Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night (nor ice storms!)

Well, it’s FINALLY official…

We must say goodbye to Michael and Jose ūüė¶ and

Welcome Jesus and Hector!

Mariners land Montero in ‘old-fashion’ trade| MLB.com

“We had a need, and to get a really good player, you have to give up good players,” Zduriencik said once the deal was announced following completion of Montero’s physical exams. “Neither one of us was trying to walk away from this thinking we got the upper hand. There were no contracts involved, it was strictly talent for talent.”

The stunning part of the deal was the level of the talents, with Montero widely regarded as one of the premier young hitting prospects in the game and Pineda already having achieved American League All-Star status last year as a rookie.Yankees general manager Brian Cashman acknowledged there was a lot of clenched teeth by both sides before doing a deal with such budding young players.

“Jesus may very well be the best player I’ve ever traded, and I’ve been doing this a long time,” Cashman said in a conference call with New York writers. “He’s a middle-of-the-lineup bat who is very gifted. He’s a good kid and he’s going to have a heckuva career. It’s not easy to make these decisions. But at the same time, we’re excited about what we’re getting.”

Goodbye beloved Diabolical, Hello reluctant Savior…

I’ve had some time now to read, reflect, mourn and start the process all over again… several times.

So, I get it.  
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and the Mariners never-ending need for offense.

But, it’s hard. ¬†Really hard. ¬†Especially for one like me who ADORES pitching and defense.
Give me 1-0 game over a 10-9 on any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

But, I get it.
Scoring is a necessary evil and the M’s were lacking in that necessity …. like, epically lacking.

But, Michael was ours. We watched him grow, we watched him glow. I loved how he would walk to the back of the mound and have a little chat with himself when things weren’t going as planned (and, more often than not, it worked!). Of course you could see his grin in person or on TV but, you could also “hear” it when listening to him via the radio. His love for the game was complete and pure.

Yet, I get it.
To get you have to give. No pain, no gain. Well, we are giving and it’s painful.

Michael, it seemed, is the closest thing we will ever get to another Felix. But, he is his own man, his own pitcher and as much as Felix seemed to enjoy mentoring Michael, he knew and respected that fact – he let him learn his own lessons, his own way.

Yes, I get it.
Baseball is a business as well as a pastime. Sometimes assets have to shift Рfor the good of the whole.

I’ll never forget how excited I was to see Michael make his Safeco Field debut last April – I even upgraded my seats for the occasion. Then on a day in late May,¬†he told Shannon Drayer it was a great day because he bought his first car and made his first start against the Yankees (I was at that one as well). ¬†He was one of the few bright and shining beacons in another abysmal year of baseball in Seattle. ¬†He represented hope and gave us a reason to go to the ballpark.

But now it’s time for him to leave the nest…
(though it’s not official yet) Michael will be headed to the Big Apple to pitch in pinstripes. He will be the first Yankee I will openly root for (except when he pitches against the M’s of course) and I wish him nothing but supreme success.

In return, we welcome Jesus Montero to our fair city, to our beloved team…
eager to see how his highly touted bat will contribute and if he’s able to catch on at catcher.

One thing is clear, it is a two-way street…
Yankee fans are lamenting the loss of Jesus as much (or more) as Mariner fans are dreading Michael’s departure. They were looking forward to seeing him in their lineup all year long (likely as DH) providing a much needed spark of youth to a good, but aging lineup. ¬†And, though many recognize Michael’s huge potential up-side, they are concerned that they gave up too much – that a power arm is much riskier than a power bat. ¬†I, of course, assured them that Michael is humbly confident and the epitome of a hard worker and eager learner and that they will NOT be disappointed.

And so here we are…
Two fan bases churning through a gamut¬†of emotions regarding the young players being exchanged.¬†I thought¬†this time-lapsed photography of the sunset last Friday evening in Seattle¬†~happening¬†just as “the trade” details were emerging~ serves as a photographic analogy of those emotions… a flicker of light, slowly becoming brighter, beautiful in it’s depth and breadth, burning in it’s intensity, yet as you watch, you know darkness looms…

The anticipation and excitement of exchanging young stars for the betterment of both teams is palpable but, so is the sincere feeling of loss reverberating from both coasts.

Goodbye beloved Diabolical (as the late, great Dave Niehaus coined his slider), you WIll be missed.

FantasyBaseballSportal.com

Hello reluctant Savior – we can’t wait to get to know you and hope, one day, we can call you our own.

Daily News

wow, oh wow … Jesus coming, Michael going ….

Here are just a few of the barrage of tweets from earlier tonight as rumor turned reality in a matter of minutes…

jcrasnickThe  are moving closer to a trade for a young impact hitter, two baseball sources confirmed.
StoneLarryWouldn’t be surprised if deal referenced by¬†¬†involves Michael Pineda and Jesus Montero. Rumblings in that direction.
JonHeymanCBSSea does have deal according to .  hearing rumblings it MAY involve pineda and montero
GregJohnsMLBNo confirmation from team, but source says Mariners sending Pineda and Jose Campos to Yankees for Jesus Montero/Hector Noesi.
StoneLarrySnap judgment is I like the trade. Tough to give up Pineda, but M’s have young pitching depth, and desperately needed a high-upside bat.
JonHeymanCBSso seattle picks up a pitcher on cusp of mlb in noesi along with big bat montero.  thrilled to upgrade rotation w/ pineda
GregJohnsMLBEarly reaction: Yankees fans upset at losing Montero, Mariners fans upset at giving up Pineda. Both are top young 22-yr.olds.
jaysonstMontero-Pineda is one of most fascinating deals in years. Two young studs with star power. No money factor. A pure, old-time baseball trade




It won’t be “official” until the physicals are complete and accepted.
Still processing it all … more later.





Yu? Prince? dare to dream…

The M’s realize the ‚ÄúFelix window‚ÄĚis closing quickly. ¬†In 2011 they got a good, long look a LOT of kids and have a better idea than ever who sticks and stays, who‚Äôs valuable, who‚Äôs expendable and what they need to move forward.
Whether they’ll be able to do it remains to be seen but, seems they are in as good a position as they have been in a long time to carry out a plan. There are some great prospects in the pipeline such as: Franklin, Paxton, Walker, Chiang, Martinez, Hultzen (who will get a chance to compete for a rotation spot this spring). And, another high draft pick come June.
As for the big leaguers…
That Ackley kid, he‚Äôs pretty good. Carp had a breakout season. Guti had a rough year but now that he has a diagnosis, hopefully his condition can be managed and he‚Äôll be back into form with a full ST (sure never skipped a beat with his D). League filled in at closer well (37 saves for a team that lost 67 games ain’t too shabby).
I, for one, am giving Smoak a mulligan for last season after some pretty extenuating circumstances ¬†that contributed to his performance (or lack thereof) ¬†– multiple injuries AND the loss of his father. And, when you consider he is truly learning on-the-job in that he now more has AB‚Äôs in the majors (775) than he had in the minors (636). ¬†Compare that with Montero’s 1852 minor league AB and no wonder Yank fans are confident in his ability.
They fact that the M‚Äôs need offense is as obvious as the teal tint on my glasses but….
Like they always say – you can never have too much pitching -OR- good pitching beats good hitting (and it appears the M’s are going to be seeing some pretty darned good hitting within their own division this coming season). As such, I’m thinking they will make a bid on Yu Darvish. They have their Ace in Felix, an ace in waiting in Pineda, a durable but inconsistent starter in Vargas and then …. a lot of young arms.
Seems to me that bidding for (and winning) Darvish could potentially make sense for the M’s on multiple fronts: fills a MOR spot, keeps the M’s Japanese market alive and well AND allows farm arms to be dealt for hitting.



And, then there are the FA possibilities…
who could resist having a King AND a Prince on the same team?


A girl can dream, can’t she
They don’t call me Rosy for nuttin’

All-Star Rooks

Three Seattle Mariners make Baseball America’s Rookie All-Star Team

2B¬†Dustin Ackley¬†‚ÄĘ Mariners
The second pick in the 2009 draft, Ackley shot to Triple-A a year later and to Seattle on June 17, roughly two years after being drafted. A mere three weeks after his debut, Ackley established himself as the Mariners’ top offensive player and permanent three-hole hitter. He wound up leading the Mariners in average (.273), OBP (.348) and slugging (.417). Ackley wore down in September, but through his first 70 big league games he batted .304/.378/.477 with 26 extra-base hits. He needed every ounce of that production to surpass fellow keystone rookies such as the Nationals’ Danny Espinosa, who offered power in the form of 21 homers, and the Athletics’¬†Jemile Weeks, who hit .303 and stole 22 bases.

OF¬†Mike Carp¬†‚ÄĘ Mariners
Carp failed to make an impression with the run-starved Mariners during brief trials in 2009 or 2010, but he began to find his power stroke with Triple-A Tacoma last year. From the start of the 2010 season until his June 8 callup, he belted 49 homers for the Rainiers and learned to play a passable left field. Incumbent Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak missed most of August while recovering from myriad injuries, briefly opening the door for Carp to return to his natural position. He proceeded to hit .313/.353/.545 with six homers and 25 RBIs in 27 August games, winning the AL’s rookie of the month distinction. Something to keep in mind: Carp earned a shot at an everyday gig this season only after the Mariners tired of the antics Milton Bradley and Carlos Peguero in left and Jack Cust at DH.


SP¬†Michael Pineda¬†‚ÄĘ Mariners
Pineda threw his fastball with higher average velocity (94.7 mph) than any rookie with at least 100 innings, and he went 8-6, 3.03 in 18 first-half starts to make the AL all-star team‚ÄĒalong with fellow rookies¬†Aaron Crow¬†of the Royals and Jordan Walden of the Angels. Pineda also mixed in a mid-80s slider frequently enough to lead all rookies with 173 strikeouts, while ranking second among AL starters with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings. He topped out at 139 innings in the minors, prompting Seattle to space out his starts in August and September. But despite stumbling near the all-star break‚ÄĒhe allowed 19 runs in 14 2/3 innings over three successive mid-July starts‚ÄĒPineda pulled through to strike out a batter per inning and log a 3.99 ERA over his final eight turns.

Up and Comers up and coming…

yep, still catching up…

AL Rookie of the Year goes to….¬†
Jeremy Hellickson

Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley finish 5th and 6th respectively.
– MP had 3 second place votes and 2 third place votes
– DA had 1 first place vote and 1 third place vote

Felix, Dustin and Mike – oh my!
Mariners Pitcher, Performer and Breakout Player

A look back (video) at Dustin’s freshman year…

Winter Leagues and Prospect Review
Seattle prospects lead West to Rising Stars win | MLB.com

Franklin, selected in the first round in 2009 by Seattle, finished 4-for-5 with a home run on a memorable night in Arizona. Franklin’s four hits, two doubles, four RBIs and three extra-base hits all set new Rising Stars Game records. His team finished with 16 hits in the game.

“It was really fun,” Franklin said. “We had some fans and were enjoying the experience beforehand. We went out there to have a good time and started to put some runs on the board. We started having some fun in the dugout, and it carried over.”

Hultzen did his part, and there’s no doubt that the front office in Seattle is feeling content right about now. The left-hander struck out the side on 14 pitches in the first inning and did not allow a hit in his two innings pitched. His lone blemish was a one-out walk to Washington’s Bryce Harper in the second inning.

“It was a real honor to get selected for this,” Hultzen said. “It was exciting. There was a big crowd and a lot of fans. I felt good out there.”

How much did Hultzen enjoy the game? Well, he spent several minutes after the game signing autographs and greeting fans.
Thirty minutes later, he was still smiling.

M’s starters finish 1-2-3 in ERA for the Javelinas in the AFL…
* Forrest Snow 1.10
* Brian Moran 1.32
* Danny Hultzen 1.40

Carlos Peguero tore it up in the DWL…
He finished with a .299 average, he drove in 22 runs in 28 games and launched 9 homers.
He also walked 9 times to help boost his OBP to .367  Way to go, Carlos!

Other hitters of note in the Winter Leagues…
Luis Rodriguez, Francisco Martinez and Chih-Hsien Chiang

Top Ten Prospect Review…

No. Preseason Postseason
1. Dustin Ackley, 2B Walker
2. Michel Pineda, RHP James Paxton, LHP
3. Nick Franklin, SS Franklin
4. Guillermo Pimentel, OF Francisco Martinez, 3B
5. Taijuan Walker, RHP Pimentel
6. Mauricio Robles, RHP Chance Ruffin, RHP
7. Johermyn Chavez, OF Chavez
8. Dan Cortes, RHP Cortes
9. Blake Beavan, RHP Liddi
10. Alex Liddi, 3B Robles



Mariners 2011 Minor Leaguers of the Year

Catricala, 23, hit .349 (182×521) with 97 runs scored, 77 extra-base (2B – 48, 3B – 4, HR – 25) and 106 RBI in 133 games combined between A High Desert and AA Jackson. Among full season minor leaguers he ranked 2nd in extra-base hits, 3rd in hits, T3rd in doubles, T4th in batting average and T9th in RBI. He recorded 59 multi-hit games (34- High Desert, 25-Jackson), including 12 three-hit games and 3 season-high four-hit games. Catricala was named to the California League All-Star team before being promoted to Jackson on June 30. He hit safely in 52 of 62 games, while reaching base safely in 57 games with the Generals, batting .347 (83×239).

“Vinnie had an outstanding offensive season combined between High Desert and Jackson,” Zduriencik said. “He not only led the organization in many offensive categories, but was one of the top players in all of the minor leagues.

Walker, 19, who was recently named the top Midwest League prospect in 2011 by Baseball America, went 6-5 with a 2.89 ERA (31 ER, 96.2 IP) in 18 starts with A Clinton last season. He limited opponents to a .202 (69×341) average, including a .187 (34×182) vs. right-handed batters. Walker was 0-2 with a 9.95 ERA over his first two starts of the season, but went 6-3 with a 2.39 ERA (24 ER, 90.1 IP) over his last 16 starts. He recorded 7 quality starts, including tossing his first-career complete game victory on July 13 vs. Great Lakes (9.0,2,2,2,1,7,HR). Walker struck out a season-high 11 batters three times and finished with 113 strikeouts in 96.2 innings. He was amongst MWL leaders in lowest opponent average (3rd at .202), highest K/9.0 IP ratio for starters (4th at 10.52), fewest baserunners/9.0 IP for starters (5th at 10.33), strikeouts (6th with 113) and WHIP (8th at 1.12) following his final start on Aug. 10 vs. Cedar Rapids.

“Taijuan had a great year in Clinton”, Zduriencik said. “He had great command of the ball and was one of the most dominating pitchers in the Midwest League.”

2011 Retrospective

Obviously, 2011 was a transition year for the Seattle Mariners.
It was a time to take a good, long look at the youth in the system to learn what’s what and who’s who.
And lots a looks they got…

  • 18 different rookies started
  • 13 rookies made their major league debut
  • 59 games were started by rookie pitchers

My thoughts on what some of our “baby M’s” have the chance to become

SUPER STARS

* Michael Pineda
He pitched much better and much more than anyone expected and, one gets the feeling that he is the type that will totally live and learn from adversity in his pursuit of stardom.

* Dustin Ackley
He look like he belongs in the bigs – despite finding himself there after only one + seasons in the minors. AND, he certainly appears comfortable at his new position … pretty much like he’s been playing it for years.

CONSTANT CONTRIBUTORS

* Mike Carp had a breakout season…
Amazing what some can do when given a chance to play everyday.

* Justin Smoak had a heartbreak season…
How much can one guy take?  After a hot start, personal tragedy struck when he lost his father.  Then, he suffered a thumb injury and just when he was getting back into the swing, a ground ball hits him in the face, breaking his nose and cheekbone.  Only way to go is up.

* Blake Beavan seems to have been a bit overlooked…
Granted, his ERA is not much to write home about but, that was elevated from a couple of really bad outings.  Overall, he had a pretty solid freshman year Рaveraging over six innings/game and posting 11 quality starts out of his 15 total (including a stellar outing vs. the Rangers: 8 innings, 4 hits 0 runs)

RELIABLE ROLE-PLAYERS

* Josh Lueke had some growing pains…
Mostly against the A’s (three of his really bad outings came against Oakland) but he definitely showed progress so it will be interesting to see how a year of experience under his belt and a more defined role will help.

* Kyle Seager was up and down and up in more ways than one…
His first cup of coffee didn’t go so well. ¬†Then, after tearing the cover off the ball in Tacoma he was up again and began to do the same in Seattle. ¬†He showed a bit of versatility – playing mostly 3B but had a handfull of games at short as well.



And, there were some nice surprises as well…

* Brandon did a superb job in his unexpected role as closer…
37 saves is a decent amount no matter how you slice it but, for a team that only won 67, it’s down right heroic. ¬†Sure, Brandon had a few blips but he always rebounded nicely – what doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger.

* Brenden Ryan played some pretty fancy shortstop…
and, despite being new to the team and not exactly a wily vet, showed a great deal of leadership in the clubhouse.  Heal that neck fast and well, BR!

* Tom “the Bartender” Wilhelmsen was a great story…
Slinging drinks in an Arizona bar one spring, slinging pitches from a major league mound the next.

And, of course, the old favorites….

* Felix had a bit of a down year (for him)…
but, he’s still a star, very much a leader and THE Ace of the Seattle Mariners

* Jason needs to be more consistant…
but, he has definitely proved durable and was always willing to talk – win or lose.

* Ichiro obviously wasn’t his typical self and it will be interesting to see if he is able to bounce back or if 2011 was the beginning of the end

* Guti had a really rough season…
His health issues were finally diagnosed sometime in May and it took him awhile to come around, which he was just starting to do when he strained his oblique and missed most of September. ¬†I’m thinking he’s going to come back stronger than ever (at least he knows what he’s dealing with now, unlike the mystery he had to deal with all last off season)

* Shawn had a great return from surgery late in the season…
and, would it be a huge lift for the ‘pen if he is able to pick right back up where he left off come this spring.

Looking forward to the off season to see what Jack Z has up his sleeve to improve this team…
Will there be a big splash? Or just a couple of ripples? ¬†Realistically, no matter the volume of water movement under the Good Ship Mariner this winter, it’s still going to take some time before they are under full sail.
But, as always, I have faith and patience.

2011 Mariner All Stars and the 2nd half starts with a bang

American League 1 | National League 5

Felix didn’t pitch because of his Sunday start but, unlike some others, he was there soaking it all in with both his fellow Mariner and American League teammates. ¬†I missed the introductions (usually my favorite part) and heard they messed up a bit and called Felix’s name when it was Miguel Cabrera’s turn. ¬†Sounds like they both took it in stride though.

Super proud (if I’m allowed) of Michael. ¬†He pitched the 3rd inning and retired the side in order with 10 pitches -8 for strikes- getting Tulowitzki to fly out to center and striking out both Rolen and Weeks – swinging.

Brandon’s mind may have been elsewhere, as his pregnant wife was in attendance at the All Star Game and due to have labor induced for their third child today in Seattle. ¬†He pitched the 7th inning and gave up a single to Pence, struck out Castro, gave up an RBI ground rule double to Sandoval (that drove in the fifth run for the NL) and got Phillips and Sanchez to fly out an pop up respectively.

The second half starts out slightly more than a cake-walk…
oh, just a 4-game homestand with the division-leading Texas Rangers and then off to the east coast for 3-game series with each of Toronto, Boston and New York. ¬†If the M’s can manage to keep their head above water (say play .500) it won’t necessarily mean they are still in the race, but it will say a lot about their grittiness vs. good teams. ¬†If, however, they stumble mightily, they may be out of the race totally but, did any of us expect that they would be there in the first place? ¬†So, even if that happens, this season if far from a waste as they continue to determine what they have in young talent and what they will need going forward as they continue to lay the foundation and move on to the framework of building a championship team.

Go Mariners!

Yay, Michael!

It has just been announced that Michael Pineda will replace Justin Verlander in the 2011 All Star Game!

 Seattle Mariners Congratulations to  pitcher Michael Pineda for being added to the American League All-Star team. He will replace Justin Verlander.

Congratulations to the rookie on the well-deserved honor!


Soak it all in, Michael.  Soak it all in.
MARK HARRISON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

June Swoon…

June Totals
  • 11 wins – 16 losses
  • 3.06 ERA – FIRST in the AL (and yet second to last in WINS)
  • 191.1 IP by the starters – FIRST in the MAJORS
  • .227 BA – LAST in the MAJORS
  • -4 run differential for the month, -14 overall
AT THE PLATE
Well, at least the pitchers hit pretty well during Interleague ūüėČ
The offense as a whole continues to sputter Рthose whose batting average had started to creep up a bit in May either had significantly reduced playing time (Cust, Wilson) or started/continued to spiral downward (Ryan, Kennedy, Smoak) in June. What to make of Miggy Рhe only had 17 hits in the month of June and 8 of them were home runs.  The lone bright spot?  Dustin Ackley.  Called up and in the starting line up for the first time on June 17th vs. the Phillies, Dustin collected his first hit in his first at bat and has reached base safely in every game he has played since Р10 hits in 12 games, including 2 homers, 2 triples a double and 4 walks.  Welcome to the Show, Dustin.  Welcome to the Show.

ON THE MOUND
Overall, the starters continued their splendid ways…
Well, Felix and Michael had rough months going 3-3 and 1-3 respectively and Felix gave up 5 earned runs, twice! ¬†And then there was Mr. Fister who continued to garner the least run support in the¬†majors¬†so his 0-3 record was in NO way reflective of his performance (7IP twice and 8IP three times while lowering his ERA 30 points). ¬†Jason was only 2-2 but, those two wins were pretty spectacular –¬†both¬†complete game shutouts (one vs. the Phils and one vs. the Rays). And, saving the best for last, despite another paltry recore (1-2) he was nearly lights out in June. Unfortunately, just before the calendar turned to July, he was placed on the 15-day DL with a knee sprain.

IN THE PEN
Not a super stellar month, but…
Could very likely be due to lack of use. Only follows that the starting staff with the most innings in the majors for the month would also have the bullpen with the fewest innings. ¬†They also posted the fewest walks per nine innings in the majors. Here’s to a little more use for the ‘pen – just enough to keep ’em sharp and the rotation fresh. 

OF BASE PATHS AND LEATHER WORKS
Dustin gets a gold star in this category as well…
His defense has been a very pleasant surprise. ¬†He seems to have no problem turning the double-play – even with a runner bearing down on him. ¬†Dustin’s base-running has been pretty flawless as well. ¬†No one will forget his run from 3B to home plate on a wild pitch during an INTENTIONAL walk vs. the Marlins.Other than that, some great outfield catches and no real¬†guffaws (well, if you don’t count Figgy, who leads teh team in errors) and some nifty double plays.

JUNE STARS
Erik Bedard¬†¬†pitched 32 innings in June, struck out 33, allowed only 6 walks and 8 runs – but only posted a 1-2 record. ¬†Most believe he has WAY exceeded expectations and is definitely in line for the Comeback Player of the Year. ¬†Here’s hoping the DL stint will be short-lived (at least it’s not his arm/shoulder).
Dustin Ackley has been a breath of fresh air! Mostly, cuz he doesn’t act like a rookie at all. He is poised and confident at the plate, even when facing tough lefties (for which he is 6 of 8 with a homer, a triple, a double and a walk). And, in the field it is to the point everyone is really rooting for him to turn the most difficult of DP’s instead of fearing it.


Honorable Mention
Brandon League has gone 17.2 scoreless innings since that mid-May debacle and for June, he pitched 9.2 innings and allowed 7 hits and 1 walk. Way to bounce back, Brandon!