Tag: Trayvon Robinson

Jason Bay

The Mariners think they’re getting better, but probably aren’t


In Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik’s defense, he did aim high, pulling off a deal for Arizona’s Justin Upton that was negated by the right fielder’s no-trade clause. However, the moves that he’s actually completed this winter to aid the offense don’t bode particularly well for the Mariners’ 2013 hopes.

– Traded OF Trayvon Robinson to the Orioles for INF Robert Andino

– Traded LHP Jason Vargas to the Angels for DH/1B Kendrys Morales

– Signed DH/LF Jason Bay to a one-year, $500,000 contract

– Signed DH/LF/1B Raul Ibanez to a one-year, $2.75 million contract

– Traded C John Jaso to the Athletics for DH/1B/LF Michael Morse in a three-team deal with the Nationals

These transactions completely contradict the defense-first strategy that made Franklin Gutierrez a prized early addition for Zduriencik and has led to Brendan Ryan’s continued employment. Ibanez and Morse are two of the game’s very worst outfielders, and Morales has played 28 games at first base since suffering his devastating leg injury in 2010.

Also an issue: none of these guys are particularly outstanding hitters. Morales is certainly pretty good and Morse did have the big 2011. However, in 2012, all of these guys finished with OPSs under .800 (Morales and Morse just barely). Jaso outhit all of them by batting .276/.394/.456 in his 294 at-bats as a platoon player last season.

It’s also worth noting that none of these guys are necessarily long-termers. Morales and Morse are both free agents next winter. Morales turns 30 in June, while Morse turns 31 in March. Neither is exactly over the hill, but the risk would outweigh the potential reward in giving either a multiyear extension.

Jaso, on the other hand, is three years away from free agency.

But this isn’t really about Jaso, who likely played over his head last year and is a pretty poor defensive catcher. It’s about the Mariners seemingly playing next season at the expense of the long haul without really improving themselves for 2013.

– With Morales, Morse, Ibanez and possibly Bay cluttering up the first base, left field and DH spots, there’s no room for Justin Smoak, Mike Carp or Eric Thames anywhere. Now, Smoak has had his chances, Carp has struggled to stay healthy and can’t help defensively and Thames probably isn’t going to hit enough to overcome his poor glove. But there’s still some upside there. Morse didn’t have his first promising half-season until 28. For Ibanez, it came at 29. Smoak, Carp and Thames are all 26 at the moment.

– The presence of those veterans also figures to put Jesus Montero back behind the plate fairly regularly, even though it’s obvious now that 2012 first-round pick Mike Zunino is the team’s catcher of the future. The Mariners are just delaying the inevitable, which is that Montero is going to end up as a first baseman or a DH. And they’re going to have a crappy defensive catcher while they’re at it. Worse, they’ll probably end up signing a non-entity like Rod Barajas to pair with Montero.

– The pitching has gotten worse with Vargas’ departure. The Mariners did manage to re-sign Hisashi Iwakuma to a club-friendly two-year deal, so they dodged that bullet. Still, he’s not an ideal No. 2 starter behind Felix Hernandez, and behind him are promising sophomore Erasmo Ramirez and the homer-prone Blake Beavan. None of the team’s top pitching prospects figure to be ready to make an impact early on this season. If the season started tomorrow, Hector Noesi would likely be the fifth starter.

Of course, the winter isn’t done. The Mariners could still sign Michael Bourn to replace Gutierrez (not recommended) or maybe Kyle Lohse to serve as the No. 2 starter. They could try another trade to improve the offense (Jacoby Ellsbury? David DeJesus?). As is, it’s hard to imagine them contending in an AL West with a top three that averaged 92 wins last year (the Mariners were 75-87). And if they don’t, it doesn’t seem at all likely that Zduriencik will get another chance in 2013.

Breaking down Friday’s non-tenders: Wilson, Reynolds and more

Brian Wilson Getty

Here’s the official list of Friday’s non-tenders:

American League

Angels: none

Athletics: OF Jermaine Mitchell

Mitchell had already been designated for assignment. He had a breakthrough 2011 in Triple-A, hitting .302/.401/.453, but he regressed to .252/.345/.386 for Sacramento last season.

Astros: none

Blue Jays: C Bobby Wilson

Wilson is minor league contract material. The 29-year-old has hit .208/.272/.321 in 389 major league at-bats. 

Indians: 3B Jack Hannahan, LHP Rafael Perez, LHP Chris Seddon

The Indians seem to like Hannahan as a part-timer, but they paid him $1.75 million to hit .244/.312/.341 last season. Maybe he’ll be brought back for less if he doesn’t find the open market to his liking. Perez is a goner after shoulder surgery limited him to eight appearances last season, but there will be several teams interested in taking a flier on him.

Mariners: INF Robert Andino

Andino would have been non-tendered by the Orioles, but the Mariners traded outfielder Trayvon Robinson for him earlier this month, apparently with the idea that he wouldn’t be looking for much of a raise on top of the $1.3 million he made last season. He balked, so he’s gone for now. He could always be re-signed if he doesn’t find free agency to his liking.

And the Mariners have already re-signed Andino to a one-year contract. He’ll serve as a backup at both middle infield spots next year.

Orioles: RHP Stuart Pomeranz, INF Omar Quintanilla, 1B Mark Reynolds

Reynolds says the Orioles didn’t even offer him a deal after a down season in which he hit .221 with 23 homers in 538 at-bats. He could bounce back to 30 homers next year and he has more defensive value at first than he did at third, so some team could commit $8 million to him on a one-year contract.

Rangers: RHP Jake Brigham, 1B Brandon Snyder, C Geovany Soto

The Rangers traded Brigham to the Cubs for Soto in July and then took him back earlier this month as a result of his arm problems (the Cubs ended up getting RHP Barret Loux instead). It’s a pretty good guess that he’ll will be re-signed to a minor league deal. … Soto, on the other hand, seems likely to depart after he failed to come to terms on a one-year deal. Even though he hit just .198/.270/.343 in 324 at-bats last season, he could well wind up as a starter. Expect the Yankees to give him a look.

Rays: OF Ben Francisco

Francisco’s OPS has dropped three years running (he came in at .670 in 2012), and he hasn’t hit lefties the last two seasons. He’s not worth a guaranteed roster spot at this point.

Red Sox: RHP Scott Atchison, LHP Rich Hill, OF Ryan Sweeney

No Alfredo Aceves, though that seemed to be a given when he wasn’t let go prior to the purge of non-arbitration eligible players last week. … Atchison was Boston’s best pitcher last season, finishing with a 1.58 ERA in 51 1/3 innings. Hill was also quite effective, amassing a 1.83 ERA in 19 2/3 innings after returning from Tommy John surgery. One gathers that the Red Sox will attempt to re-sign both, but there’s certainly no reason for either to accept minor league contracts. … Sweeney hit .260/.303/.373 in 62 games last season before going down with a self-inflicted hand injury.

Royals: OF Derrick Robinson

Luke Hochevar keeps his spot despite last season’s 5.73 ERA and a likely $4 million salary. … Robinson reached Triple-A in his seventh season in the Royals minor league system, hitting .268/.344/.325 with 23 steals for Omaha. Even a future as a fifth outfielder seems unlikely at this point. He could be re-signed to a minor league deal.

Tigers: LHP Daniel Schlereth

A key component in the big Curtis Granderson-Max Scherzer-Edwin Jackson deal, Schlereth was supposed to develop into a big-time reliever after getting sent from Arizona to Detroit. However, his command has never come around and he missed most of last season with shoulder woes. The Tigers will try to keep him in the organization on a minor league contract.

Twins: RHP Lester Oliveros

Oliveros remains a promising reliever, but Tommy John surgery will sideline him for most or all of 2013. The Twins will want to re-sign him to a minor league deal.

White Sox: RHP Anthony Carter, 1B Dan Johnson

Carter was an intriguing relief prospect a couple of years ago, but he’s stumbled to 5.84 and 4.60 ERAs the last two seasons. Johnson would make for nice insurance for Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, but he’s the kind of player the White Sox would much prefer to have on a minor league deal than occupying a 40-man roster spot.

Yankees: none

National League

Braves: RHP Jair Jurrjens, RHP Peter Moylan

After two lost seasons due to back and shoulder seasons, Moylan wasn’t going to get much of a guarantee from the Braves. However, he’s healthy now and he should draw quite a bit of interest. … That Jurrjens went 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA in 2011 has already been forgotten after a 2012 season in which he showed diminished stuff and got knocked around in 10 starts. No one was interested in acquiring him and paying him $6 million through the arbitration process, but now that he’s free, several teams will come calling. 

Brewers: LHP Manny Parra

Parra was nearly non-tendered last winter, but the team opted to give him one more chance. A full-time reliever for the first time, he had a 5.06 ERA in 62 appearances, though it did come with 61 strikeouts and just three homers allowed in 58 2/3 innings. He still has plus stuff, and several teams will think they can get better results from him.

Cardinals: none

Cubs: RHP Zach Putnam, RHP Jaye Chapman, 3B Ian Stewart

Stewart was known to be long gone after hitting .201/.292/.335 in 55 games and then missing the rest of the season with a wrist injury. In such a thin third base market, he could get a chance to compete for a starting job elsewhere in the spring. The two righties will likely be offered minor league contracts to stick around.

Diamondbacks: C Wil Nieves

The Diamondbacks won’t splurge on a backup catcher, but it won’t be hard to find an upgrade over Nieves, even if was a nice surprise in limited action last season (.301/.330/.410 in 83 AB).

Dodgers: none

Giants: RHP Brian Wilson

Even though he missed all but the first 10 days of the season following Tommy John surgery, Wilson wasn’t interested in taking a significant paycut. He’ll draw plenty of interest in free agency, so his Giants career is almost surely over. Between Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla, the Giants will be spending plenty on their bullpen regardless. 

Marlins: none

Mets: RHP Manny Acosta, RHP Mike Pelfrey, OF Andres Torres

Pelfrey’s non-tender was a given after he underwent Tommy John surgery. The Mets will likely attempt to re-sign him for about half of the $5.6875 million he made last season. … Acosta shook off a horrible start to post a 1.78 ERA in the second half of the season. He would have earned $1.5 million or less in arbitration, so it’s disappointing the Mets didn’t bring him back. … Torres will be looked at as a fourth or fifth outfielder after hitting .230/.327/.337 in his lone year with the Mets.

Nationals: C Jesus Flores, LHP Tom Gorzelanny, LHP John Lannan

It seems like the Nationals are just throwing away a fair amount of talent here, but it must be that no one offered anything in trade. Lannan was likely due about $6 million in arbitration, Gorzelanny $3.5 million and Flores $1.2 million. Lannan is a lock to wind up in some team’s rotation next year after the Nationals allowed him to waste away in Triple-A for much of 2012. Gorzelanny had a nice 2.88 ERA in 72 innings out of the pen last season. Flores was a disappointment after initially stepping in for the injured Wilson Ramos, hitting .213/.248/.329 in 277 at-bats. Still, someone will want him as a backup.

Padres: LHP Juan Oramas

Oramas, who went 3-4 with a 6.37 ERA in eight Double-A starts last season, will miss at least the first couple of months of 2013 after Tommy John surgery. The Padres will likely re-sign him to a minor league contract.

Phillies: OF Nate Schierholtz

With his fine defense in right field, Schierholtz makes for a quality fourth outfielder. The only problem there is that he has yet to resign himself to a career as a bench player, and he’s made it clear he much prefers to start. He hit .257/.321/.407 in 241 at-bats for the Giants and Phillies last season.

Pirates: RHP Jeff Karstens

I never imagined Karstens would stick when he originally came up with the Yankees, but he’s added some velocity through the years and he posted ERAs of 3.38 in 162 1/3 innings in 2011 and 3.97 in 90 2/3 innings last season. He’s a fringe guy as a full-time starter, but as a swingman, he’d be very handy to have around.

Reds: INF-OF Kris Negron, OF Denis Phipps

Two expendable players. The 26-year-old Negron is very versatile, but he’s posted OPSs of .607 and .628 in two years in Triple-A. Phipps has a little pop and enough range to handle center on a part-time basis, but he just isn’t good enough in any one area to carve out a career.

Rockies: none

The Mariners trade Trayvon Robinson to the Orioles for Robert Andino

Robert Andino

The Seattle Mariners have announced that they’ve acquired Robert Andino from Orioles for Trayvon Robinson.

After being acquired from the Dodgers in 2011, Robinson, an outfielder, has had 319 big league plate appearances over the past two seasons, and he just hasn’t hit. His line: .221/.294/.324.  He hit pretty darn well in the minors, but a lot of that was a function of the Pacific Coast League, one figures.  A move out of Safeco Field and just a basic change of scenery will hopefully help him.

Andino has been in the majors for parts of eight increasingly unhappy seasons. He has served as a utility guy, and his bat makes it pretty certain he’ll remain a utility guy and not move on to greater things. That the Orioles are trading him so they can make room for Alexi Casilla tells you, however, that they’re no longer all that high on the lad, who will be 29 come April.

Angels tie record, fan 20 Mariners in 5-4 victory

Zack Greinke

The Angels tied a major league record Tuesday as five pitchers combined to fan 20 batters in a 5-4 defeat of the Mariners.

Zack Greinke struck out 13 and allowed one run in his five innings of work, but with his pitch count up to 110, the Angels decided to pull him early. That didn’t reduce the errant swings, though. Garrett Richards fanned the side in the sixth, Kevin Jepsen added two in the eighth and Ernesto Frieri got two more in a scoreless ninth to tie the record.

For all the whiffing, the Mariners actually made a game of it in the seventh against Scott Downs. The Angels chose to pull Richards despite all of his success in the sixth, and it proved costly, as Downs gave up two doubles and homer to the five batters he faced.

Between the seventh and the eighth innings, the Mariners sent eight straight batters to the plate without any strikeouts. However, after Miguel Olivo singled and Trayvon Robinson put down a sac bunt in the eighth, Jepsen rebounded to strike out Mike Carp and Dustin Ackley to end the inning.

The Angels became the first team in major league history to record 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game using multiple pitchers. The previous three official 20-K games were all single pitcher affairs (Roger Clemens in 1986 and 1996 and Kerry Wood in 1998). Randy Johnson also had a 20-strikeout game against the Reds in 2001, but that one ended up going into extra innings.

As for the victims, Ackley led the way with four strikeouts, followed by Robinson and Brendan Ryan with three apiece. Justin Smoak hit two homers and walked for Seattle, but even he struck out once in the contest.