[do action=”custom_iframe” url=”http://wapc.mlb.com/shared/video/embed/embed.html?content_id=27782293&width=630&height=500&property=mlb” width=”630″ height=”500″ scrolling=””/] Yeah, we can understand the excitement some Mariners fans might have had yesterday when Kyle Seager hit his historic grand slam to tie the game in the 14th inning. I mean, not everyday you get to see something like that. But when you have a 3-year-old child with you, it’s…More
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Watched Michael Morse in batting practice this morning and let me tell you, I have not seen a guy put a bat to a ball like that for this team since Russell Branyan came to camp four years ago. Jesus Montero used to hit some bombs last spring, but not as consistently as Morse was drilling them today. We’re talking line drives 20 feet over the center field fence.
His swing was pure power. Sure, Franklin Gutierrez hit some tape-measure BP shots a year ago. But the difference is, Morse has shown he can consistently do this in a game.More
[do action=”custom_iframe” url=”http://www.ustream.tv/embed/recorded/27223498?v=3&wmode=direct” width=”480″ height=”392″ scrolling=””/] In case you missed the live coverage of today’s Macy’s Holiday Parade from our vantage point marching alongside the Seattle Times float, here’s the replay. You can see me, Larry Stone, Danny O’Neill, Percy Allen and others giving away candy canes to kids up and down the parade route in…More
Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma has re-signed with the club through the 2014 season with an additional option year for 2015.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.com reports the deal as worth two years, $14 million, with Iwakuma getting $6.5 million in each of 2013 and 2014, then a $1 million buyout on a $7 million option for 2015.
The Mariners had an exclusive negotiating window with Iwakuma, 31, through tonight, after which he could have requested his release by the club.
“Hisashi did a very nice job for us at the end of last season as a starting pitcher and we are happy that we have come to a mutual agreement,” Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said in a release. “We look forward to his veteran presence and to his contributions for the next few seasons.”
The deal comes just hours after Zduriencik confirmed in an interview that he expects to have more financial resources available to him in 2013 than he did this past season,when the team opened with a payroll of about $85 million. More on that in the video above.
Another year of Gold Glove Awards, another controversy in the making after Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan tonight was beaten out at the shortstop position by J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles. Elvis Andrus of the Rangers was the other finalist.
Dustin Ackley had been a finalist at second base, but was beaten, as expected, by Robinson Cano of the Yankees. Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox was the other finalist.
But it’s the shortstop position and Ryan’s non-win that should garner plenty of attention tomorrow. The Gold Gloves have come under increased fire of late for a methodology that at times favors players with better offensive statistics, as opposed to merely grading them on glovework.
Hardy fared well in many of the traditional defensive measurements, like fielding percentage and a lack of errors. But Ryan cleaned up in some of the newer, advanced statistical categories, leading to his winning a Fielding Bible Award last week.
Ryan hit only .194 this season and his lack of offense was deemed as something to watch once this year’s Gold Glove voting — conducted by managers and coaches — was completed.
Because when it came to the newer defensive stats, Ryan had no peer.
In the Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) metric, Ryan posted a 27 compared to18 for Hardy and 8 for Andrus.
When it came to Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), Ryan scored a 14.7,compared to 11.4 for Hardy and 8.8 for Andrus.
So, not much of a contest there.
Photo Credit: AP
Seems fititng that the Mariners ended the 2012 season as the 75-win team we’ve talked about them being all month. No 72 wins, or 78 wins. Right on the 75-win money. There is now little doubt this is a 75-win team.
Tonight, they wrapped up a 12-0 win over the 89-win Los Angeles Angels, who played the final two games like they left their hearts in San Francisco, or maybe Boeing Field. Not the same club that was competing for a playoff spot 48 hours ago, but hey, the M’s needed a break.
Now comes the real season. At least, for the Mariners.
M’s manager Eric Wedge was talking a big game all day long, starting with this morning’s press briefing when he touted the team as a possible playoff contender for 2013. The way this second wild-card is going, any .500 team come late-August can claim to be in contention and I’m all for it.
A more realistic goal for this squad is to shoot for a .500 record, but even that will likely take some intervention from outside the organization — meaning the importation of some bats.
The M’s looked like the 1927 Yankees today, pounding hits, scoring runs and throwing out Mike Trout everywhere on the basepaths. But the reality, without some upgrades, will be far different when things start to count again next April.
For now, we can talk about what we did see from a 75-win team. Some marginal improvement in the second half in terms of playing .500 ball — mostly against weak teams but in some series against good ones, too. The Mariners beat Jered Weaver three times in two months the second half and he only lost five games all year, so that counts for something — namely, they took the Cy Young Award away from him, as well as contributing the the Angels getting knocked out of playoff contention with some timely spoiler wins.
The Mariners did play a tougher brandof baseball in the second half. It wasn’t enough to beat good teams most nights, but it’s a start. This team doesn’t roll over and die like it used to even at times last year.
So, that’s some improvement. Now, comes the rest.
Somebody asked Hisashi Iwakuma after tonight’s 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels what he had learned this season about facing big league hitters.
He thought about it briefly, then gave his answer through interpreter Daisuke Sekiba.
“Don’t pitch the cookies.”
Sounds like good advice. And fitting advice on a day the Mariners announced plans to move in the Safeco Field fences next season.
Judging by what we saw tonight, the pitchers at this ballpark next season had better avoid cookies like a contestant on Extreme Loser.
Let’s see…I counted two Casper Wells shots, another by Dustin Ackley and a Michael Saunders double for the Mariners, not to mention a Hank Conger blast for the Angels that all might have gone out with next year’s planned fences pull-in. So, instead of a 6-1 game tonight, it could have been something like 10-6. I’ll admit, I stopped counting deep fly balls at one point, so I’m sure I missed a few.
But next season sure could be interesting.
Kyle Seager didn’t need any fence moving to hit his 20th home run of the season. It helped that the ball went to right field. But let’s face it, who really thought this winter that Seager had 20-homer power?
Not me. That’s for sure.
Turns out, not him either.
“I’ve always considered myself a kind of stay-more-gap-to-gap type of guy,” Seager said, after becoming the first Mariners player since Russell Branyan and Jose Lopez in 2009 to hit 20 home runs. “I don’t really consider myself a home run hitter and I’m not really a slap-and-run type of guy. I’m not really a base-stealer type of guy. So, I’ve always tried to be a gap-to-gap type of hitter and try to hit doubles and stuff like that.”
So, what does he think about hitting 20 homers?
“You know, it’s exciting,” he said. “So, it’s something to build off for next year.”
Ok, I asked him, so can we put him down for 30 homers now that the fences are being moved in?
“No, no,” he said, laughing. “Don’t put me down for that.”
In all seriousness, I asked, how does he think the fences coming in will impact his game?
“I think the beauty of it is, you don’t really try,” he said. “When you’re trying to hit home runs, they don’t happen. So, with them moving the fences in, it’s definitely exciting for the position players. I don’t think our pitchers are going to be affected too much because they’re pretty good.
“There were quite a few balls tonight that were well-hit,” he added. “Wells might have had two homers and Saunders had that ball to dead center right off the wall, so that might have made a little bit of a difference.
“But I think it would affect us in a negative way if we started really thinking about it and trying to hit balls in the air and that type of deal. I think if everybody continues with what we’ve been doing as of late, we’ll be good.”
They can’t move the fences in fast enough here at Safeco Field, if you listen to the Mariners tell it. Tonight, they’ll try to end their four-game losing streak give folks something to talk about on the field rather than simply off it. This player was created in September 2012 to update the design of the…More
Received an interesting item from a reader, Todd Myers, today who tried to make the argument that Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan has a glove that is about 15 times more valuable to his team than were the legs of Rickey Henderson to his club the year he stole a record 130 bases in 1982.
Myers said he came up with the idea today when reading a blog post called Stat Of the Week from Fielding Bible author and advanced defensive metrics pioneer John Dewan. In his list of frontrunners for the annual Fielding Bible Awards — which awards one prize to each of the top defenders in the majors at 10 positions — Dewan lists Ryan as the favorite for the shortstop award.
The post states: It is hard to believe that Brendan Ryan has never won either a Fielding Bible Award or a Gold Glove. Ryan has at least 18 Defensive Runs Saved in each of the last three seasons, and he has already flown by those previous totals with 29 this season. That’s 12 more than J.J. Hardy, the closest shortstop behind him. In addition to covering ground, Ryan has converted an impressive 77 percent of his opportunities for double plays, which is a career high. Ryan leads all players in Runs Saved and could break through for his first Fielding Bible Award.
Seeing all those runs saved got reader Myers thinking: how would some of the underrated things Ryan does with his glove compare to one of the more celebrated baseball feats of the past 30 years — Henderson’s steals?
Looking at Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), a stat Dewan created through his Basbeall Info Solutions company to measure a player’s total defensive value, we see that Ryan has saved 29 runs.
According to sabermetric theory, 10 runs equals one extra win to a baseball team.
So, Ryan’s glove has added roughly three wins to the 2012 Mariners.
How about Henderson?
These are tough days indeed for Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. Today, he told an on-air radio host in Boston that he’d punch him in the mouth if he was in-studio because the host asked whether he’d “checked out” on the season. Valentine was reported to have been late to getting to the ballpark in Oakland last weekend after he’d picked up his son at the airport in San Francisco. The son’s flight was late, but Valentine says he sent the lineup to his coaches and advised them he’d be at the ballpark a little closer to gametime than usual.
Naturally, given how things are going in Boston these days, that was big news. As was Valentine having Scott Podsednik penciled in the No. 3 spot in the batting order for the first time in his career during the same series. Podsednik is one of the few guys still hitting for the Red Sox and Valentine chose to switch things up a bit.
But he sort of gave a sarcastic response when asked about it. “Just a mistake,” he said. “Is that what it says on the lineup? What the (expletive). Switch it up. Who knows? Maybe it will look good. I haven’t seen it.”
The comments have since been portrayed somewhat as if Valentine had lost his marbles a bit. Today, he fired back at some of his critics somewhat at Safeco Field. I had to cover Mariners manager Eric Wedge first, but then made it over to join Valentine’s session with reporters midway.
Valentine addressed the “punch” comments.
“Didn’t I go, ‘Ha ha?’ I think I did,” Valentine said. “I don’t think physical violence is necessary for 60-year-old people. I think it made the point that there are lines that should be drawn in the sand when someone’s trying to be professional and sounding unprofessional. Sometimes it’s better to be abrupt and then let everyone know you’re kidding.”
Needless to say, the atmosphere for this Valentine session today was a bit different from the normal pregame with Wedge. You could cut the tension with a knife. I’ve put two minutes of audio up top where Valentine addresses the Podsednik aftermath and questions the intelligence of media covering the team. Don’t forget, Valentine was a media member himself not too long ago (and soon might be yet again).
Valentine began by saying that he’s “tried to make light of some situations” and that it hasn’t always worked out. The audio picks up the rest.