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July 28, 2014 at 5:36 PM

A few links, notes and thoughts on the Mariners’ off day — Brayan Hernandez signing is official

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Hope everyone is enjoying the off day. Mine was spent getting emissions checks and license plates tabs and dealing with faulty internet.

I head to Cleveland tonight red eye style (off day at home vs. off day on a plane, no contest). I’ve been told GM Jack Zduriencik will have all of his top people, including assistant GM Jeff Kingston, director of pro scouting Tom Allison, and his special assistants with him in Cleveland in the days leading up to the trade deadline.

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The Mariners announced the signing of a 16-year-old Venezuelan outfielder Brayan Hernandez to a contract.  Hernandez was in Seattle this week and took batting practice on the field with the team. He’s 6-1 and listed at 175 pounds. He looks 16. But you can see the athleticism and the bat speed.

The reason the signing just became official now is that Hernandez must have parents also sign the contract since he isn’t 18. So he went back to Venezuela to have them sign the deal.

Here’s what M’s director of international scouting Tim Kissner said about Hernandez:

“He’s a very interesting young centerfielder from Venezuela who we like his current ability and there is still the projection left with him. He’s an intelligent young man with good instincts for the game and all the tools that we have seen we like and we think that he can continue to grow. That’s probably the most intriguing thing, his ability to play the game but still the upside that he has left.”

The Mariners media relations did a large blog post with quotes and audio clips.

According to MLB.com, Hernandez received a $1.85 million signing bonus

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The former proprietor of this blog – Monsieur Baker – was tweeting about a bunch of offensive stats today, which kept me entertained at the DMV.  The general culmination of them  leading to this revelation — the Mariners’ offense is bad. The Mariners are losing because the offense is bad.

Here’s some proof that the offense is bad.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 5.09.42 PM

 

That’s last or close to last in almost every statistical category.

Here’s some splits …

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Here’s the splits by position …. 1B, DH, SS and OF, not so good.

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Why are the numbers going down? Why are they losing games?

  • Well, Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano are hitting.
  • Dustin Ackley is starting to hit.
  • Kendrys Morales might hit.
  • James Jones is regressing as the league adjusts to him and he hasn’t quite adjusted to those adjustments.
  • Bad luck or not, Logan Morrison’s production is declining
  • Mike Zunino has stayed kind of where he’s been all season – homers when he hits the ball hard, lots of strikeouts and few walks
  • Corey Hart has given them very little of anything since coming back fro the DL.
  • Brad Miller’s hot June has cooled in July.
  • Endy Chavez is a fourth outfielder at best is being forced to play every day.
  • Stefen Romero hasn’t produced in his role as a platoon player.
  • Michael Saunders hasn’t been able to stay healthy to help them.
  • The team’s overall OBP is low with Hart, LoMo, Jones, Zunino and Chavez as all prime culprits
  • The Mariners have made a few mistakes in the field that have led to runs for opponents, while making mistakes on the basepaths that have cost them runs. When you are so offensively challenged, making mistakes like that – no matter how innocent –  are magnified. They have no margin for error.

Expectations change with success. I get that. But this team has played above the original expectations thanks to outstanding pitching, early timely hitting and clustering of hits. It’s been a slow regression back to who they are – a .500 team. It’s frustrating for fans to watch after the early success. But this is kind of who they are right now. I don’t see it changing without an infusion of outside talent.

Did you know that when they score at least three runs,  the M’s are 49-17, a .742 winning percentage? I didn’t until read Larry Stone’s column for tomorrow. Here’s a list of teams records than they score three runs or more ….

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 6.30.05 PM

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Ok, let’s get to the hot stove stuff.

The list of players the Mariners have been linked to is …

  • Marlon Byrd
  • Alex Rios
  • David Price
  • Ben Zobrist
  • Dayan Viciedo
  • Alexei Ramirez
  • Josh Willingham
  • Starling Marte
  • Jon Lester
  • Matt Kemp
  • Chris Denorfia
  • Drew Stubbs

Did I miss anyone?

It’s going to be this way for a while. I’ve been told by a couple of baseball sources that the Mariners have been one of the most active teams for the last three weeks, inquiring about everyone.

Of course, being active doesn’t mean results. Some of these things never get past the inquiry phase for any number of reasons.

Not a fan of Matt Kemp – unless the Dodgers eat over half the $110 million he’s owed – and even then his declining power numbers and health issues should be a major red flag.

Lester is two-month rental. And I don’t think he signs an extension, even if he is from the area. He’s looking at Max Scherzer type of offers ($140) million if he stays on the open market this offseason.

I’m also not a fan of trading DJ Peterson. Feel free to disagree with me. For me, the Mariners have not been good at finding and developing middle of the order type of bats. They finally have a legit prospect in Peterson. Giving up on him could be a huge mistake.

There is also this story by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi on Fox Sports about GM Jack Zduriencik and his hesitancy and inconsistency when it comes to deals …

From the story … 

Some GMs turn aggressive when their jobs seemingly are at stake. Zduriencik, on the other hand, baffles rival executives with his inability to close deals.

“He has made offers and then pulled back after we have said, ‘This is something we would do,”’ one executive said. “He responds (by saying) it wasn’t an offer and that he will need to discuss it with his guys.”

Another executive added, “I don’t always get the sense that he knows what he wants to do. One day, he’s interested in one thing. The next day, he’s interested in another. That’s what makes it challenging.”

 A third executive said, “They (the Mariners) don’t set out on a trade saying, ‘Here’s what we need. Let’s do what we can to get him.’ They think, ‘Who can we give up that will never be any good?’ They don’t want to give up anyone who will haunt them. That’s just flat-out fear.”

 

This isn’t new. This is something I heard last year. It’s something I heard at the all-star break. In fact, I heard something  almost exactly as what executive number one said. Maybe it’s the same guy.

I take these things with a baseball-sized grain of salt.  We are only hearing from one side’s perspective and Jack certainly isn’t going to say anything. I’ve heard from many people that he wants to work the deal for every little bit he can, sometimes to his detriment, and teams find it irritating.

But I also know this, baseball execs of all levels love to talk about their peers as off the record sources for any number of reasons – personal and business related – and it’s rarely compliments. It can be catty like junior high school girls.

Zduriencik has till Thursday to make the team better. This team’s warts are starting to show in the summer sunlight. And it can’t be fixed with the talent on hand.

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Here’s my segment with KJR talking about offense and trades …

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