The Seattle Mariners have announced rookie starting pitcher Brandon Maurer and Blake Beavan have won the final 2 rotation spots. Maurer was named the Peoria Diamond Club Rookie of the Year after finishing spring training with a 3-1 record and 0.90 ERA and forced his way into serious contention for one of two open spots.
Going into spring training the battle was focused on Jon Garland, Jeremy Bonderman, Erasmo Ramirez and Beavan. It was thought that Ramirez was as close to a lock as could be with Garland having the inside track on the final spot. Garland was released, and quickly signed with the Rockies, while Bonderman and Ramirez will both start the season in Tacoma. As long as Bonderman accepts his assignment.
Brandon Maurer. 23rd round pick in the 2008 MLB draft. Once an afterthought Brandon first pushed himself into the picture as one of the Mariners top 4 pitching prospects with Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton. Who would have thought he would win a spot in the Mariners rotation out of spring training?
Last season Brandon had a 3.20 ERA over 137.2 innings for the Jackson Generals with a 9-2 record to go with 117 K’s and 48 walks. Over 371 minor league innings Maurer sports a 8.4 SO/9 and 2.7 BB/9 ratio. He was ranked as the #6 prospect in the Mariners organization by Baseball America.
According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter the St Louis Cardinals have signed ace Adam Wainwright to a 5 year extension worth $97.5 million. Last season, which was his first following Tommy John surgery, Wainwright went 14-13 over 198.2 innings pitched with a 3.94 ERA. Reports out of spring training have been positive and should alleviate any concerns over his durability.
Wainwright has a 3.15 ERA with a 80-48 record over 7 seasons with the St Louis Cardinals and received Cy Young and MVP votes in 2009 and 2010.
According to Bob Nightengale of the USA Today the Seattle Mariners and star pitcher Felix Hernandez have agreed to a 7 year extension worth $175 million, making him the highest paid pitcher in baseball history. The extension was reported by a person familiar with the contract details and should be official by spring training.
Through 8 seasons in Seattle the 26 year old ace has amassed 98 wins with a 3.22 ERA and 122 ERA+ while becoming the face of the Mariners franchise. This season Felix threw 23rd perfect game in MLB history and cemented his place in baseball history.
With the team’s anemic offense and struggles to find a consistent offensive force Felix has been the steady presence Mariners fans have gathered around. Nicknamed ‘King Felix’ he has even taken over his portion of Safeco Field. The truth is he has become the King of Seattle as well. Congrats to Felix Hernandez and if all goes well it will be an honor to watch our ace retire as a Seattle Mariner.
According to the NY Daily News Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, who was acquired from the New York Yankees, has been linked to the Florida PED probe surrounding Biogenesis. No details have been provided and there is no information on whether players linked to the probe will face a suspension.
Stay tuned for more information.
The Mariners have reportedly been looking for a defensive minded backstop the past few weeks and while Shoppach does not fill that mold there is definite value in this acquisition. Inked to a 1 year contract with a base salary of 1.5$ million and $500K worth of incentives according to Jerry Crasnick, Kelly’s greatest value is against left handed pitching. Just like Jesus Montero.
As evidenced by a slash line of .267/.358/.510 Kelly Shoppach can hit left handers quite well. Montero, in his short time in the big leagues, has shown he can hit leftie as well. This presents an interesting problem. Or does it? Recent slugging acquisition Kendry Morales has shown through 464 games that he hits righthanders (.858 OPS) much better than lefties (.701 OPS). Chances are the team will use Shoppach behind the plate versus tough southpaws with Montero sliding to DH and Morales heading to the bench.
The 2013 Mariners may not have a sure fire middle of the order bat but what they do have are pieces that will work well if used in the right situation. It’s a managers nightmare and will offer little consistently in the every day lineup but if Eric Wedge is willing to play to their strengths it could increase our offensive output significantly.
According to Joel Sherman the New York Yankees will be without future hall of famer Alex Rodriguez to start the 2013 season after it was revealed he would undergo surgery on his left hip. This is not the previously repaired right hip, which shows just how brittle Rodriguez has become. Last season Rodriguez hit .272/.353/.430 with 18 homeruns and 57 RBI for a .783 OPS, which has been on a downward trend since 2008.
The Yankees have been linked to Jeff Keppinger, Marcos Scutaro and various other infielders and figure to ramp up the efforts to add depth with Jeter on the mend and now Rodriguez heading to surgery.
The Boston Red Sox have signed free agent catcher Mike Napoli to a 3 year contract worth $39 million with plans to allow him to catch while also playing first base. Last season with the Rangers Napoli hit .229 with 24 homeruns and 56 RBI with a .813 OPS after posting a 1.046 OPS in 2011.
The Boston Red Sox have quickly filled their manager vacancy by acquiring, then hiring, ex-Blue Jays manager John Farrell. Heading to Toronto is infielder Mike Aviles. Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun had speculated that the Red Sox could receive once highly thought of slugger Adam Lind but sources indicate the team will welcome pitcher David Carpenter to Boston.
While it is highly unlikely John Farrell will right the ship quickly it is certain he will bring less drama to Boston than former manager Bobby Valentine, who had lost control of the Red Sox clubhouse in a major way.
According to Jon Heyman on Twitter the Baltimore Orioles have acquired slugger Jim Thome from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for catcher Gabriel Lino and pitcher Kyle Simon. On paper its a relatively light return for the future Hall of Famer but the Phillies had little leverage with Thome unable to play the field.
Baseball America rated Lino the Orioles 21st best prospect and Simon the 18th. This season Lino had a .218/.282/.340 line low Class-A while Simon had a 3.96 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 at Single-A.
Thome, who was serving as the teams designated hitter during interleague play and bat off the bench, was hitting .242/.338/.516 in 71 plate appearances with 5 homeruns.
Replacing Thome on the roster is outfielder Jason Pridie who was recalled following the move.
With the third overall selection in the 2012 MLB Draft the Mariners have selected Florida catcher Mike Zunino, who is widely considered the best college bat in the draft. The fact he plays a premium position, and does it well, is just a bonus.
Expected to stay behind the plate, Zunino has hit .316 with 18 homeruns along with 60 RBI and 27 doubles despite the drop in college stats after a drastic change in the bats used at the college level. Its not likely Zunino wins a starting job in 2013 but its possible he is the starting catcher by 2014.