Mariano Rivera becomes 15th pitcher in MLB history to make 1,000 appearances

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Mariano Rivera hadn’t pitched in a week, so manager Joe Girardi used him in a non-save situation this afternoon to close out a 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays, and the appearance was the 1,000th of Rivera’s amazing career.

He becomes the 15th pitcher in baseball history with at least 1,000 appearances (the first to do it with one team) and, not surprisingly, Rivera’s adjusted ERA+ is the best of the bunch by a huge margin:

                      APP     ERA+
MARIANO RIVERA       1000     205
Hoyt Wilhelm         1070     147
Trevor Hoffman       1035     141
John Franco          1119     138
Kent Tekulve         1050     132
Lee Smith            1022     132
Roberto Hernandez    1010     132
Goose Gossage        1002     126
Jesse Orosco         1252     126
Mike Jackson         1005     126
Mike Timlin          1058     125
Dan Plesac           1064     118
Dennis Eckersley     1071     116
Mike Stanton         1178     113
Jose Mesa            1022     101

Jesse Orosco is the all-time leader with 1,252 appearances and Jose Mesa has the honor of being the worst pitcher to ever appear in 1,000 games, by virtue of his career adjusted ERA+ barely being above the average mark of 100. And just to put Rivera’s dominance in perspective, consider that the difference between his ERA+ (205) and second-ranked Hoyt Wilhelm’s ERA+ (147) is bigger than the difference between Wilhelm (147) and Mesa (101).

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.