Seattle Mariners

 

 The young Redbirds beat Florida Atlantic on Monday.  Ryan Ludwick was the hitting star with 2 hits and 2 RBIs.  Dennis Dove and Kelvin Jimenez reportedly looked very good on the mound. 

 

In the coaches’ pitch game, Rick Ankiel was the hitting star, hitting a solo homerun and a double. 

 

Nice article about Colby Rasmus over at StlToday.  Seems like a good kid and hopefully will fill Jim Edmonds shoes quite nicely. 

 

Former Cardinal Al Reyes faced live hitters Saturday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

 

According to Fox Sports, Barry Bonds will not cooperate in George Mitchell’s probe of steroid use in baseball.  If he has nothing to hide, why won’t he cooperate.  He is such a find upstanding person, a real asset to the game.

 

Oft injured Yankee pitcher Carl Pavano  is already missing time because he has a bad foot.

 

Some local college baseball results.  Southeast swept their double header yesterday and is now 5-1 on the year.  SIU swept Central Michigan and is now 6-3.  Mizzou won one and lost one on Sunday.  There bullpen has really hurt them in the early going.  The Tigers went 1-3 over the weekend and now stand at 6-5.  Check out the latest Top 25 by clicking the link to the right.

 

 

2006 Finish:  78-84, 4th place, 15 games behind the Oakland A’s

 

Manager:  Jim Hargrove, 16th year as a MLB manager, 3rd with the Mariners

 

Comings: RHP Jeff Weaver, RHP Miguel Batista, LHP Horacio Ramirez, RHP Chris Reitsma, 2B/DH Jose Vidro,  RF Jose Guillen

 

Goings:  RHP Rafeal Soriano, OF Chris Snelling, RHP Joel Pineiro

 

Offense: CF Ichiro is still one of the top leadoff men in baseball.  3B Adrian Beltre and 1B Richie Sexon are the thunder in the middle, even though neither has lived up to the contracts each received before the 2005 season.  Raul Ibanez splits the previous two in the order and might be one of the most underrated players in baseball.  In 06 he hit .289/.353/.516 with 33 HRs and 123 RBIs.  Jose Vidro was brought in to DH, with the Mariners picking up 12 of the 16 million Vidro is owed.  Once a premier hitter he has been on the decline and has had trouble staying healthy.  Guillen was brought in for some right handed pop.  Cather Kenji Johjima had a solid first season in the U.S., hitting .291 with 18 long balls and 76 driven in. Jose Lopez had a fine offensive season, especially for a second basemen.  Lopez hit .282 with 10 homeruns and 79 RBIs.  He doesn’t walk very much, only 26 in over 600 at bats,  SS Yuniesky Betancourt hit .289.  He, too, doesn’t walk very much, 17 times in 558 at bats.  Ben Brousard, last years DH, will come off the bench.  Last year he hit .289 with 21 homers and 63 runs batted in. 

 Defense:  The defense is really good.  Beltre plays a very solid third base.  Betancourt and Lopez combo is one of the best in the business.  Johjima threw out 33% of those who tried to steal and had a fielding percentage of .993.  Ichiro is one of the top defenders in the league and his arm is legendary.  Guillen is usually solid in the OF when he wants to be.  The question is how well he will throw coming off Tommy John surgery.  Sexon is average and Ibanez is a slightly underrated fielder.

Rotation:  The Mariners addressed the rotation by bringing in 3 new starters.  Jeff Weaver coming off his World Series success was brought in on a one year deal.  Journeyman Miguel Batista was brought in for 3 years and $25 million.  Ramirez came from Atlanta for Soraiano.  Ramirez only started 14 games last year due to hamstring and finger problems.  LHP Jarred Washburn struggled after signing a big $$ multi-year deal.  He was 8-14 with a 4.67 ERA.  Last, but certainly not least is RHP Felix Hernandez, still considered one of the elite young talents in baseball.

Bullpen:  RHP J.J. Putz stepped up as the closer last year, saving 36 with an ERA of 2.30.  Reitsma was brought in to serve in a setup role even though he is coming off arm surgery for nerve damage.  LHP George Sherrill is already having arm problems.  The rest of the bullpen is quite unspectacular.

 Prospects:  Adam Jones-CF-Superb athlete that came up through the system as a SS.  Got to see some action in the bigs last year, hitting .216/.237/.311 in 74 ABs, striking out 22 times.  Has a minor league career avg of .285/.346/.446.  Could shift over to right if Guillen is not ready or struggles.

Jeff Clement-C-3rd pick of the 05 draft, broke the high school home run record with 75 and hit 46 more at USC.  His power is his calling card, so with Johjima entrenched behind the plate, DH could be his quickest route to the bigs.  The only problem is he hasn’t hit for power. His minor league totals are .278/.348/.420 with 12 home runs and 21 doubles in 417 career minor league at bats.  Went to Hawaii to participate in their winter league and hit .189.  Considered to be an average defender at best.

 

Analysis:  Seattle GM Bill Bavasi made two of the worse trades of the offseason, acquiring Vidro and Ramirez.  Suzuki is in the walk year of his contract and reports say that Matsuzaka of the Red Sox is already recruiting him.  There is alot of talent and I like the offense.  The defense could be really good.  It is being reported that the Mariners are trying to sign Lopez to a long term deal.  I just don’t believe they have enough pitching, especially in a division with Oakland and Los Angeles.  Could be the last year for Hargrove and Bavasi, if either make it through the whole year.

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