Seattle Mariners – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-06-23T06:09:15Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees, Mariners Interested In J.A. Happ]]> 2018-06-18T15:03:57Z 2018-06-18T15:03:57Z The Yankees and Mariners are among the clubs interested in Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ, tweets Jon Morosi of Happ figures to be one of the top rentals available on the starting pitching market this summer, if not the top rental, so it’s hardly a surprise to see a pair of contending clubs with some rotation question marks eyeing the 35-year-old southpaw. Presumably, most contending clubs have at least considered making a run.

Happ is in the final season of a three-year, $36MM contract that has proven to be a bargain for the Jays. In 423 innings since signing that deal, he’s worked to a 3.36 ERA, averaging 8.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 with slightly above-average ground-ball tendencies. Happ’s 2018 season is among his best yet, as he’s sporting a career-best 10.2 K/9 mark and a 10.4 percent swinging-strike rate. Lefties haven’t stood a chance against him (.159/.188/.246), while the efforts of right-handed opponents have been relatively futile in their own right (.217/.294/.346). Cole Hamels may have Happ topped in name value, but Happ is the better pitcher and this point and looks like one of the clear prizes of the summer trade market.

Happ is earning $13MM this season, and there’s still about $7.3MM of that sum remaining to be paid out before season’s end. That’s hardly an insignificant sum, but it’s not a backbreaking total for most contending clubs, either. And, of course, the Blue Jays could help to facilitate the trade by agreeing to pay down a portion of Happ’s remaining salary as a means of helping to extract the best possible return.

Both New York and Seattle have had some issues in their rotation, even though both clubs have received above-average results from their starting pitching. The Yankees, for instance, recently lost left-hander Jordan Montgomery to Tommy John surgery and have received inconsistent contributions from Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka. Domingo German has not seized the fifth spot in the rotation in Montgomery’s absence.

The Mariners, meanwhile, have received just 9 2/3 innings from Erasmo Ramirez in 2018. Felix Hernandez has been hammered for a 5.44 ERA, and while Wade LeBlanc has been terrific in the fifth starter’s role, there are questions about the 33-year-old’s ability to sustain his current level of production.

As for the Blue Jays, despite the fact that they just completed sweeps of the Nationals and Orioles, it still seems likely that they’ll be open to selling off veteran assets this summer. Even after going 7-3 in their past 10 games, the Jays are sitting at 33-38 on the season, placing them 15 games out of first place in the American League East and a similarly daunting 12.5 games back of a Wild Card spot in the American League. Toronto also has just six games against sub-.500 teams remaining between now and the All-Star break, so their upcoming schedule doesn’t present an easy road back to contention.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Ichiro Hoping To Make Mariners' Roster In 2019]]> 2018-06-17T13:39:32Z 2018-06-17T03:34:29Z
  • Although he shifted from the diamond to a front office role with the Mariners last month, Ichiro Suzuki intends to earn a roster spot with the team in 2019, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. Given that the future Hall of Famer has struggled in recent seasons (a productive 2016 with Miami notwithstanding) and will be 45 when next spring rolls around, accomplishing his goal seems like a long shot. But with the Mariners scheduled to open next season with a series against the A’s in Ichiro’s homeland of Japan, it’s worth a try.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Mariners Outright Mike Morin]]> 2018-06-16T18:28:08Z 2018-06-16T18:15:37Z Mariners right-hander Mike Morin has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma, the club’s PR department has announced. Morin had been designated for assignment by Seattle on Thursday.

    Morin’s been an above-average reliever throughout the course of his career in terms of FIP (3.35 lifetime mar), but he’s one of those pitchers whose ERA doesn’t line up with the type of contact he induces. Morin owns a 4.60 career ERA despite excellent command of the strike zone and a strikeout rate of nearly a batter per inning. August Fagerstrom of Fangraphs once described him as having baseball’s “silliest change-up” due to the extreme velocity differential between that pitch and his fastball.

    Morin’s removal from the roster is somewhat puzzling considering he’s performed strongly between the majors and minors this year (as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted when the Mariners designated him for assignment). Perhaps the Mariners (along with all 29 other MLB clubs) were still dismayed by the 7.20 ERA he posted across 20 innings last season. Regardless, they’ll retain him within the organization and likely see him contribute again at some point this season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Return Eric Filia To Mariners]]> 2018-06-16T00:50:08Z 2018-06-16T00:50:10Z JUNE 15: The teams have announced that Filia will be returned to Seattle after failing his physical. Instead, Boston will receive cash considerations to complete the swap.

    JUNE 12: The Red Sox announced that they’ve acquired minor league outfielder Eric Filia from the Mariners as the player to be named later in April’s Roenis Elias trade. FanRag’s Robert Murray was the first to reports that Filia was going to the Red Sox (Twitter link).

    Filia, 25, was Seattle’s 20th-round pick back in 2016 and ranked as the No. 11 prospect in a thin Mariners farm system, per, though he missed the early portion of the season while serving a 50-game suspension due to a second positive test for a drug of abuse. He was recently activated and has batted .426/.508/.537 with a home run, three doubles and more walks (nine) than strikeouts (four) in 63 Double-A plate appearances.

    Of course, Filia is older than the average competition he’s facing in Double-A, as was the case in 2017 when he batted .326/.407/.434 with five homers in 564 plate appearances as a 24-year-old in Class-A Advanced. Filia has punched out in just 7.3 percent of his professional plate appearances, and while that’s in part a testament to the younger competition he’s faced, it’s also an undeniable testament to his above-average bat-to-ball skills. He’s also walked at a 12.3 percent clip in the minors.

    Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of laud those on-base and bat-to-ball skills, though their report also indicates that he’s limited to the outfield corners on the defensive spectrum and has “average-at-best tools” in other facets of the game. Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen called him a potential bench bat in running through the Mariners’ system this offseason, noting past injury issues and recreational drug usage have slowed his path to the Majors.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Designate Mike Morin]]> 2018-06-14T22:10:31Z 2018-06-14T22:10:31Z The Mariners have designated reliever Mike Morin for assignment, per a club announcement. The club also optioned out first baseman Dan Vogelbach while adding righties Nick Rumbelow and Rob Whalen to the active roster.

    Morin, 27, had appeared twice this year for the M’s at the MLB level but spent most of his time in the Seattle organization at Triple-A. Over 25 total frames, he allowed nine earned runs and carried a strong 28:6 K/BB ratio.

    Over parts of five seasons in the majors, Morin has worked to a 4.60 ERA over 172 innings. Claimed off waivers over the winter, he was removed from the 40-man late in camp and then added back just a few days ago. Given his prior outright, Morin can refuse an assignment to Triple-A if he clears waivers.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dipoto On Mariners’ Plans Once Cano Returns]]> 2018-06-12T02:06:00Z 2018-06-12T02:06:00Z The eighty-game suspension of Robinson Cano created an interesting situation for the Mariners, who have already responded in part by shifting Dee Gordon to second base and acquiring Denard Span. But more moves are anticipated for the surprising AL West leaders, with Cano’s return playing into the calculus, as GM Jerry Dipoto discussed with’s Jerry Crasnick.

    Lest there be any doubt, Dipoto made clear that Cano won’t simply be handed his regular job at second when he’s eligible to be activated. While the club sees Cano as “perhaps the biggest acquisition of anybody at the deadline,” per Dipoto, it’s also cognizant of the fact that he isn’t going to be eligible for a hopeful postseason berth due to his ban.

    Since the M’s will be using Gordon at second if they crack the playoffs, he’ll need to spend a good bit of time there late in the regular season. That could set the stage for some sort of “time-share,” says Dipoto, who also notes that the plans will “be dictated by where we are in the standings.” Presumably, that could mean leaning on Cano more if it’s necessary to squeeze out every last win — which certainly may be the order of the day given the level of top-level competition in the divisional and Wild Card races.

    Dipoto acknowledged that there’s still quite a lot of ground to cover before the team can begin sketching out postseason lineup cards. As he put it, “First, we have to continue to play well. If we start to get too far ahead of ourselves in allocating playing time in late August and September as we sit here in June, that’s probably not the wisest thing to do.”

    That said, the plans for Cano and Gordon have implications for the team’s deadline planning. It’s certainly possible that Cano could spend time at first base, where the M’s have received middling production. Perhaps that would leave the team free to focus its resources — including the untapped portion of the money saved on Cano’s forfeited salary — on boosting its pitching staff more than filling out the lineup. While the organization would still need to have a plan in place for managing a Cano-less postseason, that general approach might maximize its chances of making it to the dance in a top-heavy American League.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners Agree To Sign Second-Rounder Josh Stowers]]> 2018-06-11T03:44:36Z 2018-06-11T03:30:36Z
  • The Mariners have agreed to terms second-round pick Josh Stowers, MLB Trade Rumors has learned.  The deal is worth $1.1MM, slightly less than the $1,287,800 slot price attached to the 54th overall pick.  Stowers caught fire late in the college season, which apparently rose his stock enough in Seattle’s eyes to merit a selection that substantially outpaced his pre-draft rankings — Law and Fangraphs didn’t include Stowers in their top-100 and top-130 lists, respectively, while Baseball America (124th) and (146th) also delivered modest evaluations.  The Louisville outfielder overcame his early-season struggles once he smoothed out his swing, and BA’s scouting report notes that “he doesn’t have one key carrying tool, but the sum of his parts gives him upside.”  Long-term questions remain about Stowers’ power and his ability to stick as a center fielder.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Place Nicasio, Altavilla On Disabled List, Select Morin]]> 2018-06-10T15:27:20Z 2018-06-10T15:26:49Z SUNDAY: Altavilla has a Grade 1 flexor mass strain in his right forearm, manager Scott Servais told Greg Johns of and other reporters Sunday. He’ll “be down a little while” as a result, Servais added (Twitter link).

    FRIDAY: The Mariners announced Friday that they’ve placed right-handers Juan Nicasio and Dan Altavilla on the disabled list, recalled first baseman Dan Vogelbach from Triple-A Tacoma and selected the contract of right-hander Mike Morin. Nicasio is dealing with right knee effusion, while Altavilla’s injury is more troubling: a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament.

    It’s another hit to the Seattle bullpen depth, which serves to underscore the importance of their early acquisition of Alex Colome in last month’s swap with the Rays. Nicasio and Altavilla will join David Phelps (Tommy John surgery), Nick Vincent (strained groin) and Erasmo Ramirez (strained Teres major) on the shelf for the time being. Seattle also recently just bit the bullet on an ill-fated two-year deal for left-hander Marc Rzepczynski, cutting the veteran southpaw loose and eating the remainder of this year’s $5.5MM salary in the process.

    There’s no indication that Nicasio’s injury is especially serious, though the Mariners neglected to disclose a timeline on either newly injured hurler. An “effusion,” though, refers to swelling and a build-up of fluid around the knee joint. For Altavilla, the perils of any UCL injury are well known, and while the categorization of a sprain is better than news of a full or significant tear, a “sprain,” by definition, would indicate that there’s at least a minor degree of tearing/stretching in that ligament.

    Altavilla has given the Mariners 20 2/3 innings of 2.61 ERA ball with a 23-to-15 K/BB ratio, while Nicasio has been mostly solid but had a pair of meltdowns that skew his numbers (two outings of four runs allowed). He’s sporting an ugly 5.34 ERA but a 2.56 FIP and a brilliant 37-to-2 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 frames this year.

    Seattle will turn to the 27-year-old Morin in an attempt to patch the latest bullpen holes. The right-hander debuted with the Angels in 2014 and turned in a brilliant rookie season (2.90 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 43.9 percent grounder rate in 59 innings), but he’s struggled in the Majors ever since. Seattle plucked him off waivers from the Royals back in December and later outrighted him to Tacoma. He’s been quite good there to open the season, logging a 3.24 ERA with 28 punchouts against six walks while allowing just one homer in 25 innings of work. The addition of Morin gives the Mariners a full 40-man roster.

    Vogelbach, meanwhile, returns to the Mariners for another look at big league pitching. He’s struggled in limited looks at MLB opponents but has crushed Triple-A pitching at a .304/.445/.643 clip through 146 plate appearances so far in 2018.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Release Marc Rzepczynski]]> 2018-06-06T18:59:50Z 2018-06-06T18:59:50Z The Mariners announced today that they have released lefty Marc Rzepczynski. He had recently been designated for assignment.

    It’s no surprise to see the 32-year-old clear waivers following the DFA. After all, he hasn’t performed up to the $5.5MM salary he’s promised this year. The M’s will foot that bill the rest of the way, excepting any league-minimum earnings he achieves if he can make it back to the majors elsewhere.

    That said, other organizations will surely be glad to add some experienced left-handed relief depth, particularly if they have mechanical or tactical tweaks in mind to get Rzepczynski back to effectiveness. He has struggled mightily in 2018, and wasn’t very effective last year either, but has limited opposing lefties to a .222/.323/.333 batting line over his career.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rays Notes: Archer, Banda, Pitching, Mariners, Trades]]> 2018-06-04T01:53:55Z 2018-06-04T01:53:55Z Here’s the latest from Tropicana Field…

    • Chris Archer will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of his injured groin, he told’s Erik Erickson and other reporters.  The injury cropped up during Archer’s start on Saturday, and the Rays ace said the problem was still bothering him today.  Given the timeline, Archer said it was “questionable” whether he’d make his next scheduled start.  Losing Archer would be another blow to a Rays team that has been scrambling for arms due to injuries and their unique usage of regular bullpen days, not to mention the potential impact it could have on Archer’s value as a potential trade chip at the deadline.
    • In further ominous injury news, the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reports (Twitter link) that southpaw Anthony Banda will visit with team doctors after being placed on the Triple-A disabled list due to a forearm strain.  Acquired as the primary piece in the three-team trade that sent Steven Souza to the Diamondbacks last offseason, Banda has posted solid numbers at Triple-A this season and also made three MLB appearances for the Rays (one official start and two relief outings behind “openers” Sergio Romo and Ryne Stanek).  Forearm injuries are always cause for concern, particularly since Tampa Bay has already lost youngsters Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell to Tommy John surgery within the last few months.
    • Rays senior VP of baseball operations Chaim Bloom recently spoke with The Athletic’s Juan Toribio (subscription required) about the team’s controversial “bullpen day” strategy and the usage of relievers to “start” games by pitching an inning before turning things over to a multi-inning pitcher.  Bloom said the front office has been “encouraged” by the results thus far, and very pleased with how the players and coaching staff have bought into the idea.  Despite the relative success thus far, however, Bloom said the Rays won’t necessarily stick with the pitching strategy going forward.  “I think time will tell, but we don’t want to shoehorn a group of players into a certain model just to say that we’re doing it….I think potentially if you have a different group of players with different strengths and weaknesses, you might do something different,” Bloom said. “But what we wanted to get away from was kind of doing the opposite, where I think previously the mindset was that no matter what the strength and weaknesses are of our player group, we’re going to force them to be in the so-called traditional model. We wanted to take an approach of, let’s assess the strengths and weaknesses of our group, and then try and figure out a way to build this in a way that gives them the best chance.”
    • The recent deal that sent Denard Span and Alex Colome to Seattle stands out as perhaps the biggest of the nine trades between the Rays and Mariners since Jerry Dipoto became Seattle’s GM in September 2015.  The close relationship between Dipoto and Rays GM Erik Neander plays a large role, though Topkin expands on that topic as part of a larger piece about how Tampa Bay approaches trades in general.  For instance, the Rays send several scouts to analyze another team’s player (or players) to get a variety of opinions before targeting someone in talks.  The club also puts a particular focus on scouting the lower levels of the minors to find hidden gems; several players acquired from the Mariners, in fact, have been unheralded names who eventually cracked the big leagues.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Daniel Schlereth]]> 2018-06-03T03:50:20Z 2018-06-03T03:49:47Z
  • The Mariners have signed left-handed reliever Daniel Schlereth to a minor league deal, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. Schlereth spent the previous few weeks with the independent Long Island Ducks, who signed him May 10. Now 32, Schlereth was once a promising prospect, evidenced in part by the fact that the Diamondbacks chose him 26th overall in the 2008 draft. He made his Arizona debut a year later, though the club then traded him (and Max Scherzer) to Detroit in the ensuing offseason as part of a blockbuster deal that also included the Yankees. Schlereth stayed with the Tigers through 2012, the last time he saw major league action. In all, he has posted a 4.35 ERA with 8.81 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9 across 93 big league innings.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Ross Detwiler, Tyler Higgins]]> 2018-06-02T04:17:23Z 2018-06-02T03:33:40Z
  • Former MLB hurler Ross Detwiler is joining the Mariners organization, per an announcement from the Atlantic League. The 32-year-old had been pitching with the York Revolution, In his nine years in the majors, Detwiler has compiled 578 innings of 4.36 ERA pitching. Detwiler isn’t the only pitcher moving from the Atlantic League to Tacoma. Righty Tyler Higgins, who was with the New Britain Bees, will be doing the same. The former Marlins farmhand has never previously pitched above the Double-A level.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Designate Marc Rzepczynski]]> 2018-06-01T20:08:51Z 2018-06-01T19:08:48Z The Mariners announced today that they have designated southpaw Marc Rzepczynski for assignment. His MLB roster spot will go to fellow lefty Roenis Elias, who has been recalled from Triple-A.

    Rzepczynski, 32, had signed a two-year deal with the Seattle organization before the 2017 season. He’s earning $5.5MM this season under that contract.

    Needless to say, the signing has not really turned out as hoped. This year, he has recorded just 7 2/3 innings in his 18 appearances, allowing eight earned runs on 13 hits while carrying a brutal 10:9 K/BB ratio.

    Like most of his prior employers, the M’s have tried to limit Rzepczynski to facing left-handed hitters. And he has largely held them in check, as opposing southpaw swingers own a .222/.323/.333 slash against him this year. But Rzepczynski has been completely helpless in 2018 when facing righties, who have gone 7-for-11 with two home runs and five walks.

    That sort of output represents a problem even for a LOOGY, as it’s hard to avoid righties altogether. Rzepczynski has been tagged for a .280/.386/.438 cumulative lifetime slash by hitters that carry the platoon advantage, which has been at least palatable enough given the sub-.600 OPS he has allowed over his career to lefties.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Beckham Can Decline Optional Assignment In Favor Of Free Agency]]> 2018-06-01T17:30:54Z 2018-06-01T17:30:54Z The Mariners optioned Gordon Beckham to Triple-A Tacoma last night, but as a player with five years of Major League service time, he’ll have the ability to decline the optional assignment in favor of free agency. It doesn’t appear that Beckham has made up his mind yet, as’s Greg Johns tweets that the Mariners are hopeful he’ll decide to remain in the organization but apparently have not yet been informed whether he’ll report. The veteran 31-year-old hit just .206/.270/.235 in 39 plate appearances with Seattle, but he raked at a .300/.412/.500 pace in 114 plate appearances at the Triple-A level prior to having his contract selected earlier this season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Notes: Colome Trade, Herrmann]]> 2018-05-31T03:02:21Z 2018-05-31T03:02:21Z
  • Corey Brock of The Athletic takes a fascinating look at how a pair of 23-year-old first-year employees in the Mariners’ analytics department helped plant the seeds of the surprising Alex Colome/Denard Span acquisition (subscription link). David Hesslink and Skylar Shibayama led a collaborative effort to brainstorm as many different trade possibilities as they could when looking at the team’s newfound financial resources (following Robinson Cano’s suspension) and thin farm system, eventually presenting the framework of the deal to GM Jerry Dipoto. Director of analytics Jesse Smith tells Brock that the trade scenario resonated “like a light bulb clicked” with Dipoto, who went to work pursuing the deal and hammering out the financial component of the swap once the Rays proved interested. Brock’s column also takes a look at Hesslink’s unusual path to the team. The MIT grad was pursued by multiple clubs for a front office role but settled on going to Seattle after the team agreed to draft him in the 34th round and let him pitch professionally before moving to the operations side of the game if that didn’t pan out. The column provides an excellent look at the inner-workings of an unusually early trade of significance and the collaborative process the contributes to many deals throughout the league.
  • The Mariners announced tonight that they’ve placed catcher Chris Herrmann on the 10-day disabled list due to a strained right oblique muscle and recalled fellow catcher David Freitas from Triple-A Tacoma in his place. Herrmann appeared in just one game for the Mariners upon having his contract selected from Tacoma over the weekend, and he’ll now be shelved for a fair amount of time, it seems, given the fact that oblique injuries can often keep players on the shelf for upwards of a month. Mike Zunino and Freitas have shouldered the bulk of the workload behind the plate for the Mariners this season, but neither has provided much in the way of offense. Zunino does have eight homers, though he’s also registered an ugly .242 on-base percentage.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners, Jayson Werth Agree To Delay Opt-Out Date]]> 2018-05-29T17:13:46Z 2018-05-29T17:13:46Z The Mariners have agreed with outfielder Jayson Werth to delay the opt-out date in his minor-league agreement, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Werth joined the organization in late March after wrapping up a seven-year run with the Nationals.

    Werth’s deal had included an opt-out opportunity yesterday, per the report. But it was agreed that the date would be pushed back since Werth had recently experienced a hamstring injury. It is not known when the new opt-out opportunity will arise.

    Since he has joined the roster at Triple-A Tacoma, Werth has appeared in 27 games and turned in a .219/.315/.417 slash over 111 plate appearances. He has four home runs with a 28:12 K/BB ratio.

    Needless to say, those aren’t overwhelming offensive numbers, particularly for a player who just turned 39 and has struggled in the big leagues in recent years. Still, Werth might have earned a MLB promotion had it not been for the M’s recent acquisition of his former outfield mate Denard Span. And he could still be considered for a bench role at some point if an injury arises or if the club decides it would like to have a right-handed-hitting complement for Span.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Twins Claim Taylor Motter]]> 2018-05-28T18:21:06Z 2018-05-28T18:07:31Z The Twins have claimed infielder Taylor Motter off waivers from the Mariners, per announcements from both teams. Motter will report to the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate.

    Motter, whom the Mariners designated on Sunday, will now join his third major league organization. Motter debuted with the Rays in 2016 and has since racked up 390 plate appearances at the game’s highest level. While Motter hasn’t hit much (.198/.269/.326), he has done his best to offset a lack of offense with defensive versatility. The 28-year-old is primarily a shortstop, but he has also totaled at least 10 games’ experience at every corner position and second base.

    Motter has spent most of this season at Triple-A, and given that he has an option remaining, he’s able to serve as minors depth without issue. But it’s possible he’ll eventually get an opportunity at short in Minnesota, where starter Ehire Adrianza has been woeful at the plate.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Poll: Which Surprise Team Has Best Shot At Playoff Berth?]]> 2018-05-28T17:59:40Z 2018-05-28T15:55:54Z As the 2018 MLB season nears the one-third mark, the playoff races in each league are beginning to take shape. While it’s no surprise that the majority of the sport’s so-called super teams have lived up to the billing thus far, several unexpected contenders may be emerging to challenge for postseason berths. None of the Mariners, Athletics, Braves, Phillies or Pirates were popular playoff picks entering the campaign, but all are in contention at this point, and a few of those teams even possess elite records.

    The most successful of those clubs has been Seattle, which is one of just five teams with a winning percentage above .600. The Mariners have raced to a 32-20 mark (.615), the fourth-best record in the American League, even though they’ve had to go without superstar second baseman Robinson Cano for two weeks and won’t get him back in the near future. Cano suffered a fractured right hand in mid-May, but the 80-game suspension he incurred almost immediately after that injury is the more costly blow because it’ll render him ineligible for the playoffs – if the Mariners qualify, that is.

    A postseason berth for Seattle would be its first since 2001, thus snapping the longest playoff drought in American sports. There’s clearly plenty of work for that to happen, particularly for a team that hasn’t been spectacular statistically and possesses a less shiny 27-25 Pythagorean record. But the Mariners’ actual record right now is so impressive that they won’t need to be great from here on out to remain firmly in the mix throughout the regular season. FanGraphs is projecting a mediocre 56-54 win-loss total over the Mariners’ final 110 games, but even in that scenario, they’d finish with 88 victories – three more than Minnesota amassed in 2017 en route to an AL wild-card berth.

    The wild card is likely the M’s only path to the playoffs, as even though they’re just one game out of the AL West race, there’s little question the reigning World Series champion Astros will pull away with the division. Given the talent in the AL, a wild-card spot will be tough to come by for the Mariners, but general manager Jerry Dipoto seemingly increased his team’s odds last week when he acquired reliever Alex Colome and outfielder Denard Span from the Rays. The Mariners already owned one of baseball’s best bullpens without Colome, and his presence should make Seattle an even harder out in close games. At 15-8, the Mariners have been one of the majors’ top teams in one-run contests this season.

    Staying in the AL West, Oakland has perhaps exceeded expectations at 28-25, though it has scored fewer runs than it has allowed (234 to 237). Still, despite its underwhelming Pythagorean mark (26-27), FanGraphs is projecting an above-.500 final record for Oakland (82-80) – which would be its first such season since 2014 and could keep it in the discussion into September. However, with the Yankees or Red Sox (whichever team doesn’t win the AL East), Angels and Mariners among the teams fighting for two wild-card positions, a playoff position looks a bit unrealistic for the A’s.

    Over in the National League, both the Braves (30-21) and Phillies (29-21) have gone from serving as longtime NL East doormats to looking like two of the premier teams in the game. Milwaukee, arguably a surprise team but one that did garner some preseason hype after winning 86 games in 2017, is the lone NL club with a superior record to Atlanta and Philadelphia. And only the Cubs have a better run differential than the Braves, who have outscored their opponents by 60 (261 to 201).

    The Braves’ arduous, years-long rebuild is clearly paying dividends now, as a host of players under the age of 25 – including Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna (who’s now on the DL), Dansby Swanson, Sean Newcomb, Mike Soroka, Luiz Gohara and A.J. Minter – have been among their driving forces this year. With that group joining a few slightly older, already established players (superstar Freddie Freeman, Ender Inciarte and Mike Foltynewicz, to name a few), Atlanta looks as if it’s going to be around for a long time. And it might be ready now to return to the playoffs, where it hasn’t been since 2013, though the NL East is going to be a dogfight with both the Phillies and favored Nationals (29-22) right behind the Braves.

    As for those Phillies, they own an even longer playoff drought than the Braves (six years), but that streak doesn’t look as if it’ll last much longer. Like Atlanta, Philadelphia went through a few years of suffering while simultaneously managing to stockpile young talent (Aaron Nola, Odubel Herrera, Rhys Hoskins, Seranthony Dominguez, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Scott Kingery) that has either already established itself in the majors or is in the midst of doing so. Philly’s also a sleeping giant in terms of payroll, a club capable of spending alongside other big-money juggernauts, and it’ll put that advantage to use in the coming years. It already started last winter with the expensive free-agent signings of Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana, two additions which have paid off so far (Santana did endure a poor April, but he’s gotten off the mat this month).

    As with the Braves, the Phillies should be around for a while, and a playoff spot this year certainly isn’t out of the question. Although, despite their tremendous starts, FanGraphs is projecting both teams to finish with 82 wins and extend their playoff droughts.

    Baseball’s other Pennsylvania-based team, the low-payroll Pirates, lost the battle for public opinion over the winter when they traded two veteran cornerstones (Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole) for younger players and didn’t sign any free agents to major league contracts. Some Pirates fans even called for owner Bob Nutting to sell the team in the wake of those deals, but he didn’t oblige.

    Now, the Pirates are a solid 28-24 (plus-22 run) and have gotten there with some help from Colin Moran and Joe Musgrove, two players acquired in the Cole package. Fellow offseason acquisition Corey Dickerson – whom general manager Neal Huntington stole from the Rays in another trade – has been even better, while veteran holdovers Starling Marte and Francisco Cervelli are also amid excellent seasons. Pittsburgh may be able to hang in the race all year, then, for the first time since 2015 – its most recent playoff berth. It’s going to be an extremely tall task to actually return to the postseason, though, with six NL teams – including the division-rival Brewers, Cubs and Cardinals – ahead of Pittsburgh in the standings and several more breathing down its neck.

    Every year in baseball, surprise teams emerge to upset the preseason apple cart. Just as the Twins, Diamondbacks and Rockies crashed the playoff party last year, at least one of the Mariners, Athletics, Braves, Phillies or Pirates could do it in 2018. The question is: Which team has the best chance to play into the fall?

    (poll link for app users)

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Designate Taylor Motter]]> 2018-05-27T17:52:08Z 2018-05-27T17:44:20Z The Mariners have designated infielder Taylor Motter for assignment, the team announced. His 40-man roster spot will go to catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann, whom they selected from Triple-A Tacoma.

    Motter has been with the Mariners organization since they acquired him from the Rays in November 2016, though he may now be on his way to another franchise. With one minor league option remaining, a club could acquire Motter in a trade or via waivers and use him as depth.

    The 28-year-old Motter hasn’t impressed offensively since debuting in 2016, having recorded a .198/.269/.326 line in 390 trips to the plate. Motter brings defensive versatility, though, with major league experience at every position but catcher (including one appearance as a pitcher).

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Select Chris Herrmann]]> 2018-05-27T17:35:53Z 2018-05-27T17:35:38Z The Mariners have selected catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann from Triple-A, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. The club sent fellow catcher David Freitas to Triple-A in a corresponding 25-man move, though the Mariners will still need to create a 40-man spot for Herrmann.

    The 30-year-old Herrmann is in the Mariners’ starting lineup Sunday, which will be his first major league action of the season. He previously played in the majors with the Twins (2012-15) and Diamondbacks (2016-17), combining for a .202/.278/.344 line in 811 plate appearances. Herrmann remained with the D-backs organization through the offseason, but they released him in late March and he quickly hooked on with the Mariners on a minors pact.

    Herrmann earned his promotion to the Mariners with a solid offensive showing in Tacoma, where he opened 2018 with a .266/.424/.444 line and six home runs across 177 PAs in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Freitas fared decently at the MLB level, meanwhile, with a .217/.321/.304 slash in 55 trips to the plate. But for now, he’ll cede the role of Mike Zunino’s backup to Herrmann.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jean Segura, Nick Vincent Dealing With Injuries]]> 2018-05-27T16:02:31Z 2018-05-27T16:02:49Z
  • The surging Mariners picked up another win Saturday to move to 31-20, though they may have lost a couple important contributors in the process. Shortstop Jean Segura exited after being kicked in the head, and manager Scott Servais said afterward that he’d enter concussion protocol, while reliever Nick Vincent departed with a strained right groin (Twitter links via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times). A DL stint seems like a good possibility for Vincent, who ranks third among Mariners in relievers in innings (22) and has logged a 4.09 ERA with 9.41 K/9 against 2.45 BB/9. The Mariners will presumably know more Sunday on Vincent and Segura, one of their offensive catalysts. Segura has slashed .329/.345/.469 with four home runs and 12 stolen bases in 226 PAs this season.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Lack Interest In Mariners' Farm System]]> 2018-05-27T04:52:02Z 2018-05-27T04:51:20Z
  • Padres outfielder Travis Jankowski has drawn trade interest, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reported before the Mariners-Rays swap. It seems the Mariners tried for Jankowski prior to landing Span, but according to Divish, the Padres didn’t show much interest in the M’s low-ranked farm system. Known mostly for his speed and defense, the 26-year-old Jankowski has gotten off to a .313/.382/.400 start at the plate in 89 attempts this season. He’s controllable through the 2021 season.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Alex Colome, Denard Span]]> 2018-05-26T00:26:48Z 2018-05-26T00:26:43Z 7:24pm: The Mariners will receive $4.75MM from the Rays, per Tim Booth of the Associated Press (via Twitter), an amount that rather significantly alters the math of the trade.

    5:16pm: In a stunning early-season swap, the Mariners have acquired reliever Alex Colome and outfielder Denard Span from the Rays, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times originally reported on Twitter. Righties Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero will go to Tampa Bay in return, as Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) and Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (via Twitter) first reported.

    An as-yet-unknown amount of cash is also going to Seattle in the swap. Reliever David Phelps, who is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, was moved to the 60-day DL to open a roster spot.

    M’s GM Jerry Dipoto has overseen his fair share of surprising swaps since taking the helm in Seattle, and this certainly rates near the top of the list. The club is off to a nice start (29-20), but just lost Robinson Cano for eighty games (and the postseason) due to a suspension and Dee Gordon for a stretch due to a broken toe.

    Of course, the Cano suspension also freed up around $11MM in cash for the organization to deploy elsewhere. The new additions are earning $11MM (Span) and $5.3MM (Colome) for the season, so they are owed almost exactly that amount (around $11.2MM) the rest of the way. (There could still be some Cano savings left over, as we don’t yet know how much cash the Rays will send in the deal.)

    Colome is surely the headliner of this deal. He has served as the closer in Tampa Bay for the past three seasons, racking up 95 saves in that span. He’ll be eligible for arbitration one final time over the offseason, so there’s some future value here for the M’s.

    When he moved to the bullpen full-time in 2016, Colome looked like a star. But he wasn’t quite as exciting last year, when he carried a 3.24 ERA but managed only 7.8 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 for the year. Of particular note, his swinging-strike rate dropped to a less-than-dominant 11.6% level.

    It has been something of the opposite story thus far in 2018. Colome sports only a 4.15 ERA but has struck out 9.6 and walked 3.3 batters per nine while carrying a 54.5% groundball rate. A low strand rate (65.4%) and high BABIP-against (.354) help explain the discord.

    With Colome having returned to a healthier 13.9% swinging-strike rate and continuing to deliver his typical 95.5 mph heater and ~89 to 90 mph cutter, the Mariners will bet that he returns to more dominant results in a high-leverage role. Of course, they won’t ask him to handle the ninth, which will likely remain the domain of young fireballer Edwin Diaz.

    Span has now been dealt twice in the final year of his contract. The 34-year-old no longer moves as well as he once did, but is still a polished hitter. He is off to an interesting start to the 2018 season, carrying a whopping 16.2% walk rate (well above his career average) and a typically stingy 13.9% strikeout rate. He’s producing at a solid .238/.364/.385 rate despite carrying a meager .259 batting average on balls in play and quality of contact estimates (.359 xwOBA vs. .332 wOBA) that suggest some poor fortune.

    On the other side of the agreement, the Rays have again acted to shave a fair bit of salary obligations. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the ability to move Span’s contract — which itself was acquired only to offset partially the money the Giants took on in the offseason’s Evan Longoria swap — was a strong motivating factor.

    Still, they’ll also recoup some talent here. Moore, 23, has had plenty of success in the minors and reached the big leagues last year. He’s not really regarded as a high-ceiling hurler, but could be a near-term option that fits the Rays’ current model that relies upon multi-inning relievers. Moore owns a 3.04 ERA in 50 1/3 innings this year at Double-A, allowing six home runs on 38 total hits while maintaining a 47:14 K/BB ratio.

    Romero, 20, was a 15th-round pick last year. But he has shown well thus far as a professional. In his 44 innings in the current campaign, which have come over nine starts at the Class A level, Romero owns a 2.45 ERA with 11.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Gonzales Discusses Rehab, Curveball, Analytics]]> 2018-05-25T03:42:59Z 2018-05-25T03:42:03Z
  • Mariners southpaw Marco Gonzales chatted with Corey Brock of The Athletic in an interesting Q&A about his return from Tommy John surgery, the process of reestablishing trust in his curveball and his use of data and analytics. The 26-year-old said he feels like this is “the best curveball I’ve had in my career,” explaining that because he’s largely recovered from TJ surgery, his grip strength is improved and he can throw from his natural arm slot. Gonzales, though, added that he doesn’t feel that he (or any other pitcher) can ever say he’s 100 percent recovered from such a major surgery. “It’s a constant job,” Gonzales said of managing his recovery. “And it’s something I take a lot of pride in, getting my arm ready each day. It’s 45 minutes worth of stuff each day to make sure I’m feeling good. Even on days when I don’t need to do it, I still do it because it helps me feel secure. I think that’s what the rehab process did: give me some pride and some conviction in how I go about my routine.” Gonzales has turned in a 4.05 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 0.84 HR/9 and a 46 percent ground-ball rate in 53 1/3 innings this season, with FIP (3.22) and xFIP (3.20) looking even more favorably upon his work.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Agree To New 25-Year Lease To Remain At Safeco Field]]> 2018-05-24T00:33:46Z 2018-05-24T00:17:31Z The Mariners announced Wednesday night that the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District Board approved the terms of a new 25-year lease for the team to remain at Safeco Field. There are also a pair of three-year options on the lease that could extend the Mariners’ stay in the park all the way through 2049.

    “We want this ballpark to be our home for the next 100 years,” said Mariners chairman John Stanton in a statement. “Safeco Field should be to Seattle and to the Mariners what Wrigley Field is to Chicago and the Cubs and Fenway Park is to Boston and the Red Sox. We sincerely appreciate our partnership with the PFD, who share our vision to ensure that our fans will continue to enjoy Major League Baseball in a state-of-the-art facility for decades to come.”

    Full specifics of the deal are available in the team’s announcement above, but the Mariners will be contributing roughly $650MM to the PFD over the life of the lease, which will go toward rent, maintenance, improvements and a neighborhood improvement fund, among other expenditures.

    The agreement for the Mariners comes at a time when many organizations are gravitating toward new (and often unnecessary) playing facilities. The Braves recently moved into SunTrust Park after just 20 seasons at Turner Field, while the Rangers are prepping to move into a new facility in 2020 despite the fact that Globe Life Park (formerly Ameriquest Field and the Ballpark in Arlington) opened in 1994. The D-backs, too, are in the nascent stages of moving into a new stadium after Maricopa County recently agreed to let the team begin searching for locations for a new facility.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Select Contract Of John Andreoli]]> 2018-05-23T21:59:39Z 2018-05-23T21:58:04Z The Mariners announced that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder John Andreoli from Triple-A Tacoma and optioned right-hander Dan Altavilla to Tacoma in his place. Seattle had an open spot on the 40-man roster, so a corresponding move in that regard wasn’t required.

    Andreoli, 28 in early June, will be making his first appearance in the Majors after spending seven seasons in the Cubs’ minor league ranks. He inked a minor league pact with Seattle back in December and has gotten off to a strong .294/.353/.452 start in Triple-A, where he hit three homers, seven doubles and two triples while also going 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts.

    While Andreoli never ranked as one of the Cubs’ very best prospects, he has a history of strong performances and solid on-base tendencies in the minors, as evidenced by a career .261/.364/.414 slash in parts of four Triple-A seasons. Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen gave him an honorable mention on last year’s ranking of the Cubs’ prospects, calling him a plus runner “with an awkward swing but a terrific feel for the strike zone.” Indeed, Andreoli has walked in 13.2 percent of his career plate appearances in Triple-A.

    [Related: Updated Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    The addition of Andreoli will give the Mariners some needed depth in the outfield as the team’s roster is left reeling in the wake of last week’s suspension for Robinson Cano and this week’s announcement that Dee Gordon will miss at least 10 days due to a fractured toe. With Gordon and Cano out of the lineup, the Mariners will lean on Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia and Mitch Haniger in the outfield, with Gordon Beckham and Andrew Romine getting action at second base. Andreoli can handle all three outfield spots, which should give manager Scott Servais a bit of flexibility when writing out the lineup card.

    As for Altavilla, he’ll look to get back on track in Tacoma after an uneven start to the season. The hard-throwing 25-year-old is currently sporting a solid 3.24 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings of work, but he’s also issued a dozen walks and thrown four wild pitches.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Place Dee Gordon On 10-Day DL With Fractured Toe]]> 2018-05-23T00:18:01Z 2018-05-23T00:17:25Z 7:17PM: Manager Scott Servais doesn’t believe Gordon will be out of action for too long, he told the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish and other media.  “With his feet being such a big part of his game, we thought it was the best thing to do to let it calm down. It’s not going to completely heal in nine or 10 days, but certainly calm down enough to hopefully we can get him back sooner than later,” Servais said.

    12:51PM: The Mariners announced today that outfielder/infielder Dee Gordon has been placed on the 10-day DL with a fractured big toe. He’ll be replaced on the active roster for the time being by first baseman Dan Vogelbach.

    Just how long Gordon will be out is not yet known. The club says that he suffered the injury on May 9th and then reinjured it on Sunday.

    This is the latest bit of unwelcome news for a Seattle organization that had just been forced into some juggling to account for an injury to and subsequent suspension of Robinson Cano. The loss of Cano had pushed the team to move Gordon back to second base.

    Without Cano and Gordon, it seems the Mariners will need to roll with a combination of Gordon Beckham and Andrew Romine at second. That’s not exactly a compelling duo, though they will need to hold down the fort for a while. MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently looked at the possible options outside the organization at the second-base position, but any significant trades likely won’t come together in the near future.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Ryan Cook Likely To See Opportunities In Setup Role]]> 2018-05-21T16:07:59Z 2018-05-21T16:07:59Z
  • Corey Brock of The Athletic takes a look at Ryan Cook’s long road back to the Majors with the Mariners after missing two full seasons due to injury (subscription link). Once a dominant reliever in Oakland, Cook discusses a tumultuous career to date that has seen some notable highs (striking out Bryce Harper and David Wright in the 2012 All-Star Game) and some difficult lows. “The most humbling part was wondering if I could ever do it again,” said Cook, who has undergone both Tommy John surgery and ulnar nerve transposition surgery in recent years. “…Those days you come back from rehab and can’t even move your arm or feel your fingers and literally just looking at yourself in the mirror and wondering if it might be over.” Cook, it seems, certainly can do it again. He posted a 2.03 ERA with a 17-to-3 K/BB ratio in 13 1/3 innings of Triple-A ball this year and has already tossed two shutout innings since being selected to the MLB roster in Seattle. Manager Scott Servais, who has seen setup men Juan Nicasio and Nick Vincent struggle recently, said Cook will receive “plenty of opportunities” to re-establish himself as a high-quality ’pen option.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[M's Had Offseason Interest In Lorenzo Cain]]> 2018-05-21T01:25:11Z 2018-05-21T01:25:11Z
  • Speaking of winter what-ifs, Heyman adds the Mariners, Braves, and Dodgers to the list of teams that had interest in signing Lorenzo Cain before the center fielder inked a deal with the Brewers.  Seattle had a clear need for center field help prior to the Dee Gordon trade, though the other two wouldn’t seem to be obvious fits on paper for Cain’s services.  The Braves already have Ender Inciarte in center, plus they needed to trade Matt Kemp to make room for Ronald Acuna’s eventual promotion; potentially, Cain could’ve been a fit if Atlanta had managed to trade Nick Markakis (and then convince Cain to shift to right field).  For the Dodgers, signing Cain would have run counter to their plan of getting under the luxury tax threshold, plus L.A. would’ve had to give up two draft picks and $1MM in international bonus pool funds as compensation for signing Cain.  It’s also possible, of course, that both the Braves and Dodgers merely had a due diligence-type of interest in Cain given that his free agent stint stretched into late January.

  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Latest On Mariners’ Plans At Second Base]]> 2018-05-19T15:03:08Z 2018-05-19T15:03:08Z In his latest piece for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal suggests that the suspension of second baseman Robinson Cano has implications that could ripple beyond the 2018 season. Dee Gordon is expected to move from center field to second base in the interim, but could remain there even when Cano comes back, according to Rosenthal. At 35, Cano would soon be tabbed for at least part-time DH duties under normal circumstances. However, one thing that’s reportedly been staving off that possibility thus far is Cano’s goal to break Jeff Kent’s all-time record of 377 homers by a second baseman (he’s 73 bombs shy), while yet another factor is the presence of Nelson Cruz in the team’s full-time designated hitter role.

    Both of those factors may not be of such significant impact next season, Rosenthal writes. Cruz has the potential to depart as a free agent after 2018, and the Mariners may not be so inclined to give Cano room in dictating his position following his violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Program. Cano, as readers probably know by now, received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a diuretic used to mask another performance-enhancing drug. That suspension will also prevent him from taking part in the postseason, which is a significant blow to a contending Mariners club.

    Ideally, then, the Mariners’ objective should be to find a full-time center fielder or left fielder they can retain for multiple seasons, says Rosenthal. Such a player would effectively lock Gordon into second base for the foreseeable future, while pushing the aging Cano into a first base/designated hitter role in the latter years of his contract. Rosenthal lists Adam Duvall as a possible target for Seattle, but adds the disclaimer that the club has one of the worst farm systems in baseball and might have a difficult time acquiring the young left-fielder from Cincinnati.

    On the other hand, as Bob Dutton of points out, it might be in the Mariners’ interests as a contender to keep Gordon in center field for the time being, unless the team can find a way to keep him at second even after Cano returns this season; a scenario that seems highly implausible with the presence of Cruz and Ryon Healy on the roster. Still, it’s hard to tell what the Mariners will do after half a season’s worth of games. From my perspective, it’s worth noting that the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline will have already come and gone by the time Cano is eligible to take the field again.

    Following a series of disclaimers (including that guessing GM Jerry Dipoto’s potential targets is a “fool’s game”), Dutton lists some players who might be available at this year’s deadline, according to his sources. One obvious name is Adam Jones, who’s in the final year of his contract with an Orioles club that’s off to a disastrous 14-30 start. Other center fielders mentioned in Dutton’s blog entry include Billy Hamilton, Jon Jay and Denard Span, though on the surface none of those additions would seem worthy of forcing Cano into a role with reduced playing time.

    More interesting is the pair of second baseman mentioned by Dutton. Scooter Gennett looks primed to repeat the surprise power numbers he put up with Cincinnati last season, and is controllable through 2019. Whit Merrifield, who can also play in the outfield, would be a longer-term piece and undoubtedly more difficult to acquire. In fact, I’d add that either target seems far fetched considering the Mariners’ lack of impact talent in the minor leagues.

    Whatever the situation, it will certainly be interesting to see how Cano and the Mariners are impacted in 2018 and beyond. The club’s interest in contending this year and questions surrounding the roles of Gordon and Cano moving forward create an interesting juxtaposition, and it will be fascinating to watch Dipoto and co. attempt to solve the puzzle.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers Claim Erik Goeddel From Mariners, Sign Tyler Goeddel]]> 2018-05-18T19:13:26Z 2018-05-18T18:16:22Z The Dodgers have claimed right-handed reliever Erik Goeddel off waivers from the Mariners, reports J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter). He was designated for assignment earlier this week. Because he’s out of minor league options, he’ll be added to the MLB bullpen. It’s also worth noting that the Dodgers signed Goeddel’s younger brother, Tyler Goeddel, to a minor league contract yesterday, as reflected on the league’s transactions page.

    The elder Goeddel, 29, had previously spent his career with the Mets organization before landing in Seattle this offseason. The righty was off to a nice start in the Seattle ’pen, tossing 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts, though he also issued five walks and threw a pair of wild pitches. His average fastball velocity, too, was down about a half mile per hour from 2017 and a mile per hour from its peak levels.

    Erik entered the 2018 season with a lifetime 3.96 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 104 2/3 MLB innings, though the majority of his best work came in 2014-15. Over the past two seasons, he struggled to a 4.87 ERA at the MLB level, maintaining his penchant for missing bats but also demonstrating shaky control and a proclivity for surrendering home runs. Walks have been an ongoing issue for him throughout his minor league tenure (4.2 BB/9 in 131 Triple-A innings), but home runs haven’t plagued him in the minors.

    As for the younger of the two brothers, the 25-year-old Tyler was the 41st pick in the 2011 MLB Draft and the No. 1 pick in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft. The outfielder struggled with the Phillies in his lone big league season, though, hitting just .192/.258/.291 in 234 trips to the plate. He’s a career .263/.344/.358 hitter in 310 Triple-A plate appearances and had been with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate to open the year before being released.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Select Contract Of Ryan Cook]]> 2018-05-17T21:33:34Z 2018-05-17T21:33:34Z The Mariners announced Thursday that they’ve selected the contract of right-handed reliever Ryan Cook from Triple-A Tacoma. Fellow righty Christian Bergman, who pitched quite well in a spot start for Seattle yesterday, was optioned back to Triple-A to clear space on the roster for Cook’s promotion. The Mariners now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.

    This will mark the first appearance in the Majors for Cook, a former All-Star, since the 2015 season. His career has been slowed considerably by injuries in recent years, as a lat strain wiped out his 2016 season, and he underwent Tommy John surgery that October, shelving him for the entirety of the 2017 season as well.

    Now 30 years old, Cook is off to an outstanding start in Tacoma, where he’s yielded just three runs on 10 hits and three walks with 17 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings of work. Cook hasn’t allowed a homer so far this season, and he’s inducing grounders at a healthy 53.1 percent clip.

    That sort of output was par for the course for Cook early on in his career. From 2011-14 with the A’s, he racked up 190 2/3 innings of 2.60 ERA ball, averaging 9.3 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 with average or better ground-ball rates along the way. If he’s fully healthy, he’ll be a welcome addition to the back of a Seattle bullpen that has struggled of late. Juan Nicasio, in particular, has fallen into a dreadful slump after pitching well in April.

    If Cook is able to return to form, the Mariners will control him not only for the 2018 season but also through the 2019 campaign. He entered the year with four-plus years of Major League service time, so he’ll be arbitration-eligible once more this offseason.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Second Base Options For The Mariners]]> 2018-05-17T17:35:14Z 2018-05-17T17:35:14Z With Tuesday’s bombshell news that Robinson Cano will be suspended for the next 80 games, the Mariners found themselves with an immediate hole at second base. With Cano under contract through 2023, and the left side of the infield spoken for by long-term assets, it’s mostly a fill-in situation.

    [RELATED: Current Mariners Depth Chart]

    Gordon Beckham and Andrew Romine are plugging the gap for now, but that’s likely not a sufficient pairing for a team with sights on contention. The organization has already asked Dee Gordon to begin taking grounders once again in preparation for a potential switch back to the infield, though that move is largely about creating flexibility for GM Jerry Dipoto and his staff to explore trades both in the infield and in the outfield. If the club finds a second baseman to its liking, then it seems Gordon will remain in center field, where they envisioned him playing for the next three seasons when acquiring him from the Marlins this offseason.

    Obviously, there are myriad options for Dipoto & Co. to explore, as the $10.26MM they’ll save on Cano’s suspension provides the Mariners with some financial firepower to add to the roster as well. One plus for the Mariners is that with Mitch Haniger and Guillermo Heredia both capable of playing center field, they don’t necessarily need to focus solely on center fielders in exploring the outfield market. Certainly, they could look to add a true center fielder, but playing Haniger there for the next couple of months and instead acquiring a corner outfielder is a perfectly viable option.

    Given that context, there are very few limits on the types of players the Mariners could look to acquire in the outfield. In light of the recent track record of this front office, the club would surely weigh potential targets’ abilities to provide value both on defense and at the plate. But there are quite a lot of possibilities.

    This post, then, will focus on the relatively narrower list of conceivable targets at second base. If the preference is to keep Gordon on the grass, then surely second base will be the place the Seattle organization looks first. Here are some hypothetical possibilities:

    • Brandon Phillips, Free Agent: The free agent market is hardly teeming with options this time of season, though there’s one particularly notable free agent that has long been a quality regular at second base. Phillips remains unsigned and told’s Jon Morosi last month that he hopes to continue his career and is open to playing in a utility role if need be. Certainly, the Mariners could find him everyday at-bats at second base for the next few months if they believe he’d be a good fit in the clubhouse and feel his bat can handle big league pitching at age 37 and with a considerable layoff. Phillips slashed .285/.319/.416 in 604 MLB plate appearances last season and could almost certainly be had on a relatively minimal salary. Phillips would need some time to get up to speed in extended Spring Training and/or in the minor leagues, but the Mariners obviously have time to get him the reps he needs, as Cano won’t be back until mid-August.
    • Scooter Gennett, Reds: Controlled only through the 2019 season before reaching free agency and currently on one of the NL’s worst teams, Gennett stands out as a clear trade piece this summer. The Reds can obviously afford to move him sooner than that, though, with Alex Blandino and Rosell Herrera capable of stepping in at second base and keeping the seat warm for top prospect Nick Senzel. Gennett is earning $5.7MM in 2018 and has broken out with the Reds since coming over as a largely unheralded waiver claim, hitting .301/.346/.525. He’s also performing well against lefties so far this year, albeit in only a forty-plate appearance sample.
    • Cory Spangenberg / Carlos Asuaje / Jose Pirela, Padres: The Friars have three MLB-ready pieces at second base, and it’s possible that none of the bunch is even their second baseman of the future. That distinction may go to prospect Luis Urias, who is not terribly far from MLB readiness himself (though Urias is almost certainly unavailable in trade). Spangenberg has the most MLB experience and is controlled through 2020, while Pirela is controlled through 2022 and Asuaje is controllable through 2023. They’ve all had some degree of MLB success but struggled in 2018, and each has experience playing multiple positions and could be a useful utility piece once Cano is back and Gordon returns to the outfield on a full-time basis. The Padres aren’t going anywhere in the NL West this season and have a fairly notable logjam on their hands here, making them a natural fit as a trade partner, though the recent decision to move on from Chase Headley does help to reduce the roster pressures.
    • Logan Forsythe, Dodgers: The 31-year-old Forsythe is an undoubtedly talented player, but he’s been a disappointment in a season-plus with the Dodgers. The Mariners could absorb the remainder of his $9MM salary for the 2018 season — about $6.7MM — and perhaps part with little in the way of minor league talent. That’d help further separate the Dodgers from the luxury tax barrier, and L.A. could hand the second base reins over to Chase Utley and several other infield options.
    • Neil Walker / Brandon Drury, Yankees: As a free agent who signed just this past offseason, Walker would have to consent to being traded before June 15. Drury, meanwhile, was recently optioned to Triple-A just months after being acquired, as the Yankees currently plan to go with Miguel Andujar at third and Gleyber Torres at second base. Both are valuable and affordable depth pieces for the Yankees, but there’s a definite logjam in New York’s infield. It’d be surprising to see them move on from either Walker or Drury this quickly, and it’s worth pointing out that Andujar’s low walk rate could use some refinement (thus creating the possibility for an eventual demotion that’d bring Drury back to the Bronx), but I’d imagine that Dipoto will still be reaching out to counterpart Brian Cashman to test the waters.
    • Yolmer Sanchez, White Sox: A solid bat that can be trusted at multiple infield positions, Sanchez is, on one hand, the type of player you’d expect the rebuilding White Sox to want to hold onto. However, Matt Davidson’s huge showing at the plate thus far could push him into regular third base duties, and Yoan Moncada is the second baseman of the future on Chicago’s south side. There’s plenty of sense to hanging onto Sanchez and mixing him in for regular at-bats while giving Moncada and Davidson some breathers at DH, but the ChiSox could also view this as another opportunity to add some talent. While the Mariners are thin in prospects, the top of their system isn’t exactly devoid of intriguing prospects.
    • Devon Travis, Blue Jays: A change-of-scenery candidate, Travis was sent to the minors recently, and the Jays are likely plenty comfortable giving Yangervis Solarte regular work at second base for the foreseeable future. Travis has persistently battled knee injuries and struggled to stay on the field, but when healthy he’s hit at a .282/.322/.447 clip for Toronto. He’s controllable for two years beyond the current campaign and is earning a modest $1.45MM after missing much of last season due to injury. He’s never played anywhere other than second base as a professional, though, so the Mariners would need to be convinced that he can handle other positions once Cano returns.
    • Starlin Castro, Marlins: It’s hard to imagine that the Marlins won’t be open to trading Castro this summer, but he’s not an ideal fit with the Mariners, either. Castro is earning a total of $22MM between 2018 and 2019, and once Cano returns, they won’t have a spot for him to receive any type of consistent at-bats. Perhaps they could simply acquire him and then trade him again in the offseason, but while Castro is a perfectly logical, if not likely trade candidate this summer, he may not represent a great on-paper fit for Seattle.

    There are also numerous depth-style acquisitions that could be had who’ve already been designated for assignment since Spring Training began. For those reasons, of course, such players likely won’t come with the promise of significant output. Gift Ngoepe was designated by the Jays and cleared waivers last week, while players such as Eliezer Alvarez (Rangers) and Breyvic Valera (Dodgers) were acquired on the cheap after being designated for assignment by their former organizations. Tyler Saladino has gone from the White Sox to the Brewers in exchange for cash and could be viewed as a depth add while Dipoto and his staff look for more impactful upgrades. Jace Peterson finds himself in a similar situation with the Orioles, as does Philip Gosselin, who is in Triple-A with the Braves after being claimed off waivers from the Reds. If the Mariners are not satisfied with Beckham and want to focus first on shoring things up at second, perhaps they’ll consider these and other names.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Designate Erik Goeddel, Select Christian Bergman]]> 2018-05-16T18:45:43Z 2018-05-16T18:45:43Z The Mariners have designated righty Erik Goeddel, per a club announcement. That’ll create roster space for the M’s to select the contract of fellow right-hander Christian Bergman.

    It’s a tough result for Goeddel, 29, who had allowed just one earned run on four hits in his 5 1/3 MLB innings this year while recording seven strikeouts and a pair of walks. He threw nine scoreless frames at Triple-A to open the year after joining the M’s late in camp.

    As for the 30-year-old Bergman, he’ll look to carry over his successes thus far at Triple-A into the majors. He has generally struggled in prior attempts at the bigs, but is carrying a healthy 3.40 ERA with a 41:12 K/BB ratio through 45 frames on at Tacoma.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners To Select Contract Of Christian Bergman]]> 2018-05-16T03:30:34Z 2018-05-16T03:30:34Z The Mariners will select the contract of righty Christian Bergman to make tomorrow’s start, reports Shannon Drayer of (via Twitter). Seattle has a pair of open spots on the 40-man roster, so they’ll only need to make a corresponding 25-man move to activate the 30-year-old for tomorrow’s 2018 debut.

    Bergman is in his second season with the Mariners organization, having re-signed a minor league deal with Seattle this past offseason. He posted an even 5.00 ERA in 54 innings with the Mariners in 2014, averaging 5.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 2.0 HR/9 with a 37.7 percent ground-ball rate in 13 appearances (eight starts). He’ll make his 2018 debut in a spot start following this weekend’s doubleheader and yesterday’s makeup game against the Twins in Minneapolis.

    [Related: Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    While Bergman’s numbers last season were rather pedestrian, he’s off to a fine start in 2018, having notched a 3.40 ERA with a 41-to-12 K/BB ratio (8.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9) in 45 innings for the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma. He’s been the team’s most effective starter in Triple-A by a wide margin, which, while not exactly a ringing endorsement for Seattle’s upper-level depth, makes clear why he’s getting the first look among the team’s current options in Tacoma. He does have a minor league option remaining as well, meaning the M’s can shuttle him back to Tacoma following the spot start without needing to expose him to waivers.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dee Gordon To See Time At Second Base For Mariners]]> 2018-05-15T23:13:32Z 2018-05-15T23:10:18Z The Mariners will give Dee Gordon some time at his natural position of second base in the wake of Robinson Cano’s shocking 80-game suspension, GM Jerry Dipoto told Seattle reporters today (Twitter links via Corey Brock of The Athletic). The organization has already approached Gordon about the possibility, and Brock notes that Gordon is “all in” and will play wherever the team asks of him. The transition won’t happen right away, however, as Gordon hasn’t been taking ground-balls since being acquired by the Mariners. They’ll instead give him some time to readjust to the position and take part in fielding drills outside of a game setting.

    It’s not yet certain that Gordon will simply take over as the club’s everyday second baseman, though that possibility certainly exists. Rather, Gordon’s flexibility and willingness to move back to the infield on a full-time basis, if needed, will allow Dipoto and his staff the luxury of exploring the addition of both infielders and outfielders as they look to bolster the roster in Cano’s absence. Asked by TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune if the Mariners could reallocate some of the funds they’ll save on Cano’s suspension to a roster upgrade, Dipoto responded in the affirmative (Twitter link). By my calculation, Cano’s suspension will cost him about $10.26MM of his $24MM salary for the 2018 campaign.

    The ever-active Dipoto is never one to shy away from a trade, so it’s not especially surprising that Dipoto plans to search outside the organization for potential acquisitions in both the infield and the outfield (Twitter link via Greg Johns of The Mariners are currently sitting 1.5 games out of the division lead in the AL West and an identical 1.5 games back from a Wild Card berth thanks to a strong 23-17 start to the season. Clearly, they’re at something of a disadvantage on the trade market given their thin farm system and the lack of teams selling off high-quality MLB assets this time of season, though the fact that they can apply some unexpected financial resources toward a potential trade could work to their advantage.

    Regarding Cano, it’s also worth noting that Mark Feinsand of reports that the infielder will indeed undergo surgery to repair his fractured hand tomorrow (Twitter links). Of course, given his suspension, the fact that he’s undergoing surgery won’t prolong his absence from the roster. He’ll serve his suspension while on the disabled list, though he won’t be paid for any of the time he misses, of course, and remains ineligible for postseason play should the Mariners qualify.

    [Related: Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    For the time being, when Gordon does eventually move back onto the infield dirt, the Mariners can push Guillermo Heredia into an outfield role alongside both Mitch Haniger and Ben Gamel. Utilitymen Taylor Motter (currently in Triple-A) and Andrew Romine (on the 25-man roster) can both see time in both the middle infield and the outfield corners, giving manager Scott Servais some options to mix and match while the front office scours the trade market.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Robinson Cano Suspended For 80 Games]]> 2018-05-15T19:36:00Z 2018-05-15T18:40:02Z Mariners star Robinson Cano has received an eighty-game suspension for testing positive for substances banned by the MLB-MLBPA Joint Drug Agreement, as first reported by Hector Gomez of Deportivo Z 101 (via Twitter) and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). Since the ban begins immediately, Cano will be eligible to return in the middle of August.

    Cano was suspended for a diuretic known as furosemide that is prohibited by the JDA among other diuretics and masking agents, as Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted and the league has since announced. Cano has issued a statement through the MLBPA (Twitter link) in which he says the “substance was given to [him] by a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic to treat a medical ailment.” And a source claims to’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter) that Cano was receiving treatment for high blood pressure, with PED tests before and after the test in question coming back clean.

    That claim seems to offer a potential explanation at first glance, but the full context must also be considered here. Players are advised clearly not to take substances that have not been cleared in advance, a lesson drilled in through prior suspensions in the faces of claims of innocence.

    More importantly, as’s T.J. Quinn rightly points out on Twitter, the JDA does not treat diuretics and masking agents in the same manner it does banned performance enhancing drugs themselves. Unlike in the case of tests that reveal PEDs, intent is required to support the application of the standard 80-game ban for first-time offenders in the cases of diuretics or masking agents. Here’s the language from the JDA, Section 3(F):

    “The presence of a Diuretic or Masking Agent in a Player’s urine specimen shall result in the Player being re-tested. The presence of a Diuretic or Masking Agent in a Player’s urine specimen shall be treated as a positive test result if the [Independent Program Administrator] determines that the Player intended to avoid detection of his use of another Prohibited Substance.”

    Cano, 35, had been discussing the matter with the league since the test results came in over the winter, per Heyman (via Twitter). It seems fair to presume that the league felt there was sufficient evidence to support a finding that Cano had avoided detection of a PED. Cano had just hit the DL with a fractured right hand that was likely to keep him out for some time. By dropping his right to an appeal now, he can rehab that injury while serving out the suspension, though’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that the process was already underway.

    The implications, to be sure, are many. Cano will not be eligible to draw his usual salary, meaning he’ll forfeit about $10MM and save the team the same amount. And he’ll surely lose some sponsorship opportunities, costing him further money. The veteran second baseman also will not be eligible to participate in the postseason if the Mariners make it in.

    More broadly, a respected player on a potential Hall-of-Fame trajectory has now tainted his legacy. The former Yankees star has produced both before and after bolting to the Mariners via free agency before the 2014 season. He’s a lifetime .304/.354/.493 hitter with 305 home runs in over 2,000 games of MLB action. With defense and baserunning factored, in Cano has been valued at 67.5 rWAR and 54.5 fWAR over his career.

    Cano remains under contract for five more seasons beyond the present one. He’s slated to earn $24MM per season from 2019 through 2023. While that means the M’s won’t be looking for a long-term replacement, they will need to replace him in the near-term. For the immediate time being, Gordon Beckham is up to take a roster spot. But perhaps it’s still conceivable the M’s could move Dee Gordon back to the infield while filling in for him in center with any number of other players.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Select Contract Of Gordon Beckham, Place Robinson Cano On DL]]> 2018-05-14T20:05:35Z 2018-05-14T17:59:38Z The Mariners announced that they’ve placed second baseman Robinson Cano on the 10-day disabled list due to a fractured fifth metacarpal in his right hand and selected the contract of infielder Gordon Beckham from Triple-A Tacoma.

    There’s still no word on precisely how long the Mariners expect Cano to miss, as he’s slated to meet with a hand specialist in Philadelphia tomorrow. Once that evaluation takes place, the Mariners will likely have another update, though it seems reasonable to expect that Cano will miss at least several weeks as his throwing hand mends after he was hit by a pitch in yesterday’s game against the Tigers.

    [Related: Updated Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    The loss of Cano, obviously, is a significant blow for a Mariners club that is right in the thick of both the AL West race (2.5 games behind the Astros) and the American League Wild Card picture (1.5 games back of a Wild Card spot). While Cano’s performance in Seattle hasn’t drawn the national fanfare that it did during his New York days, he’s been every bit as productive a player as he was with the Yankees. In nine seasons with the Yanks, Cano hit .309/.355/.504 (126 OPS+), and he’s roughly matched that with a .294/.353/.471 slash (128 OPS+) in a considerably more pitcher-friendly setting at Safeco Field.

    Certainly, the veteran Beckham won’t be expected to replicate that level of production or anything close to it. But he’s off to a .300/.412/.500 start to the season through 114 plate appearances with Triple-A Tacoma and will be asked to assume some of the playing time for Cano along with utilitymen Andrew Romine and Taylor Motter. Manager Scott Servais told reporters yesterday that it wasn’t likely that Dee Gordon would be moved out of center field back to second base (Twitter link via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times).

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Likelier To Seek Bullpen Help Than Rotation Upgrades]]> 2018-05-14T17:50:22Z 2018-05-14T17:49:31Z
  • While the loss of Robinson Cano due to a broken hand is a significant blow, the bullpen may be the Mariners’ primary focus when searching for upgrades, writes Bob Dutton for KLAY 1180 AM. Cano figures to be back this summer, and while the rotation has hardly been effective, it’s more difficult to add high-end starting pitching upgrades around the deadline than it is to add relief arms, Dutton notes. Seattle would be hard-pressed to outbid other teams for a top-of-the-rotation arm, and club officials have acknowledged to Dutton that targeting relief help is a likelier course of action. Juan Nicasio has completely melted down over his past couple appearances after a dominant start to the season, while Nick Vincent hasn’t been as effective as he has in recent seasons, either.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners Aren't Looking For External Second Base Help]]> 2018-05-14T01:07:27Z 2018-05-14T01:07:00Z The Mariners “indicated” that they wouldn’t be looking for an external candidate to replace Robinson Cano at second base, the Tacoma News Tribune’s TJ Cotterill writes.  This would leave Seattle with internal options like Andrew Romine, Taylor Motter, and Gordon Beckham at the keystone, since center fielder Dee Gordon doesn’t appear to be under consideration for a move back to his former position.  In my view, the Mariners could re-assess their plans once they have a clearer idea of how much time Cano will miss, as we’re still just hours removed from the star second baseman suffering a fracture in his hand after being hit by a pitch in today’s game.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Robinson Cano Suffers Fractured Right Hand]]> 2018-05-13T20:45:53Z 2018-05-13T20:45:30Z 3:45pm: Cano told Greg Johns of and other reporters that he’ll head to Philadelphia to see a hand specialist on Tuesday. Meanwhile, manager Scott Servais suggested that Gordon won’t be taking over for Cano at second, per Divish.

    3:01pm: Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano has suffered a a fractured fifth metacarpal in his right hand, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. The injury occurred Sunday when Cano took a pitch off the hand from Tigers starter Blaine Hardy, forcing him to exit the game in third inning.

    It’s unclear how much time Cano will miss, though it’s worth noting that Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison and Giants ace Madison Bumgarner have suffered similar injuries in recent weeks. Harrison’s in the middle of at least a six-week recovery, while Bumgarner will end up missing around two months. It stands to reason Cano is likely in line for a similar absence, which is an awful development for a 22-17 Seattle team that’s just a game out of a wild-card spot as the season nears the quarter pole.

    The 35-year-old Cano has been one of the driving forces behind the Mariners’ success this season, having slashed .287/.385/.441 with four home runs in 169 plate appearances. The former Yankee was clearly on his way to his fifth straight above-average campaign with the Mariners, who signed him to a 10-year, $240MM contract entering the 2014 season. Now, the durable Cano is likely to end up playing his fewest games in a season since he amassed 122 appearances as a second-year man in 2006. Entering 2018, he had appeared in at least 150 games in 11 straight seasons.

    The Mariners replaced Cano on Sunday with utilityman Andrew Romine, but he likely doesn’t have the offensive skills to serve as a regular. The same goes for Taylor Motter, a 40-man option who’s currently in Triple-A, and fellow minor leaguer Gordon Beckham (he’s not on Seattle’s 40-man). The Mariners have a logical replacement for Cano in the 30-year-old Dee Gordon, who was a more-than-capable second baseman with the Marlins prior to this season. Seattle acquired Gordon in an offseason trade, and thanks to Cano’s presence, the club immediately shifted the speedster to center field. Gordon hasn’t drawn great reviews in the grass, though, with negative marks from Defensive Runs Saved (minus-8), Ultimate Zone Rating (minus-2.7) and Statcast’s Outs Above Average metric (minus-2).

    While it’s unknown whether the Mariners would consider moving Gordon back to the keystone, it’s clear there aren’t many available choices on the open market. Veteran Brandon Phillips looks like the best of the free-agent bunch. Interest in Phillips has been scant, but he wants to play, and this injury could perhaps open the door for his return to the majors. The Mariners may be hard pressed to find someone who’s clearly superior to the 36-year-old Phillips on the trade front – general manager Jerry Dipoto’s preferred route. Not only are deals hard to come by at this point in the season, but the Mariners likely don’t have a strong enough farm system to acquire an impact player.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Robinson Cano Exits With Possible Hand Injury]]> 2018-05-13T18:20:38Z 2018-05-13T18:20:46Z Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano departed in the third inning Sunday after taking a pitch off the right hand from Tigers starter Blaine Hardy, Greg Johns of was among those to report. Seattle’s left to hope this isn’t a serious injury for Cano, who has slashed a robust .287/.381/.441 over the first 168 plate appearances of his age-35 campaign. Thanks in part to Cano’s efforts, the Mariners have jumped out to an encouraging 22-16 start as they attempt to break a league-worst 16-year playoff drought. The club replaced Cano on Sunday with utilityman Andrew Romine.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Undrafted Free Agents, Urshela, Aledmys]]> 2018-05-12T19:29:00Z 2018-05-12T19:29:00Z J.J. Cooper of Baseball America recently answered a question from a Twitter fan about undrafted free agents in MLB. It turns out that there were eight undrafted free agents on MLB rosters at the start of the year, and all eight of them were right-handed pitchers. Unlike football, where there are plenty of UDFA success stories, it’s exceedingly rare for a UDFA to produce significantly at the MLB level. Some outliers include Matt Shoemaker, Miguel Gonzalez, Darren O’Day and Kirby Yates. Of the UDFA’s currently in the majors on opening day, Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez (23 years old) and Rays pitcher Andrew Kittredge (28) are the only players below the age of 30. There are a few more fun facts in Cooper’s piece, making it well worth a full read.

    Other items of note as the Tigers and Mariners prepare for a remarkably cold double-header…

    • The Blue Jays announced earlier today that they’ve activated infielder Gio Urshela and optioned outfielder Dalton Pompey to Triple-A Buffalo. Urshela, 26, was recently acquired for cash (or a player to be named later) after the Indians designated him for assignment earlier this month; he’d been on the DL since the start of the season. While acclaimed as somewhat of a defensive wizard, Urshela carries an anemic bat and has posted a wRC+ of just 57 throughout the course of his major-league career.
    • In other Blue Jays news, shortstop Aledmys Diaz has begun throwing, says Ben Nicholson-Smith of He’s expected to begin hitting later this week. Diaz left last Sunday’s game after spraining his ankle, but it doesn’t appear as though the injury will keep him sidelined for much longer than the ten-day minimum at this point. Diaz was acquired from the Cardinals this offseason in exchange for outfielder J.B. Woodman; the shortstop has hit .216/.273/.431 so far with his new club.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Minor League Lefty Anthony McIver From Twins]]> 2018-05-10T02:04:37Z 2018-05-10T02:04:37Z
  • The Twins traded Double-A lefty Anthony McIver to the Mariners in exchange for cash, as reflected on the transactions log at and at each club’s web site. McIver has been solid in 13 1/3 innings of Double-A ball this year, though he’s barely pitched above Class-A Advanced in his pro career to date despite being 26 years of age. The Twins picked him in the 15th round of the 2015 draft, and he’s opened the 2018 season with a 2.70 ERA, a 15-to-5 K/BB ratio, no homers allowed and a 40 percent ground-ball rate.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets Expect To Trade Matt Harvey]]> 2018-05-08T21:22:27Z 2018-05-08T21:22:35Z May 8: The Mets have been trying to add a catcher in return for Harvey, per Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter link). Puma adds that the Padres are also in the mix for Harvey.

    May 7: The Mets are “confident” they will strike a deal involving righty Matt Harvey, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). At this point, says Rosenthal, there are “four to five teams interested” in taking a chance on the former ace.

    Harvey was formally designated for assignment on May 5th, meaning his situation will be resolved one way or another by Saturday the 12th. If he’s not traded, Harvey would need to go onto waivers; if he were then to pass through unclaimed, he’d hit the open market (whether by release or by rejecting an outright assignment).

    We checked in earlier today on some teams with varying degrees of interest in Harvey. The Giants seem clearly to be involved, though their interest level isn’t clear. (Andy Martino of tweets there’s “very strong” interest, while’s Mark Feinsand reports (via Twitter) that it’s much more tepid, with some significant roadblocks to a swap.) Martino adds the Reds as a possibility, joining the previously reported Mariners in that regard. And Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets that the White Sox are also in the mix. There’s some uncertainty about the status of the Orioles, but they are among the organizations that would make some degree of sense on paper.

    Of course, we’ve also seen plenty of reports of other teams that will not be in on the 29-year-old. It appears the Rangers have decided against pursuing Harvey in a trade scenario despite giving it serious consideration. Otherwise, the RaysTigersRed Sox, and Yankees are said not to be involved.

    If a deal does, in fact, get done, Rosenthal says not to expect the Mets to shave away much salary. With something on the order of $4.5MM still owed to Harvey for the rest of the season, the New York organization anticipates paying the “vast majority” in hopes of securing “something in return” in a deal.

    Reading the tea leaves, then, the Mets aren’t really looking for a MLB asset back that might offset some of the Harvey commitment. It’s possible the team will be able to find another organization willing to give a bit of young talent, but it’ll take deft work for GM Sandy Alderson to achieve significant value.

    Harvey, after all, has managed only a 5.93 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in his 212 1/3 innings since the start of the 2016 season. His velocity has continued to trail off as the arm injuries have mounted. As outstanding as he was before a procedure to address thoracic outlet syndrome, Harvey has struggled badly ever since.

    Clearly, some front offices around the game still think that Harvey can at least deliver some useful innings from the back of a rotation. Just what they’ll give up to find out remains to be seen.