August 30, 2013 at 10:57 AM
ADDITIONAL NOTE 12:55 p.m.: The Mariners have officially added Taijuan Walker to their 40-man roster, as well as Class AAA outfielder Abraham Almonte, who joins the team in Houston tonight. Almonte fills one of the team’s six outfield spots vacated by Michael Morse.
Michael Morse clearly had no future left in Seattle and now will get to try to build one with the Baltimore Orioles. Morse was traded to Baltimore today for Class AAA left fielder Xavier Avery, 23, a former second-round pick from 2008 who played a handful of games with the Orioles last season. The Orioles had claimed Morse off revocable waivers yesterday, giving the teams 48 hours to work out a deal.
Avery was hitting .237 with a .624 OPS in AAA but has some speed and can also play center.
The Mariners, as we know, have outfield depth issues at all three positions. At first glance, Avery doesn’t seem destined to fill those holes by any great stretch. This seems a lot like the Eric Thames acquisition last summer, minus the power potential.
But in the end, a living, breathing body was about all the Mariners were going to get for Morse. That and saving the remaining $1 million or so in salary still owed him.
The thought process that went into acquiring Morse, for the rather cheap price of backup catcher John Jaso, was a good one. But the results just were not there to be found.
August 29, 2013 at 2:27 PM
Taijuan Walker was out throwing a football around with some fellow Mariners before batting practice today. He’s likely to be doing a whole lot of that kind of time-killing stuff between now and his major league debut tomorrow night.
Inside the visitors’ clubhouse here in Houston, Walker said moments ago that he probably won’t get much sleep tonight.
“Usually, on my start nights, I don’t sleep,” he said. “I go to be around 3. For some reason, I just sit up all night doing nothing.”
So, there you go. Might try tweeting to him @tai_walker. Who knows? He’ll probably tweet you back.
The lack of sleep doesn’t seem to impact Walker when he does take the mound.
“For some reason, I feel like, on my start days, I’m a new person,” he said. “If I’m sore, it just goes away. It’s like I’m a new person.”
So, that part’s good. Despite the penny-pinching Astros fielding the equivalent of a Class AAA squad at times, Walker says he’s yet to face any of them in them minors. But he’s still looking forward to facing them.
“Just to be up here with a big league club, it’s exciting,” he said.
The Mariners told him about the promotion after his AAA game yesterday. They had to co-ordinate it by waiting until the end of their loss to Texas yesterday, so Walker was on-standby in his manager’s office. Finally, he got the news.
By the time he got on the phone to his mother, Nellie Garcia, who raised him on her own and is known for being highly active on Twitter in following his career, she’d already gotten wind of the news.
“It wasn’t much of a surprise when I called her, but it was still exciting,” he said. “My brothers and sisters were there and they got on the phone and just started screaming.”
August 29, 2013 at 1:19 PM
The last thing you want, if you’re the Mariners, is to keep a player around any longer than he has to be if you plan on getting rid of him and the entire universe knows it. So, you don’t put him in the lineup, for starters. Then, you attempt to move him out of the clubhouse as soon as you can, espeically during a losing streak when negative vibes tend to get picked up on.
This isn’t the same as when Kendrys Morales was put on waivers and claimed. The Mariners weren’t sure they were going to get a deal done in that case and wound up keeping Morales in the end.
With Morse, as mentioned, there is no real reason to hold on to him any more. The season is lost, the M’s will almost certainly finish with a worse record than last season, and Morse will not be coming back here after 2013 in any event.
So, even if a deal can’t be worked out, it makes sense for the Mariners to simply let Morse go, collect a few bucks in saved money and open up an outfield spot so that the players who could still be here in 2014 get looked at closely over the final four or five weeks.
Taijuan Walker is here with his new Mariners teammates and was just tossing a football around in the outfield with some of them.
February 12, 2013 at 4:36 PM
Mike Carp designated for assignment by Mariners, who give his roster spot to new starting pitcher Joe Saunders
Well, the other shoe dropped in the Joe Saunders signing moments ago and Mike Carp was the victim, getting DFA by the Mariners. Carp was just about to leave his Los Angeles area home and drive to Arizona for spring training in the next day or two. Now, he’s staying put a little while longer, since the Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright him to Class AAA.
In case you’re wondering, no, he would not make it through waivers if the Mariners chose to outright him.
“You look at all the winter moves they made and try to figure out how it pertains to you,” Carp told me moments ago. “But in the end, all you can do is take care of yourself, do what you need to do to succeed and be ready when your time comes. I’m ready to start spring training. Obviously, it won’t be with the Mariners any more but I’m ready for whichever team wants me.”
January 3, 2013 at 10:57 AM
ADDITIONAL NOTE (1:10 P.M.): The Mariners have signed first baseman Mike Jacobs to a minor league deal, giving them more Class AAA depth at the position for now. Larry Stone has more details over on his blog.
There has been considerable, justifiable angst expressed in the Mariners blogosphere — most recently this morning — about what the signings of Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay mean for the future of Casper Wells. I agree that Wells is not an outfielder the team just wants to jettison, since he’s out of options, he cost you Doug Fister to get him (in part) and he has value in being able to play multiple outfield positions as a young backup.
First off, Ibanez has made the team already since he’s guaranteed $2.75 million. This is more of a contest between Bay and Wells, who both are right-handed hitters. Bay is only guaranteed $500,000, so it’s still possible he gets cut in spring training and all this angst over Wells proves moot. The Mariners are not about to lose Wells for nothing and since he’s out of minor league options, he is going to make the team this spring barring a trade or a total disaster.
So, what gives with the Bay signing? Why would the Mariners sign him in the first place, then bet on him to fall flat so they can cut him in spring training? Well, they didn’t do that.
There is a way for the Mariners to keep both Bay and Wells on the same team and that’s by starting off the season with five outfielders. That’s right, instead of carrying one extra outfielder and two backup infielders, the Mariners would go with two surplus outfielders and just one backup infielder.
And the reason they can do that is a guy named Robert Andino.
December 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM
I’ve sat back the past two days and watched with detached amusement as Royals GM Dayton Moore gets crucified over his decision to try to win more games at the major league level by dealing some of his top prospects. I mean, there have been many things to crucify Moore over since he took on the reins of the Royals, but I suppose I’m in the minority in saying that I don’t think this should be the thing that pushes him over the edge.
But I’ve long suspected that in baseball, we were entering an age in which the acquisition and development of minor league prospects of all types was — in some cases — taking on a higher priority for some people than the act of actually winning something at the major league level. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Winning a World Series does matter and so does getting to the playoffs. And yes, as everybody and their manicurist knows, you need a mixture of cheap, talented young players to go with the older, experienced, pricier ones to get to the playoffs year after year.
Still, as any baseball executive will tell you, there is a firm line between prospects and proven MLB players. And not every prospect is going to turn into the next Mike Trout.
Yet, I sense this distinction becoming lost on more and more people. I sense that, with the proliferation of websites and so-called “analysts” — some real and many self-imagined — purporting to specialize in the cottage industry that’s become the prospects game (a guessing game if ever there was one), we have reached a point where the myth and the hype far exceeds the rational expectations we should have about any given minor leaguer. And where the act of trying to win something at the big league level is frowned upon more than ever unless your team happens to be one of the chosen few (i.e. not the Royals) deemed ahead of time to have the odds stacked tremendously in their favor.
This is just me talking, so I can call this phenomenon whatever I want. Feel free to criticize, since I don’t have a monopoly over how everyone feels or should feel about things. But I’m going to call this “prospect overdose.”
We are at the stage, I believe, where a significant number of opinion-makers feel there are teams better off spending year after year of developing young prospects and players in order to achieve some ever-distant, vaguely-defined goal, than they are actually trying to speed up that process by acquiring the types of players who can help them try to win something a lot sooner.
The Royals are the latest case study. Their crimes against baseball, as defined by some of Moore’s harshest crtitics, aren’t merely the fact that they traded away prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi and peripherals for pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis. No, their biggest crime seems to be that they’ve declared that it’s more important to eventually try to win something at the big league level than it is to wait three or four more years on top of the years they’ve already made their fans sit through in compiling their version of a young core.
More important to acquire guys who have done something in the majors than to see whether Myers becomes the next Trout, or the next Domonic Brown.
That’s right. Maybe I’m being too harsh on Brown, still young enough to turn it around. Maybe the next Lastings Milledge? Yeah, you remember him? I do, because I sat next to and chatted with his very-pleasant girlfriend in Tokyo last March and watched him play for the Tokyo Swallows. Not quite what the prospect hype machine once envisioned for him.
Myers is the latest incarnation of the Next Great Thing in baseball. And maybe he will be. Or, maybe he won’t. But every time one of them comes around, the supposedly rational among us — those who insist they know the obvious difference between prospects and proven players — tend to forget everything they’ve learned and act as if the success of Myers is a foregone conclusion.
November 20, 2012 at 7:49 PM
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik spoke to Chone Figgins by phone tonight, telling him that the team was designating him for assignment and ending his three-year career in Seattle. Zduriencik said Figgins understood the move.
“I wished him the very best,” Zduriencik said in a conference call with beat reporters covering the team. “He was very gracious, said he was really appreciative of his time here in Seattle.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way he thought it would work out or that we thought it would work out. But he understands that it’s time to turn the page and move forward.
“So, we wish him the very best and certainly hope that he’ll land with someone else and it works out better for him.”
The Mariners technically have 10 days to trade Figgins, release him or outright him to the minors — the latter of which Figgins could decline and become a free agent. But this is just technical stuff and the infielder’s days with Seattle are done.
Zdurencik said he’d had many discussions about Figgins with other teams and that a trade at this point is unlikely with so many of them finalizing their own 40-man rosters and knowing the Mariners were likely to just release the veteran. If no trade happens, Zduriencik said he’ll just release Figgins at some point in coming days.
“I had talked to many clubs, I had a lot of calls,” Zduriencik said. “There was some curiosity if you will, but I didn’t have anyone say they would take him, otherwise it wouldn’t have gotten to this point.”
November 20, 2012 at 7:07 PM
After all the speculation, it’s now official. The Mariners have bid farewell to Chone Figgins, cutting him loose three years into his four-year deal. Figgins was due to make $8.5 million this season, but the team felt his roster spot was more valuable at this stage.
Figgins was officially designated for assignment, so the team has 10 days to release, trade or outright him to the minors. If outrighted, he could refuse and become a free agent. In other words, he’s as good as gone.
The team also DFA’d recently-acquired outfielder Scott Cousins, then added third baseman Vinnie Catricala, left-handed pitcher Anthony Fernandez, left-handed pitcher Bobby Lafromboise, right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer and outfielder Julio Morban to their 40-man roster.
This morning’s acquisition of Robert Andino from the Orioles gave them a backup who can fill many of the positions that Figgins did — including center field in a pinch. And so, rather than keep Figgins around for another spring when they had little intent on using him — and knowing his trade value is virtually nil — the team let him go.
We’ll see whether Figgins can resurrect his career someplace else. I’m sure he’ll get picked up rather quickly, since the Mariners are on the hook for the overwhelming majority of his salary minus the major league minimum.
Today was the day the team had to set its 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft, deciding which players to protect and leave unprotected. Figgins goes so that a spot could be used on somebody else and not have him subjected to the draft.
November 20, 2012 at 1:48 PM
Robert Andino looking forward to joining the Mariners, but admits it’s ‘bittersweet’ to leave Baltimore after playoff appearance
Newest Mariners infielder Robert Andino is still recovering a bit from the surprise of being dealt to Seattle by the Orioles today for outfielder Trayvon Robinson. The Mariners have yet to tell him anything about what they expect, other than for him to come in to spring training and compete for a job.
Andino, 28, had been with the Orioles for several seasons and developed a close bond with his teammates when they made an improbable playoff appearance this year.
“It teaches you a lot of things about winning,” Andino told me moments ago by phone. “Just little things inside of the game that you need in order to come out on top.”
The Orioles, you may recall, won a record number of consecutive extra-inning games, including some where it looked like victory was impossible.
November 20, 2012 at 10:34 AM
The Mariners look like they’ve filled some of their backup infielder needs with today’s acquisition of Robert Andino from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Trayvon Robinson.
Seattle had needed some infield depth after releasing Munenori Kawasaki from his contract. Truth be told, they needed it last year when Kawasaki was still on the team.
“The addition of Robert Andino gives us some experienced infield depth with a player who has played multiple positions” Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said in a release. “With Robert having Major League and playoff experience and still relatively young, we thought that it made sense to make this trade and let him come in and compete.”
Andino won’t set the world on fire, but he’s an upgrade in terms of need over what Robinson was for this team. The Mariners are a club long on fourth and fifth outfielder types, but short on quality infield backups and starting outfielders. Being able to play shortstop is a key here, since the durability of Brendan Ryan is always a concern.
Andino, who turns 29 in April, hit .211 with a .588 OPS for the playoff-bound Orioles last season and that just screams backup player. He earned $1.3 million last season and is arbitration eligible, but I wouldn’t expect him to get anything beyond $2 million.
If anything his raise might be about the most minimal possible given the lack of production. He’s out of minor league options, so hell have to make the team out of spring training or the M’s risk losing him via a waiver claim.