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Monday, April 25, 2016

A Record Setting Five Koreans Debut in Major League Baseball

When most fans of Major League Baseball (MLB) think of players from the Pacific Rim, players imported from Japan’s professional league tend to come to mind. Whether it be Ichiro or for a period Dice K Matsuzaka, there have been a string of high profile players coming from Japan to the United States. That perception may be about to change. While more Japanese professionals have played in the major leagues, players from Korea are increasingly making their mark in MLB as well.

Because of the thriving professional leagues in Korea and Japan, a posting system remains in place that limits the flow of talent to the majors from Korea and Japan relative to what the overall level of talent in either country would warrant than in comparison from Latin America. This has begun to change somewhat in the last decade or so thanks in part to the success of players such as Ichiro and more recently to Koreans such as Choo Shin-soo with the Rangers and Ryu Hyun-jin with the Dodgers.

In the case of Korea, this all began with Park Chan-ho. Park became the first Korean to play in the major leagues when he briefly made his debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994, but would go on to become a star once he had established himself in the majors by 1996. Park’s success helped to pave the way for other players from Korea to come to the United States, with a peak of 8 Koreans playing in the majors in 2005.

While the number of Koreans playing in MLB tailed off after 2005, the 2016 season has seen a resurgence in Koreans playing in the majors. Five Korean-born players have already made their debut this season and the number of Korean-born players on MLB rosters is again at an all-time high of eight. However, if prospects such as Lee Hak-ju of the San Francisco Giants make their debut this season, 2016 could represent a high-water mark for Koreans in Major League Baseball.

The following is a brief look at the five Korean-born players to have made their debut this season in the majors:


Friday, April 22, 2016

New Bret Boone book: alcohol problem derailed stint with Twins - StarTribune.com

The Boones are baseball’s first family?

But in a new book titled, “Home Game: Big League Stories from My Life in Baseball’s First Family,” set to go on sale May 10, Boone reveals that it was more than a simple matter of aging that caused him to fall so fast. Instead, he writes, he was a “substance abuser” whose alcohol problem grew worse during that period.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 22, 2016 at 08:24 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: books, bret boone, mariners, twins

Monday, April 18, 2016

Felix Hernandez Is Not Right | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

If you are a Felix owner, he has done you all a great favor by not allowing a homer, posting just a .200 BABIP, and stranding over 80% of runners. All that good fortune has masked his poor pitching so far and given you a window with which to shop him. Surely someone in your league will stop at the 1.00 ERA, think all is fine, and be willing to give up a pretty good hitter, or even a comparable pitcher. How about Corey Kluber?

This may all just be an early season blip, and for all we know, Felix could be back up to 91+ mph, with improved control thanks to a mechanical fix. But the alarm bells are blaring and the risk is higher than ever that Felix is dealing with a serious issue. Better to reduce your risk and see what you could get for him, then hold and hope for the best.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 18, 2016 at 08:48 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: felix hernandez, mariners

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mariners notebook: Lee added to 40-man roster; Montero’s status in doubt | The Olympian

First baseman Dae-Ho Lee’s quest to play in the big leagues moved a step closer Sunday morning as the Mariners added him to their 40-man roster.

“Dae-Ho has the history of hitting left-handers,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “I think he’s given us reason to believe in spring training. He’s very prepared. He’s very calm in the batter’s box. I think he’s gotten better every step of the way.

“It’s been a pleasant surprise with the defense and, particularly, the base-running. He runs the bases really smart. His defense has been much better than we anticipated.”

The move effectively buys time for the club because Lee’s minor-league contract had an opt-out clause, effective Sunday, that permitted him to become a free agent if not on the 40-man roster.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 28, 2016 at 09:05 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dae-ho lee, mariners

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mariners’ Mike Zunino quietly trying to work his way back into being better at the plate | The Seattle Times

I hope he can put his offensive game back together.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2016 at 02:44 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, mike zunino

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Carson Smith leaves game with forearm tightness - Sports - providencejournal.com - Providence, RI

That’s not ideal.

Newly acquired Red Sox reliever Carson Smith left the game Monday with tightness and “a cramping sensation” in his right forearm, Red Sox manager John Farrell said. Smith was scheduled be evaluated further after he returned to the team’s facility in Fort Myers later Monday evening.

“I’m concerned,” the reliever said. “It’s my career. Everybody, when you feel something in your forearm, you’re going to be concerned.”

“There’s always concern,” Farrell said. “At this point in time of the year, (we’re) certainly not going to take any chance at all, so we backed him out of it. We’ll see what the evaluation produces.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2016 at 09:00 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: carson smith, mariners

Monday, March 21, 2016


Friday, March 04, 2016

Mariners pitcher Nathan Karns leaves the analysis to others this spring | The Seattle Times

Yes, he’s already 28.

When Karns, 28, was younger he would analyze every pitch and decision, sometimes second-guessing himself and always holding an outing to his highest standard.

“I would be so tough on myself,” he said. “In the past I’d be very critical of every little thing. That just comes with lack of experience.”

Worst of all, he would have wondered how all those little things could affect his chances to make the Mariners’ opening-day roster.

“Now with some experience, I know that they aren’t going to make this call in a day or the first week of camp,” he said. “I just need to continue to build and progress and do the best I can. In the meantime, just have fun and get to know my teammates.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 04, 2016 at 10:52 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, nate karns

Friday, February 26, 2016

Robinson Cano on 2015 struggles, 2016 health | MLB.com

Cano speaks.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 26, 2016 at 08:12 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, robinson cano

Friday, January 29, 2016

Mariners farm director Andy McKay believes improvement between the lines has to start between the ears | The Seattle Times

“While Andy’s history as a mental-skills expert, of sorts, is a great advantage, it won’t define who he is,’’ Dipoto said. “He’s a farm director and a baseball man first.”

McKay doesn’t actually mind being typecast as a mental coach, because he firmly believes the basis of all baseball success is between the ears. In fact, his conviction that baseball is “100 percent mental” is at the core of his entire team-building philosophy

“You can’t separate the two, the mental and the physical,’’ he said. “It’s a misunderstanding. To say someone’s a mental coach, you’re already contradicting the basic concept, which is that your physical breakdowns are always preceded by mental breakdowns.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: January 29, 2016 at 06:53 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Monday, January 18, 2016

Japan Times: Aoki eyes big impact on return to American League

It’s always good to have goals.

Outfielder Norichika Aoki said Sunday he wants to return to the American League with a bang this year.

“I want to win an individual title this year, either a batting or stolen base crown,” the 34-year-old Aoki said after training in Tokyo.

 

vortex of dissipation Posted: January 18, 2016 at 10:58 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: boundless optimism, japan, mariners

Monday, December 28, 2015

Why Mariners need to boost payroll to keep up with baseball’s runaway spending | The Seattle Times

Geoff Baker wants the Mariners to break open the piggy bank.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 28, 2015 at 07:13 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Friday, December 18, 2015

Mariners re-sign Hisashi Iwakuma to one-year deal with vesting options - CBSSports.com

It’s time for Plan D for the Dodgers.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 18, 2015 at 06:37 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, hisashi iwakuma, mariners

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Mariners reach agreement on two-year deal with veteran reliever Steve Cishek | The News Tribune

Sources say the club reached two-year agreement with veteran reliever Steve Cishek for $10 million, pending completion of a physical examination, An official announcement could come as early as Monday.

The deal was first reported by ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. It includes $3.5 million in performance bonuses each year based on games finished.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 12, 2015 at 11:03 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, steve cishek

Thursday, December 10, 2015

PrintMore MLB Seattle Mariners hire MLB’s first female full-time scout in 60 years

The Seattle Mariners have hired Amanda Hopkins as a full-time amateur scout, making her the first female to hold that position in Major League Baseball in almost 60 years.

Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle first reported the news on Monday.

Hopkins is following in the footsteps of her father, Ron Hopkins, who spent eight seasons as a national cross checker for the Oakland Athletics before becoming the Texas Rangers‘ scouting director from 2003–09. He was also the special assistant to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels in 2010.

Hopkins’ brother, Ross Hopkins, was selected in the 40th round of the 2007 MLB draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He has since spent several seasons in the minor leagues.

Hopkins played softball at Central Washington University before joining the Mariners in the front office last season.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2015 at 01:38 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: females in baseball, mariners, scouting, women in baseball

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Mariners to acquire Adam Lind from the Brewers

Mariners camp will include “Hi, my name is….” nametags.

There is no word yet who the Mariners are sending to the Brewers, but they will need to create one space on the 40-man roster which is full to add Lind.

Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the 3rd round of the 2004 draft Lind hit .272/.360/.460/.820 with 20 HR and 87 RBI last year for the Brewers with a 19 wRC+ and 2.2 WAR. The downside with Lind is he has not hit lefties well, just .212/.277/.298/.575 in 112 plate appearances in 2015. While the Mariners may not go with a straight platoon at first if Lind is acquired, he most likely would sit against tougher lefties.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 09, 2015 at 11:42 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: adam lind, brewers, mariners

Monday, December 07, 2015


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Mariners reach agreement with free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki

Aoki-dokey.

Even before the Mariners complete one deal, they’re on to another one.

The latest addition is free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki, who fits the club’s new preferred profile as an athletic player with on-base skills.

Aoki, 33, has a .287 average and a .353 on-base percentage in four seasons since coming to the big leagues after eight seasons in Japan. He matched those numbers last season in 93 games for the San Francisco Giants.

The deal was first reported on twitter by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Terms of the deal were not immediately known, but it is believed to be a one-year agreement that includes at least one club option.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 02, 2015 at 09:34 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, nori aoki

Should the Seattle Mariners’ next move be trading Nelson Cruz? | The Seattle Times

If the Mariners were rebuilding, dealing Cruz would be the obvious move, but Dipoto has made clear that he thinks this team can contend. It’s a valid thought — the Houston Astros went from 70 wins in 2014 to 86 in 2015.

So far, Seattle’s transactions have been about complementing its current core, not blowing that core to smithereens. And while Cruz’s contract makes him far easier to deal than, say, Robinson Cano, it also makes him a tremendous value to the Mariners.

If the M’s are as close as Dipoto thinks they are, Cruz could very well be the difference between the team reaching game No. 163 and extending its postseason drought. It’s awfully tough to toss away an All-Star after the best season of his life.

But the idea of dealing Cruz isn’t as ridiculous as you might think. It’s a tough trade to condone, but not impossible to consider.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 02, 2015 at 08:23 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, nelson cruz, trades

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Orioles trade for Mariners’ Mark Trumbo | MLB.com

Jeffry Dipoto continues the revamp in Seattle.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 01, 2015 at 11:02 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, mark trumbo, orioles, trades

Mariners showing interest in free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki | The News Tribune

After a break for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Mariners are back to stoking the Hot Stove with free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki emerging as their latest possible target.

“At this point,” one industry source said, “there appears to be real interest (in Aoki) from the Mariners. Whether that leads to a deal is anybody’s guess.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 01, 2015 at 01:00 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, mariners, nori aoki

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mariners GM Dipoto: Cano happy in Seattle | MLB.com

It’s a good thing he feels this way because he’s not going anywhere. Ever.

“He reached out to let me know that did not come from Robbie and that’s not at all reflective of how he felt,” said Dipoto, who replaced former GM Jack Zduriencik two months ago. “Shortly after the season ended, I sat down with Robinson in my office for two hours and we had a great talk and I think we left with a very clear understanding of who one another might be.

“Since the season ended, we’ve had a couple phone conversations and texted back and forth on a couple occasions. I don’t have any reason to believe he has a problem. He has not expressed that to me. As we’re moving forward, we believe he’s going to have a strong season as our second baseman.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:50 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, robinson cano

Mariners sign free-agent catcher Chris Iannetta to one-year deal | The News Tribune

In signing free-agent catcher Chris Iannetta to a one-year deal Monday, the Mariners didn’t make the move in order to acquire a caddy for one-time franchise cornerstone Mike Zunino.

“Chris is being brought in to be our primary catcher,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “We’ll see where the chips falls once we get into spring and beyond. He’s an experienced player who I feel makes us better.”

So where does that leave Zunino, a former first-round pick who spent two-plus years as the club’s starting catcher before getting a late August demotion to the minors?

“Mike comes in with an opportunity to win playing time,” Dipoto said. “A primary catcher is different from what I would consider an everyday player. There is no catcher who is going to go out and catch 162 games.

“Whether it be a time-share or a backup catcher, Mike is going to be in position to win some of that playing time. He’s still a young guy, and we need to get him back on track.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:46 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: chris iannetta, mariners

Monday, November 23, 2015

Robinson Cano reportedly unhappy in Seattle, would like to go back to New York

Last week Andy Van Slyke made the news for, among other things, ripping Robinson Cano in a radio interview, claiming that he was lazy, loafed and ended up getting coaches fired in Seattle. There has been a ton of criticism of Van Slyke for saying that, and today John Harper in the Daily News offers several quotes from the Mariners’ former third base coach, Rich Donnelly, defending Cano and his work ethic.

Buried deep in that story, however, is this bit:

So maybe Van Slyke is just so bitter about being fired that he needed someone to blame. But even if Cano has had the best intentions as a Mariner, one long-time friend who spoke to him recently says the second baseman is not happy in Seattle, especially with a new regime in charge there now, and that he’d love to somehow find his way back to New York.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 23, 2015 at 11:43 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, robinson cano, yankees

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ex-Mariners coach slams Robinson Cano | The Seattle Times

Worst defensive second baseman ever. That’s a tough one to backtrack on.

Host: “So what happened there, so much promise for your club after you and Lloyd McClendon joined two years ago. What happened last year?”

Van Slyke: “Well our bullpen blew up. Fernando Rodney was horrible. He blew nine of the first 18 chances. Your highest paid, supposedly best player – I mean Robbie’s not a bad guy, let me say that before I say anything bad about how he played. But Robinson Cano was the single worst third-place, every-day player I’ve ever seen – I’ve ever seen for the first half of a baseball season. He couldn’t drive home Miss Daisy if he tried. He couldn’t get a hit when it mattered. He played the worst defense I’ve ever seen at second base. I mean I’m talking about the worst defensive second baseman ever – I’ve ever seen in 20 years in the big leagues. He couldn’t catch the ball. No, I take that back. Any ball that was hit to him was an out. Any ball that he had a chance to turn a double play, he’s still maybe the best in the game today. He’s got a great arm. But I’m telling you, Frank: Robinson Cano cost the GM his job. The hitting coach got fired because of Cano. And the manager and the coaches got fired because of Cano. That’s how much impact he has on the organization. He was the worst player and it cost people their jobs in the process.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 20, 2015 at 10:05 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: andy van slyke, interviews, mariners

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