Friday, May 24, 2013 @ 12:34pm
Update: The Mariners have made it official: Robert Andino has been designated for assignment, while Jesus Sucre and Carlos Triunfel are on their way up from Triple-A Tacoma.
The Mariners, according to a report from Dave Cameron, have placed Robert Andino on outright waivers in order to make room for Jesus Sucre on the 40-man roster. Furthermore, I have learned that shortstop Brad Miller is headed to Triple-A Tacoma from Double-A Jackson.
The team has not confirmed either report, but if correct we most likely will see Carlos Triunfel heading to Seattle with Sucre.
Triunfel is on the 40-man roster and can step into Andino's place immediately. As I said Thursday on "Seattle Sports at Night", he would get the call over Nick Franklin for multiple reasons, the first being that the Mariners would like to see Franklin sustain his Triple-A success a little while longer before making a move.
Also, they would like to get a look at Triunfel, who has been in the Mariners organization for seven years. After this year he has one option remaining so time is running out to see just what he is at the big-league level.
One thing to note: An Andino move may have nothing to do with clearing a spot for Sucre as I was told that a minor leaguer would be removed from the roster in order to do that. Things easily could have changed in the past 48 hours and perhaps this is the only move we will see today. If not, assuming I am right about Triunfel, another move is coming. Stay tuned.
Thursday, May 23, 2013 @ 2:43pm
Mariners catcher Jesus Montero was sat down last night and given the news that he was being sent to Triple-A Tacoma. In the eyes of general manager Jack Zduriencik, the move was the right move to be made both for the player and the team.
With Mike Zunino clearly the catcher of the future, the determination was made that Montero no longer needed to focus on catching and that perhaps that focus was hurting his hitting.
Jesus Montero's days as a primary catcher appear to be over as the Mariners will now focus on trying to maximize his offensive potential. (AP)
It was a telling sign that a move could be coming when manager Eric Wedge started Kelly Shoppach in both games against the Angels, a team that would run if it had a chance.
"It's simple," Zduriencik said of sending Montero down. "Sometimes a player has to take a step back to take two steps forward. He's just 23. He's just a puppy. We told him this is normal for a player to go up and down until they figure it out."
It was pointed out to Montero that he was acquired to be a "big-time offensive player" for the Mariners for a long time to come.
"Bottom line is, are you the offensive player you think you can be?" Montero was asked.
Montero was told the move was about maximizing his gifts. The move was made so he would have the chance to be that big-time offensive hitter at the major-league level, in the position that was best for him and the organization.
That will not be at catcher. Zduriencik said Montero will get to work on the hitting right away. He will get his at-bats without the pressure he perhaps was feeling at the big-league level. He will DH, get some work at first and catch occasionally.
While the catching clearly has not worked out, interestingly enough, if Montero is able to play first the Mariners could end up with a needed piece – a third catcher. Having a player that can play a primary position and catch is a luxury for managers. It will take time to see if he can acclimate himself to the new position, but if he does, all of a sudden he gives the team some flexibility moving forward.
This move no doubt will be tough on Montero. As I said above, he put the work in at catching and while he did not excel at it I think he did enjoy and take pride in being behind the plate. It is part of his identity. As aloof as he has seemed at times, I do believe catching is important to him and losing that will be as bitter a pill to swallow as being sent down.
Hopefully he puts that behind him quickly. He has three days to report to Tacoma. Zduriencik told me no timetable has been put on him for a return.
"We told him it is the right thing to do for him, his future and for the organization," Zduriencik said. "Take a step back, and then how you handle it, it's in your lap now."
Thursday, May 23, 2013 @ 9:42am
We have been suggesting this move for the better part of two weeks and as Ryan Divish of The News Tribune reports this morning, Jesus Montero has been sent to Tacoma. Jesus Sucre is being called up.
I don't have confirmation of who comes off the 40-man roster to make room for Sucre but from what I am hearing it is not someone currently on the 25-man roster. It doesn't appear that they are making a move with Robert Andino or Aaron Harang to make room for Sucre.
The move is for Sucre and not Mike Zunino as Zunino is not ready for the promotion and they will be careful in assessing when that is. Sucre is a good, defensive backup catcher, light bat but good with the pitchers. He earned good reviews behind the plate both last year and this spring. He caught the eyes of others also as two scouts from other teams asked me about his ability in Arizona as they were interested in him as a major-league backup.
As for Montero, this may be a move that is more about getting the bat going or improving his catching. Backup catcher Brandon Bantz is being called up from Double-A to Triple-A, which would indicate that Montero is not going to be catching much, at least for the time being. I was told about two weeks ago that the organization was thinking of getting him work at first base. That, of course, could not happen at the major-league level.
So Montero is down, Sucre is on his way. If Sucre lives up to his defensive reputation this could provide a little more stability behind the plate. He is not expected to bring much with the bat. Montero now goes to work, perhaps to learn a new position but most importantly to get back to the hitter he was that earned him top-prospect status.
This is not a punishment for Montero. This is about getting him to where he should be, which is a win-win for everyone.
Thursday, May 23, 2013 @ 8:24am
By 710Sports.com staff
Ryan Divish of The News Tribune and Shannon Drayer joined Brock Huard Wednesday for a roundtable discussion on the state of the Mariners, who would later lose their sixth consecutive game to end their road trip at 2-7.
The three discussed some moves the team could make on Thursday's off day. Among them was sending catcher Jesus Montero to Triple-A Tacoma, which will in fact happen, according to Divish.
The video above includes more thoughts from Drayer on potential moves and how any decisions will be impacted by the 40-man roster.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 11:58pm
Twelve-zero losses are not fun. Twelve-zero losses on the heels of four-game sweeps are even less fun. Twelve-zero losses and four-game sweeps are one thing in April. It's not April anymore.
Through the four-game losing streak I was pointing out that this was different and there is no need to panic because unlike in April, we had in my opinion seen enough good things recently to know that this was a bump in the road rather than a fall of the cliff.
With the losing streak at five games, I think they may need a nudge away from that cliff. They can start with the starting pitching, which has faltered of late. Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma will be okay but with such inconsistency from the bottom three of the rotation it would appear a change needs to be made. Eric Wedge himself pointed out that the bullpen cannot continue to be taxed the way it has been on this roadtrip.
"We will have to talk about that," he said in his postgame meeting with the media. "You want to give everybody ample opportunity, but having said that you can't keep doing what we're doing and expect to compete."
It all starts with the starting pitching for the Mariners. The offense is not going to carry this team for any long period of time. While there are a number of problems on this team that I believe are fixable, the first thing that needs to be tackled is the pitching. There aren't a lot of internal options. Jeremy Bonderman, Hector Noesi and Blake Beavan are it for now but if there is a chance that one of them can help keep the team in a ballgame every five days then a move needs to be made.
Tune in to "Brock and Danny" Wednesday morning at 10 to hear more about moves I think should be made as I take part in a Mariners roundtable discussion on the show.
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 1:39pm
A conversation we had with Eric Wedge before today's 10-8 loss came to mind as we walked into the losing clubhouse.
The pregame talk was about the struggles to hit with runners in scoring position. Wedge was asked about some of the obstacles to that and whether he believed the theory put forth by some that hitting with runners on should be no different than with the bases empty. He clearly was not a fan of that thinking.
Charlie Furbush allowed a walkoff home run Monday to cap Cleveland's four-game sweep of the Mariners. (AP)
"It's just different," he continued. "Those people argue that the ninth inning is the same as the seventh and eighth. The ninth inning is different because we are human beings, we are not widgets. No different from when you are doing regular human being things and your heartbeat speeds up a little bit from different things you do in regular life. That's what happens when these guys are playing and millions of people are watching and there are 30,000 people in the stands.
"It's a situation to where it is a little bit more important. The outcome is going to be more important, and you feel that."
From the looks of things, that was felt today. We saw a lot of human in that game. Not in the situational-hitting department but rather in the late-inning defense and decision making. The heartbeat that Wedge often talks about may have contributed to late-inning mistakes that cost the Mariners a ballgame. This is by no means an excuse.
Justin Smoak failing to dig a ball out of the dirt on a good play by Robert Andino, Tom Wilhelmsen failing to catch a ball and Charlie Furbush appearing to not be ready are not things we typically see, yet they happened today.
We talk about the steps that this team needs to take. Three home runs today – all big, all clutch – were great to see. Hitting with runners in scoring position, however, needs to remain the focus. Minimizing errors needs to be a focus. Generating something, anything, on the bases needs to be a focus.
The Mariners are now in their longest losing streak of the season. This isn't April, however. We have seen too much good to think that this is it for this team. We have seen some bats come around. We have seen the bullpen redefine itself and have success. This should only be a bump in the road, but it is up to them.
We are just about wheels up now. I will have more from Anaheim.
Sunday, May 19, 2013 @ 9:06am
Not going to lie, back-to-back to back East Coast day games are a little rough. The team took batting practice on the field this morning but will not be able to do so tomorrow with the 12:05 start and an event scheduled on the the field.
• There was a lot of surprise with the folks around here and apparently on Twitter as well that Jesus Montero was in the lineup today after a number of miscues yesterday. After the game Eric Wedge said he hadn't had much of a chance to look at the final play. He has since then and didn't sound too thrilled with what he saw.
"He just released too early," Wedge said. "You've got to keep your foot planted. You're not going to turn two on that so you've just got to keep your foot planted on that."
Wedge said that coming off the plate was not because of an issue with the throw from Brendan Ryan.
"I didn't think he had to go out and get it. Just released off the plate a little too early," he said.
The play was something they worked on in spring training, according to Wedge. Ultimately it came down to his footwork.
"He should have gone with the other foot and then kind of caught the ball like this (backhanded) instead of this. Just put himself in a tough position and I think that is where he pulled himself off."
• With the exception of Danny Farquhar, the bullpen should be fully available today although they may try to stay away from Oliver Perez as he has pitched a bit more than they would like him to at this point. With any luck and Felix on the mound, a lot of pen should not be needed.
• No official word as of yet on Aaron Harang being ready to make the start on Tuesday but I am told he did throw his bullpen this morning and it appeared to go well. We should find out more about that after the game.
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 9:32pm
By Shannon Drayer
Some things can't be measured by statistics. We can learn a lot about a player by the statistics but the intangibles, the immeasurables need to be picked up by the eye. I know what Joe Saunders is on paper but I saw and then learned much more about him earlier this week.
At Yankee Stadium they do something somewhat odd in that they allow player/team guests to exit the field by walking directly in front of the visitors' dugout. At just about every other field I can think of on field guests are only allowed behind a rope behind home plate. At Yankee Stadium you will often see the guests stopping for a bit right alongside the dugout railing.
Tuesday while the team was stretching a family stopped in that spot and watched the players. Joe Saunders broke away from the team stretch and came up to the family and gave the mother a big hug. They talked and laughed for awhile and clearly were happy to spend time together. When I ran into Saunders in the clubhouse the next day I asked about what I saw.
"Those were friends of mine that took in some foster kids," he told me with a smile.
He seemed ready to leave the conversation at that but when I remarked about what a great thing that was for them to do he shared a little bit more of their story.
Saunders told me the children has been horribly neglected and abused and that they were discovered when the eldest brother was found rummaging for food in a dumpster.
As he told the tale it began to sound familiar. It dawned on me that this is what he was talking about. The four New Jersey children had been so horribly starved by their adoptive parents that their growth had been stunted. When authorities rescued the child found in the dumpster they believed he was about ten years old as he was just four feet tall and 45 pounds. He was 19.
Fortunately, the story had a good ending as the children were taken away from the abusive parents. Three of the four were fostered and eventually adopted by James and Amber Parrish.
"We flew them out, brought them to the park, sent them to Disneyland for the first time," Joe told me.
I asked who "we" was, assuming he was talking about his former team the Angels. I was wrong. Joe and his wife Shanel did it on their own.
Joe and Shanel were no strangers to giving back. They had done numerous charitable things in their baseball communities including hosting disadvantaged or sick children at their ballparks. They had heard about the story of the Parrish family in Joe's final year with the Angels and decided that they wanted to give them a once in a lifetime experience. They have kept in contact with the family who were guests of Joe's at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.
There was no press release about this. If I hadn't asked, I wouldn't have known. Obviously this was about Joe seeing some old friends and giving them the opportunity to spend some time on a big league field and not drawing attention to himself. Still, as long as you know that Joe is left handed, has a home ERA of 0.94 and a road ERA of 12.54, a K/9 of 3.80 and a FIP of 5.03 you might as well know this too.
The Mariners have a good guy taking the mound Saturday in Cleveland.