Found February 12, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Can he surprise again?

No one expected to be having a conversation about Brandon League as the closer a year ago.  In fact, the Mariners expected to have their veteran closer David Aardsma return to his role after a surgery on his hip during the offseason.

Looking to have a temporary replacement for the number one entry in the baseball encyclopedia, the Seattle Mariners management brought in former Indian Chris Ray (who was favored by manager Eric Wedge) lost the role to Brandon League.

There was a lot of uncertainty about  League’s selection as closer, but as the season went on, the Hawaiian native began to show real competence for getting the Mariners through high pressure situations.

Brandon League is not the typical high spirited aggressive closer.  In fact, he often pitches like he is half asleep, oblivious to the game situation.  But it works.

Brandon League Is Brandon League the answer as closer for the Mariners in 2012?

Can Brandon League continue his successful 2011 campaign?

League finished the 2011 season with 37 saves which was third highest in the American League.  In company with Jose Valverde and Mariano Rivera, which is quite an accomplishment.

While it looked for a while that the M’s may trade League while his value was high, they instead released Aardsma who never pitched an inning in 2011.

He found himself needing Tommy John Surgery after recovering from the hip operation.

League had about a four game stretch where he couldn’t seem to do anything but set it on a tee for his opponents.  Of course he was also 6th in the American League for wild pitches, which for a closer is appalling.

Don’t get me started on it.

It could be that the M’s might still trade League and try to develop another closer, however after avoiding arbitration with League in favor of a $5 million contract, it would look as though the Mariners will keep League as their main man.


League has shown the capability of being an All-Star caliber closer, which the Mariners need to hold on to and finish the close, low scoring games that they have become famous for.

Secondly, League is continuing in his development, and continues to add more pitches to his arsenal. 

If his value continues to improve and the M’s season goes sideways, League could find himself on the trading block again.


© Danny Ferguson for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

Follow NWSB on Twitter or join US on Facebook for real-time updates OR... | Share This on Twitter | Share on Facebook

Post tags: Brandon League, Chris Ray, David Aardsma, Eric Wedge, Jack Z, Jack Zduriencik, Jose Valverde, Mariano Rivera, Mariners, Mariners blog, Seattle baseball Blogs, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Mariners Blog, Seattle Mariners blogs


Mariners release 40-man roster, plus Spring Training invitees

The Seattle Mariners have released their 40-man roster ahead of Spring Training, and there aren’t really any surprises. Everything newsworthy has already been covered. But it’s nice to know for sure what Eric Wedge and his coaching staff are thinking. For instance, Chone Figgins is still occupying a spot. Mike Carp and Justin Smoak will [...]

Justin Smoak gave up pizza, burritos to get in better shape

Justin Smoak was one of the top prospects in baseball when he was drafted 11th overall by the Rangers in 2008, but he’s disappointed his first two seasons. The 25-year-old first baseman is hoping an improved diet will lead to a turnaround with the Mariners this season. “I gave up bread, ate almost entirely meat and vegetables – and working out two hours a day, four days a...

Mariners begin spring with new Japanese import

Spring training is officially under way with Seattle holding its first workout, and the team's newest import from Japan got plenty of attention. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (Hih-SAH-shee EE-wah-KOO-mah) did a small amount of running and a little defensive work, pronouncing Sunday's practice far easier than what he's used to in the early days of training in Japan. The...

Five Creative strategies the Mariners can use to win games in 2012

Now pitching: Larry Bernandez ?? The Seattle Mariners have been difficult to watch over the past decade and while the team is in the midst of rebuilding, Safeco Field is becoming a virtual ghost town. While the Mariners management cannot let go of the plans they have to develop from within the organization, they also cannot increase their budget to match that of a small country....

Bryce Harper, Jesus Montero Among Cream of the Crop in's Top 100 Major League Prospects's countdown of the Top 100 prospects in baseball is complete. This past Thursday, we started off our list with the bottom 20 players. We have worked our way through the prospects in increments of 20. Friday, we listed prospects 61-80, Saturday we gave you prospects 41-60, and prospects 21-40 were released on Sunday. The top 20 minor leaguers are listed below, and the...

Let's Play Ball - Mariners being spring training (picture)

And so it begins. The Seattle Mariners take the field for the 2012 MLB season. Mariners spring training.jpg Click to view. If this doesn't get you excited northwest baseball fans I don't know what will. :) Picture from the Official Twitter account for the Seattle Mariners. For more Mariners accounts go to & check them out at, too.

New pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma a huge draw as Mariners complete first workout

Quite the sideshow coming off the field this morning as Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma attempted to return to the clubhouse. Iwakuma was literally besieged by Japanese and American fans alike. He patiently signed each and every autograph requests, then posed for photos with Japanese fans. Some of the fans would get their pictures snapped with him, then run about 25 feet away to...

Iwakuma starts adjustment to majors on first day of workouts with Mariners

Getting off the field proved far tougher for Hisashi Iwakuma than anything he did on it his first day as a major-leaguer. The veteran Japanese League...

Mariners start Spring Training this weekend – what you need to know

The Associated Press reports: “Right around the first of the year, Eric Wedge placed a call to a select number of Seattle Mariners telling them to get to the Pacific Northwest in the dead of winter. Wedge wanted to see firsthand if this group had followed through during the offseason in getting themselves ready for [...]

Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis says mound hopefuls need to hit ground running

There are 35 pitchers in camp with the Mariners this spring, 19 of them on the 40-man roster and another 16 invites. That means the team has a whole lot of evaluation to do in a limited amount of time, given their March 22 departure for Japan and an early opening to the regular season. Willis sounds excited and ready to go. And he suggested that anyone hoping to show something this...

Analyzing the aging pattern of MLB players

Manny Ramirez could get a new contract at age 39. The Mariners are making Chone Figgins, 34, a leadoff man. Joe Posnanski offers new evidence as to why these are not good ideas.

Trevor Bauer, Danny Hultzen MLB-Ready in's Top 100 Major League Prospects’s Top 100 prospect list is nearly at its end. On Thursday, we examined the bottom 20 qualifiers for this list. That portion of our rankings consisted of high-ceiling players who are several seasons away from the majors, or lower-ceiling prospects who can make major league impacts soon. Friday, we covered some promising young athletic players, as well as a few pitchers...

New TV deals won't guarantee everlasting success; that part will still take work by Mariners and others

Some readers in the comments thread of the last post brought up some very intelligent points about where the future of this whole regional sports network (RSN) cash giveaway could be leading. One of them stated that if all teams cash in on new deals, that will simply lead to inflation and keep the status quo with players merely earning higher salaries. Yes, that would be true if...

Spring Training Thaw

Yesterday, pitchers and catchers for the Mariners reported for spring training. Today, they worked out for the first time. Finally. For me, this is the start of spring and the end of the darkest month-long period in the sports year. The boredom is over; it's safe to be a fan (and a blogger) again.With the exception of the Super Bowl, the weeks between the end of college football...

Players are arriving early for spring camp

The Mariners have opened camp a week before any other team.
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.