The Twitter feed was nothing less than entertaining the last 24 hours. The Mariners have officially released starting pitchers Randy Wolf and Scott Baker. In what appeared to be a solid five man rotation heading into the regular season, it now looks as if the Mariners pitching staff is busted right before they’re ready to break camp.
Iwakuma is still questionable and it’s looking like Blake Beavan might find himself closer to a starting role after Wolf was cut. So what does that mean for the 25-man roster and the future of the Mariners this season? Who will nail down the other rotation spots?
“I think it’s just a matter of logistics at this point,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We’ll get a couple of things ironed out. But for the most part, I think we’re dwindling down.” said McClendon in a recent interview.
Iwakuma threw a baseball Monday for the first time in camp, while Walker is slotted to work three innings Tuesday in a minor league game. Barring setbacks, both could be ready by mid-to-late April.
“It will all become clear,” McClendon said, “in the next day or two.”
Huh. Well, I sure hope so, Skipper.
The Mariners looked solid going into Spring Training with the offensive bats really stepping up. Now the team is facing it’s usual pitching woes.
For many years it seemed like the Mariners always hosted the Athletics or vise versa for the home opener. This year the Mariners will be traveling to Anaheim on March 31st to play the Angels and then the Angels are coming to Safeco Field on April 8th for the Mariners home opener. It changes things up a little bit and I certainly think it breaks up the monotony of baseball schedules. But really, does it matter? There are only five teams in the American League West (used to be four) and that hasn’t changed for some time. I think in retrospect, it’s nice to see these small but subtle changes.
The Athletics aren’t far behind, though. The team comes to Safeco Field that opening night weekend for a three game series.
In other Mariners news, Dustin Ackley has a full beard going on right now. It’s quite the beard, I must say. Along with growing an epic beard, he’s not doing too bad in Spring Training right now. Of course, batting .457 won’t follow him into the regular season, it’s still nice to see Ackley hitting like he was projected to do in 2009.
“People don’t put a lot into the stats in Spring Training. But I put a lot into how I’ve felt and the confidence you build in the spring,” Ackley said Sunday morning. “I think that’s huge. You can’t really put into words what that does for you. I think taking everything I’ve done and just being consistent with that is going to be the biggest thing.”
The never-ending debate whether Spring Training “counts” or not has never really dissolved. Baseball fans continue to have their opinions about Spring Training-stats do not count but the work and the team cohesion do count. Obviously Ackley isn’t going to hit .457 throughout the regular season. We all know that. He has come a long way since the last couple of seasons with the Mariners, though. I think McClendon has played a huge part in that.
“I hear scouts all the time say, ‘Don’t get caught up in Spring Training.’ Well, we have to get caught up in something,” McClendon said. “You have to believe in something. We try to temper it.
“What I try to do is put guys in the most pressure situations I could this spring, to see what we really have. But the fact is, when the lights come on, you don’t really know how anyone is going to react, other than guys who have track records.”
Ackley says he feels confident and mentally ready. But what if he has a slow start? How will the fans react to that? How will Ackley handle it?
“I want my confidence to be there even when I’m not doing well. I think those are the most important times, when you are struggling and kind of doubting yourself. That’s when you need to step back and tell yourself this isn’t what I’m going to do; I’m not going to go down this path again, because I’ve already been down it before and it didn’t work.”
The Mariners start the regular season in less than one week and I think we are all ready for some Mariners baseball.
Who’s going?! I’m excited to go! The gates open at 5:30PM and the tickets are just one dollar! First pitch is around 7:05Pm, I think and we get to watch the game on the giant big screen that they put up in centerfield last season. How cool is that?!!
I’ll be leaving Australia soon. I’ve spent the last week or so overseas watching the series opener at the historic Sydney Cricket Grounds and you can read all about that by clicking this link. It’s been an absolutely amazing trip, too. I’ve walked all around Sydney, seen the Taronga Zoo, ran into Dodgers pitcher Brian Wilson…it’s been a real treat.
I also started a new Facebook page designed specifically for this blog. So have a look and “like” it if you like it!
I hope to get a few blogs out this week about the Mariners, so we will see what happens!
Thanks for reading!
“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.
October 1: Andrews performs surgery on Hultzen to repair damage in his labrum, capsule, and partially torn rotator cuff.
With no timetable on return, rumor speculates that Hultzen will miss quite a bit of the 2014 season. Even with his youth and his ability to recover and heal quickly, it’s a sad fact of reality that most of these injuries end up with very little success in the future.
Here is an awesome time table I was able to muster up from Lookout Landing regarding Hultzen’s 2013 season:
April 25, 2013: Danny Hultzen “can’t get loose”, is scratched from his start in Tacoma after pitching 22.2 innings.
April 26: Doctors say Hultzen has a left rotator cuff strain and tendinitis. Placed on the disabled list.
April 28: Hultzen is told by doctors that his injuries are “not worrisome.”
June 28: Hultzen returns, performing admirably, allowing only two hits over six innings.
July 2: Hultzen again “can’t get loose” and is scratched from his start.
July 10: Mariners shut down Hultzen, proclaim it as a minor setback and say there is no structural damage.
September 1: Hultzen returns to Tacoma, pitches two perfect innings with three strikeouts.
September 24: Hultzen pays a visit to Dr. James Andrews. “It’s not his rotator cuff,” says Z.
When Hultzen does pitch, he’s spot on.
In six starts with Triple-A Tacoma, Hultzen posted a 2.05 ERA and 0.85 WHIP while striking out 10 batters per nine innings.
Well, the season for the Seattle Mariners has officially ended. Getting blown out by the division champions; the Oakland Athletics wasn’t what I was hoping for. That is baseball, though, folks. Sometimes you’re on top and sometimes you’re at the bottom. One day, the Mariners will have a championship. If the Athletics can manage such a run at the playoffs with the payroll they’re on, I have no doubt that the Mariners can accomplish the same thing.
This season wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I didn’t get to come to as many games as I had hoped for this year. Life gets in the way of all the fun stuff I want to do. On a positive note, I’ll be at Safeco a lot more next season because I’m going to try to catch a couple of game home run baseballs in the bleachers. It should be a fun time.
Even though the Mariners flopped this year, there is still a lot to be proud of and to be thankful for. First things first. The Mariners Twitter team is amazing. I’ve never interacted so much with a professional baseball organization than I have with the Mariners. At one point, the Detroit Tigers, the Oakland Athletics and the Pittsburgh Pirates Twitter were all following me. The Mariners are still following me after the other teams have decided not to follow me. The Mariners Twitter also does “#FF” shout-outs to their fans, too. Which is pretty amazing. I can’t thank the Mariners enough for assembling such an amazing social media team. Don’t change a thing.
The fans. Where would the Mariners be without such an awesome platoon of fans? Really. Even though attendance is low and people seem to dribble into Safeco field like a dammed up river, the fact that the same people continue to show up means a lot to Seattle. It shows Seattle has heart and great fans. Every team has a percentage of bandwagon fans, and we see them on bobble head nights and when Ken Griffey Jr comes to town… but the fans that have stuck around for so many years really are the heart of this organization.
Finally, I think a big thanks goes to all the behind the scenes operations at Safeco Field. From concessions to the field crew to Dave Sims to the security guards that walk around the concourse. It’s all apart of the magnificent system that puts the Mariners baseball team on the field. It allows the fans of Seattle to be able to enjoy some afternoon baseball or late night innings on a Friday night.
Thank you, Mariners! Annnnnnd see you next year!
Game one hundred and sixty two. The final game of the regular season for the Seattle Mariners is here again. It’s depressing but that’s baseball. There’s still a ton of things to look forward to. The offseason should be filled with a lot of answers to our many questions we have as Mariners fans. If that isn’t thrilling enough, there is always fan fest at the end of January.
Last years last game at Safeco Field was actually pretty eventful for me. At the end of the game I was able to acquire a batting glove from Dustin Ackley. This year I hold no expectations as to what I will end up catching or getting from any single player. I’m just hoping for a Mariners win.
Sundays matchups: Sonny Gray (4-3, 2.90 ERA) versus Erasmo Ramirez (5-2, 4.56 ERA). It should be a decent game. It probably won’t be like Friday’s game (Bartolo Colon versus King Felix) but it should have it’s moments. Since the Athletics are going to the playoffs and have sort of clinched home field advantage, I’m assuming Bob Melvin will be keeping a lot of his starters on the bench to save on injuries. Eric Wedge on the other hand, who knows what he will do. I’m sure given the fact that this will be his last game as the Mariners skipper, he’ll want to be the first man out of the ballpark on Sunday. I don’t blame him. The last three years have probably been pretty exhausting for him.
So I suppose in this blog entry, I’d like to give my thanks to Eric Wedge for all that he did (or tried to do) with the Mariners team. It’s probably not easy being a manager of a professional baseball team because there are a lot of aspects of the game a guy in that position can’t control. Baseball is a tricky sport. You rely on players to perform certain ways in certain situations and sometimes its not all going to happen the way you want it. So with that, I thank Eric Wedge for trying his guts out to make this a winning baseball team.