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The Seattle Mariners have had a strong first half. If they were in the American League East, their 49-41 record would put them in a tie for first place. Unfortunately, the Oakland Athletics have had a sensational year and own baseball’s best record, a sterling 57-33. For all intents and purposes, the Mariners are in a battle for one of the two wild card spots.
The Mariners biggest strength has been their pitching staff, as they own the second best ERA in the AL and the second best fWAR. A huge chunk of that comes from Felix Hernandez, who has already accumulated 5.1 fWAR. Hisashi Iwakuma has been very good, and Fernando Rodney has been lights-out in the pen. Their rotation could use some improvement on the back end, but their biggest need is an outfield bat.
Mariners outfielders have produced a miserable .243/.288/.353 batting line for a 78 wRC+ and just 0.8 fWAR. While Michael Saunders has been a solid regular, the other options have been replacement level at best. Endy Chavez, whose last season above replacement level came three years ago, has made 32 starts. Overmatched rookies Abraham Almonte and Stefen Romero have also seen significant playing time. Dustin Ackley and James Jones round out the outfield corps, and neither appear to be quality major league starters.
It’s likely that the M’s will seek a right-handed bat to fit in their lefty-heavy lineup. Outfield options include Drew Stubbs of the Colorado Rockies, Alex Rios of the Texas Rangers, Dayan Viciedo of the Chicago White Sox and Marlon Byrd from the Philadelphia Phillies. With the exception of Rios, none of these options are costly in terms of salary, and their respective teams shouldn’t ask for more than a mid level prospect.
After two consecutive mediocre seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, Stubbs is enjoying Coors Field. Even after adjusting for park effects, his .295/.333/.484 line comes out to a 112 wRC+ and he’s accumulated nearly +2 wins. His projections are less favorable as Steamer and ZiPS both forecast a batting line about 10 percent worse than the major league average and a little under +1 fWAR the rest of the way.
Rios’ power and baserunning appear to be declining in his age-33 season. He’d be an upgrade over what Seattle has, though his $12.5 million salary and $1 million buyout for 2015 might not be so attractive. In order to move him, the Rangers might have to eat salary or basically give him up for a low-level prospect.
Byrd is having a strong year for the Phils and could be dealt to a contender for the second consecutive season. He signed a two year deal worth $16 million this offseason. He’s continued his approach of selling out for power and despite a 28.8 percent strikeout rate he’s batting .263/.313/.488. The 36 year-old doesn’t provide much in other aspects of the game, but the M’s could use his right-handed power bat.
Viciedo is seemingly drawing a lot of interest despite what is getting to be a long track record as a replacement level player. In nearly 1600 major league plate appearances he’s produced a .261/.306/.431 batting line in the hitter-friendly confines of U.S. Cellular. He’s only 25, so perhaps the Mariners and other interested teams are betting on potential, but so far he’s been a bat-first player that doesn’t hit well enough to amass more than +1 fWAR in his career.
The Mariners have played pretty good baseball to this point in the season, and they appear to be in contention for their first playoff berth since 2001. They need an upgrade, but with a wild card berth being the best case scenario, dealing the farm for a shot at a one-game playoff is unwise. Picking up a right-handed bat such as Byrd or Stubbs is more sensible.
BEST OF MAXIM
When the Seattle Mariners defeated the Tigers on the first day of June, they pulled themselves to a respectable 28-28. Since then, the schedule got a bit easier, when looking at opponent’s records, and the Mariners exploded. Seattle now stands at 49-41, and those magic words that Mariners fans have longed to hear right now are true: if the season ended today, Seattle would...
Mariners pitching coach Rick Waits and pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen turn down for what with serious dance moves.
In case you missed it, Taijuan Walker was optioned to AAA Tacoma on Wednesday, three days after a rough outing against the Chicago White Sox. That’s not the PSA though, in fact, its hardly relevant – if you hadn’t read it here, Walker could be back in the Major Leagues before you know it. There are different schools of thought as to whether the demotion is performance based...
Seattle Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez is currently in the club's Triple A affiliate in Tacoma, WA, but is drawing some interest from several clubs ahead of the deadline. One of the clubs linked to Ramirez is the Brewers, who could use some back-end help in their rotation. Conversely, the Mariners are likely still looking for bats.#451181028 / gettyimages.comBob Dutton...
Seattle Mariners pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen and pitching coach Rick Waits bust out some impressive impromptu dance moves. The hurler and coach have the skills to the pay the bills as you will witness in the video, move over Usher here come the Mariners bullpen.
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Some things are just awesome, and a 62-year-old baseball coach dancing uncontrollably in the outfield to a hip hop song is, quite frankly, one of those awesome things.
That’s what Seattle Mariners pitching coach Rick Waits recently did during Mariners batting practice when the song “Turn Down For What” came on the Safeco Field speakers.
Mariners pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen immediately...
Seattle Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders left last night’s game against the Minnesota Twins in the eighth inning after being injured on an apparent check swing. According to team beat writer, Bob Dutton, of The Tacoma News Tribune, Saunders will undergo an MRI today:#Mariners says OF Michael Saunders will undergo MRI on Friday after leaving game with apparent rib injury...
((HT: MLB.com))The HQ admits that, sometimes, there's a lot of time where baseball players and coaches are waiting around to do stuff...Could be anything... so, just "stuff..."Mariners pitching coach Rick Waits paired off with reliever Tom Wilhelmsen's in his tradition of dancing to a song during batting practice...Here's the dance-off...Your browser does not...
Outfielder, Shortstop, Maybe A Starter?
The Seattle Mariner’s offense continues to be streaky. For a couple nights it looks as if they are crossing a line and hitting consistently then we go right back to where we started and they get shutout again.
Cleary if the M’s are going to legitimately try to make a run with this excellent season they have going they are going to need...
SEATTLE (AP) -- Minnesota's Phil Hughes pitched into the eighth inning, Sam Fuld barely cleared the wall with his second home run of the season and the Twins beat the Seattle Mariners 2-0 on Tuesday night.
Hughes rebounded from being knocked around in his previous two starts to shut down the Mariners. Hughes (9-5) gave up eight hits in 7 1/3 innings, struck out eight and didn...
An easy way to think about productivity is Efficiency x Frequency. If you’re really efficient at doing something, but you don’t do it very often, you won’t be very productive. Look at the career of Carlos Quentin. When he’s played, he’s always hit, but rarely is he healthy enough to play, so he hasn’t actually […]
With the Seattle Mariners currently seeking a right-handed hitter, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN mentions that the M’s have been scouting Philadelphia Phillies‘
Entering play on Thursday night, Kyle Seager owned a .274 batting average. Chris Johnson‘s average was a nearly identical .273. The two third basemen have played in a similar number of games and have come to the plate close to the same number of times. If you use batting average to evaluate these players’ seasons, you’d come […]