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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Mariners Newsbeat

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Mariners’ Plan For Developing Hitting Prospects Gets Early Validation

This fall, the Mariners will try to build on this year’s success by mimicking what’s already worked for them. Instead of fielding an instructional league team in Arizona, the organization will hold four week-long programs similar to the hitting summit but focused on other phases of the game such as pitching, baserunning and individual defense.

“We definitely have not outsmarted anybody with this whole thing, and that was never the goal,” McKay says. “We focused on having clear definitions of what we mean, having a common language, having standards that we’re holding our people accounting toward and not getting away from those things. Our coaches did a really good job of that.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 01, 2016 at 10:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, player development

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Jesus Montero suspended 50 games for use of a stimulant

Shoulda stuck to ice cream sandwiches.

Remember Jesus Montero? The former Yankees and Mariners prospect? Well, he was picked up by the Blue Jays back in March after the Mariners waived him and played 126 games for Triple-A Buffalo this year. That went alright, I suppose, with Montero hitting .317/.349/.438 with 11 homers. He played a bit of first base too, trying to break the mold he’s been stuck in as a 26-year-old DH.

If this season was a platform for him to make one last push to the bigs, the platform was just pulled out from under him: he has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2016 at 05:07 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: jesus montero, mariners, peds

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mariners gain in Wild Card on Cano’s 2 homers |

Robinson Cano continued his assault on Astros pitching, edging the Mariners closer in the American League Wild Card chase in the process while pushing Houston closer to elimination.

Cano clubbed two home runs, including a long solo shot down the right-field line off Luke Gregerson in the 11th inning, to send the Mariners to a key, 4-3 win over the Astros in the series opener Monday night at Minute Maid Park.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 27, 2016 at 06:47 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mariners catcher Steve Clevenger tweets protesters should be treated ‘like animals’

Seattle Mariners catcher Steve Clevenger fired off controversial tweets Thursday in response to civil unrest in Charlotte, N.C., calling for protesters to be “locked behind bars like animals.”

Clevenger has a private Twitter account, but reporter Jon Humbert of KOMO-TV in Seattle captured screengrabs of the tweets.

The Mariners issued a statement from general manager Jerry Dipoto.

“The Seattle Mariners are very disappointed at the tweets posted on Steve Clevenger’s account,” the statement read.” While he is certainly free to express himself, his tweets do not in any way represent the opinions of the Seattle Mariners. We strongly disagree with the language and tone of his comments.

“We are currently examining all internal options that are available to us as we determine appropriate next steps. We will have no further comment at this time.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Estrada masterful, Osuna shuts the door as Blue Jays fend off Seattle Mariners for crucial win | National Post

The Blue Jays aren’t done yet.

The Blue Jays needed a stopper. On this night, Marco Estrada and Roberto Osuna shared the job.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 20, 2016 at 07:03 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, mariners

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mariners win eighth in a row, besting Angels 2-1 in another fine pitching performance | The Seattle Times

The Mariners will not die.

“We were just focusing on the one game,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “When we got on the plane and we were thinking — just keep winning series and winning series. Then you win the first couple of games and you think, ‘Why not sweep it?’ That’s been our attitude. Everybody’s doing their part.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 15, 2016 at 05:59 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. credits Taijuan Walker’s success to embracing mechanical changes | The Seattle Times

“At that point, he decided it was time to make some adjustments and changes,” Stottlemyre said.

The following day the two were out early before the game, playing catch and working on the changes that features a different leg kick and more hip turn to help him use his legs more and drive down the slope of the mound. It’s been a daily routine since then. They’ve spent hours together going over the changes. They were inseparable on the field, in the weight room and in front the video monitors.

“These are drastic,” Stottlemyre said. “These are not easy. It’s the tail end of the season on a club that’s possibly in a pennant run and to go out and try to recreate a delivery is not easy to do. It’s a testament to the work that he did – the dry work, the video work, watching other guys do it. He’s been relentless with the work and in our bullpens just trying to put it all together. I’m so proud of him.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 15, 2016 at 05:55 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, taijuan walker

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Mariners option outfielder Norichika Aoki |

While his teammates celebrated Friday’s 3-1 victory over the White Sox on Friday night, veteran left fielder Norichika Aoki quietly dealt with Mariners officials and then made some phone calls after being informed he was being optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma.

Aoki will be one of several roster moves announced by the Mariners on Saturday as they look to shore up a bullpen that was already running a man short and now is dealing with a sore back by Tom Wilhelmsen as well.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 27, 2016 at 11:04 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, norichika aoki

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Spin (rate) zone: Mike Montgomery is a real numbers guy

“We were in the bullpen together and he’s really into it,” Montgomery told me of Zych. “We just talked a lot about it and I went to a website called Brooks Baseball. I guess it’s pretty accurate. We would just look at it and I’d check it out after every time I pitched. And we talked about what the numbers would teach us about our own stuff. I can throw these pitches in these locations because it’s really hard to hit. And learning about movement on the pitches and stuff like that.”

Most major league pitchers are more into Brooks & Dunn than Brooks Baseball, but Montgomery has found the information useful and it led to further curiosity.

While watching a broadcast toward the end of last season, Montgomery saw something that said his fastball had a low spin rate. He immediately thought that was a bad thing and assumed he needed to try and fix that. After doing more research, he understood that it wasn’t necessarily going to hurt him if he had a lower spin rate, it just meant he’d have to get outs in different ways.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Montgomery said. “It just means that I’m not going to rely on swing and miss [with my fastball] as much as I am weak contact. It’s just understanding how that’s used.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2016 at 11:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brooks baseball, cubs, mariners, mike montgomery, stats

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Seattle Mariners didn’t panic at the deadline and it’s paying off | FOX Sports

Hope is alive in Seattle!

“I’m a big fan of trying to pounce on opportunity,” Dipoto said. “We talked with a variety of clubs about acquisitions that maybe would have been more notable—I don’t want to say star quality, but more household-type names. We also talked about the possibility of moving players out who were more household names.

“In the end, the best moves we could make were holding steady. The idea of moving Miley might have looked like a sell. You could certainly take it for that. But really, there just wasn’t a great fit for Wade here.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 12, 2016 at 06:55 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Monday, August 08, 2016

Celebrating The Singularity Of Ichiro -

But he didn’t. He has 3000 hits, which is a great accomplishment for a great player.

Ichiro clearly didn’t let a late introduction to Major League Baseball slow him. He collected at least 200 hits for 10 straight seasons—a major league record—and accumulated more hits in his 30s—2,080 of them—than any player in history. Additionally, the 10-time all-star won two AL batting titles, 10 Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers—which is remarkable when you realize he never hit more than 15 home runs in a season.

These facts are unassailable, but a more esoteric distinction made headlines on June 15, when Ichiro collected his 4,257th career major league hit—if you count his 25 combined seasons in the Japanese and American majors. Rose, who retired at age 45 with 4,256 major league hits, accumulated his total over 24 seasons in the National League.

What Might Have Been

Major League Baseball does not recognize Ichiro as its all-time hits leader, and it’s hard to build a convincing case that it should.

However, it is accurate to say that Ichiro has amassed more hits in the top professional leagues for which he was eligible to play than any player in history.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 08, 2016 at 11:38 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: 3000 hits, ichiro, ichiro suzuki, mariners, marlins

Monday, August 01, 2016

Orioles acquire LHP Miley from Mariners

Seattle received left-hander Ariel Miranda in the trade. The Cuban pitcher has spent most of the year with Triple-A Norfolk. He appeared in one game for Baltimore on July 3 at Seattle, allowing three runs and four hits in two innings.

‘‘Ariel Miranda is a power left-handed pitcher with a four-pitch mix that is major league ready that provides us with flexibility,’’ general manager Jerry Dipoto said in an email. ‘‘We are very excited for what he can bring to the Mariners.’‘

Jim Furtado Posted: August 01, 2016 at 08:26 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, orioles, trade deadline, trades, wade miley

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Slate: Out at Home

Reds fans couldn’t help but think the Griffeys should’ve reunited in Cincinnati. Junior’s ancestral connection to the Big Red Machine explained a lot of the fervor over his eventual homecoming. Just as important was his star power, which transcended his sport in a way that doesn’t really happen in baseball today. (Try to imagine local news helicopters tracking the homecoming of, say, Dallas-born Clayton Kershaw.) Griffey had endorsement deals with Pepsi, Nabisco, and AOL; he had a hugely popular video game; he had a sprawling relationship with Nike, seen most famously in the ads that pushed “Griffey for President.” And yet, in an era when TV money had not yet semileveled the playing field, baseball’s most famous player chose to go to Cincinnati, one of the game’s smallest markets. To make that happen, Griffey agreed to a team-friendly extension: a nine-year deal for $112.5 million that made him just the seventh-highest-paid player in the game (And that didn’t even account for the fact that more than half of the money was deferred.) “If the player owns a Rolls-Royce and he chooses to sell it at Volkswagen prices, that’s his right,” agent Scott Boras groused. The contract’s details reportedly moved Bud Selig to the verge of tears.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: July 24, 2016 at 10:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ken griffey, jr., mariners, reds, trades

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cubs get Mike Montgomery in 4-player trade |

The Cubs added what they hope will be a key piece to the bullpen on Wednesday, acquiring left-handed reliever Mike Montgomery from the Mariners for Minor League prospects Dan Vogelbach and Paul Blackburn.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 21, 2016 at 06:51 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mariners, trade

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mariners notebook: Finally on Wednesday, it’s Happy Felix Day again | The News Tribune

Ace right-hander Felix Hernandez will be officially activated prior to the game from the disabled list after the Mariners make a corresponding space-clearing roster move.

“I’m ready, man,” Hernandez said. “I was going crazy (in the early) weeks when I wasn’t with the team (on the road). It was the worst time of my career. But I’m good now. I’m ready to go.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 20, 2016 at 11:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: felix hernandez, mariners

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mariners notebook: Who loses out in looming shift to four-man rotation? | The News Tribune

Updates on some pending roster moves, including King Felix’s return.

The Mariners have Hernandez positioned to start the July 31 night game at Wrigley, which will be televised by ESPN. That will be the Mariners’ first appearance on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball in more than 12 years.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 19, 2016 at 10:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How a young Big Papi beat Griffey, A-Rod in the greatest home run derby you’ve never heard of |

It seems almost inconceivable now, given the risk of injury and the overall unwillingness of most big leaguers to give up a precious day off. Back then, though, two years after a players’ strike wiped out the World Series, in-season barnstorming trips to minor league affiliates weren’t uncommon.

The Mariners, fresh off an appearance in the American League Championship Series in 1995 and contending again in ‘96, were set to play a doubleheader July 30 in Milwaukee. After wrapping up a homestand on July 28, they traveled to Appleton, where the Timber Rattlers had demonstrated their commitment to the Mariners by building a new ballpark two years earlier.


JOHN McLAREN, MARINERS THIRD-BASE COACH: The word was we weren’t going to be able to play but we’re going to try to give the fans something to grasp onto. Someone came up with the idea of doing a home run derby, so we went looking for hitters.


Rodriguez, who hit 14 homers in 248 at-bats in Appleton’s old ballpark in 1994, volunteered to participate. And by popular demand, Griffey was talked into competing, too. The Timber Rattlers countered with outfielder Luis Tinoco, hitting coach Joaquin Contreras and Ortiz, who was in the midst of a breakout season in which he batted .322 with 18 homers, 93 RBIs and a .901 OPS.


ORTIZ: I was hitting balls onto the highway, bro. Like, it was crazy. I could see they were impressed with what I was doing, and they were the guys in the big leagues. I was just playing A-ball. It was fun. I’ll never forget that.


[GARY HORCHER, TV REPORTER FOR WBAY, ABC AFFILIATE IN APPLETON]: Ken Griffey Jr. was standing by A-Rod when Ortiz started hitting his first couple shots. It was a different noise. Some guys, it sounds like a thunderclap, and other guys it doesn’t generate the same sound. This was like a hammer clattering against something really percussive. I remember everybody kind of winced. We looked over for Griffey’s reaction, and I remember Griffey kind of looking up and smiling. But A-Rod was going, “Oh my god!” I remember after one of Ortiz’s shots, A-Rod was like, “Look at that guy! I ain’t got a chance.”

RODRIGUEZ: I think we were all wondering why he wasn’t coming back with us to the Kingdome. We wanted to take him on the plane with us.


[MIKE GOFF, TIMBER RATTLERS MANAGER]: I can’t remember how many he hit, but I know he hit a bunch. He wasn’t just hitting them to right field. He was hitting them all over the ballpark, and it was a good-sized yard. It wasn’t a small yard. To hear that Alex said, “We should take him back to the Kingdome,” I think that’s bulls—- to be honest. I think some of [the Mariners] were embarrassed by what Davey did to them in that competition—and I loved every single minute of it.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mariners prospect Tyler O’Neill all business at Futures Game | The Seattle Times

How’s his defense? He misplayed a Bregman single into a triple in the Future’s Game.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 11, 2016 at 08:41 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, prospects, tyler o'neil

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mariners acquire pitcher Zach Lee from Dodgers for Chris Taylor | The News Tribune

Two change of scenery players.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 20, 2016 at 09:43 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, mariners, trade

Sunday, June 12, 2016

James Paxton could be key for Mariners’ staff |

A friend was texting me during the game. He told me that Paxton was “hitting 98-100” every other pitch” and “he just threw a 92 MPH slider”. Of course, he finished with, “He’s still giving up hits. LOL.” Fangraphs discussed his increased velocity the other day. It looks like the velocity is sustainable, at least in the short term.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 12, 2016 at 09:28 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: james paxton, mariners

Friday, June 10, 2016

Beyond the Boxscore: The AL West doesn’t look like we thought it would.

With the AL West comes the payoff for this whole exercise, and, in a broader sense, this whole baseball thing: a division in chaos, and unlike the other divisions in chaos, chaos that looks nothing like we expected it to. On Opening Day, the Rangers and A’s had nearly identical playoff odds of about 19 percent; today, the Rangers are sitting atop the division, just over 60 percent, while the A’s sit at a measly five percent. The only team below Oakland is the team that began the season just above them, the Angels, but the loss of Garrett Richards and Andrelton Simmons have sent their playoff odds tumbling from 26 percent to three percent.

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: June 10, 2016 at 02:04 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros, athletics, mariners, rangers

Monday, June 06, 2016

Lookout Landing: The King may be out longer than we thought.

en James Paxton was called up late last week, we weren’t sure at the time exactly why. We came to find out that the move corresponded with a 15-Day DL trip for Felix Hernandez. It was scary news, seeing as The King has only missed like one start in his ten-year career. With his velocity down more than one tick this year, and the command all over the place, Felix has looked…different than ever before in his career. Of course, that “different” isn’t the magical 2014 version, it’s a new, maybe scarier version. It’s still an absolutely fantastic pitcher. But, it’s a pitcher currently with a strained calf.

Finally a playoff hunt and the King is in the counting house.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: June 06, 2016 at 07:22 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, mariners

Mariners notebook: Cano’s bounce-back surge at one year and counting | The News Tribune

His decline will certainly come. For now, though, he’s back to being one of the best second baseman in baseball.

It was just about a year ago that Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, a perennial All-Star, bottomed out in the mid-.230s in a dreadful start to the season.

Criticism was sharp that Cano, then 32, had started an inevitable decline with more than 8 1/2 years remaining on his 10-year deal. He spent much of last June muddling along to get out of the .230s before putting on a closing kick.

Fast forward a year and check the numbers.

Cano posted a .302 average with a .355 on-base percentage and a .529 slugging percentage in 159 games from June 4, 2015 through June 4, 2016. He also had 36 doubles, 35 homers, 101 runs and 110 RBIs in that span.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 06, 2016 at 09:38 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, robinson cano

Friday, June 03, 2016

Mariners react to historic comeback vs. Padres |

My, my, isn’t this embarrassing.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 03, 2016 at 10:18 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, padres

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