Seattle Mariners: This Week in Walk-Up Music News

It’s been a sad time lately for the Mariners. Before Robinson Cano signed, the team was coming off a 71-91 season in which they struggled mightily. More importantly, outfielder Mike Morse and his A-ha walk-up music were traded.

I like rap as much as the next guy, but Morse’s usage of classic 80’s music was a breath of fresh air in terms of walk-up music. As a fan of 80’s music it’s nice to see, but when you can get the crowd to do this… well, let’s just say it’s entertaining.

The Mariners’ newest acquisition, Corey Hart, will go a long way to replacing and or improving on the production Morse gave the Mariners.

No, not that Corey Hart. Corey Hart, the former Brewer who M’s GM Jack Zduriencik drafted during his time with the Brewers.

“Sunglasses at Night” may be a slight downgrade from A-ha and the Eurhythmics (another Morse walk-up favorite), but Hart’s on-field play will likely pay bigger dividends than Morse’s.

The Jason Bay/Casper Wells Post-Conundrum Analysis

The Mariners made no secret of their desire to beef up their middle-of-the-order in the off-season. They turned John Jaso into Mike Morse. That transaction, however early it might be, is paying off. They signed Raul Ibanez to hit for power and make sure Morse wasn’t the only new-old Mariner. They also signed Jason Bay.

The Mariners’ outfield was clogged to begin with. Michael Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez, Trayvon Robinson, Eric Thames, Carlos Peguero and Wells were all fighting for a third of the outfield pie. You add the new power bats and some people are going to have to go.

Robinson was dealt to Baltimore and Thames and Peguero are playing in Tacoma, Guti and Grand Torrido (that’s Saunders, you can see my explanation here) are starting for the Mariners.

The final outfield spot, in the end, came down to Bay or Wells.

Bay, six years Wells’ senior who is on an expiring contract and hit .165 in nearly half of a season in New York.

Or Wells, the prototypical fourth outfielder who is controlled by the team longer, is younger and cheaper than Bay.

Wells might be one of the more cynically undervalued players in the league. He played well enough to get more ABs in Seattle, however, due to the crowded outfield (see above,) wasn’t able to get them. Wells is never going to be a mega superstar, but given a decent number of at bats, he could be a very solid contributor offensively and defensively.

Wells, again given decent playing time, is a plus defender who could hit around 20 homers in a full season.

But instead the team went with Bay, who if he plays well, is likely to garner a new contract next year from someone else.

That’s no slant on Bay, but in a situation like this when the spot up for grabs is third string corner outfield/DH position, then you should probably go with the younger, cheaper, longer controlled, better defensive player.

Oh, the travesties of baseball.

HELLO!!! It’s Really Early, Maybe Too Early, but the Mike Morse Trade is Already Paying Dividends

If you watched yesterday’s Mariner game, then you probably saw Mike Morse go bananas. One of Seattle’s newest, oldest Mariners (Raul Ibanez is the other,) ripped Oakland’s pitchers to shreds with a 2/4 performance that include two long balls and a total of four runs batted in.

This is significant not just because Morse outscored the A’s by his lonesome, nor because he nearly out hit them. But because of how good of a sign this is for the Mariners’ offense.

This was a big game from a Mariner hitter, something that was few-and-far-between for hitters on last year’s team, especially middle-of-the-order types.  The key here is that Morse turned in the first multi-homerun and/or four RBI (at the least) game of the season for Seattle. Something that took the M’s a little under a month and some late inning heroics from Michael Saunders to produce last season.

It’s a small milestone, but a positive one for the Mariners as they move to 2-0.

Why Michael Saunders Is the Most Important Player in the Seattle Mariners’ Lineup

Big name additions Mike Morse and Kendrys Morales might be viewed as the most important players in the M’s lineup. It might be the development of budding stars Jesus Montero, Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager. Or it could be Michael Saunders.

Michael Saunders who hit .727 (that being 8 for 11 for all of you who didn’t major in some sort of math at MIT) in the World Baseball Classic. Michael Saunders, who I gave the nickname Grand Torrido to despite “Torrido” meaning torrid in Italian and the M’s having one of the more prominent Italian players in the game of baseball in their organization: Alex Liddi. Whatever, Saunders is the most important player in the lineup and this is why.

He extends the lineup. Continue reading

Projecting the Mariners’ Opening Day Lineup

Due to the Mariners hot start in spring training, it makes it just about as easy to predict a lineup where the whole team struggles. None the less, the M’s will likely feel good about themselves going into the season thanks to their torrid spring offense and lack of a terribly-long flight to Japan.

The Mariners have a lot to look forward to this year. They will likely contend for a playoff spot, or at least a seat at the final table to determine that spot. They will unveil a new, slugging-based offense. They will play in the same division as Houston. And they will play in the same division as Houston. Continue reading

This is the Mariners Depth Chart and This is What I’m Going to Write About- Looking at the Mariners Possible Strengths and Weaknesses

Writing block happens. Everybody gets it. So when trying to come up with a timely piece about the Mariners I just stared at the depth chart. And this is what I got.

Possible Strengths-

  • Outfield- This might be more of a necessity due to the amount of depth the M’s have. When the team has the quality of players the M’s do, some group of the nearly 30 possible outfield groups the M’s have is going to work, offensively and defensively they should be fine.
  • Middle Infield- Brendan Ryan led the league in defensive WAR last year. While his offense can leave more to be desired, he still is the best defender at a defense-first position in the league. Dustin Ackley, on the other hand, saved 16 above average in the field per 1,200 innings last year. Pretty remarkable for a guy who is known for his bat and for someone who transitioned to the position for the first time in his life in 2010.
  • Middle of the Order- Continue reading

Hey, the A’s Did it, How About Us?

The Oakland Athletics had an extremely successful season last year. Maybe you didn’t notice. In a discussion where the A’s were probably relegated to the kiddy table, while big-boys Texas and Anaheim were supposed to contend for the division, the A’s won it. LA of Anaheim missed the playoffs all together, and Texas went out in a pretty unceremonious way against Baltimore in the new-fangled one-game playoff.

The team’s supposed strengths going into the season were pitching and, well, pitching. Albeit in an enormously large ball park where a game of cricket can be played down the right field and left field foul territories.

Oakland’s strength ended up being not only pitching, but also a tendency to hit home runs. And lots of them. The A’s were one of the better teams at the art of the long ball (7th in baseball last year.)

Last year as well, the A’s got the bulk of their power from their first base/ corner outfield/DH spots from a mix-matched group of role players and journeymen.

(Sensing a theme?) Continue reading

Can The Mariners Be Baseball’s Version of the Clippers?

Let me explain. Felix isn’t going to throw alley oops to Jesus Montero; Kendrys Morales isn’t going to get a never-ending highlight reel of clips for dunking on Ryan Dempster, and well you seem to get the point.

According the hoopsstats.com, the Clippers’ bench was in the bottom five in the league in terms of points, rebounds, assists and field goal percentage last year. The Clippers needed to improve the bench to get better.

Last offseason LA re-made their bench. They had 10 guys on the roster who weren’t regular starters last year. Only two of them are still on the team. The Clips main weakness was small forward depth, much like the Mariners lack of any power hitters. They went out and brought in Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes and Grant Hill among others. No one thought this would actually function and that the Clippers would struggle to give guys playing time, etc. But the Clippers have one of the better records in the league thanks to a bench that leads the league in bench scoring, and are in the top five in the league in rebounding, assists, steals and blocks.

The Mariners, you’ll remember, needed a new batch of power hitters. Middle of the order guys. Guys who could actually hit home runs on a consistent basis.

Seattle also wen the overkill route, dealing for Morales and Mike Morse as well as signing Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay. All of whom play some combination of the DH-First-Base-Left-Field Triple-platoon of positions all played by power hitters.

The Mariners are not only protected in case of injuries (which always seem to happen at the most inopportune times,) but are also able to play the mix-and-match game.

Eric Wedge can rotate Morse, Ibanez, Bay, Morales as well as incumbents Mike Carp and Justin Smoak through DH. He can also play all of them with the exception of Bay at first base, and all with the exception of Morales and Smoak in left field.

It gives the M’s the flexibility to lean on the hotter bats as well as easing off the colder ones.

So, can the M’s be baseball’s version of the Clippers?

It could happen.

What do you think? Could the Mariners be baseball’s Clippers with a mix-and-matching, strong-in-the-bench squad?