Author Archive

Seattle Mariners: Making the Case for Player Kyle Seager as an All-Star

If you had to sum up the 2013 Seattle Mariners in one word as we approach the end of June, which one would you choose?




For a team still searching for answers, it’s hard to stay positive these days.  

Beyond the M’s one-two punch of Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma at the top of their starting rotation and the promise of recently promoted rookies Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino, is there anything or anyone else worth rooting for as we inch towards the halfway point in the season?

Rather than lament the Mariners misfortunes, I figured it might be nice to take a break and focus on one of the few positive developments that may have fallen through the cracks during this season so far. 

To anyone who knows and loves the M’s, third baseman Kyle Seager is arguably the team’s best offensive building block.  What’s funny is that depending on your point of view that’s either good news or a sad commentary on the current state of the franchise. 

For today, I happen to take it as a positive, as Seager continues to grow on me with each passing game. 

Perhaps what’s most impressive about him is that he continues to thrive under some pretty trying circumstances in Seattle.  No matter how poorly the M’s are playing, Seager just keeps doing his thing. 

Move him up in the order. Move him down in the order. Play him anywhere in the field. He always gets the job done, while hustling every step of the way.

Fact is, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. 

Last year, Chone Figgins was supposed to finally earn his keep at third base, while Seager would fight for playing time as a utility player. 

This year, veterans Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse were supposed to help spur an offensive renaissance, while Seager would serve in a complementary role.  

Meanwhile, college teammate Dustin Ackley was supposed to emerge as the face of the franchise among a crop of young prospects the organization trotted out not only this season, but last season as well.   

Instead, Seager, the proverbial runt of the litter, a guy who I’d imagine quite a few people still see as miscast at third base—not to mention within the top half of the batting order—continues to quietly carry on while leading the M’s in several offensive categories again this season, according to ESPN. 

While one could argue that Seager has benefited because so many of his contemporaries have given us an endless stream of doubts, is that really fair to him and what he has accomplished?

Couldn’t one argue that he deserves even more credit given the circumstances?

At this point, I think it’s safe to say that you can pencil in Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma as the Mariners representatives at the All-Star Game in roughly a month’s time.

But is Seager also worthy of a trip to New York’s Citi Field?

If so, he has a lot of ground to make up based on the current vote, via Miguel Cabrera is running away with the voting at third base. Sadly, Seager doesn’t even show up in the top five as Manny Machado, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria and Oakland‘s Josh Donaldson round out the voting.  

For now, I suppose it’s hard to argue about any member of that quintet as all of them are worthy candidates, especially Cabrera, who is once again posting MVP-worthy numbers. 

Hopefully over time, though, Seager will continue to develop his game and begin to make a dent in the voting process. Yet, even if his popularity never really expands beyond the Pacific Northwest, I like to think that the M’s have someone in Seager worth building around over the next several seasons.

Crazy as it may sound, who else would you propose the M’s hitch themselves to starting tomorrow?

Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders may rebound, but only Ackley and maybe Saunders strike me as capable of being solid contributors at this point.  

As for Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse, I’m hesitant to place too much stock in them long-term given their age, durability and potential contract issues.  

Finally, as we learned all too painfully with Ackley, Montero and Smoak, it’s much too soon to attach such lofty expectations to Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino. Right now, let’s simply enjoy watching them cut their teeth as pros before putting them front and center with the task of saving baseball in Seattle.  

Right now I’m simply trying to hang on to the hope that a few of the players we are seeing now will eventually become every day fixtures, with Seager, over time, becoming the most “senior” among them.

In an ideal world, three years from now I’d like to think that Felix would still front the starting rotation with some help from the likes of Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Brandon Maurer.  While I doubt all of them will make it, at least two of them should be solid major league starters. 

Beyond them, Seager will still be at third base, Franklin at second, Zunino behind the plate and perhaps Brad Miller at shortstop?

First base could go to Kendrys Morales if he opts to stay at the right price, but would also be happy seeing the recently drafted DJ Peterson or maybe even Dustin Ackley nail down the job?

Where things get really cloudy is in the outfield, but, hopefully, candidates will emerge between now and then to fill the void through both the farm system and in free agency. 

The point I want to drive home though is that whether or not Kyle Seager becomes an All-Star this year is irrelevant. What’s more important is that he continues to cement his spot within the M’s lineup as the team continues their endless quest out of the wilderness. 

Seager is the hustling, gritty and high-energy player this franchise desperately needs. Someone who can withstand the highs and lows, while steadily making a positive impact both on the field and in the clubhouse. 

If he can continue to bring that kind of effort to the good folks in Seattle, eventually the time will come where he will become an All-Star. 

Until that day, I feel we owe it to Seager to give him our support—both at the ballpark and at the ballot box. Maybe he won’t catch Miguel Cabrera this year, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore or under value the M’s most valuable every day player.  

Read more MLB news on

Seattle Mariners: The Show Must Go On, It’s Dustin Ackley Bat Night!

Did you know that Saturday night at Safeco Field is Dustin Ackley Bat Night?

All kids 14 and under will receive a full-sized Dustin Ackley Louisville Slugger, complements of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky. 

Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.

Don’t believe me?

Feel free to check the official 2013 promotions and special events schedule at

Honestly, sometimes you need to laugh to keep from crying with this team.

However, if you’ve already given up all hope, feel free to simply take the bat home to smash your “Smoakamotive” (eBay) from last year to pieces with it to vent your frustration. 

That’s assuming you will make the journey to Safeco in the first place.   

If I had to venture a guess, I’d imagine that more people in the region probably watched the NFL draft the past two days to see who the Seahawks selected in their quest for a Super Bowl than any of the Mariners’ games.

Making matters worse as we approach the month of May it appears we’re already potentially on course for an expansion team performance this season, according to Larry Stone at the Seattle Times.

I suppose it didn’t help that beyond Monday night’s offensive outburst in support of Felix Hernandez‘s 100th career victory and Hisashi Iwakuma‘s 11-strikeout performance the next night, the trip to Texas was a complete disaster as the Mariners dropped five of six games.  

Things got so bad that manager Eric Wedge decided to bench one of his players ( and scold the team (Seattle Times).

Whether these moves have any meaningful impact remains to be seen, yet I suppose Wedge is simply trying to work with what he has at his disposal given that the list of potential reinforcements fail inspire much confidence, according to Stone in another report filed this week:

At Tacoma, there are several players with major-league experience who are off to decent starts. The problems is that in most cases, they are players who have already had struggles at the major-league level. Now, that doesn’t mean they are doomed to have their weaknesses exploited for perpetuity. But it gives you pause.

Perhaps then, I should pause in wondering whether the demotion of Brendan Ryan in favor of Robert Andino is really just the M’s way of paving a path for Brad Miller to take over in the second half?

Regardless, it just doesn‘t make sense to get too far ahead of yourself this season with this crew, especially when you look at the upcoming

After finishing up this homestand against Los Angeles and Baltimore, the M’s will head to Toronto and Pittsburgh, then come back to Seattle for a three-game set to face Oakland before swinging back east to play New York and Cleveland. They will finish off their road trip with two mid-week games against Los Angeles before having Texas show up at Safeco for a weekend series.

I’m feeling jet-lagged just typing that, I can only imagine how the M’s will deal with it in real time.

Oddly enough though, that brutal stretch could set the tone for the remainder of the season.

Coming out of spring training, I had hoped the Mariners would avoid this level of desperation, assuming (more like, hoping) the veterans brought in this winter could help bridge the gap until the team’s top prospects could be integrated into the lineup over the course of the season.

However, beyond the occasional solid pitching performance from Hernandez and Iwakuma, along with the recent hitting streak of Kyle Seager, the rest of the team has generally failed to show any sort of consistency. 

With no solid options to promote, does that mean Wedge and general manager Jack Zduriencik get to take the fall instead if things continue to spiral downward?

As always, Dave Cameron at USS Mariner, is one step ahead of us:

If it happens, I’m not going to be against the decision, and I don’t think having an interim manager or GM would lead to impending doom. But, I don’t know that it would really help anything either.

During a season, there’s only so much an organization can really do. The Mariners made this bed when they let the front office try and build a winning team around dingers and voodoo. It has blown up in their faces in a comical way, and it’s probably going to cost the people in charge their jobs. But, I don’t know that it needs to cost them their jobs in a RIGHT NOW THIS MINUTE I DEMAND CHANGE kind of way.

I can’t argue with any of that, although part of me would like to see Cameron given a shot to see if he could turn things around.

Meanwhile, I can only imagine what will be going through Dustin Ackley‘s mind tonight at Safeco as his teammates likely joke with him about the fact it’s his bat night.  Hopefully, in spite of their struggles, the players will still have a sense of humor. 

Truth be told, I almost pity this team.  As we saw in spring training, they seem to be a decent bunch, but bless their hearts, they can’t quite get their act together.

For his sake, I hope Ackley can at least give Saturday night’s crowd something to cheer about.  It may not be much, but at this point, any small gesture is welcome. 

To think that only two years earlier, Ackley was still struggling at Tacoma before catching fire prior to his arrival in Seattle.  I remember him continuing his impressive stretch after joining the M’s in what looked like the beginning of a promising career. 

Deep down, I still think there’s a solid ballplayer in Ackley searching to rediscover that spark, as evidenced by what we’ve seen the past week. 

Once again though, I’d like to avoid getting too far ahead of myself and take this one step at a time. 

Yet, if you’re of the tender age to receive a bat on Saturday night, you may be left to wonder why the adult accompanying you struggles to find the joy that he or she once had for the game and this particular franchise. 

It’s not that anyone should expect the Mariners to win, it’s more that a ticket to the ballpark should afford you an experience worth savoring, regardless of whatever swag/trinket the team hands you at the turnstile.  

It doesn‘t necessarily have to be this way, but the “dingers and voodoo” approach that Cameron described, has struggled to generate wins or excitement; therefore fans are staying away.

Could things change?

Anything is possible, yet barring a minor miracle, I think this team will look very different by midsummer. 

Until then, the show must go on. Just don’t expect anyone to show up to watch unless a bobblehead, key chain, hat or T-shirt is involved with bonus points on night’s like tonight when King Felix is pitching. 

Read more MLB news on

Seattle Mariners: Predicting the First 5 Prospects to Earn a Promotion in 2013

Welcome to the big leagues Brandon Maurer.

Thursday afternoon, fans of the Seattle Mariners had hoped to see the rookie hurler make the leap from Double-A to the majors unscathed following his impressive showing at spring training.  

Unfortunately, the Oakland A’s had other plans (Yahoo!Sports).

Over the course of six innings, Oakland scored six runs on eight hits, two of which were home runs, against Maurer. Yet, what may have seemed like a step backward for the young Maurer, was actually an important step toward the future for the Seattle Mariners.

After all, one bad outing does not make a season, and Maurer will likely have his fair share of ups and downs while in Seattle. More importantly, though Maurer’s appearance should be the beginning of a new era for the Mariners, as they hope to move past a decade of mediocrity.

Ever since general manager Jack Zduriencik took over the ballclub back in late 2008, the team has been stockpiling prospects ( that fans have been eagerly awaiting to see in action for the M’s. After years of seeing a slow trickle of talent make it to Seattle, this year, quite a few potential stars appear to be knocking at the door.   

Yet after Maurer, who turned out to be the biggest surprise this spring, who will the Mariners be tempted to promote this season?

While I can’t imagine the M’s being in any major rush, here are the first five players I can see the team promoting to the big leagues in 2013.   

Begin Slideshow

Seattle Mariners: 5 Key Takeaways from Spring Training

This spring, the Seattle Mariners have been, dare I say, entertaining. 

As an organization, there are quite a few positive signs to point toward for the future, but what about this season?

With a mix of youth and experience, the team seems keen on taking a positive step forward toward competing in the American League West.  

Do they have a shot to put up a fight against the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s? 

Or will they be fighting to stay out of the division cellar with the Houston Astros?

Although it’s always hard to place much value on what happens in spring training, for fun I wanted to see what are some of the key takeaways we’ve seen from Mariners camp as we approach Opening Day. 

Begin Slideshow

Seattle Mariners: Fringe Players Who Need a Big Spring Training to Make the Team

Is it time to break up the Seattle Mariners?

So far this spring, after only five games, the M’s are 4-1 while averaging nearly seven runs per game with power coming from several surprising sources with players such as Casper Wells and Jason Bay having already hit home runs. Meanwhile, pitchers Hector Noesi and Jeremy Bonderman have both struggled in brief stints on the mound.  

Granted it’s still early and the ball does have a tendency to jump a bit in the Arizona heat, but can one entirely afford to dismiss or downplay what happens in the early stages of spring training?

I suppose that’s up to M’s skipper Eric Wedge and the rest of the team’s coaching staff. 

Right now the Mariners’ current active roster (according to is a long list of players both young and old, established and obscure, but at the end of the day, all of them have the same goal of making the final roster before Opening Day.

Last week when piecing together the Mariners season preview, I focused on the more established players who should get the majority of playing time this season, but today I thought it might be worthwhile to focus on the players who have something to prove in their quest to make the final roster.

In other words, hot prospects like Mike Zunino and Taijuan Walker may have an outside shot at making the final roster, but realistically speaking we’re looking at the competition between established veterans like Bay and Bonderman seeking one last shot going up against players like Wells and Noesi who simply want another chance.  

So who are these fringe players? 

Let’s take a few minutes to take a look…

Begin Slideshow

Seattle Mariners: Can Kyle Seager Build Upon Success of 2012?

Remember Kyle Seager?

Third baseman for the Seattle Mariners

It’s strange, for a guy that led his team in a handful of key offensive categories last year, you’re not hearing too much about him so far this spring. 

With all of the excitement surrounding Felix Hernandez’s contract extension, the additions of Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales, and the questions surrounding the young trio of Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, and Justin Smoak, Seager seems to be a bit of an afterthought.

I myself am guilty of this oversight given the fact that I lumped Seager in with the rest of the M’s youngsters during my 2013 season preview earlier this week. 

Yet when you really think about it, it seems ridiculous to ignore a player who in his first full season as a professional hit .259 with 20 home runs and 86 RBI as the M’s starting third baseman after he barely made the team’s opening day roster.

As we look ahead to 2013, the big question is whether Seager can build upon last year’s breakthrough performance or will he end up like Mike Carp?

Remember Carp and his breakout performance in the second half of 2011? 

On opening day in 2012 he was the team’s starting left fielder in Tokyo, but before most of us were even awake to get the final score, Carp was on his way to the DL after spraining his right shoulder.  From there things only got worse and just this week Carp was shipped off to Boston for either cash or a player to be named later. 

Could the same thing happen to Seager?

It’s possible, but I have my doubts. 

Looking back to last season, what impressed me most about Seager was his consistency.  Beyond a rough stretch at the end of June/early July, Seager made contact from April through October.  Every time you thought he would fade, he would go out and deliver a clutch hit to drive in two runs. 

While I doubt he will lead the M’s in home runs and RBI in 2013, it will be interesting to see how additions like Morse and Morales in the middle of the order will affect Seager‘s numbers.  Right now the current projections from Fangraphs have him hitting roughly .270 with 15 HR and 70 RBI. 

By themselves those numbers won’t quite amaze anyone, but if you add them to a reasonably healthy and more consistent lineup, perhaps the Mariners offense will actually start to frighten opponents?

It’s all part of a domino effect that will hopefully take hold this season, but even if it doesn’t I doubt Seager will embarrass himself.  

Deep down I believe Seager will remain a key fixture in Seattle as one of the team’s more productive players at the plate for this and several years to come.

Feel free to doubt him, as Kyle Seager is the kind of gritty player that is easy to underestimate, but in time I like to think both fans and foes alike will come to realize that he’s a keeper. 

Read more MLB news on

Josh Hamilton Signing Prompts Fear and Loathing in Seattle

Josh Hamilton is off the market and I’m OK with that, but not everyone feels the same way.

In fact, based on the response from most of the people I’ve spoken to and read, the Mariners‘ whiffing on Hamilton is a bit of a problem.

Upon hearing the news, a good friend and long-time M’s fan sighed, “It’s going to be a long winter and summer at the rate things are going.”

Another friend lamented, “Are the M’s ever going to turn things around, or are we all kidding ourselves?”

I tried to reason with him for a few minutes, but he wasn’t having it, as the situation seems well beyond repair at this point.  Funny thing is, he wasn’t even all that keen on signing Hamilton in the first place.  

For some though, the lost opportunity seemed to cut deeper and offered the perfect chance to exact retribution for the team’s most recent missteps.  Steve Kelley at The Seattle Times believed the M’s should have done whatever it took to sign him, but he couldn’t resist throwing a few jabs at the organization for letting Hamilton get away:

Surely we know by now that we can’t expect the Mariners, who still seem to be putting most of their efforts into squashing the proposed SoDo arena project, to also have the time and concentration to go after expensive free agents.

Look, you can’t have everything. You should be happy about the new center-field scoreboard that has a TV screen the size of a Mount Kilimanjaro glacier. You were also expecting the Mariners to sign Josh Hamilton to play in the outfield, underneath that scoreboard?

Fortunately, not everyone was as bitter, as Dave Cameron at USS Mariner took a different approach by combating emotion with facts while urging everyone to stay calm in the wake of Hamilton’s signing:

I’m not suggesting the Mariners should just sit back and do nothing. I am suggesting, however, that those who continue to yell from the rooftops that offseason spending determines future on-field outcomes don’t know what they’re talking about.

Don’t be one of the mouth-breathers that overreacts to every free-agent acquisition by the Angels or Rangers. Let them yell and scream about how the world is ending. They weren’t right about this last year, and they’re not right about it now.

Cameron, as usual, offers us a rational point of view, but it’s hard to ignore, suppress or dismiss the emotions most of us are feeling right now.  

Of all the opinions I’ve read thus far, John McGrath’s at The Tacoma New Tribune seems the most even-handed by simply looking at the M’s decision strictly from a financial standpoint. 

It’s convenient to criticize the Mariners for operating on the cheap, and to mock Zduriencik as a ventriloquist’s puppet whose mouth moves when ownership pulls the strings. But declining to invest $125 million in an injury-prone player unlikely to contribute beyond three seasons doesn’t match any definition of cheap.

Cheap? I’d call it a prudent business decision for an organization challenged to keep ace pitcher Felix Hernandez on board after his contract expires at the end of the 2014 season. Don’t underestimate the thickness of that plot.

When you think of it in those terms, $125 million over five years for a man with more than a few issues, suddenly, it’s a little easier to move back off the ledge.  

At the same time, what happens next is what will really be telling. 

Until then, the team projects as a loser both on and off the field, and I would wager that is what has fans most upset at the moment.  Deep down, no one wants to root for a loser, certainly not one that fails to entertain or aspire to something bigger or better. 

Everyone knew that Hamilton wouldn’t solve all the M’s problems, but at the same time, he provided a sense of hope that the organization was committed to building a winner on the field and generating excitement off it as well.

The same thing could have been said this time last year when discussing Prince Fielder, and at this rate, it will likely happen again next year with whatever big name is available. 

The loss of Hamilton hurts a bit more, though, for two reasons.  

For starters, the M’s genuinely seemed to be in pursuit of Hamilton rather than simply paying lip service, like they did last year to Fielder. 

Perhaps more importantly, however, is the fact that we’ve all just lived through yet another season of watching Felix Hernandez pitch brilliantly alongside an uninspiring, albeit young supporting cast.  

It leaves a lot to be desired and questioned amongst a continually dwindling fanbase.  

Can this franchise rebound?

Will they sign someone decent ever again in free agency?

Will the youngsters ever amount to anything?

Do we need to trade our prospects, or should we hold on to them?

What should we do with Felix?

Is there any reason to keeping Felix if he’s never going to be anything more than a .500 pitcher on a lousy team?

If the Mariners do keep him, can they afford him?

Today, nobody has answers to these questions, but Larry Stone at The Seattle Times certainly put together a few thoughts on the issue of what to do with Felix and concluded:       

It’s an agonizing dilemma for the Mariners, made all the more poignant by their decline in popularity, and their low standing in the estimation of their fans, who would certainly view a trade of Hernandez in a highly negative fashion. It will be fascinating to see how it plays out—and the moment of truth is rapidly approaching.

OK, I’m getting bummed out again.

Does anyone have Nick Swisher‘s phone number?

How about the number of his wife’s agent?

What if the Mariners were to develop/produce a TV show that shoots either in Seattle or Vancouver as a means of luring Joanna Garcia to the Pacific Northwest for a starring role as a means of sweetening a deal for Swisher?

Would that work?

Successful TV shows usually run three to four seasons, so that should align quite well with Swisher’s expectations, right?

I’ll confess, I’m grasping at straws here on this one, but if anyone else has a better idea, I’m all ears.

Until next time, hang in there, Seattle fans, and perhaps cross your fingers that Jack Zduriencik has something up his sleeve far better than a script for a sitcom pilot starring Joanna Garcia. 

Read more MLB news on

What Fans Would Like to See from Seattle Mariners in Season’s Final Months

In case you haven’t noticed, the Mariners are actually on fire of late having won six in a row and 13 of their last 14 games at Safeco Field.  

For a team that looked simply lost just a few weeks ago, this recent surge is a welcome change of pace that in some ways have made my modest goals from last week seem perhaps a bit short-sighted.

Who knew that Felix Hernandez would actually throw a perfect game?

I’ll be the first to confess that I’m no soothsayer, but I also figure why not have a little fun with this and put together a list of what the fans would like to see from the Mariners before the end of this season.  

So before Felix takes the mound again again, I put together a list of a few things I’d like to see in the final months… 

Begin Slideshow

5 Top Prospects the Seattle Mariners Could Call Up Immediately

The Seattle Mariners‘ recent seven-game winning streak may be over, but it sure was nice to enjoy a week’s worth of winning baseball in an otherwise disappointing season.

The biggest question now is whether some of the encouraging signs found within this stretch will have any long-lasting meaning.  Over the course of this week and next, I hope to tackle a few of these questions in search of answers.

Rather than jinx anything last week, I posted an article highlighting the team’s top prospects, figuring that most would be staying put in the minors; however with pitcher Carter Capps’ recent call-up it made me wonder whether the M’s would consider bringing up any other prospects out of the blue within the farm system.

While it’s understandable that fans may want to see the M’s “Big Three” pitching trifecta of Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, and James Paxton brought up to Seattle, I just don’t think it makes sense for this season.

When looking at the remaining list of top prospects, you could argue the same thing for the majority of them as deep down I don’t believe any of them are quite ready. 

At the same time, for the sake of the argument, here are five players who have yet to log MLB service time that the Mariners could consider giving at the very least a cup of coffee in the majors before the end of the season and, in some cases, might be best served with an immediate chance to see if they have what it takes.

Begin Slideshow

Seattle Mariners: Top 10 Moments of Ichiro’s Career

Prior to 2001, only Japanese pitchers had made the journey stateside to play in the MLB. When Ichiro Suzuki arrived, many experts as well as fans were skeptical whether or not he would make much of an impact. 

Over a decade later, I think it’s safe to say that Ichiro has done that and more. In fact, Ichiro has played so well over this time that, for many, a season in which he hit only .272 with 184 hits as he approaches an age where most ball players are retired was considered a disappointment.  

It’s with that sentiment in mind that I thought it might be fun to look back and review some of the most special moments and achievements of Ichiro’s career since coming stateside in 2001.

Begin Slideshow

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress