“PEORIA, Ariz. — With his contract situation clarified by Saturday’s agreement on a one-year deal, Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak said he’s eager to turn his attention to baseball, as position players are scheduled to report on Monday.
Smoak avoided a Wednesday arbitration hearing by agreeing on the $2.63 million deal, which also contains a vesting option for 2015 at $3.65 million. If Smoak accumulates 525 plate appearances this season, the $3.65 million will be guaranteed for the following year. If not, the Mariners have the choice of keeping him for that amount or giving him a $150,000 buyout and letting him return to the arbitration process.”- Seattle Mariners
That’s basically the details you need to know about Smoak. My thoughts? I would’ve cut him loose. After picking up Corey Hart and Logan Morrison and rumors speculating that Jesus Montero might be focusing on 1B.. not sure if there’s room for a Justin Smoak in the line up.
A career .227 BA and smacking 20 HR’s, (19 in 2012) and batting a .230 last season, my mind is skeptical on keeping Smoak around longer than this season. Maybe this is the year he get’s his rhythm and proves the world wrong. I’d love to see that because this year the Mariners have all-star caliber players- and a nice playoff run would return faith to Safeco- especially after that Super Bowl victory by the Seahawks.
The bad news continues to flow as the Mariners report for spring training. First its Iwakuma’s middle finger strain and now Franklin Gutierrez has more health issues that will require him to sit out the entire 2014 season.
Gutierrez resigned with the Mariners earlier in the off-season for a 1/year $1/mil contract. Gutierrez, missing a lot of games in the last couple of seasons was unsure if he’d make it back into the lineup. Now that he’s on the restricted list, he won’t see any of that money or acquire any Major League service time.
With Guti now off the 40-man roster that opens up a spot for Fernando Rodney who has signed with the Mariners earlier this morning for two years at $14 million. Rodney, 36, saved 37 games last season, while posting a 5-4 record and a 3.38 ERA in 68 appearances.
“Valle played in 13 big league seasons – 10 with the Mariners. He interviewed for the Mariners managerial open in the offseason. While it was a longshot for him to get the job, Valle impressed enough people that they decided to offer him a chance to build up his managing resume in the minor leagues.”- Seattle Times (Ryan Divish)
I’m super-stoked about that, sports fans! Since I live so close to Everett, I think it’ll be my obligation to attend as many Aquasox games as I possibly can this year (along with Mariners games). How exciting! This year in Seattle sports has really been turning out to be a gold mine! With all the solid acquisitions that the Mariners have made over the off-season and the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl, I think the Mariners can turn that momentum they have building into something really special.
Welcome, 2014! You’ve been great so far!
|Scott Baker||P||32||Minor League***|
|Joe Beimel||P||36||Minor League**|
|Endy Chavez||OF||36||Minor League**|
|Cole Gillespie||OF||29||Minor League**|
|Logan Kensing||P||31||Minor League**|
|Matt Palmer||P||34||Minor League**|
|Humberto Quintero||C||34||Minor League**|
|Ramon Ramirez||P||32||Minor League**|
|Mark Rogers||P||28||Minor League**|
*: performance bonuses included in contract
**: player was invited to spring training
***: player was invited to spring training AND has performance bonuses included in contract
That’s the break down of what has happened with the Seattle Mariners over the course of the off-season. Excited much?
“Voting is underway through Thursday, exclusively at MLB.com, to help decide the winners of the Hank Aaron Award, now in its 15th year and given at the World Series by “The Hammer” himself to the outstanding offensive performer in each league.
For the fourth consecutive year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Aaron will join fans in voting for the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and has recognized the most outstanding offensive performer in each league since it was established in 1999. Last year marked the first time that both recipients were in the same Fall Classic, as the award was won by the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera and the Giants’ Buster Posey.
Cabrera, who perhaps even improved on his Triple Crown season of a year ago, is back as a repeat candidate. Other American League nominees include Chris Davis of the Orioles, David Ortiz of the Red Sox, Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox, Jason Kipnis of the Indians, Jason Castro of the Astros, Eric Hosmer of the Royals, Mike Trout of the Angels, Joe Mauer of the Twins, Robinson Cano of the Yankees, Josh Donaldson of the A’s, Kendrys Morales of the Mariners, Evan Longoria of the Rays, Adrian Beltre of the Rangers and Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays.
The National League nominees are Paul Goldschmidt of the D-backs, Freddie Freeman of the Braves, Nate Schierholtz of the Cubs, Jay Bruce of the Reds, Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies, Hanley Ramirez of the Dodgers, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, Carlos Gomez of the Brewers, David Wright of the Mets, Domonic Brown of the Phillies, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals, Will Venable of the Padres, Hunter Pence of the Giants and Jayson Werth of the Nationals.
“All 30 club nominees should feel honored to be considered for an award named for one of our game’s legends, Hank Aaron,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Hank was a brilliant all-around player who demonstrated great power, selectivity and baserunning in his Hall of Fame career. Our game today is fortunate to have so many dynamic players emulating the remarkable example of Hank Aaron.”
The panel, led by Aaron, features some of the greatest offensive players of all-time — Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount. These Hall of Famers — who combined for 17,629 hits, 8,278 RBIs and 1,723 home runs — have all been personally selected by Aaron to lend their expertise in selecting the best offensive performer in each league.
“It is a great honor that Major League Baseball recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each league with an award in my name,” Aaron said. “The game is full of so many talented players today that I am thankful my fellow Hall of Famers and the fans assist in selecting the much-deserving winners.”
The last three Aaron Awards in the AL went to that league’s home run leader — Cabrera last year and Toronto’s Jose Bautista in 2010-11. Eight of the 14 AL Aaron Award winners were home run champs in those seasons. In the NL, it is six of 14, but five of the past eight years. So in recent years, the long ball has spoken loudly. That will make it especially interesting to keep an eye on Davis, who set the Orioles’ single-season home run record with 53, as well as Goldschmidt, who led the NL with 36 homers.
Cabrera, McCutchen and Stanton are the only nominees who have appeared on the ballot in each of the past three seasons. It will be interesting to see whether the Pirates’ first postseason berth in 21 years might factor into support for their star center fielder.
Past winners of the award include Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011), Bautista and Joey Votto (’10); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (’09); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (’08); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (’07); Jeter and Ryan Howard (’06); Ortiz and Andruw Jones (’05); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (’04); Rodriguez and Pujols (’03); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (’00); and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).
Posey last year joined Jeter and Manny Ramirez as the only players to accept the award and then celebrate a subsequent World Series title. One of the best moments at last year’s ceremony was when Posey said in his acceptance speech, “I’m humbled that Hank Aaron knows who I am.”
The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron hitting his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s long-standing career record. At that time, it was the first major award introduced by MLB in more than 25 years, and it has grown in importance each year, always starting the rollout of major individual-performance hardware.” – MLB.com
Walt Jocketty has officially announced that Dusty Baker will not be returning as the manager for the Cincinnati Reds. This is great news! Well, not great news for Dusty Baker and probably not good news for Cincinnati or the Reds baseball team. It’s only good news for people like me who live in Seattle and cheer on a team that’s been on a constant decline and hungry for a winning season.
Recently, Charlie Manual of the Philadelphia Phillies was replaced by Ryne Sandberg. More good news. Now Dusty Baker?! More exciting news! This is why I love the off-season so much! Things are happening, people! How would you feel about Dusty Baker managing the Seattle Mariners? I’m sure Baker has many offers filling his inbox. Coming to Seattle would be a long shot now that Jack Z has nearly tarnished his reputation as being a great general manager. I still have hope.
For all those fans out there that think Tony La Russa will be managing the Reds next year, you have a lot to learn about the Cincinnati Reds, Tony La Russa and baseball in general. That is a wild speculation.
I suppose in the upcoming months, Seattle will learn who the new skipper will be. Baker still has his magic to bring a winning team into the playoffs. His pick to give Johnny Cueto the start on that one-game wild card contest against the Pirates is something I wouldn’t have done, but I also have no managerial experience in professional baseball.
Gah! What a frustrating season it was, AM I RIGHT?! And now look what we (Mariners fans) are left with! A team without a manager! If you haven’t heard by now, Eric Wedge has jumped ship. I don’t blame him one bit (you can read all my thoughts on that right here). Over the course of a few days, I’ve learned a lot about the Mariners organization. Probably more than I really wanted to learn, too. I sort of liked being one of the many fans on the outside looking in instead of knowing about the inside…still looking in, I guess. It’s aggravating to know some of what has torn Wedge and the Mariners apart.
Here’s the low-down. Wedge left because he felt what he was entitled to as a manager wasn’t happening. His way of managing a ball club was simply this; to get some experienced players on the team for more than one season. If you look back on all the veteran baseball players the Mariners have had in the last three years, they haven’t really stuck around. Veteran ball players want some kind of level of certainty in their life because they deserve it. The Mariners upper management consisting of Jack Zduriencik, Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong have developed this strategy of filling the roster full of young, inexperienced baseball players. As you can see, it’s not working.
Wedge wanted to go a different direction with the team; as I’ve stated before, find veteran baseball players. I posted an earlier blog suggesting that maybe Dustin Ackley should go and maybe Justin Smoak should be replaced with someone like James Loney. I still feel that way. The M’s can still have all their necessary working pieces without Ackley and Loney at first base. The other part of Wedge’s plan was to limit Franklin Gutierrez playing time. Since Wedge managed Guti during his Cleveland days, he knows just what he’s doing there. Some how Guti was over played hence all of his injuries this season. Let’s face it. Guti is fragile.
Wedge was Zduriencik’s perfect fit. After the Wakamatsu fiasco, Wedge was the manager picked with the ideal skill set for Zduriencik’s rebuilding phase. Wedge’s success would show that Wakamatsu failed, not Zduriencik, during the mere one and two-thirds seasons they were together. 2014 will be a lame-duck season for the Mariners and Jack Z is now faced with the huge burden of finding himself a new field manager while his reputation erodes drastically. Zduriencik pushed and pushed and pushed that “be patient, Mariners fans” campaign and got everyone, including Wedge, to believe in it. Now we are left with yet another “rebuilding” year with a platoon of players who still need plenty of growing and learning.
I’m still hopeful and I’m still a Mariners fan despite all the ups and downs this team has been through. In the end, when the Mariners finally do settle down for game one of the World Series, it’ll be that much sweeter. Winning a championship in Seattle will be a joyous occasion for all. It’ll be bittersweet, endearing and special for all involved. We can sit in the stands or stand in the ‘Pen and think back on all the tomfoolery and shenanigans that went on before our special moment when the Mariners walk out onto that field to take possession of the World Series trophy. Until then… sigh.