Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/14/14
The Mariners could use some roster upgrades, but no less important is the need for several of their current players to improve. In some cases — youngsters Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak are prime examples — a physical adjustment could be what it takes. Seattle skipper Eric Wedge addressed the subject during this month’s winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn. —— David Laurila: In your press conference, you said Justin Smoak made some mechanical changes this year. What were they? Eric Wedge: He lowered his hands a little bit and did a better job of finishing his swing. He put himself in a better position to see the baseball, which is half the battle. He did a lot of work — a lot of tweaking — and it paid off for him. DL: What goes into the decision to make mechanical adjustments? EW: You have to work off what you see and make educated decisions. It’s a combination of film and what you see [in live action]. You have to communicate with the player and the coaches, and when everybody feels the time is right to do something, you do it. What you don’t want is to do it too early. DL: Is there a relationship between mechanics and approach? EW: The approach is more of the intangible. It’s a mindset; it’s your game plan as you head up to home plate. The tangible side of it is the physical and fundamental side — the hands, the swing, the lower-half — and it all works together. When you talk about a young player starting to figure it out, there are a lot of things he has to master. That’s what [Smoak] has been battling with, and I think he’s just about to get over that hump. DL: Are there times you want both the mechanics and approach to change? EW: Yes, and he’s one of them, but sometimes it’s just one or the other. Sometimes a guy has a nice swing, but mentally he’s not doing what he needs to do in regard to his approach, his game plan or his discipline in sticking with that game plan. There’s a lot going on and that’s why it’s so tough to hit. Ultimately, you need everything working together. DL: Has Dustin Ackley made any mechanical changes? EW: Ackley is going to need to make some. He also had some physical issues with his ankle, and that’s going to help him along this year. From an approach standpoint, getting a better feel for the big-league strike zone is going help him. He has great barrel-of-the-bat-to-the-ball, so he’s going to be a good hitter. He understands [the need for adjustments] and I think we’ll see that this year. DL: What about adjustments at the catcher position, specifically what Jesus Montero and John Jaso can do to improve behind the plate? EW: Montero and Jaso came so far last year, and we want them to continue. They need to keep doing their work in the wintertime and try to make sure it pays off when we get into the season. They’re very different players, very different body types. The defensive side is obviously very challenging when it comes to catching, without a doubt. But those guys have to hit, too. Every position is different, so from a mechanical standpoint, every position is its own story. And all catchers are different. There are certain tried-and-trues you have to work to, but they’re all different in certain ways. DL: What about adjustments with pitchers and arm angles? EW: Ideally, you want to work off the natural arm slot, but every pitcher is different. From a physical standpoint — a fundamental standpoint — you have to work within that. They get to you at a certain point, you work off what you see, and you make whatever adjustments you feel you have to make. It’s what you see, how they perform, and you have to communicate with them. A lot goes into having a player make an adjustment.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Goodell will not recuse himself from Brady appeal

Will Smith suspended eight games for 'foreign substance'

Report: Kobe Bryant likely to retire following next season

Don Shula named in painkiller lawsuit from former NFL players

Kyrie Irving questionable for Game 2 versus Atlanta

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Michael Sam signs with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes

Ex-A&M quarterback Kenny Hill transferring to TCU

Michael Bennett compares Pete Carroll to Willy Wonka

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

Warriors hang on, edge Rockets in Game 2 thriller

Farrell 'not ruling anything out' as Red Sox's struggles persist

Re-evaluating all 30 MLB teams at the quarter mark, ranked

Is virtual reality training the next leap forward for football?

Warriors a very shaky 2-0 against the Rockets

NFL icon Bud Grant zings Pats with Deflategate joke on Twitter

RG3 announces birth daughter's birth on social media

Don't listen to Nick Saban, the bowl system is just fine

MLB scores partial victory in minor league wage lawsuits

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

Madison Bumgarner homered off of Clayton Kershaw

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

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

Company Info
Help
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.