Tag: Jose Lopez

Seattle Mariners: 5 Reasons They Will Be More Enjoyable To Watch in 2011

Here’s a fact: The 2010 Mariners were pretty miserable. Aside from the expected contributions from Ichiro, Felix and Gutierrez, the rest was hard to watch. I’m an expert on the subject of how sore this made your eyes, having only missed 10 games this past season (and I thank my lovely girlfriend for those 10 blissful days).

So, what might 2011 bring? Could it get better before it gets worse? Could an improving AL West further bury the Mariners?

Well, by golly, pull up a seat and have a listen.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Seattle Mariners Remaining Trade Chips

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline passes this Saturday, and baseball’s buyers and sellers will be in negotiations all week over potential deadline trades.

The Seattle Mariners are undoubtedly sellers at this year’s trade deadline. At 39-60, the Mariners sit 18.5 games behind the AL West leading Texas Rangers, and have already traded away this year’s most sought after trade target, ace pitcher Cliff Lee.

Having made a clear move towards selling at the trade deadline, the pressure is now on Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik to prepare his team for contention in 2011. Zduriencik must now decide what other players, if any, he can deal at the deadline.

Here is a quick list of five current Mariners who could have new addresses by next week.

2B Jose Lopez

The Mariners seem to have a future built around LF Michael Saunders, C Adam Moore, 1B Justin Smoak, and last year’s first round draft pick, converted 2B Dustin Ackley.

Ackley was recently promoted from Double-A West Tennessee to Triple-A Tacoma, and in his first game in Tacoma, he hit a walk-off sacrifice fly. Ackley is a sure bet to factor into the Mariners’ future, and if they want to get him big-league experience this year , they may try and shop Lopez for additional prospects.

The Phillies are actively searching for a replacement middle infielder, as injuries have plagued regular 2B Chase Utley and 3B Placido Polanco. With Polanco currently filling in at second base, the Phillies have the flexibility of searching for a second baseman or third baseman.

Don’t be surprised if the Phillies make a play for a middle infielder—it might turn out to be Jose Lopez.

Chance of Being Traded: Medium

1B Russell Branyan/1B Casey Kotchman

The Seattle Mariners currently roster first basemen Justin Smoak, Casey Kotchman, and Russell Branyan, and have Mike Sweeney on the Disabled List with back problems. It’s a crowded infield, to say the least.

The simple fix to this situation would be dealing one-time-starter-but-now-ineffective Casey Kotchman to a contender as a late inning defensive replacement and occasional pinch hitter. Unfortunately, his .215/.294/.654 line is uninspiring, and is unlikely to coax a contender into exchanging prospects for his services.

Seattle’s acquisition of Russell Branyan in late June was so uncharacteristic that Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times thought the initial report of the trade was a hoax. At the time, Seattle was 14 games out of first place, and seemingly out of contention in 2010.

Now, if the Mariners want to deal a first baseman, Branyan may be the most attractive trade bait. It would be ironic for the Mariners to acquire and trade Branyan within a month, but the current roster makes him disappointingly expendable, and Jack Zduriencik might make a move that is best for business, and not just fan appeal.

Here’s to hoping that a rival executive wakes up and says, “I need a .200 bat with Gold Glove caliber defense.”

Chance of Being Traded: Low

RP David Aardsma/RP Brandon League

Every year, relief arms are dealt at the Major League Baseball trade deadline. Often, closers become set-up men and specialists are exchanged as teams race to acquire quality arms (a seemingly unending race). Since 2005, notable names such as Eric Gagne, LaTroy Hawkins, Kyle Farnsworth, Arthur Rhodes, and George Sherrill have been moved in deadline deals.

Jack Zduriencik has a malleable bullpen in front of him. Sending 26-year-old RP Mark Lowe to Texas in the Cliff Lee trade was shocking, even though Lowe was injured, because Lowe has a power arm and high potential. Now, Zduriencik must decide if he will also move 27-year-old Brandon League and 28-year-old David Aardsma.

Aardsma seems the most likely to leave Seattle. His 2.52 ERA last season is looking more and more like an exception to his career numbers, and some clubs have shown interest in his services.

League is a more complicated issue, because Zduriencik gave up former first round pick Brandon Morrow to acquire League earlier this year. Morrow’s 4.71 ERA is nothing impressive, but he has fanned 119 batters in 107 innings pitched, and is still in his mid-twenties.

If Zduriencik decides to move League, he could face criticism if he is unable to obtain at least a Morrow-caliber package in return.

Chance of Being Traded: High

It remains to be seen what the Mariners will do in the coming week, but don’t be surprised if any of these names move elsewhere as the Mariners build for 2011.

Do you agree with these potential trade candidates? Comment below with your thoughts!

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MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Small Moves That Could Pay Huge Dividends

July is when trade speculation escalates to a frenzy in Major League Baseball as clubs assess their current season prospects before the end of month transaction deadline.

The bullish clubs are the buyers and the bearish clubs are the sellers. It’s baseball’s month-long symposium on microeconomics at work.

Most of the airwaves, press, and blogosphere center on the big names that can push teams over the top and command a king’s ransom in return.  

This season, players such as Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Derrek Lee, Adam Dunn, and Prince Fielder dominate the media—and for good reason.

But, often times, astute trades that involve players flying a little under the radar can have big impact on the pennant races. A perfect example is the Philadelpia Phillies acquisition of Tad Iguchi to fill-in for an injured Chase Utley that helped them win the NL East in 2007.

Here is a look at 10 “small” moves that could pay huge dividends for contenders down the stretch. Who might be this year’s Iguchi?

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Fixing the Seattle Mariners: Several Ways To Do It Right Now

As of today (5/23/2010), the Seattle Mariners sit at 16-28 record, good enough for last place in the American League West and third worst record in the entire MLB. Prior to the season, the Mariners were predicted to win the AL West, but so far, it hasn’t gone that way. What can we do to fix this team?

1. Convert back Jose Lopez to 2B, Chone Figgins to 3B

During the spring training, the Mariners converted Lopez to 3B and Figgins to 2B. That worked out for Lopez defensively, as he is posting 32.3 UZR/150 and 11 Defensive Runs Saved. But for Figgins, it has been a nightmare, posting -12.2 UZR/150 and zero Defensive Runs Saved.

This conversion effected both offensively, as Lopez is hitting .211 BA/.240 OBP/.263 SLG and Figgins .195 BA/.305 OBP/.252 SLG. Converting back to their familiar position will relax them and would bring a good result offensively.

2. Switch Figgins and Ichiro in the Lineup

That means Figgins would hit lead-off and Ichiro would hit second in the lineup. This may sound stupid, but Figgins is used to hit from the lead-off spot and can hit around .300 with .400 OBP there.

So we can think of a situation like this: Figgins walks, steal second then scores on Ichiro’s single. That way, the Mariners can score runs easily in the first inning. So far, the Mariners haven’t been able to pressure opponent’s pitcher from their speedy number one and two hitter.

3. Call Up Chad Cordero from Tacoma

In last night’s 8-1 loss against the Padres, Don Wakamatsu brought in Jesus Colome to pitch in the eighth inning in a 2-run game. As a result, Colome couldn’t get any out and gave up three earned runs, giving the Mariners almost no chance to rally back.

I don’t know what Wak was thinking, bringing Colome in a close game, but this may be due to the fact that the Mariners only have 11 pitchers on the active roster right now and didn’t wanted to use guys like Brandon League and Shawn Kelley. Eleven pitchers on the roster didn’t worked out earlier in the season and it is not working out right now as well.

Cordero, in AAA Tacoma, is striking out more than a batter per inning and can be a nice addition to the bullpen. In that case, Michael Saunders will be optioned or Ryan Langerhans would be designated for assignment since the Mariners want to keep Ken Griffey Jr.

Cordero is a fly-ball pitcher, but Safeco Field is pitcher’s paradise so he should be fine in Seattle.

Of course, by doing this three doesn’t guarantee the Mariners will bounce back. They need to support their starting pitchers more, and they need their relievers to pitch better, but when nothing is working out, they should try anything possible, and maybe something might work out.

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