 to first, so an above average to averagish runner from the right side.

Hairston doesn’t walk much, but had .265 ISO and 135 wRC + against righties (with a reasonable .297 BABIP) this year with the New York Mets. He is not a patient guy, and isn’t going to a high OBP player. His talent with the bat is his power. Even against right-handed pitchers, his ISO was .218 (while ISO isn’t park adjusted, the Mariners OF ISO was just .135. Hairston would clearly help in this regard). His average batted ball distance of 264.717 feet since 2007 is not astounding and it has been even worse in the last couple of years. His average distance drops rather significantly when it comes to curveballs and sliders as well. The Pitch F/X profiles show that Hairston whiffs much more on off-speed pitches than fastballs (most every one does, but these are compared to averages, meaning Hairston whiffs a disproportionate amount of times on off-speed pitches).

The extra whiffs on fastballs down the middle suggest that his bat may be a tad slow or that he has a long swing. Despite this, he has not been a big strikeout hitter and has really good power:

Hairston is basically what Raul Ibanez has morphed into, other than being right-handed, younger, and more athletic (so perhaps not like Raul Ibanez at all, other than having big platoon splits and being a dead fastball hitter). I don’t put much stock in Baseball Reference’s similarity scores, but one comparison is Casper Wells. I find this interesting because Wells may make a guy like Hairston redundant. The team could always trade Wells or Trayvon Robinson to make room, but they could also go with an opening day outfield of Hairston, Robinson, Wells, Franklin Gutierrez, and Michael Saunders. If added to the 40 man roster today, I would probably rank him as the Mariners 16th best player, right after Carter Capps and before Blake Beavan (I will do another 40 man roster ranking in December).

Fred Lewis:

I will be honest, one of the reasons I picked these two hitters is that both have shown that they are willing to play in AAA (unlike, say, Rick Ankiel. This isn’t an indictment of players who won’t or a judge of their character, so don’t interpret it that way. I am willing to bet that I would rather sit at home than play in AAA if I had already played 10 years or so in the Majors. I am just looking at the crop of left handed hitting outfielders, and there isn’t much there, so teams will have to bring in minor league free agents).

Lewis got a taste in the big leagues in 2012 with the Mets, struggling in 18 games. He is 31 and has never had a (b)WAR of more than 1.7 (meaning essentially that he has never been an average big league regular). He has never been considered a good defender by defensive metrics, but speed score, baserunning value, and Baseball Cube’s speed rating all have Lewis as a well above average runner.

He has been a solid offensive platoon option in his career, walking 10 percent of the time (and striking out about twice as much) with a 107 wRC + (he has a high BABIP, but in 1437 PAs, it is hard to call that fluky). He was also a good hitter in AAA in 2012, with a 118 wOBA + and 139 OPS +. He played in 81 games in 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds and didn’t play particularly well, but took his walks and was above replacement level. Lewis doesn’t have great power, and you can see that it is basically all pull variety:

At this point, it is really hard to say how Safeco will play thanks to the fences being moved in, but it usually (or at least used to) saps power going that way (in 2012, Mariners hitters had more success going to left field, that is lefties going the other way and righties pulling the ball, than going to right field, that is lefties pulling the ball and righties going to the other way, according to OPS). This is what is so attractive about the right-handed Hairston, as all of his power is pulled:

What I find attractive about Lewis is the decent platoon splits and the patience. Along with the walk rate, you also get about 4.05 Pit/PA with Lewis. This is something that the Mariners were below league average at, seeing 3.8 pitches per plate appearance. Adding a guy that can play every once in a while and come off the bench and take pitches is always a nice idea. If added to the 40 man roster, I would probably slot him between Chance Ruffin and D.J. Mitchell (so probably 30-32 range, above Medina, Robles, and Peguero and the open roster spots/free agents).

Kosuke Fukudome:

I thought Fukudome was a fantastic signing by the Chicago White Sox for the 2012 season, but it didn’t work out that way. The big Cub signee from a Japan was a disappointment considering his salary, but performed at a MLB level. The 35 year old may return to his home country according to some reports, so he may be a guy that you have to offer a guaranteed contract (but obviously not a large one). He has been about league average since coming to the states, with a 99 OPS +. Athletically, he hasn’t been a good base stealer and isn’t considered a great fielder, so he really isn’t a guy you want starting consistently.

Against right-handed pitchers, he still doesn’t hit for much power, but he has gotten on base 36.6% of the time in his U.S. career. I usually dislike looking at just OBP, but the Mariners outfield had an OBP of just .287 against RHP in 2012. Fukudome would seem to provide an improvement at least in on base ability as long as his skills have not diminished too much. From the time he came to the U.S. until the end of the 2011 season, Fukudome averaged 260.357 feet per batted ball. Last year in his time with the White Sox (small sample caveats apply as he had just 51 plate appearances) he averaged just 247.162 feet per batted ball. On the other hand, he still had about his career norms in K/BB, and hit very well in 166 PAs in AAA (more walks than strikeouts with a 138 wRC +).




Looking at Out of Options Mariners

Trayvon Robinson

As the season ended (with an excellent 12-0 blowout of an Angel team that looked sloppy after being eliminated on Monday) on Wednesday, it became officially time to look at next year (even though we have already been doing that here).

Tacoma Broadcaster Mike Curto (@CurtoWorld) tweeted something that was interesting to me. He listed 5 players that had played with the AAA Tacoma Rainiers and the Seattle Mariners this year that were out of options. For those that are not familiar with the term (or just find the many rules of MLB rosters and transactions confusing), here is Rob Neyer explaining the situation:

When a player is on the 40-man roster but not on the 25-man Major League roster, he is on “optional assignment.” One common misconception about the rules is that a player may only be “optioned out” three times. Actually, each player has three option years, and he can be sent up and down as many times as the club chooses within those three seasons.

When you hear that a player is “out of options,” that means he’s been on the 40-man roster during three different seasons, beginning with his fourth as a pro, and to be sent down again he’ll have to clear waivers

If a player placed on Major League waivers is not claimed by another team during the three business days after waivers have been requested, then the players is said to have “cleared waivers,” and the team has secured waivers for the remainder of the waiver period.

This generally means one of three things:

(1) They can send him to the minors (subject to his consent, if he’s a “Veteran Player,” more on that below).

(2) They can release him, which makes the player a free agent and thus available to sign with any team.

(3) They can trade him to another team, even if the so-called “trading deadline” has passed. Any trades made after July 31 may only involve players who have cleared waivers.

If a player doesn’t clear waivers — in other words, if he’s claimed by another team or teams — the club requesting waivers may withdraw the waiver request.

If the club doesn’t withdraw the waiver request, the player’s contract is assigned in the following manner:

(A) If only one claim is entered, the player’s contract is assigned to that claiming club.

(B) If more than one club in the same league makes claims, the club currently lower in the standings gets the player.

(C) If clubs in both leagues claim the player, preference shall always go to the club in the same league as the club requesting waivers.

So this situation applies to 5 Mariners (actually more, but guys like Jason Vargas and Franklin Gutierrez are not going to be demoted to Tacoma): Mike Carp, Josh Kinney, Hector Noesi, Trayvon Robinson, and Casper Wells. So going into next season, the Mariners are going to have to make the decision as to whether or not these players are worth keeping on their roster, or risk losing them (the links attached to each player is my latest article on each):

Mike Carp

With the (at least apparent) revitalization of Justin Smoak, Mike Carp looks pretty expendable. He is really only a first baseman, and it looks like the Mariners will give Smoak another start as the main first baseman going into 2013. The Mariners lack an immediate replacement to backup first baseman (unless the Mariners move Montero to 1st, which seems likely as John Jaso apparently failed in Spring Training this year), so Carp may be asked to just fill that role for now. Or, as rumors have been circling, he may actually be traded. There were actually rumors during the season that he would be DFA’d after a disappointing rehab assignment ended, but that probably wasn’t a realistic situation. He could be a solid bench player for some team, but really struggled to find playing time at the end of the year. I would be a little surprised (but not this surprised) if he was a Mariner next year (the Mariners may choose to replace him with a cheap veteran to play first, or even play Dustin Ackley at 1st on days Smoak doesn’t start, which I personally don’t think is a good idea).

Josh Kinney

Kinney is arbitration eligible this offseason. I suppose that he could be a useful piece going into next year with the Mariners, but he doesn’t exactly have a lot of value. I most likely would non-tender him. I would invite him to sign a minor league contract to come back to the Mariners, but would be shocked if he took it. Though not worthless, he is a guy you can afford to lose, especially with the Mariners bullpen situation.

Hector Noesi

I think this pretty much solidifies his role as a bullpen pitcher. They won’t be able to send him down to Tacoma to work as a starter anymore. He clearly showed this season that he is not a MLB starter at this point, and barring some really weird event in the winter or spring (I don’t know if he is going to pitch in Winter ball, he got plenty of innings this year, so there is a good chance he won’t), he won’t be a MLB starter in the spring. I think everyone can agree that he has looked good in the bullpen in his last couple of outings, and I think the Mariners can stick him in there instead of risking losing him (he simply throws too hard to be pushed through waivers, someone would claim him). If he can improve his slider (the only secondary pitch he will need in the bullpen unless he wants to throw an occasional changeup), he could be a really good bullpen piece for the Mariners. With Carter Capps, Stephen Pryor, and Charlie Furbush already in the bullpen, a Hector Noesi could allow the Mariners to trade Tom Wilhelmsen if they are not in serious contention in June/July and help the Mariners get new talent into the system. It is apparent that the plan of getting Noesi in the Jesus Montero deal was not to put him in the bullpen, but reality must be accepted. The Mariners would be seriously hurting their chances of winning by using him in the rotation or risk losing him by sending him to Tacoma. I could see him possibly being used as a swing man/emergency starter for the first half of the season (until one of the big 3 or Brandon Maurer is ready), but I would love to see him pitch in a 1 inning/match up type role where Eric Wedge can just give him the ball against mainly right-handers and tell him to throw as hard as he can for 60 or so innings a year.

Trayvon Robinson

Robinson played in 44 games last year and struck out nearly 40% of the time and had a wRC + of 64. This year, he played in 45 games, and didn’t improve that much as far as results go, with a 72 wRC +. However, his walk rate improved, and his strikeout rate went down (but was still too high). He has shown a little potential for power, but at the end of the day, he has a .327 SLG and .116 ISO in 89 games in the Majors.

Evidence also suggests that he was more consistent on the bases and defensively this season. His arm really limits him, and with Saunders and Gutierrez on the team, there isn’t a point in letting him play centerfield.

Casper Wells

The 2013 Mariner outfield situation going into spring training will probably look something like this: Saunders, Gutierrez (when not on the DL), Thames (who evidently still has options),Wells, Robinson, and a free agent. I figure they have to sign someone in the free agent market that will make the big league club. It may or may not be a real impact guy, but I doubt that the Mariners can go into Spring Training with a straight face without at least one new MLB outfielder.

Wells’ stock is obviously higher than Robinson’s now, but Wells wasn’t very impressive with the bat this season. He struck out a lot (25.7%), walked less than Robinson (8.0%), and hit for a little power, but not as much as you would expect (.160 ISO). Interestingly, this year broke a string going back to 2007 where Casper Wells was an above average hitter (according to wRC +) at whatever league he happened to be playing in at the time.

If nothing else, he has a better throwing arm as shown by his throw out of Mike Trout at home plate on the final day of the season. He is a solid outfielder on the corners with decent to good speed (I’ve gotten a 4.16 to first base from him, which is pretty quick, especially from a right-handed hitter). Wells is probably the Mariners “4th outfielder” (assuming they sign a free agent), while Robinson is the 5th outfielder.

I would much rather see Thames sent down than risking losing Robinson (Thames’ lack of on base skills and defensive problems are certainly a big reason). Alex Liddi and Carlos Peguero should start in Tacoma and probably stay there (especially Peguero). When I originally started this post, I wrote that even though it made sense for Chone Figgins to be released, there was no reason to think he would not be a Mariner next year. Recent news suggests that perhaps we shouldn’t assume this. They really don’t have anyone in AA or AAA that is knocking down the door to be in the Majors. This is why bringing in at least one serious (by serious I mean a player that has a high probability of being helpful in the Majors) outfielder is going to be so important this off-season. Because of that, I hope to look at a few free agent outfielders this off-season and do scouting reports on them.

Iwakuma faces off against Darvish

Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays

On Friday night, former World Baseball Classic teammates Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma faced off against each other. Each of the two pitchers pitched in the professional baseball league in Japan for several years, before coming over to AL West teams this year. Of course, they came with massively different expectations and have some success along with some struggles. The Rangers are in a pennant race, and Darvish is a huge part of that. The Mariners are not, and Iwakuma is a free agent at the end of the year.

Yu Darvish started the game by destroying Dustin Ackley’s bat with a cutter on a ground-ball foul on the 3rd pitch of the game. Ackley would weakly ground-out to 2nd on what looked like another moving fastball. Darvish was really using that cutter against lefties and it had some impressive late dip at 91 MPH. He hung a slider to Michael Saunders and Saunders pulled it to the wall and nearly hit it out. At Safeco, it probably doesn’t make it to the warning track, but the Ballpark in Arlington is always interesting. Seager also hit a ball reasonably well to center on a straight 94 MPH fastball. When Darvish hung a slider to Jaso, all he was able to do was foul it off. Darvish then finished him off with a 92 MPH cutter (?) that broke into the dirt. Montero swung through two straight fastballs with really slow swings and would ground-out on another one. Frankly, I was surprised that Darvish threw him fastballs. He was throwing mainly fastballs/cutters, but he has good breaking pitches and Montero struggles with right-handed breaking pitches. Yu’s quality breaking pitches were on full display against Mike Carp, when Darvish got him to swing through a curveball, and then a cutter down low and away for a strikeout.

Peguero looked really bad against Darvish, but hit a grounder to 3rd baseman Michael Young, who took forever to get to it, giving Peguero a chance to beat it out. Fellow Japanese native Munenori Kawasaki was jammed by one of Darvish’s worst cutters of the night and got Peguero thrown out on a goofy play. That Kawasaki was unable to do more with that pitch shows just how terrible he is with the bat. Ackley had some of the worst swings of the night against Darvish. Saunders had a good at-bat against him that lasted 12 pitches and ended in a walk. He never looked good in the at-bat, but was able to foul off some good pitches to eventually watch 4 balls. Just when it looked like Darvish was struggling and couldn’t put away Mariner hitters, he broke off a 68 MPH curveball to John Jaso for a big strikeout. Montero would give the Mariners their first run on a fly-out to centerfield.

Darvish racked up his 200th strikeout of the season against, who else, Carlos Peguero in the top of the 5th. He then took care of Trayvon Robinson with a low 93 MPH fastball for called strike 3 (after throwing a 67 MPH slow curve earlier in the at-bat, that is good speed differential). Darvish threw a 62 MPH curve to Kawasaki and then blew a 94 MPH fastball right to end the inning in a 3 strikeout fashion. Ackley worked a walk to start off the 6th, but Eric Wedge tried to waste the runner by getting Saunders to bunt. He fouled if off backwards and went on to later pop out weakly to center on what looked kind of like a cutter (but really wasn’t a very good one). Seager weakly waved at a slow curve (66 MPH) to strikeout and Jaso grounded out to end the inning.

I don’t think anyone saw the slow curve as much and had more problems with it than Mike Carp, who was just absolutely outmatched. Peguero saw it with 2 strikes as well, and swung and missed despite it being buried in the dirt. Darvish had a great outing against the Mariners (1.38 FIP and 2.65 xFIP), getting both grounders and strikeouts and limiting walks.

Hisashi Iwakuma started the game per usual, sitting at just 88-89 MPH as you wait for him to build up his velocity. I was interested to see how well he would do since his biggest problem is allowing the long ball and the Ballpark in Arlington is clearly a place where homers are prevalent and the Rangers lineup is a very powerful one. Sure enough, Ian Kinsler pulled a slider just foul almost for a homer. The next pitch was an 88 MPH fastball driven by Kinsler to left center and out of the park. I have no idea why Iwakuma starts with his velocity so low. Some pitchers do and some don’t, but there is a big difference between the 92-93 MPH fastball we have seen from Iwakuma as a starter and the consistent 88-89 MPH he showed off in Spring Training that got him kicked out of the rotation in the first place. If I am the Mariners coaching staff, I am trying to figure out why this is the case.

Iwakuma was really hanging his slider early on and it was inconsistent in both velocity and location. However, he threw some really good 85 MPH sliders in the first inning, one to Elvis Andrus for a swing and a miss strikeout, and another to Josh Hamilton for a very weak ground-ball. He ended the inning with another good one as well, an 86 MPH slider away from Adrian Beltre for a fly-out. He got up to 90 MPH on a couple moving fastballs in the first inning. To start the 2nd inning, Iwakuma’s velocity was still not back. He threw 88 MPH fastballs with a little bit of tail to Michael Young, but was still able to get ahead only to not be able to put him away with breaking pitches. He somewhat jammed Young, but it was still hit in the air to center for a base hit. One wonders whether or not Young would have been able to do it if the pitch was 92 MPH instead of 89. He started doing a better job of keeping the moving fastball low and was sitting at 90 MPH for a couple of batters. He got what should have been a double play, but Kyle Seager made a sloppy play and bad throw that Carp couldn’t pick it. He finally got up to 91 MPH in the next at-bat, and got out of the inning despite hanging a breaking pitch.

In his 2nd chance against Kinsler, Iwakuma was much better, throwing better breaking pitches and getting him to chase out of the zone on a full count to strike him out. I was a little surprised by how many hanging sliders Iwakuma got away with. He throws a lot of hanging sliders and usually gets away with them, I was just a little surprised by how many he got away with against the Rangers. He didn’t get away with an 89 MPH fastball to Josh Hamilton, as Hisashi threw it in, on the inside part of the plate, but it didn’t matter, and it was hit way out of the park.

Hisashi’s 4th inning looked very promising, as he got two pretty quick outs with sliders, then threw a solid one to David Murphy, only to watch the ball get hit by Ackley and Peguero look completely inept at fielding and throwing in the ball leaving Murphy at 2nd. He used the moving fastball (90 MPH) to get the final out on a fly-ball to right field. Iwakuma made Hamilton look pretty bad in the at-bat after the homer, getting him to chase some hard sliders out of the zone for a strikeout. Similar to how I expected Yu to approach Montero, there isn’t much of a reason for Hisashi to throw Hamilton any fastballs.

Iwakuma got ahead of Young with 0-2 in the bottom of the 6th with a runner on, but went on to walk him, ending his outing. Overall, Iwakuma didn’t have a great start, with a 7.03 FIP and 4.65 xFIP. He gave up the 2 homers, and struck out just 4 but only walked the last hitter he faced. He didn’t get the grounders that he needs to get if isn’t going to strike anyone out.

As you can see, Darvish had superior velocity all night and better speed differential thanks to the slow curve:


It is interesting to compare the two pitchers. While Darvish has a better selection of pitches and what we would call better “stuff”, the movement charts aren’t totally different.

While Darvish clearly throws harder, one could make the case that Iwakuma gets similar or even better horizontal movement.

The 2012 Tacoma Rainiers Season Review: Pitchers


The 2012 Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners AAA affiliate, went 62-81 (with a Pythag of 64-79). Their one year park factor was 90, meaning their park was was quite a bit more pitcher friendly than the average PCL park. I have written about Tacoma throughout the season from a “scouting” perspective, so this will be more of a statistical review.

Matt Fox was the opening day starter for Tacoma, but ended up throwing just 12.1 innings for them and 26.1 innings for the organization. He got off to a solid start, but was injured very early on and never pitched for Tacoma again. After a few months, he threw 6 innings in Arizona for rehab, then 8 very pedestrian innings for Jackson. He was then released. Jeff Marquez ate up 76.2 innings for Tacoma this season, but was eventually released after a very pedestrian showing (FIP and SIERA both over 5). He was average at getting grounders, but gave up too many homers, and didn’t strikeout enough batters (his walk rate was horrible, but considering how few strikeouts he got, it looks bad). He was picked up by Colorado’s AAA club and threw 2.2 innings for them. Jarrett Grube was another veteran pitcher that didn’t make it through the year without being released. DIPs had him as a better pitcher than Marquez, but he really struggled with homers and had an extremely high line drive rate. He was picked up by the Angels and assigned to AA where he has pitched very well. Scott Patterson threw 28 solid innings (4.02 FIP, 4.23 SIERA) before being released. While not getting hardly any grounders, he struck out a good amount of batters and didn’t walk too many. Homers (which you would expect with that ground-ball rate) turned out to be his biggest problem. He was signed by the Mets and placed in AAA where he suffered a BABIP of .778 in 2 outings and went on the DL.

Danny Hultzen is the big story with Tacoma. While he threw more innings with Jackson, his struggles in Tacoma (walking nearly a guy an inning) have confused everyone. He dominated AA Jackson (2.84 FIP/3.35 SIERA) after a slow start, showing that he was ready for the next start. While not losing the ability to miss bats (almost striking out a quarter of opposing batters), he just simply had no control. I have written about him several times this year, so I won’t dwell on him here.

Forrest Snow was basically the Vinnie Catricala of pitchers. After improving his stock last year, he turned out to be a disaster this year. He threw 1 more inning in Jackson, but I decided to include him in the Tacoma recap because I make the rules. He started the year in AAA (with a possible chance of helping the Mariners bullpen sometime this year) before struggling (5.23 FIP and 4.74 SIERA) and eventually being demoted. They tried using him both out of the bullpen and as a starter and neither of the two were very successful. Despite showing the ability to miss bats (20.2 K%), he walked way too many batters (13.7 %) and got ground-balls less than 30% of the time which leads to homers in the PCL. In AA, he was okay (3.82 FIP but 4.97 SIERA) cutting down on the walks but also losing a lot of strikeouts. His ground-ball rate was a little better, but he gave up a lot of line drives in both Jackson and Tacoma. Chance Ruffin was equally, if not more disappointing for the Rainiers (4.76 FIP and 4.83 SIERA). He was considered as a guy who would definitely get some big league time this year, but pitched horribly to start the season. The 2nd half of the season was much better though, which make his statistics look better than they once did.

Steven Hensley split the year between Jackson and Tacoma, but threw slightly more innings with Tacoma, so ends up here. After a solid but unspectacular showing in Jackson (4.10 FIP and 3.86 SIERA), Hensley turned out to be one of the worst pitchers on the Rainiers, with a 5.37 FIP (5.46 SIERA). While he was able to avoid line drives, his ground-ball percentage was pedestrian and he struggled to both miss bats and keep the ball in the ballpark in the PCL. His strikeout rate was cut in half from AA to AAA. Andrew Carraway is another pitcher that started in AA but spent most of the year in Tacoma. He was simply too good in Jackson (2.49 FIP/3.45 SIERA). In Tacoma, he wasn’t bad (4.66 FIP and 4.69 SIERA), as he started off great and faded/had an injury down the stretch. He kept the walks down, but didn’t show the ability to strikeout many hitters or get many ground-balls.

Brian Sweeney was one of the few veteran pitchers that wasn’t a colossal failure. He pitched quite adequately, settling into the role of middle reliever (after some starts early on, he missed a lot of time before then with an injury. I was certain that he would never actually pitch) and then as the “piggy-back” pitcher for Danny Hultzen. He earned his innings with a solid ground-ball rate and a low walk rate. Of course, he didn’t strikeout many hitters and gave up too many homers, but if you told me Tacoma would get 93.1 innings of 4.70 FIP/4.37 SIERA (not counting his last outing of the season) ball from Sweeney at the beginning of the year, I would have laughed (mainly because I didn’t think he would actually pitch). Oliver Perez was even more surprising. He posted a 4.01 FIP and 3.31 SIERA in 31 relief innings before being promoted to the big leagues. Other than having one of the best strikeout rates on the team, he wasn’t overly impressive in Tacoma, struggling with homers. He has rewarded the Mariners for the promotion and has surprised everyone that didn’t see him pitch in Tacoma. He now has a 93.9 MPH fastball and has a 50 FIP – in 21 MLB innings this season. That is better than Joe Nathan, Fernando Rodney, and Rafael Soriano (and is park adjusted). Perez has been one of my favorite stories of the season.

After coming over in the Ichiro deal, D.J. Mitchell pitched okay for Tacoma. He got some grounders, did an okay job limiting line drives, and didn’t walk too many batters. While keeping the ball in the park, he didn’t strikeout many either. Anthony Vasquez threw 60.2 innings for Tacoma, only to disappear. He had some kind of injury and never returned. He kept the ball in the park, despite a bad GB/FB/LD, and managed to strikeout just 11.2% of batters he faced.Also part of the Ichiro trade, Danny Farquhar was solid for Tacoma in 16.2 innings, with a 2.36 FIP and 3.27 SIERA. Overall in his eventful minor league season, he threw 68 innings with a 2.82 FIP and 3.23 SIERA.

No one on the team missed bats like Brian Moran. He struck out 37.5% of the batters he faced once arriving to Tacoma from Jackson. In Jackson he had an solid strikeout rate (22.8%) but was more notable for a lack of walks (4.7%). The lack of walks continued in Tacoma and he put up an insane 1.51 SIERA (3.20 FIP). The concern is that the lack of grounders leads to homers, but you will always take someone who misses that many bats. Stephen Pryor pitched for Jackson, Tacoma, Seattle, and High Desert this season. He pitched 20 innings for Tacoma, the most for any team, so this is where his season recap goes. He didn’t give up an earned run in 20 innings in Tacoma, even though his peripherals were not overpowering. He started the year in Jackson and dominated, quickly showing that he didn’t belong there. In Seattle, he has more than held his own, striking out a quarter of the batters he has faced in 14 innings. In 38.2 innings in the minors this year, he had a 2.24 FIP and 3.02 SIERA. Health was a problem for him though. Bobby Lafromboise started in Jackson, and made AA hitters look horrible (1.36 FIP and 2.17 SIERA). In AAA, he saw some regression, but not by much, keeping the line drives down, getting grounders, striking out more hitters than average and more than 2 than for every walk. You have to like the line drive rate he got (8.9%) this year in both levels.

David Pauley was signed to Tacoma after struggling with the Angels and Blue Jays. He pitched well (4.00 FIP and 3.79 SIERA) as both a starter and reliever, walking not many hitters and doing a decent job of keeping the ball in the park. He doesn’t strikeout many hitters, but had an insane ground-ball rate. His season ended when he failed a drug test. Tacoma veteran (one could call him the face of the franchise) Cesar Jimenez had an okay but injury plagued year. He gave up hard contact and walked too many batters, but struck out a decent amount (18.9%) and managed to keep the ball in the park (.71 HR/FB). Sean Henn was another veteran who pitched well for Tacoma (3.00 FIP in 29.2 innings). He was then allowed to sign with a team in South Korea (he was technically released, but it was just so he could sign with the team). He struggled in a small sample size and was released rather quickly. As far as I can tell, that ended his season. I liked what he brought to the table though, as he didn’t walk too many hitters, struck a few out and kept the ball in the park. Josh Kinney turned out to be a very good MiLB signing, throwing 36.2 innings for Tacoma and absolutely dominating (2.19 FIP and 3.18 SIERA). He kept walks down, struckout nearly a quarter of the batters he faced, and had a decent ground-ball rate. This earned him a call up to the Majors where he has thrown a ton of sliders and has been effective (3.30 FIP and 3.85 SIERA). The walks have bitten so far, but he is still missing a lot of bats and pitching in a lot of high leverage situations.



Looking at the Potential September Call-Ups


September is coming. This means that MLB active rosters will expand from 25-40. Of course, a team cannot bring up any 15 players in the minors that they want. They can only bring up players on the 40 man roster or replace players on the 40 man roster. Using my Mariners’ 40 man roster ranking that I created earlier this month (I am planning to update my rankings in January, then again in Spring Training) I will argue for whom I think should stay, be promoted, and be replaced.

1. Felix Hernandez (MLB): Stay

2. Danny Hultzen (AAA Tacoma): Basically shut down because of an innings limit. Hultzen wasn’t throwing strikes anyway, perhaps he could get some time in the Arizona Fall League, but I think an off-season of rest would be best.

3. Dustin Ackley (MLB): Stay

4. John Jaso (MLB): Stay

5. Charlie Furbush (MLB): Stay

6. Tom Wilhelmsen (MLB): Stay

7. Erasmo Ramirez (AAA Tacoma): A no brainer promotion, Erasmo is pitching reasonably well in Tacoma now after a successful stint in the Majors (both as a starter and a reliever). I would like to even see him get another start or two in the majors this year unless the Mariners are worried about his innings (which I don’t see why, as he threw more innings last year than he has so far this year). The only concern I could see is the minor elbow injury he suffered earlier in the year in his last MLB outing.

8. Kyle Seager (MLB): Stay

9. Jesus Montero (MLB): Stay

10. Brendan Ryan (MLB): Stay

11. Casper Wells (AAA Tacoma): Just demoted. Won’t be eligible to come back until the Tacoma season ends on September 3rd. Once this happens, he is another no brainer promotion.

12. Jason Vargas (MLB): Stay

13. Stephen Pryor (MLB): Stay

14. Michael Saunders (MLB): Stay

15. Carter Capps (MLB): Stay

16. Blake Beavan (MLB): Stay

17. Francisco Martinez (AA Jackson): With the injury problems he has had this year and the absolute silence of his bat, I see absolutely no reason to promote him. Just let his season end when Jackson’s season ends and get him some time in a Winter League this year.

18. Mike Carp (AAA Tacoma-Rehab): Reinstate him on September 1st.

19. Trayvon Robinson (MLB): Stay

20. Eric Thames (MLB): Stay

21. Johermyn Chavez (AA Jackson): No real reason to promote him. Still has to prove that he can do something with the bat.

22.Justin Smoak (MLB): Stay

23. Hector Noesi (AAA Tacoma): I would recall him back to the big leagues and use him as a reliever. No reason to not bring him back the the Majors, and there really isn’t room in the rotation.

24. Alex Liddi (AAA Tacoma): Other than an occasional home run, Liddi has not looked good in AAA. He still doesn’t lay off breaking pitches, and has no real defensive position or value. However, the Mariners might as well bring him back up to the Majors and get him 15-20 more plate appearances.

25. Oliver Perez (MLB): Stay

26. Franklin Gutierrez (MLB): Stay

27. Lucas Luetge (MLB): Stay

28. Shawn Kelley (AAA Tacoma): Very simple. Call him back up, he has been good in both Seattle and Tacoma.

29. Chance Ruffin (AAA Tacoma): Ruffin has not been good this year, but has been better as of late. There is no real need for another reliever, but I fail to see the reason for him to just go home when the Tacoma season ends. I don’t think it would be a bad idea to promote him and let him throw a few garbage time innings. We will at least get another look at him (selfishly, we would have more pitch f/x data on him).

30. Carlos Triunfel (AAA Tacoma): Like Ruffin, Triunfel is a borderline decision. He really hasn’t shown anything offensively to show that he deserves a MLB callup, and he is inferior defensively than the Mariners other choices. However, it might not hurt to give him a couple starts after the Tacoma season ends.

31. D.J. Mitchell (AAA Tacoma): I would really like to see him promoted and used as a reliever.

32. Yoervis Medina (AA Jackson): This is an interesting case. Medina throws hard, and has been an effective reliever for the AA club. He has a history of control issues, but has been pitching fantastic lately. I think I would give him a shot and let him throw 5-10 innings against big league hitting (and let him start the season in Tacoma next year).

33. Kevin Millwood (MLB): He was placed on waivers earlier this week. I keep thinking that Millwood will be traded, but we will see. If he is still one in September, obviously he will be with the MLB club and it will be disappointing.

34. Hisashi Iwakuma (MLB): Stay

35. Carlos Peguero (AAA Tacoma): I wouldn’t give him much playing time with the other young outfielders the Mariners have, but there really isn’t a reason for him to not be back with the big league club (unless they decided to be really aggressive and DFA him for another option. They may do that in the off-season anyway).

36. Josh Kinney (MLB): Stay

37. Mauricio Robles (AA Jackson): Too many walks. No reason to bring him up.

38. Miguel Olivo (MLB): Stay (Probably)

39. Munenori Kawasaki (MLB): Stay (Probably). You need a backup shortstop, so unless Triunfel is promoted (or Nick Franklin/Brad Miller is added to the 40 man and promoted), you really can’t get rid of him. He is better than Triunfel at this point, in my opinion, but he really has no future in the organization or the Majors in general. Triunfel might (probably not, but he is still young and has a much better chance than Kawasaki).

40. Chone Figgins (MLB): DFA

We have either 1-3 open 40 man roster spots. So who are possible candidates for being called up and placed on the 40 man roster?

Luis Jimenez: While he has played well enough to deserve a call-up to the Majors, he doesn’t really have a future, especially in the Mariners organization. Replacing Figgins with him wouldn’t be the dumbest thing in the world, but it will be hard to get him at-bats with Jaso and Montero getting most of the time at DH (and not being good defensive catchers).

Darren Ford: The big question for me is: Ford or Jimenez? Ford most likely will not provide value with the bat, but the raw speed is always intriguing (although his in game speed is actually not that great, as he gets caught stealing too much, and has just a 7.0 Speed Score in Tacoma. That is good, but not great.). You can possibly see Ford getting more playing time, but it maybe wise to pass on both him and Jimenez, as they are both veterans and will be free agents at the end of the year.

Mike Zunino: I probably wouldn’t add him to the 40 man roster. There just isn’t any reason to rush. Of course, he is tearing the minor leagues to pieces, but he was a really advanced college hitter, it would concern me if he wasn’t tearing up minor league pitching. My preferred course of action would be Zunino perhaps playing in the Arizona Fall League, spending spring training with the big league club, then starting the year in AAA Tacoma. The only way that I would DFA Olivo would be if I brought up Zunino.

Nick Franklin hasn’t hit very well in Tacoma. He is striking out too much, walking below average, but hitting for some power. I would rather not see him with the Mariners in September.

Stefen Romero doesn’t walk, but he doesn’t strikeout a whole lot either. He has torn both California and Southern League pitching apart, hitting much better than Franklin in AA. He provides less defensive value as he can’t play shortstop and the jury is out on whether he can play 2nd base. You would like to see Romero get his position set before he is brought up, but taking Figgins’ spot on the roster and getting a few starts at 1st would be interesting, even if not wise.

Brad Miller: It is not a big sample size, but Miller’s K/BB is awesome in Jackson. He is not slugging near as much there as Romero and Franklin have in Jackson, but he is more than holding his own offensively. Defensively, he plays the middle infield and a lot of scouts believe he will be able to handle short. He isn’t ready yet. I would promote Romero and Franklin over Miller.

Mike Wilson was actually on the 40 man roster in spring training before being designated for assignment (along with Chris Gimenez) for Shawn Camp and Hong-Chih Kuo (neither of whom made it out of Spring Training with the Mariners). While showing an occasional display of power in Tacoma, his overall statistics are are underwhelming. There is no reason to add him back to the 40 man, and he will walk in free agency this off-season (unless he just really loves Tacoma and wants to come back).

Bobby Lafromboise: There really isn’t any need for another reliever.

Danny Farquhar has basically the same problem as Lafromboise, except he is right-handed. You could make a good case that he should be on a big league roster, but he just doesn’t fit with the Mariners. It is a good problem to have. I still like him better than Mitchell, but roster situations are roster situations.

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