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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Iwakuma gives Mariners a second true ace

Good idea from KLaw: “Have the Wilson sisters re-recorded ‘Barracuda’ with new lyrics that say ‘Iwakuma’ yet?”

the degree to which [Hisashi] Iwakuma is underrated is almost a crime.

He is easily the most anonymous ace in baseball, and all the proof you need is in this list of qualified American League starters that have a lower ERA than Iwakuma (2.63) since his first MLB start on July 2, 2012:

Yup, that would be no one…

[his] rate of 0.73 walks per nine innings easily leads all major-league starters and puts him on pace to enter the record books.

Only two qualified American League pitchers in baseball history have posted a walk rate that low in a single season: Carlos Silva (0.43 in 2005) and Cy Young (0.69 in 1904)...

The only other pitcher this season with a walk rate of less than four percent, a ground-ball rate of at least 50 percent and a strikeout rate of 20 percent or better is ... Mr. Clayton Kershaw…

thanks to the combination of baseball’s most anonymous ace (Iwakuma) and most deserving ace ([Felix] Hernandez), Seattle is now in prime position to give its fans something besides football to cheer about in October.

The District Attorney Posted: August 20, 2014 at 12:02 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: hisashi iwakuma, mariners

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

FG: Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Appreciating Greatness

Let’s go back to the qualified pitcher seasons since 1915, of which there are 7,464… Only 18 times — 0.002% — has a pitcher topped 25% in strikeouts and kept walks below five percent… Four of those seasons had more than one home run per nine innings. Ten of them were above 0.50/9. Still very good, and yet now out of the mix.

We’re left with four seasons… Let’s limit our pitchers to only seasons where the ground ball rate has been at least 50%; this, unfortunately, goes back only to 2002, when batted ball data was first available… We’re left with two guys. They’re both doing it right now. You probably already know who they are…

If you prefer this in a visual format, here’s a graph of every qualified starting pitcher season since 2002, all 1,136 of them…

 

 

 


Monday, August 11, 2014

The Best Beer in Baseball

Several years ago, craft beer started taking off at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark. From 2011-2012, sales went up by 20 percent. From 2012-2013, they were up 47 percent.

So when it came time to create a new hangout in a highly trafficked spot on the third-base concourse, the ballpark went all-in on craft-style beers. The new Reds Brewery District – an 84-foot-long bar with more than 50 taps – included more than 20 craft offerings when it opened this spring. There were local beers from Cincinnati brewers like Christian Moerlein, MadTree, Blank Slate, Fifty West, Rhinegeist, Mt. Carmel, and Rivertown. There were national options from well-regarded breweries like Founders, Bell’s, West Sixth and Great Lakes.

And the market exploded. Counting single-day offerings, the Cincinnati Reds’ selection of distinct beers went from 42 to more than 130 – the most in Major League Baseball, according to a Washington Post analysis….

While teams like the Reds are just discovering the craft-beer market, the Seattle Mariners have long reveled in it. Located in the hops-mad Pacific Northwest – one of the bastions of craft brewing – the Mariners have a beer program that would make many specialty bars jealous.

About 70 percent of Safeco Field’s 700 beer handles are devoted to “good, quality craft beer,” according to Steve Dominguez, the general manager of Centerplate’s operations at Safeco Field.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2014 at 03:01 PM | 75 comment(s)
  Beats: beer, mariners, reds, stadium fare

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Why The Wild Card Game Should Be A Two-Game Series

But adding an extra game would push the World Series to Christmas!

Wha’? A two-game series? Erm…don’t know how to tell you this, Nico, but…um…two is an even number. I know. And the wild card game should, for many reasons at once, be a two-game series. Here’s how I think it should work, and why…

To advance to the ALDS, the 2nd wild card team should have to beat the 1st wild card team twice. That “two chances to win one” backdrop gives the 1st wild card team a significant advantage over the 2nd wild card team. This is important because the difference in record between the 1st and 2nd wild card teams can be large, potentially even larger than the spread between a division winner and a 2nd place team.

Never has this been more evident than in 2014, where the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim, if you didn’t know) are currently in the 1st wild card slot despite currently being on pace to win 97 games. Leading the 2nd wild card race, at the moment, are the Toronto Blue Jays, currently on pace to win all of 86 games.

A team 11 games worse should not be on such equal footing as to have only to snatch one game, albeit an away game, in order to advance. Consider a team like the Seattle Mariners, also in the thick of the wild card hunt just 2 games back of Toronto, that is on pace to win only 83 games but has King Felix Hernandez as a tremendous “one-game wild card” weapon.

In order to create sufficient incentive to win the 1st wild card, and not just “any wild card,” making the 2nd wild card sweep a two-game series in order to advance is more fair to the 1st wild card winner.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2014 at 11:47 AM | 72 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, blue jays, mariners, royals, wild card, yankees

Monday, August 04, 2014

The utility guy the Yankees actually wanted at the deadline | New York Post

Before acquiring Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks on Thursday, the Yankees inquired about the Mariners’ Dustin Ackley.
Nevertheless, when Seattle asked for minor league right-hander Bryan Mitchell, the discussions essentially ended because the Yankees view the 23-year-old right-hander as a rotation candidate either this year or next.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 04, 2014 at 06:40 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, yankees

Friday, August 01, 2014

Mariners notebook: Zduriencik fires back at critics | Mariners Insider - The News Tribune

“I wasn’t willing to do it. That’s just the way it is. We’ve put too much into this. Our fans have suffered too much for 10 years (for us) to try to get to a point where we’re competitive. We are now, and we’re going to get better.

“This group of kids will get better. We’re not finished. We’ve got Paxton coming back. We’ve got Taijuan eventually. We have a lot of nice pieces. It isn’t just a couple. I think that’s very important.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 01, 2014 at 08:40 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, trade deadline

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mariners acquire outfielder Chris Denorfia from Padres

I prefer to call him Abe “The Alien” Almonte.

A Mariners team looking for an offensive boost acquired Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia on Thursday in exchange for two Minor Leaguers about two hours before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Seattle sent outfielder Abraham Almonte, who opened the season with the Mariners, along with right-handed reliever Stephen Kohlscheen to the Padres…

Denorfia has hit .275/.335/.397 over parts of nine seasons with the Reds, A’s and Padres. Denorfia is earning $2.25 million in 2014 and will be a free agent after this season… The 6-foot, 195-pounder hit .242 with one home run and 16 RBIs in 248 at-bats for San Diego this season…

Almonte, 25, opened the season as Seattle’s starting center fielder, but was sent down after batting .198 with one home run and eight RBIs in 27 games. He’s hit .267/.333./.390 with six home runs and 31 RBIs in 72 games for Triple-A Tacoma.

Kohlscheen, 25, is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 38 appearances while splitting the year between Tacoma and Double-A Jackson.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trader Jack? As Seattle’s GM struggles to complete deals, some rival executives wonder | FOX Sports

Zduriencik sounds like a bad fantasy baseball trading partner. If you’ve ever played in a league, you know just the kind of guy I’m talking about. If you don’t, you are probably that guy.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 29, 2014 at 11:06 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, trade rumors

Friday, July 25, 2014

Kemp’s agent Stewart on trade talks: ‘Sometimes change is good’

“Eight years is a long time to be in one place,” Kemp’s agent Dave Stewart, the former star pitcher, said by phone. “Sometimes change is good. This might be the time to change.”

Stewart hinted at that a week ago, first expressing an openness for Kemp’s to be dealt to another team, preferably one that would play him in center field, a proclamation that mostly surprised Dodgers folks for its timing; he had played 42 of the past 44 games at the time.

Well, the trade talks are on, and if anything, the rhetoric has been bumped up a bit.

It’s clear things aren’t going the way Kemp sees them. It’s just as clear the Dodgers are starting to see it his way in terms of the possibility of a trade; they are no longer saying they won’t deal Kemp (or any of the other four established outfielders), and they are mentioning his name to potentially interested teams, as baseball writer Danny Knobler first said on twitter.

Five teams are said to have shown interest, or at least talked to the Dodgers, and you can be sure L.A. will keep in touch with those teams.

There’s little question Stewart is right. It’s probably time for Kemp to go….

Word is, via FOXsports.com, which first suggested Kemp’s openness for change, is that they’ve checked in with the Mariners, Rangers and Red Sox to gauge interest. Two other teams, one in the NL, is said to have shown interest. Yet, it may not be so easy. He has $117 million to go through 2019.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 25, 2014 at 03:17 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dave stewart, dodgers, mariners, matt kemp, rangers, red sox, trade rumors

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2015 Competitive Balance Lottery Results

The Competitive Balance Lottery for the 2015 MLB Draft took place this afternoon. Twelve competitive balance picks are awarded, with the first six taking place after the first round’s conclusion and the next six taking place following conclusion of the second round. Here are the results, per MLB.com (Twitter links)...

Competitive Balance Round A

  Marlins
  Rockies
  Cardinals
  Brewers
  Padres
  Indians

Competitive Balance Round B

  Reds
  Athletics
  Mariners
  Twins
  Orioles
  Diamondbacks

As MLB.com’s Jim Callis explained earlier in the week, teams that have one of the 10 smallest markets or one of the 10 smallest revenue pools are eligible to receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds (Round A) or between the second and third rounds (Round B).

Its about time the Cardinals got some help to become more competitive.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Nine things to know about the best changeup in baseball | FOX Sports

You don’t know Jack about Felix Hernandez’s change up.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:20 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: felix hernandez, mariners

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Journal News: Recap of Derek Jeter Retirement Gifts

The big 2nd half issue at BBTF is likely to be the retirement gifts The Captain receives as he completes his Final Journey. To provide perspective, the LoHud Yankee Blog reviews the 1st half:

May 25 — White Sox
Once a powerful hitter for both the Yankees and White Sox, retired slugger Ron Kittle built Jeter’s U.S. Cellular Field retirement gift. Kittle created a bench made of baseball equipment with bases as the seat, bats as the back and arm rests, and baseballs used for decoration and spacing. Long time White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko also presented Jeter with clay removed from the shortstop position at U.S. Cellular, plus a $5,000 donation to Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation.

Looks like it wouldn’t be difficult for Furtdao to top the Cubs effort on behalf of BBTF.


Friday, July 04, 2014

John McGrath: Acquiring Cano not the only move that helped turn the Mariners around | John McGrath | The News Tribune

Is he lucky or good?

A final stat: The combined 2014 salaries for Jones, Elias, Morrison, Beimel and Young add up to $4.85 million, or about $850,000 more than the average big league player earns per season.

Zduriencik has taken flak for trades that disappointed (starting pitcher Cliff Lee to the Rangers for a prospect package centered around Smoak) and signing expensive free agents who turned out to be worthless (Chone Figgins, $35 million for four years of bad vibes).

But Zduriencik’s ability to patch a flawed team with bargain-basement acquisitions could do more than save his job.

It might establish his legacy.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 04, 2014 at 08:50 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Tuesday, July 01, 2014


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rick Cerone: “Robinson Cano . . . what a fool!”

You can’t spell Encore Rick (that’s what we used to yell to him after his 1980 outlier season) without Rick Cerone.

Former Yankees catcher Rick Cerone was on SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports Radio channel with hosts Scott Engel and Adam Ronis today, and he had some pretty strong opinions about Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners:

  Host/Scott Engel:  “Robinson Cano in Seattle, why is he not hitting for power?”

  Rick Cerone:  “Big ballpark.  Big mistake.  No backup.  No protection in the lineup.  I mean, what a fool.  Robinson Cano, I liked him as a Yankee.  What a fool.  Got bad advice.  Yeah, he took more money but you know how much more money and exposure he could’ve had playing in New York, come to the lights.  He’s going to go up to Seattle, we might see him once or twice in an All-Star Game.  He’s only got four home runs.  Four home runs for how many million, 200 and something million dollars?”

Repoz Posted: June 26, 2014 at 05:00 PM | 259 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, yankees

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Corcoran: Top studs and duds: The best and worst No. 1 picks in MLB draft history

1. Chipper Jones, SS, Braves, 1990

By career wins above replacement, Alex Rodriguez has been by far the most valuable first-round pick in draft history, but no team ever got more out of the No. 1 overall choice than the Braves got from Chipper Jones. Rodriguez, who went 1/1 in 1993, chased big free agent money at the first opportunity, leaving Seattle after compiling 38 WAR in his team-controlled years. Ken Griffey Jr. (1987) forced a trade to his home city of Cincinnati after 11 years with the Mariners, but Jones, a regional high school shortstop who settled in at third base in the major leagues, spent his entire 19-year, soon-to-be Hall of Fame career with team that drafted him.

“He looks just like you, poindexter!”

Eddo Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:03 PM | 130 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, draft, mariners, mets, padres, twins, white sox, yankees

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How much longer before Royals shake things up in dugout, front office?

Robothol’s latest. A lot of good stuff.

An agent, of all people, suggested a perfect replacement for the retiring Derek Jeter: Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
The agent, who has no affiliation with either player, made an excellent point: Hardy is steady and unassuming, and his low-maintenance personality would make him well-suited to replace a legend.
Hardy, who turns 32 on Aug. 19, missed nearly a month with a strained left oblique earlier this season. He’s batting .304 with a .701 OPS, albeit with no home runs, in 158 at-bats.
His defense remains solid. And his transition could be relatively seamless, considering that this is his fourth season in the AL East.

As a Red Sox fan I highly endorse the Yankees signing Hardy to a five-year contract.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:34 AM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, j.j. hardy, mariners, mets, padres, phillies, rangers, royals, yankees

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NY Daily News: Robinson Cano pranks Yankees fans on ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’

On Monday, Cano made an appearance on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,’ where he hid behind a cardboard cutout of his face in a New York City park as fans booed the picture of him. Cano would then pop out from behind the photo and surprise the bitter fans, who suddenly became very friendly with the Mariners second baseman.

One fan got really into it, adding a “you suck” to his booing, but did a complete 180 when he saw Cano by shaking his hand and telling him, “welcome back to New York.” Another fan got up close to the cardboard photo as he gave a long, loud Bronx cheer before Cano appeared. The fan proceeded to laugh, shake Cano’s hand and said, “Listen, about that…”

bobm Posted: April 29, 2014 at 01:10 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, new york, robinson cano, yankees

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Baseball Equivalent of Hitting on 16 | FanGraphs Baseball

With his history in Seattle, it’s tough not to view Tony Blengino’s criticisms of the Mariners as axe grinding.

This article is not meant to pick on Lloyd McClendon or the Mariners in general. It could have been any number of managers or clubs – it just happened to be this one that did all of these things repeatedly in a single weekend, and lost more than one game as a direct result. Managers have the hardest job in baseball, in my opinion, and game strategy comprises a very small percentage of it. Managers are hired to be leaders of men, who are in this case often millionaires many times over, and are expected to hold their attention and respect for a long, 162-game marathon. I would argue that it is the responsibility of the organization to educate their field personnel about game theory, about the math behind the usage or non-usage of various strategies.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:35 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Design Room: Top 10 Logos in MLB History.

The Montreal Expos (French: Expos de Montréal) team started in 1969 and never changed their logo.  For almost 40 years the team held on to this awesome mark because it was smart and looked great. Expos de Montreal Baseball. That is the secret behind this logo. Interwoven script pieces all come together to abbreviate the full name of the team. This logo is a little dated looking, but I can imagine this being modernized and still looking amazing without significant change. That is how you know this is a good logo. The line work is smooth, it is creative and clever and I commend the designer for coming up with a mark that doesn’t rely on a baseball to remind the viewer that it is a team logo. This is easily one of the smartest logos in baseball history.

I literally went, “Oh wow,” when I read this bit. I’d never understood this about the Expos logo.


Friday, April 04, 2014

A’s-Mariners game postponed — tarp was left off infield

It just became official. Tonight’s A’s-Mariners game was called off because the field at the Coliseum is unplayable.

It’s an embarrassing situation all around, and the fans who showed up booed — and had every right to do so — when the PA man announced the cancelation at about 15 minutes after the 7:05 p.m. scheduled first pitch.

Apparently, the tarp was left off the field overnight, and the rain soaked the field. The grounds crew has worked on the dirt for hours, especially where the shortstop and second baseman play.

theboyqueen Posted: April 04, 2014 at 11:07 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, mariners, oakland coliseum

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mariners release Randy Wolf under weird circumstances - SBNation.com

I am listening to MLB Radio on Sirius (which I really like, BTW) and they were talking about this issue. The host was worked up about the way Seattle handled the situation. I don’t get it. They are working within the CBA. As you might expect, Wolf wanted the rest of his contract guaranteed. The Mariners weren’t prepared to do that. The Mariners offered a bridge contract. He didn’t like it. They cut him, which they could have done without the 45-day offer. Had Wolf pitched better in the spring, does anyone really think the Mariners wouldn’t have held onto him?

Seattle insisted that Wolf sign a 45-day waiver, the 37-year-old southpaw told Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, as a condition of breaking camp with the team. Wolf refused to oblige because he felt the deal he signed with the team last month was fair on its own. He explained to Dutton:

“I principally objected to that because we negotiated in good faith in February on a very team-friendly contract.”

The team cut Wolf as a result of his refusal to agree to the waiver, which would have allowed the Mariners to release him within 45 days of the start of the regular season without being on the hook for his full salary, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. The arrangement is something rarely talked about but fairly common in MLB, according to former MLB pitcher and current Fox Sports analyst C.J. Nitkowski, who also posted a good explanation of the waiver on Twitter.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2014 at 08:54 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, randy wolf

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jonah Keri: 2014 AL West Preview

This article is pretty much what it sounds like. Keri goes over each team, additions and subtractions, and projections. It makes me fondly remember the days of team season previews on baseball primer.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 25, 2014 at 02:29 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros, athletics, mariners, rangers

Friday, March 14, 2014

Seattle Mariners option Jesus Montero to Triple-A Tacoma

Jesus Wash.ed.

Designated hitter/first baseman Jesus Montero, the one-time cornerstone for the rebuilding project that is the Seattle Mariners, will not be with the big-league club when the 2014 season begins in April after he was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday.

Montero put up decent numbers during the exhibition season, batting .310 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI in 29 at-bats, which helped to partially salvage a spring training that started in disastrous fashion.

In Febrary, Montero showed up to the M’s training complex in Peoria, Ariz., overweight and out of shape for the second year in a row, offering no excuses when he told The Seattle Times, “After winter ball, all I did was eat.” This came after last season’s 50-game suspension stemming from the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the wake of the MLB’s Biogenesis scandal.

A former blue-chip catching prospect with the New York Yankees, Seattle acquired Montero in a blockbuster trade that sent starting pitcher Michael Pineda to New York before the 2012 season.

Repoz Posted: March 14, 2014 at 08:15 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

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