Monday, May 13, 2013 @ 3:05pm
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com is among those who believe defensive tackle Jesse Williams is the Seahawks rookie with the best chance at making his way into the starting lineup this season.
"I say that because that's kind of where there is a hole," Farnsworth told "Bob and Groz" on Monday while recapping Seattle's three-day rookie minicamp. "Alan Branch, who started there the last two years, signed elsewhere in free agency."
Stelton and Grosby agree with that sentiment. In the video below, they share more thoughts on Williams and his chances of starting as a rookie.
You can listen to Monday's show here.
Saturday, May 11, 2013 @ 11:48am
By Brent Stecker
With the steroid era over, pitchers have taken over Major League Baseball. And according to ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian, the Mariners' resident King, Felix Hernandez, is at the forefront of the game's sea change.
Felix Hernandez's numbers in 2013 have been outstanding, including a 5-2 record and an AL-best 1.53 ERA. (AP)
While joining 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz," Kurkjian explained that the 27-year-old Hernandez is in elite company for his age.
"(With) this many innings pitched, this many wins ... this many strikeouts, this many dominant games, when you start looking at guys at this age that have accomplished this much, you start thinking two things -- he's going to the Hall of Fame if he keeps this up for any significant length of time from here, and he's got an outside, outside chance at winning 300 games," Kurkjian said.
That's high praise considering Kurkjian believes the days of 300-game winners may be over.
"We get asked all the time, 'Will anyone win 300 again?' My answer probably is no, but I think the best shot at it is Felix Hernandez, who throws this hard still, his stuff is still this dominant, and that's a lot of innings in there," said Kurkjian. "He's not Roy Halladay innings, but he's 10 years behind him (in age) and his arm is still going really, really well here, and that's an encouraging sign for the Mariners."
Hernandez has arguably been the best pitcher in the American League this year, as he sports a 5-2 record, a league-leading 1.53 ERA, 0.90 walks-hits per inning, 56 strikeouts and just eight walks. With his performance, he's helping set the bar during a historically dominant season for pitchers, who are striking out batters at an all-time high.
"It is really hard to hit these days. The pitching today is unlike any time that's I've seen in the 33 years that I have covered. We have more guys throwing in the mid-90s, more guys with not just one quality secondary pitch but two," Kurkjian said. "(Current Texas Ranger) Lance Berkman told me last year, 'Every night someone comes out of the bullpen throwing 95 miles-per-hour, and I've never even heard of him.' That's how many young, hard throwers we have. We used to just have hard-throwing right-handed starting pitchers. Now we have left-handed relievers, lefty starters who are in the mid-90s. That was unheard of to have this many or even close to this 30 years ago. Now they're everywhere."
Kurkjian said the combination of pitchers evolving and bad approaches by hitters are contributing to the dominant pitching numbers.
"Pitchers have just decided, 'Look, we can't do this anymore. We have to come up with something else.' I was talking to a pitching coach the other day who said that's where the cutter came from. So many pitchers were getting their brains beat out every night, because in the steroid era there were so many big, strong hitters, they said, 'OK, we gotta come up with something else.' Not necessarily something new, but different pitches have been perfected.
"The hitters aren't helping things by going up there saying I'm gonna swing as hard as I can on every pitch, or I'm gonna really work a deep count here. (They) try to draw a walk and before you know it they're 0-2 and the other guy has three pitches that they can't hit. And that's why the strikeout rate is at an all-time high right now."
Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 2:05pm
Tom Cable will have five new offensive linemen at his disposal after the Seahawks added three in the draft and a pair of rookie free agents.
"He's doing really well," Cable, Seattle's offensive line coach, told "Bob and Groz" on Friday before the start of the team's three-day rookie minicamp.
Carpenter, a first-round pick in 2011, was a starter at right tackle as a rookie before he suffered a season-ending ACL tear after the team's ninth game. He returned to the field in Week 4 of last season and started seven games at guard before reinjuring the knee in Week 13.
Carpenter remained in Seattle to continue his rehab and prepare for the upcoming season. Cable said he recently had a "cleanup" procedure on that knee and that it now "feels the best it's felt this whole time."
Cable also said Carpentrer is significantly stronger.
"He's had a monumental offseason in the weight room," Cable said. "For a big guy and coming out of Alabama you would think he was there in terms of strength numbers; he really wasn't, but he is now. So it's a real credit to him and [strength and conditioning coach Chris] Carlisle and those guys in the weight room."
Carpenter is among the four players competing for one of two starting spots at guard, the others being Paul McQuistan, John Moffitt and J.R. Sweezy.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 @ 8:56pm
Seahawks guard James Carpenter is one of 14 players to enter the NFL as a first-round pick after playing for coach Nick Saban at Alabama.
Perhaps those injury issues are coincidental, but John Clayton made the connection to Alabama during Monday's edition of "Cold Hard Facts" when the conversation shifted to Carpenter, a first-round pick in 2011 whose first two NFL seasons have been cut short by knee injuries.
"Do you notice that a lot of the guys coming out of 'Bama are injured or suffering injuries or carryover injuries or (are) all banged up? They go through so much training when they're there," Clayton said. "... This is one of the reasons why Alabama is so successful and Nick Saban's got himself a mini-dynasty going on in college football, is because they work so hard."
Clayton cited a pair of Alabama players from this year's draft as further evidence: cornerback Dee Milliner and running back Eddie Lacy. Milliner, selected ninth overall by the Jets, reportedly underwent five surgeries while in college. Lacy has a toe injury that is believed to be part of the reason he fell to the Packers at the bottom of the second round.
"A lot of these guys coming out of 'Bama, they literally are out there practicing and lifting just about almost every day," Clayton said, "so you kind of wonder, is that just now what you get when you get an Alabama player – that he's not injury-prone but there is a little bit more of a chance that he is going to have more injuries than most?"
Which brings us back to Carpenter, who missed a total of 16 games while finishing each of his first two seasons on injured reserve. Carpenter remained in Seattle over the offseason to rehab and prepare for the upcoming season. He'll be competing with three others – Paul McQuistan, John Moffitt and J.R. Sweezy – for one of two starting spots at guard.
Dave Grosby and Danny O'Neil pick up the conversation there, previewing what is one of the Seahawks' only expected position battles.
You can listen to Wednesday's show here.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 @ 12:23pm
Special to 710Sports.com
Former big-leaguer and current Mariners broadcaster Mike Blowers left no room for ambiguity in his response when asked when he believes Mike Zunino should be called up from Triple-A Tacoma.
Despite the well-documented woes of 23-year-old catcher Jesus Montero amplifying the outcry for Zunino, Blowers thinks making a rash decision to call up the third overall pick from the 2012 draft would be unwise.
"I don't see what the rush is to get him here," Blowers said. "I'd rather him have a lot of success (in Triple-A) and feel like he has earned his way up here."
It's important to note that Zunino has only played in 68 minor-league games since he was drafted as a 21-year-old junior from the University of Florida. Better yet, he's only had 297 plate appearances between his brief stints in Single-A Everett, Double-A Jackson and now Tacoma.
Zunino, in large part, has done his job and done it well.
In 29 games last year for Everett, he hit .373 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs. His stint in Jackson lasted only 15 games, but his .333 average with three home runs and five RBIs earned him a promotion to start this season.
All early indicators coming from Tacoma were overwhelmingly positive about Zunino. Through six games he had already hit four home runs while driving in 17 – both league leaders at the time.
As scorching a start as that was, the star-prospect came down to earth, and then some.
Entering Wednesday's game, Zunino is hitting .220 with 29 RBIs and five home runs. The past 10 games have been very much an indicator that although talented, he still needs more seasoning, evidenced by his .162 batting average and 13 strikeouts in 37 at-bats.
"He is the future of this club – I don't think there is any doubt about that – so why not let him play a full season in Triple-A," Blowers said. "Let him get his numbers, and let him have a lot of success and gain his confidence there before you have to rush him up here."
Monday, May 6, 2013 @ 3:28pm
Shannon Drayer's latest blog post details Jesus Montero's inability to throw out opposing baserunners, an issue that was especially evident Sunday when the Mariners catcher allowed four stolen bases during a loss to Toronto.
That's not his only defensive shortcoming, according to Drayer.
"In talking to different broadcasters throughout the different places that we've gone – a lot of them ex-pitchers – they're saying that he's costing them strikes right now. And if you watch him, he is swiping at balls, he's not holding anything in the strike zone. I think that's hurting his pitchers," Drayer told "Bob and Groz" Monday.
The growing sentiment that Montero should be sent down to Triple-A Tacoma has just as much do to with his offensive struggles. He's hitting .203 with four extra-base hits this season, which isn't the type of production the Mariners envisioned when they gave up all-star pitcher Michael Pineda to acquire Montero in a trade with the Yankees last offseason. Montero hit .260 with 15 home runs in his first season in Seattle.
"I think at this point ... there needs to be more intense work done with him," Drayer said. "I think the offense needs to be the priority, he needs to be playing every day and if he can't carry his end of the deal defensively he can't be playing every day, so you need to find a place where he can."
In the video below, Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby discuss Montero's struggles and the best course of action for the Mariners.
You can listen to Monday's show here.
Friday, May 3, 2013 @ 6:13pm
The Seahawks' Russell Wilson posted one of the most impressive seasons by a rookie quarterback in recent memory last season, but he is by no means coasting on his previous success.
While joining 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz," Wilson explained that there's plenty about his game he's working to improve.
"There's so much more learning to do now. I'm trying to learn as much as I can, be on that constant quest for knowledge," Wilson said. "I've definitely matured even more. (The Seahawks staff has been) giving me everything they possibly can, and I took it as a challenge."
Quotes like that just solidify how impressive Wilson is, especially for a 24-year-old former third-round pick, as Dave Grosby and Bob Stelton explain in the video below.
Friday, May 3, 2013 @ 2:44pm
The NFL's unofficial workouts are ongoing, and Marshawn Lynch has been noticeably absent for the Seahawks. While that could be cause for alarm – especially since the free-spirited running back also has a pending DUI case in California's Alameda County – ESPN's John Clayton told "Bob and Groz" that the lack of Lynch shouldn't be a concern.
"I think that we know that Marshawn kinda beats to a different drummer and is a little bit different in the way he handles things," Clayton said.
Marshawn Lynch was absent from the start of voluntary workouts. (AP)
Coming off a 2012 season where he rushed for 1,590 yards, the 27-year-old Lynch has earned some goodwill to miss workouts, Clayton said.
"As long as he takes the football with the talent that he has, (and) he's not gonna miss any of the mandatory things. ... If he's not here for some of the voluntary I don't think it's that big of a deal."
Clayton added that running backs have a history of missing voluntary workouts.
"Remember these things supposedly are voluntary, and a lot of times running backs, more so than other positions, tend to want to be away because they just want to get their minds right and their bodies right because they have to take such a physical pounding. ... Edgerrin James didn't usually go back to the Indy practices as much. He wanted to be in Miami. And you really go through the history of the sport, and that happens to a lot of the running backs."
Rumors have emerged that Lynch's absence could be related to new Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin's big contract, but Clayton doesn't believe that's the case.
"I just don't buy that. (Lynch) knows that there's not going to be any change in (his) contract," Clayton said. "This is his second team, and he had to kinda fight his way back and regain the stature to be able to claim this type of a contract. ... I don't know if he puts as much energy into something like that."