Thursday, May 23, 2013 @ 4:46pm
Jesus Montero will no longer primarily be a catcher now that the Mariners have determined that a position switch is necessary to maximize his offensive potential.
The plan, according to Zduriencik, is for Montero to see time at designated hitter, play first base and catch occasionally during his demotion to Triple-A Tacoma.
The possibility of Montero playing first base was discussed when Jason A. Churchill of Prospect Insider joined "Bob and Groz" earlier Thursday. Churchill doesn't think that's a transition Montero can make anytime soon.
"I think there's a misnomer out there – among the casual fan, at least – that first base is an easy position to play and an easy position to learn. It is absolutely not," he said. "It doesn't take an incredible amount of athletic ability, but there are a lot of specific skills to that position where if you've been playing a completely different position like catcher or if you were a pitcher or a left fielder and you were trying to learn first base, it's not that easy at all."
Churchill said digging out balls, stretching for throws and throwing to second base – all common plays for a first baseman – aren't easy to master.
"You can hide a guy over there a little bit and be OK if he's going to be a big bat, but a guy that's never played the position, a guy like Montero, sure, he could learn that, but it's not like you can throw him down to Tacoma for a couple of months and then bring him up and play him at first base and expect him to be major-league caliber," Churchill said.
In the video below, Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share their expectations for Montero at first base.
You can listen to Thursday's show here.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 @ 3:47pm
Bruce Irvin's suspension, Josh Portis' arrest and Cliff Avril's injury overshadowed what likely would have otherwise been the leading story from the Seahawks' first OTA on Monday.
That marked the first time media members got to see a practice featuring Percy Harvin, the headliner of Seattle's offseason additions.
Harvin's unique athletic ability was a main reason the Seahawks paid through the nose to acquire him, first in draft-pick compensation and then with a hefty new contract. According to Dave Boling of The News Tribune, Harvin appeared as advertised on Monday.
"He has a turbo gear. He pushes that button and it's warp speed," Boling told "Bob and Groz" on Wednesday.
"A couple of times he just blew past people or then in small space executed a move that just left Byron Maxwell just like, 'Where is he?' – grabbing air," he added.
That conversation shifted to the players who will be most impacted now that Harvin is on board. Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share their thoughts in the video below.
You can listen to Wednesday's show here.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 4:13pm
To say that Justin Smoak has been showing signs of life at the plate would be an understatement considering what the Mariners' embattled first baseman has done over the last month.
Shannon Drayer discussed Smoak's recent hot streak when she joined "Bob and Groz" on Tuesday.
Smoak's .366 on-base percentage leads the Mariners, and according to Drayer, he ranks fifth among qualifying MLB first basemen in that category over the last month. During that same span, Drayer noted, Smoak is tied with Kyle Seager for the team lead in runs created, a stat that attempts to quantify a playerâ€™s total offensive value in terms of runs.
Smoak homered twice during the Mariners' four-game series in Cleveland but has just one other home run over the last 30 games. Perhaps that's one reason why he's flown under the radar during his recent hot streak.
"I think that we are expecting one thing, not seeing it and then just kind of discounting what he's done," Drayer said. "But he's very quietly over the last 30 days done some impressive things with the bat that would suggest that it's going to continue and it's part of the process and how he's trying to settle in right now."
Can Smoak sustain his hot hitting? Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share their thoughts in the video below.
You can listen to Tuesday's show here.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 10:35am
"El Hombre" Michael Bradley is coming to town in July and we hope you can join us at the White Horse Golf Club in Kingston on Friday, July 12.
Michael will join us for a live broadcast from the Greater Trinity Celebrity Golf Classic at the White Horse Golf Club and we will be hanging out Friday evening for all the post-tournament festivities at the Clearwater Casino.
Here's the best part: you can join us!
If you want to sign up to play in the tournament, you can do so here.
You'll be able play alongside Dave Krieg, Kenny Easley, Nesby Glasgow and many more former Seahawks and Mariners players. All the funds raised from the event will go to the Greater Trinity Acadamy, which strives to provide a high quality academic experience which stimulates a child's enthusiasm for learning throughout their educational career and beyond. You can find more info on the Greater Trinity Acadamy here.
So come on out on July 12 to hang out with Bob, Groz and Michael Bradley. Hope to see you there.
Sunday, May 19, 2013 @ 3:02pm
Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma has been one of baseball's best pitchers in 2013, a surprise considering the Japanese export was relegated to the bullpen for the start of his MLB career in 2012. He's been so surprising heading into Monday's start against Cleveland that the right-hander not only ranks in the top three in the American League in ERA (1.62), WHIP (0.78) and batting average-against (.183), but he ranks ahead of Mariners ace and former Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez in each category.
Hisashi Iwakuma ranks in the top three in the A.L. in ERA and WHIP, and could be a valuable trade piece this summer. (AP)
While Iwakuma's been blowing away hitters, the Mariners' offense is clearly in need of more run producers – something that could be acquired by trading away Iwakuma.
Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner told "Brock and Danny" last week that the Mariners will have to at least explore the option of trading the 32-year-old "Kuma" this season to bolster their offense for the future.
"If the Mariners decide that they are not ready to ... take over Texas and make a playoff run, I think there is an argument that can be made that in two months Iwakuma might be one of the most valuable trade chips you can possibly have on the market because no one is selling pitching this year," Cameron said. "In a couple of months, it is going to be an interesting decision whether or not the Mariners keep Hisashi Iwakuma or trade him for younger players."
ESPN baseball analyst and ex-MLB general manager Jim Bowden echoed those sentiments on "Bob and Groz."
"Yeah, I think you have to consider (trading Iwakuma)," he said. "I wouldn't want to. I think you've a got a nice two- or three-year run with him, and I'd love to see him and Felix and (prospects Taijuan) Walker and (Danny) Hultzen all in the same rotation, but I think you always have to listen."
Should the Mariners pull the trigger on a swap involving Iwakuma, it likely won't come until much closer to the July 31 trade deadline, when the team will have a better idea of its postseason chances.
"I think you have to see where the Mariners are at the end of July," Bowden said. "Iwakuma's gonna give you a better shot to win than anything you're going to be able to get back in return, at least for the next couple of years. Keep an open mind, but I also think Iwakuma can be a very helpful part of this team making the playoffs over the next couple of years."
Bowden is justifiably impressed with what Iwakuma has done over the last year.
"He's a 1 starter. I watched him some last year. I've seen seven of the eight (starts in 2013). This guy is a 1," Bowden said. "He pounds the zone, doesn't miss in the middle. It's just incredible to watch him. He's a strikeout-per-inning kind of guy. I just love the fact that he pounds the zone, doesn't walk anybody, he uses both sides of the plate, he changes eye level, he changes planes – He is a 1."
If the Mariners hang on to Iwakuma through the end of his contract (he's signed through 2014, though the team has a $7 million option for 2015), he could be in line for a free-agent deal similar to Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, 38, who signed a one-year, $15 million deal after going 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 2012. A contract like that, coupled with Hernandez's seven-year, $175 million deal, and the expected arrivals of Walker, Hultzen and fellow top prospect James Paxton to the majors, could very well push the team to pursue a trade.
"I don't know if I see the organization wanting to give Iwakuma the kind of money he is going to get in a couple of years," Cameron said. "Are the Mariners going to want to be in a position where they are signing Iwakuma to a long-term deal with the young pitching coming?"
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 2:50pm
UFC fighter and Parkland, Wash. native Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson stopped by the 710 ESPN Seattle studious this week to promote his upcoming fight against John Moraga in the main event of UFC on FOX 8 at KeyArena.
In the video below, Johnson talks with Bob Stelton about his training and what it will be like to headline a UFC event near his home town.
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 11:29am
Here are the rules for the "Bob and Groz" drinking game*.
Each of the following words/phrases is good for one drink.
When Bob says: "Alright" or "Exactly right" or "How 'bout that?"
When Groz says: "Uhhh" or "supposebly"
When John Clayton says: "Let's put it this way" or "But also, too"
Today's additional word: "Cleveland/Indians"
*We are not suggesting any drink in particular.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 @ 4:36pm
Jesus Montero entered Thursday's game with a .211 average, just five extra-base hits and plenty of doubts about his long-term outlook as a catcher. His work ethic has also been questioned.
But Jim Bowden provided some reason for optimism with Montero in the form of a reminder and an example when he joined "Bob and Groz" on Thursday.
Bowden pointed to Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion – whom he once traded for – as an example of a player who reached his potential later than anticipated. Encarnacion had a breakout season in 2012 at the age of 29, hitting .280 with a career-high 42 home runs and 110 RBIs.
"This game is really tough at the big-league level when you've got guys throwing 95 with nasty breaking balls and late life and they don't make mistakes over the middle of the plate like they do in the minor leagues," Bowden said. "It takes a lot of discipline and it take a lot of time to adjust, and for a lot of players they don't get it until they're 25, 26, 27, somewhere in there."
Bowden thinks that will be the case with Montero, who has hit .253 with 18 home runs in 160 games since he was acquired in a trade with the Yankees before the 2012 season.
"I would never give up on this guy because I think he's going to be a middle-of-the-order run producer," Bowden said. "I don't agree with Brian Cashman when Brian Cashman [compared him to] Miguel Cabrera; I didn't see that, but I did see a guy that I think's going to be a 100-RBI-type run producer in the middle of the Mariners' lineup.
"And if I had to bet on any of those kids – [Justin] Smoak and [Dustin] Ackley and him – there's no doubt which guy I'm betting on – that's Montero.
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby react to Bowden's comments on Montero in the video below.
You can listen to Thursday's show here.