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July 12, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Mariners decide to stick with team as is, won’t send anybody to Class AAA

ADDITIONAL NOTE 11:12 p.m.: Just in case you missed tonight’s hour-long show I hosted on Sports Radio KJR regarding the Mariners, you can access it above.
Given the tough talk emanating out of Oakland last weekend from manager Eric Wedge, it was natural to expect that at least one or two of his hitters might be headed off to Class AAA this week. After all, the Mariners did losr two of three in Oakland and scored only one run in the 13-inning finale.
But fresh off the All-Star Break this afternoon, Wedge announced that he had seen some positive signs from his crew in that series. As a result, he’s sticking with the team as is for now and not making any changes.
In fact, Wedge spent a lot of time today — at a team workout at Safeco Field — talking about needing to get his players into a calmer, more relaxed state where they can produce the way they’re capable. That’s in stark contrast to last weekend, when the sledgehammer approach was taken — effectively threatening to clobber anyone who didn’t produce.
Anyhow, it’s a new day and — for the time being, in any event — a new way.
“We’re coming out of the break with these guys and as we break down each and every one, we feel like there’s good reason for us to have those guys out there that are out there right now,” Wedge said. “Let’s see how they come out of the break with having a few days off and getting away from it,” Wedge said. “You’ve got a team out there that, they care about the right things, they work hard, they care about each other and about the game.
“One thing we have to do is get them in a better position where they can come out and perform. Relaxing and being confident is part of it.”

Wedge said he and GM Jack Zduriencik spent a good deal of time discussing the team in person today and over the phone this past week. Wedge feels he and Zduriencik have a great feel for where the team is at and where they need to be.
And despite the losses last weekend, Wedge said he did see some positive signs he’d been looking for in the Saturday and Sunday contests.
“You look at different individuals and whether you’re watching them work, or more importantly, watching them in the games, you see indicators,” Wedge said. “You see things that you want to see that you feel like really ‘That’s it!’ When you look at something you say ‘Alright, that’s it! That’s what we’re talking about.’
“It may just be one swing, or one hit or one out or one AB. But that’s what that particular individual needs to do on a consistent basis. Because that’s the type of player he is, or that’s the type of hitter he is and that’s what we need to see more often.”
In Justin Smoak’s case, it was a home run he just missed hitting to right field off Bartolo Colon on a ball that hooked foul.
For Dustin Ackley, a single the other way to open the game.
Jesus Montero didn’t play last weekend so there were no positive signs to be found. But he’s be cleared to play this weekend and will do so. Mike Carp is still on a rehab assignment and has only been used as a DH. Wedge wants him to play first base a few times before he’s activated off the DL. Franklin Gutierrez is being seen by a doctor later today and could also be cleared to resume physical activity after his concussion.
So, for now, the team is sticking with what it’s got. Will that plan work? We’ll soon find out. For now, it’s the best one the Mariners say they’ve got.
As for Jason Vargas, Wedge said he isnt starting until Monday in Kansas City so that he can have some extra rest. Vargas told me he didn’t throw at all during the break, so this now gives him a regular four off days of work and then a game outing on the fifth day of what would be a regular cycle for him.
Vargas laughed when I brought up the latest trade rumors involving him and the Orioles. He says he never reads Twitter and tries not to follow any rumors on the internet. It’s gotten him through the last two trade deadline seasons when his name also came up a lot.
“I guess I must be doing something right,” he said of all the attention.
Vargas would make sense for team’s looking for a second half boost. He’d cost just over $2 million on the rest of his deal and won’t command as much in trade returns as a Zack Greinke or Matt Garza.
The reason the Mariners would want to trade him is that his salary could jump up to the $7 million or $8 million range in arbitration next winter. That’s a bit pricey for a team not expected to contend and it’s questionable whether the M’s would keep him beyond this season.
Any contender that trades for Vargas now could also non-tender him next winter or try to cut a deal for multiple years and smaller money per annum. Sort of what the Mariners did with Jack Wilson a couple of years back.
But for now, a Vargas deal makes sense for all sides.

Comments | Topics: Jesus Montero


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