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Topic: jason vargas

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April 28, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Game thread: Mariners 1, Angels 1, bottom of 7th

Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakua has the best ERA of any AL pitcher since the All-Star Break of last season (minimum 15 starts) at 2.37.

Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakua has the best ERA of any AL pitcher since the All-Star Break of last season (minimum 15 starts) at 2.37.

Jason Bay just tied the game on the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh, hitting a solo homer just beyond the left field wall. That’s a Safeco-fences-moved-in shot right there and Jason Vargas is the victim. As for the Mariners, they truly needed that one. We’re tied 1-1 in the seventh.

2:40 p.m.: The Mariners blinked first and trail 1-0 after an unearned run by the Angels in the sixth courtesy of shortstop Robert Andino’s error. With Austin Romine on second and one out, Mike Trout hit a grounder to Andino, who appeared to have his eye on third base. Trout would have been tough to nail at first because he’s so quick up the line and Andino might have had a better shot at third. But the ball got by him and rendered the whole point moot.

2:15 p.m.: We’re still scoreless heading to the fifth inning of a solid mound duel between Hisashi Iwakuma and Jason Vargas. Remember, Vargas pitches for the Angels now. Both teams have two hits apiece, the Mariners getting a one-out double to right by Kelly Shoppach last frame. But they failed to get him any further than that.

Menawhile, Iwakuma has logged six strikeouts already and retired the last seven in a row.

12:55 p.m.: This is a pretty important game for the Mariners. Take today’s contest against former Mariners starter Jason Vargas and the Mariners will have claimed three of four from the Los Angeles Angels and grabbed their first series of the season.

It’s late April, so that series win is long overdue. The Mariners have also not won two in a row since April 1 and 2 in Oakland. I can guarantee you, this will never be a .500 club if the Mariners fail to win two in a row the rest of the season.

They have Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound today and have played three pretty good games to start this series. Win three here, they will start to distance themselves a bit from that putrid road trip and can focus on how to get themselves back to the .500 mark come June. Michael Saunders is expected back in action tomorrow for the Mariners as long as he feels OK playing center field for Class AAA Tacoma today.

Saunders text messaged manager Eric Wedge last night and told him “I’m ready!”


Comments | More in game thread | Topics: Hisashi Iwakuma, jason vargas, Jesus Montero

February 7, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Mariners reportedly agree to one-year deal with pitcher Joe Saunders

The Mariners have reportedly reached a deal with Joe Saunders, who pitched for the Diamondbacks and Orioles last season after starting career in Anaheim. Photo Credit: AP

The Mariners look to have found the replacement for Jason Vargas, reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal with free-agent pitcher Joe Saunders pending a physical. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the move.

Saunders, as we wrote last week, fills a left-handed need in Seattle’s rotation with a pitcher similar to Vargas in terms of how he gets his outs. Both give up their share of flyballs and struck out a mediocre total of about 5.8 batters per nine innings apiece in 2012.

With the fences coming in at Safeco Field, we’ll see how the dimensions impact Saunders, who got tagged for a .302 average and .849 OPS by right-handed hitters last year. Safeco Field used to help Vargas by knocking down some of his flyballs, especially those hit by right-handed batters.

Interestingly enough, as colleague  Larry Stone points out, Saunders is 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA lifetime at Safeco Field. The downside to that, of course, is that he was beating up on some bad Mariners teams with a strong Angels squad behind him helping him do it.

So, like I said, we’ll see.


Comments | More in Free agents | Topics: fences, Jack Zduriencik, jason vargas

December 19, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Kendrys Morales says he’s ‘100 percent ready to play every day’ at first base for Mariners

Kendrys Morales says he’s 100 percent and ready to play first base every day if needed. Photo Credit: AP

Well, the big question to come out of today’s acquisition by the Mariners of Kendrys Morales was whether or not he’d be able to play first base on a regular basis. He played there only 28 games last season of his 134 total with the Angels in his comeback from breaking his leg back in 2010.

Morales, 29, in a conference call minutes ago, said through interpreter Luis Garcia that this off-season is the strongest he’s felt since his injury and that he is back to 100 percent physically. When asked about playing first base regularly, he had this to say.

“At this point, I think I’m 100 percent,” he said. “I’m ready to play every day. Obviously, that’s not my decision. But at the end of the day, I’m confident knowing that I’m 100 percent ready to play first base every day if that’s what’s needed.”

So, we’ll see where the Mariners go from here with that.


Comments | More in trades | Topics: fences, Jack Zduriencik, jason vargas

December 19, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik says Kendrys Morales deal really took shape yesterday

Talks between the Mariners and Angels for Kendrys Morales didn’t begin until Tuesday morning. Photo Credit: AP

Turns out a congratulatory text message from Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik last week to Angels counterpart Jerry DiPoto on his Josh Hamilton signing was what got the wheels turning on today’s Kendrys Morales-Jason Vargas trade. Zduriencik had been in contact with DiPoto throughout the past year and at the recent winter meetings, discussing possible fits between the club.

Zduriencik was surprised when DiPoto swooped in and landed Hamilton, but moved on to his next plan soon after.

“When he got Josh, I sent him a message and said ‘Congratulations on the deal. I’m still interested in acquiring some offense and do you have some pieces there that would interest us?”’ Zduriencik said in a conference call with reporters a short time ago. “He texted me back and said ‘I will keep you in mind. We’re just letting the dust settle and just trying to figure out all of our options with adding Josh to the club.”’

Zduriencik said DiPoto another text over the weekend, reminding him he was still open to any bat talks.

Then, in the late morning yesterday, DiPoto called him back and said Morales was potentially available.

“We talked all through yesterday and then consumated the deal late this morning and early this afternoon,” Zduriencik said.

Now, we see where Morales plays and at whose expense that comes.

First baseman Justin Smoak and DH Jesus Montero appear most at-risk, given that Morales is a switch-hitter and even at his not-so-best in a comeback year in 2012 was easily superior to those two players. Much will depend on the health of Morales, who broke his leg in a home plate celebration after hitting a walk-off grand slam against Mariners closer David Aardsma in 2010 at Angel Stadium.

Morales only made it back last season, appearing in 134 games and making 522 plate appearances with no further DL stints. But he played only 28 games at first base, and no one expects him to man the positiondaily in Seattle. So, really, if he’s to primarily be a DH, there is going to be lots of juggling here for the Mariners unless they plan to trade somebody or move them to Class AAA.

Zduriencik said the team has been in contact with all of the medical staff and doctors who treated Morales, have his medical reports and are satisfied he’s healthy. He liked the two productive months Morales put together in August and September and felt it was a good indicator of what’s to come.

As for where he’ll play and who will give up time, Zduriencik said he’s discussed this with Eric Wedge and his staff and “we both were very confident there will be enough at-bats to go around to be able to work well with everyone.”


Comments | Topics: Jack Zduriencik, jason vargas, josh hamilton

December 19, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Mariners trade Jason Vargas to Angels, acquire Kendrys Morales

The Mariners have acquired first baseman Kendrys Morales from the Angels in exchange for pitcher Jason Vargas. Photo Credit: AP

Well, this could certainly count as a major move by the Mariners on the trade front. They just shipped left-handed starter Jason Vargas to the Los Angeles Angels for first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales.

At first glance, this move fills a need for both teams.

The Mariners have wanted a veteran 1B/DH for a while now and picked one up in Morales, 29, who would not have been so available before the Angels acquired Josh Hamilton.

Do I like this move? Yes, I do.

The Mariners needed another bat and Morales is potentially an upgrade over everybody they have if he resumes the form he had prior to seriously breaking his leg in a game against the Mariners a few years ago. Morales hit .273 in his comeback year with 22 homers and 73 RBI and an OPS of .787, easily better than any Mariners full-timer.

“We have been focused on adding offense this off-season, and feel that Kendrys will be a middle-of-the-order bat for us,” Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said in a release. “He’s a switch-hitter with power who has played, and hit, in the AL West. He’s familiar with the teams and parks and is a proven run-producer. We hate to part with Jason, and really appreciate everything he’s done for us, but we are in a situation where we had to give up talent to acquire talent.”


Comments | More in trades | Topics: Jack Zduriencik, jason vargas, kendrys morales