Seattle Mariners: Washington Nationals Players Serve as Reminder to What Could Have Been

As the Seattle Mariners watch yet another playoffs from their respective couches, they find themselves wondering what could have been. Or rather, how close they could have been had they acquired or retained certain players.

Nowhere is this more relevant than in Washington, where the Nationals employ four former Mariners and two extremely important pieces of their team that were this close to becoming Mariners. Here’s a look at those players.

Anthony Rendon

Widely panned as the best hitter in his draft class, Rendon was taken sixth overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. The Mariners had the second overall pick that year. They took left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen, who has had his share of troubles thanks to a rash of injuries. Rendon, on the other hand, led the league in runs scored in 2014 (only his second season in the majors), hit 21 home runs, drove in 83 runs, swiped 17 bags and hit .287 with a .824 OPS.

Positional log jams aside, the Mariners are probably wishing they had Rendon’s bat in their lineup.

Stephen Strasburg

Strasburg is the one player on this list who Seattle didn’t have on their team, or could have drafted. Yet, he still represents one of the biggest, “what ifs?” in Mariners’ history.

Simply put, Seattle and Washington were both awful in 2008. Both had a legitimate shot at the number one overall pick in the upcoming draft – at the time, widely believed to be Strasburg. Seattle won four of its last six to finish 61-101 while Washington lost five of their last six to finish 59-102. The Mariners already have two of the best starters in the league in Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, plus talented youngsters James Paxton and Taijuan Walker. If Strasburg drafted by the M’s and in that rotation, the Mariners’ playoff drought would be a thing of the past.

Doug Fister

The first of many former M’s on this list, Fister was traded from the Emerald City to Detroit along with David Pauley for Charlie Furbush, Casper Wells, Chance Ruffin and minor league prospect Francisco Martinez.

Since then, Fister went on to pitch fantastically in his 2 ½ years in Detroit, posting 32 wins—20 more than his total in 2 ½ years in Seattle— and turning in an ERA under four in every season. He also posted some absurd strikeout-to-walk ratios. Down the stretch in 2011 he struck out 57 batters while walking five over 70 innings.

The players Seattle got in return?

Wells would post decent power numbers in his brief time in Seattle before getting pushed out of a crowded outfield and finding himself with three different organizations not named the Seattle Mariners in 2013. He drove in a singular run in 53 games. Martinez was eventually traded back to Detroit for a PTBNL while Ruffin recently retired. Furbush was the only solid player Seattle got back. He’s provided a dependable reliever, but is buried in a deep bullpen.

Detroit would later send Fister to Washington, but the current Nationals pitcher is just another reminder of what could have been for Seattle.

Matt Thornton and Rafael Soriano

Seattle isn’t short on relievers at the moment, but Thornton and Soriano are two more examples of players who got away. Thornton, a former first round pick of the Mariners, was dealt to Chicago in 2006 for outfielder Joe Borchard. He went on to enjoy a long stint in the Windy City before moving to Boston midway through last season. He won a ring with the Red Sox and split 2014 with the Yankees and Nationals, posting a cumulative 1.75 ERA over 64 innings. For his career, Thornton has a 3.43 ERA in 670 appearances and an All-Star appearance to his name.

Soriano is the more sorely missed of the two. While Fernando Rodney has been superb as the M’s closer, and the has gotten by with a string of quality closers, Soriano has been superb in his career.

Upon leaving Seattle he moved to Atlanta, in a trade that will be addressed later, and in two years posted ERAs of 3.00 and 2.57 before taking over the closer’s role in 2009 and turning in a 2.97 ERA with 27 saves. He was traded to Tampa Bay and promptly led the league with 45 saves. He pitched to a tremendous 1.73 ERA and finished in the top 12 in Cy Young and MVP voting. After a year in Tampa he moved to the Yankees where he had a slight down year with a 4.12 ERA in 42 games before bouncing back to save 42 games and post a 2.26 ERA in 2012. He placed 20th in MVP voting that year. He then signed with Washington where he has accumulated 75 saves over the past two seasons with a collective 3.15 ERA.

Since leaving the Mariners, Soriano has appeared in 469 games, posted a 2.84 ERA and recorded 203 saves.

Now we get to the trade that was mentioned earlier.

The Mariners traded Soriano to the Atlanta Braves for Horacio Ramirez.

Yes, that Horacio Ramirez who’s ERA over 20 starts and 98 innings was 7.16. You heard me correctly, 7.16! Yes, that Horacio Ramirez who let righties hit .340 off of him. Yes, that Horacio Ramirez who allowed lefties to hit .330 against him. Yes, that Horacio Ramirez.

The Mariners traded away a reliever who would become one of the game’s finest at his position for a back-of-the-rotation starter who posted an ERA over seven in nearly 100 innings.

Yikes.

Asdrubal Cabrera

Another Mariner traded away for relatively nothing, Cabrera was lost to Cleveland in “The Great Highway Robbery/Fleecing of 2006.” Cleveland traded Ben Broussard and Eduardo Perez to Seattle in two different trades. Seattle gave up Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera respectively.

Cabrera would go on to establish himself as a premium two-way shortstop, culminating with a 2011 season in which he hit .273 with 25 home runs, 92 runs driven in, 17 stolen bases and a .792 OPS. Cabrera would make two All-Star appearances in Cleveland before moving to Washington at this past trade deadline. While he isn’t a threat to hit anywhere near 25 homers, he still provides pop and solid defense for a middle infielder.

In Conclusion

It’s easy to sit and think, “what if this?” or, “what if that?”, especially with the Mariners. But the reality is that Seattle has a history of letting players go too early, as well has just missing acquiring players who could turn into important cogs. Those players go on to become impact players elsewhere. There are quite a few former Mariners and almost-Mariners in various MLB cities playing vital roles to their teams. The Washington Nationals just happen to have more than most. For the Mariners, it’s a reminder of what could have been.

 

All stats courtesy of http://www.baseball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

 

Seattle Seahawks: Stats from the Opening Win Over Green Bay

  • 34, 2.8.

These were Eddie Lacy’s rushing numbers on Thursday. He totaled 34 yards on 12 carries with 2.8 yards per carry. By comparison Marshawn Lynch had 110 yards on 20 carries and 5.5 yards a carry. Yeah… Beastmode still has it.

  • 100 yards from scrimmage racked up by Percy Harvin

Whenever Percy Harvin was on the field, Seattle seemed to go to him. They got the playmaker the ball in a variety of ways and it was a success. The former Viking didn’t score a touchdown, but you can bet he’ll get a boatload of scores if Pete Carroll continues to get him the ball this much.

  • Two

The numbers of times Russell Wilson has beat Aaron Rodgers.

  • Zero

The number of times Aaron Rodgers has beat Russell Wilson.

  • Zero

Also the number of times Aaron Rodgers threw towards the receiver Richard Sherman was covering on defense. Say what you will about Sherman and whether he’s the best corner in the game, but if he can force a team to sacrifice nearly a half of the field to avoid him, it only speaks to his talent and skill.

  • Two

Number of consecutive games (counting the Super Bowl) that the Seahawks have forced a safety.

  • 143

The difference in the team’s total yards. Seattle gained 398 yards while the Packers only managed 255.

  • 207 to 80.

Seattle’s rushing yards compared to Green Bay’s. A lot of this had to do with Eddie Lacy leaving the game with a concussion, but a lot of it had to do with Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks’ defense being so respectively dominant.

  • One

Sacks recorded against the Seahawks. If you can call it one. Russell Wilson lost zero yards on the play. And while he didn’t gain any either, it looked like more of a scramble and a duck out of bounds than an actual sack. This is a huge positive for a Seahawks offensive line going against Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers.

 

Seattle Seahawks: Walter Jones, Cortez Kennedy & Steve Largent Raise the 12th Man Flag

Check it out gang! Kingdome posted another video on YouTube.

Here’s Seahawks’ Hall of Famers Walter Jones, Cortez Kennedy and Steve Largent raising the 12th Man Flag before the opening game of the 2014 NFL Season at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Enjoy!

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Kingdome on YouTube and the Seahawks Super Bowl Championship Banner Ceremony

Quick! Tell your friends, Kingdome is now on YouTube. Yes, that’s right; Kingdome is diving into another form of media. Check out the aptly name channel and subscribe! It will blow your mind!

To celebrate check out Kingdome’s first ever video—a recording of the Seahawks’ 2013 Championship banner unveiling ceremony right before the opening game of the 2014 NFL season at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe. Also, to see the YouTube channel in its entirety click here.

Don’t forget to subscribe!

David Price Trade: How the Mariners Have Made Out So Far

Nearly a month ago, the baseball world was thrown into a frenzy. Not just because it was the non-waiver trade deadline, but because David Price was traded. That the former Cy Young winner had been dealt wasn’t the shock. Everyone and the foul pole knew that was coming for years, but the shock was who acquired him— the Detroit Tigers. Detroit didn’t just do it on their own, they got the Seattle Mariners involved— acquiring Price from Tampa Bay, flipping Drew Smyly and minor league shortstop Willy Adames to Tampa and sending Austin Jackson to Seattle, who in turn sent Nick Franklin to the Rays.

While most will talk about how Detroit came away as a huge winner or maybe Tampa Bay didn’t get as much as it could have, the Mariners are the forgotten team in the trade. Seattle made out like highway bandits. Highway bandits.

The Mariners’ offensive output was horrendous. The infield is excused from this discussion because of Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. While the infield gets a pass, the outfield doesn’t. The pre-trade deadline offensive production in the outfield was dreadful.

Like any good general manager of a contending team, Jack Zduriencik made a trade to fix that. In actuality, he made two. One was to bring in Chris Denorfia, who is at best a platoon option on a good team, and the second involved acquiring Jackson.

The one-time Yankee farmhand hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire in the Emerald City. He’s hitting .227 with a .542 OPS and is averaging one strikeout per game. But, at age 27, Jackson still has room to improve and time to get back on track. At best he’s a .290-ish hitter who’ll reach double digits in homeruns, steals, triples and approach 30 doubles.  In addition, he plays strong defense in center field. The caveat with Austin Jackson is that he strikes out a lot. He paced the league with 170 punch outs his rookie season and fanned at least 100 times every season he’s been in the big leagues.

So, maybe he strikes out a lot. Maybe too much.  But at this point, the Mariners will take any offense they can get, no matter what the cost (i.e. lots of strikeouts). It wasn’t exactly like the M’s acquired a .227 hitter in the trade; Jackson hit .273 in 100 games for Detroit. If he can get close to that number, he’ll be exactly what the Mariners need.

What made the Jackson trade look so one sided was what Zduriencik gave up to acquire the former Tiger— minor league second baseman Nick Franklin. Once thought to be one half of the Mariners’ double play combo of the future, along with Brad Miller, Franklin hit a mere .225 in his first season. Despite that, he showed promise with 12 homeruns and 45 runs driven in across only 102 games. All of that progress was seemingly chucked out the window when Seattle signed current offensive catalyst (and second baseman) Robinson Cano. Franklin was then thrown into a spring training battle with Miller for the starting shortstop job. Miller won the job, hence making Franklin expandable.

The second baseman only got into 17 games with the Mariners. He hit an extremely underwhelming .128. His OPS over those games? .363. It wasn’t a case of Franklin being in the minors because of lack of available at bats in Seattle. It was because of a lack of production in Seattle.

The bottom line is that the Mariners acquired Austin Jackson for Nick Franklin. They acquired an above-average center fielder for a minor league second baseman who was failing to produce in the majors, an established player with a track record for above-average play for a player whose value comes more from a promise that may or may not come, as opposed to on-the-field play.

The Mariners didn’t bring in David Price like the rumor mill thought they would, but they were still involved in the trade. And from their perspective, it looks pretty good.

 

All stats courtesy of http://www.baseball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

Knowhitter Crossover- Fantasy Football: Picks and Tips for the 2014 NFL Season

The NFL Season is almost upon us and with preseason already underway, the focus of the NFL fan is fixed on fantasy football. To get you ready for the upcoming season, here are some picks to consider when drafting your team.

QB: Drew Brees

You can’t go wrong with either one of the “Big Three” quarterbacks, i.e. Brees, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, but Brees is the best bet. Manning is older than both and faces a much tougher schedule, while Brees’ schedule is much easier than Rodgers. You can’t botch the pick, but for me Brees is the best bet.

RB: Bishop Sankey

Rookies always carry risk, but Sankey could be a good value pick in the mid-late rounds. He could enter the year dividing carries with Shone Greene. A strong performance or two could vault him past the former Jet.  The Titans aren’t going to be world beaters. That much is true, so it could reach a point where the team gives more reps to the younger players. If Sankey is already in a time-share situation with Greene and the Titans tank, Sankey could receive the lion’s share of the carries, giving him some decent relative value.

WR: Percy Harvin

Last year I gambled on a lot of Seahawks having big years. I reached for the defense/special team, took Marshawn Lynch high and bet big on Russell Wilson. This by-and-large worked out, but the one Hawks’ weapon I struck out on was Percy Harvin, who barely played in the regular season. Everyone saw his impact in the Super Bowl, and while he won’t be returning kicks for touchdowns every week, he’ll make plenty of big plays. Pete Carroll will make sure he’s involved. Whether it is with screens or end arounds, the former Vikings star will have the ball in his hands and do what he does best, be a playmaker.

D/ST: Seattle Seahawks

A QB turning in a mediocre/sub-par showing against Seattle has become commonplace. Just ask Colin Kaepernick. The Seahawks don’t have the easiest schedule in the world in terms of opposing offenses, but their defense is that good. Reaching for it isn’t unheard of. The champs made, among others, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Kaepernick and Eli Manning look foolish last year and also held the likes of Cam Newton and Matt Ryan in check. Even with Peyton, Aaron Rodgers, Newton, Kaepernick and Nick Foles on the slate, expect the champs to put up more big numbers, and fantasy points.

 

Tips:

Don’t fall in love with the end of your bench.

Injuries and ineffectiveness happen, so you’re probably going to have to cut somebody at some point. But breakouts happen as well. Every year a player comes out of nowhere to register a stretch of monster games. We saw it last year with Jordan Cameron and Keenan Allen. Don’t miss out on the breakout stars because you’re keeping an injured handcuff running back from your favorite team on your bench. The logic also applies if someone in your league inexplicably cuts a player who could be a solid contributor for you. Don’t fall in love with your bench.

Avoid reaching on a backup QB.

If you draft a Drew Brees or an Aaron Rodgers in the early rounds, don’t reach on Russell Wilson or Matt Ryan in the middle rounds. Barring an injury, only look for a backup QB with a good matchup when your starter has a bye week. The well of quality flex options (running back, wide receiver, tight end) dries up quickly. Don’t reach for a backup QB when you’re only going to realistically play them one week.

What tips do you have for the upcoming fantasy season?

 

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