17 February 2012


I have been hired on the staff over at Fan Sided. I'll be writing for Sodo Mojo, be sure to check it out.

13 February 2012

Spring Training Stories 2/13

Lets just jump right into this.

1. James Paxton is developing a change

The change-up has arguably become the most important non-fastball pitch in baseball over the past 5-10 years. More and more pitchers are leaning heavily on the change-up, and it is only going to benefit Seattle's young power lefty. Watching the Pitch FX data on Paxton this season will be the only way to truly know if this newly developed weapon is any good. I look forward to seeing how often he uses it, and how nasty it becomes. Color me excited with this news.

2. Hector Noesi will battle for a rotation spot

Well, you already knew that. Noesi, 6-foot-3, apparently has a very easy, smooth delivery that has management impressed. "He's a good, young arm. As a starting pitcher, I like the way he stays fluid in his delivery and consistent with his line to home plate and his release point. The ball comes out of his hand nice." Wedge chimed. They seem excited to give him the opportunity to start, and so should you. If you haven't checked out the article over at Lookout Landing, and this article over at USSM, after you're done here please head that way. Hector Noesi wasn't a throw in, and I have a feeling that if he earns a rotation spot, we will see why.

3. Hong Chih-Kuo opens up about his anxiety

I guess it's not all that uncommon with ballplayers. Kuo insisted he can overcome this, that the power is within himself. "It has to come from inside here,'' Kuo said pumping his chest. "It has to come from inside me.'' Kuo's psychologist, Harvey Dorfman the famous sports psychologist, passed away last year and Kuo admitted it was hard without Dorfman. However, it sounds as if he learned a lot from the man. The lefty is working on his mental fortitude and hopes to avoid another case of the yips.

12 February 2012

Spring Training Stories 2/12

Pitchers and Catchers have reported to Peoria, and that means we are that much closer to live baseball games!  Let's wrap up today's headlines in Arizona.

1. Mike Carp helps the Mariners pay tribute to Halman

This one will tug at the heart strings. The shirt can be seen here. It's an amazing gesture and one I was pleased to see. The Mariners have lost two family members in two years, and they continue to be tasteful in the way they pay tribute. It's nice to know Carp took it upon himself to do this. Look for them on sale in the Mariners team store, with the proceeds going to charity

2. Justin Smoak is back and in better shape

Ah, the annual rite. Wedge issued Smoak a challenge at the end of the 2011 season, and Smoak responded. Weighing almost exactly the same, Smoak is sporting a much leaner appearance. While he admitted that he doesn't think the ball is going any further, he said he just feels better and more agile. The bag of results for players reporting into camp with the "the best shape of their lives" tag is mixed. When it comes right down to it, an overweight player with talent is better than a marathon runner who can't play baseball. I will say this, it probably can't hurt.

3. The Team believes Carp can play handle LF and 1B duties

Great. Conditioning is one thing, actual performance is another. I don't know that Carp is ever going to be an above average defender, so I'm going to have to take a wait-and-see approach. As of right now, Wells still offers a considerable upgrade in the outfield. Even so, if Carp can continue to build on the offensive season he put together last year, I will take his defensive faults. 

11 February 2012

Forecasting Casper

Casper Wells is a subject of much interest to me. I knew practically nothing about him when the Mariners acquired him at the trade deadline, so of course I did what any reasonable analyst would do; I looked up the numbers. It started off pretty well, ISO over .200 in the minors, oh that's pretty good. Impressive minor league wOBA, yep I'll take that. Now wait what's this? 28% strike out rate, okay well it is what it is. 10% walk rate, well hey now, we've got a Mariner on our hands.

We are familiar with Wells now. He dominated the batters box almost immediately after being acquired until he dropped off the cliff with a bout of Vertigo.  I know a bit more about the disorder than most I've spoken to, as my mother struggled with it in her late 30's. The world is never right side up, and physical balance is nonexistent. Up is sideways, left is down...it's taxing, especially for an athlete. We never really saw a  medium for Wells. Fans either saw a version of Wells that was killing the ball or the variant that couldn't hit a beach ball. It makes it that much harder to predict what sort of production we should expect from Wells this year. 

06 February 2012

Seattle Inks Hong-Chih Kuo

Hong-Chih Kuo was one of the best relievers in the league during 2010. 2011 on the other hand was a bizarre year for Kuo, who landed on disabled list with anxiety pretty early in the season. Kuo stated that his confidence has been shaken after a horrid outing against the Pirates and after the DL stint his season didn't get any better after returning. Kuo ended the season with 27 runs in 27.0 IP, a stark comparison to monster numbers he put up in 2010 (8 runs in 60.0 IP with 73 SO). Eventually Kuo underwent off-season surgery on his elbow, one of a few surgeries Kuo has underwent in his career

It's a one year Major League contract which is interesting considering the Mariners bullpen is just about full. Only one or two spots remain open, with Sherrill having already wrapped up the left-handed specialist role. The Mariners now have to move someone off of the 40-man roster.

This has a chance to be a great move for Seattle. Kuo could be terrible, but it's more likely that he puts together some sort of a decent season. If Kuo can put together a season similar to the one he pieced together in 2010, then the Mariners have a really good bullpen addition or a great trade chip on there hands.  

Bottom line, the move is very interesting. The Mariners have a potential dominant reliever on there hands, and we all know how desirable relievers are at the trade deadline. Hey, maybe they even keep him. n the event that Kuo is bad, the Mariners won't lose much.

I'll be interested to see who get's moved off the 40-man.

01 February 2012

Mariners ink Guillen to minor league deal

I won't be able to write much as I am just about to hop on a plane. First impression, I like it. Low cost, possible 3B/OF option.

Good addition at a low cost. Competition is always good for camp.

31 January 2012

A Trade that Almost Was

A bit of interesting news broke today. When the trade for Pineda & Montero went down, several GMs around the league were stunned to find out that our former, young ace was even available. Alex Anthopoulos, GM of the Toronto Blue Jays, wasn't included in the surprised category. In an interesting article today in The Globe and Mail, it was hinted that the Mariners may have tried to acquire Toronto's young third baseman, Brett Lawrie.

If you didn't already know, Lawrie is a former Zduriencik draft pick from his Milwaukee days. It would've been an attractive move for Seattle considering the Mariners' giant, gaping hole at third base. Lawrie's first major league play came in 43 games this year and he raked. .293/.337/.495, 9 home runs, a .297 ISO, and .413 wOBA. Lawrie's 2.7 WAR was better than every position player outside of Dustin Ackely on Seattle's roster last year, and he did it in only 43 games. This move would have had Mariner fans drooling, and it may even have some a little depressed that it didn't happen. Don't be.