World Series primer
And then there were two.
Hey, we know him
Now that the Wild Card slots are filled with the conclusion of the WC play-in games—good one in DC, dull one in Oakland—the playoffs can begin in earnest. As we tune in for the four League Division Series starting tomorrow, we may not know a lot about the teams playing; after all, we don't see those squads very often, a lot of their players are unknown quantities unless we're super-diehard baseball consumers. But some will be familiar because they used to be Mariners.
Player of the year
Last week, the Seattle chapter of the Baseball Writers of America tweeted their award winners for the Mariners' 2019 season:
2019: Actually not that bad
It's over. The long slog of the season, the Dog Days of Summer, the grind of 162 games. Done for another solar orbit. For the 18th year in a row, Your Seattle Mariners head into October as spectators for the playoffs, adding another number to their ignominious total of years as the only American League franchise never to reach the World Series.
M's Playoff Drought Reaches 18th Year
Yeah, not exactly news. We knew it in March. Or at least by the time the Mariners turned their shocking 13-2 start into a 20-23 deficit a month later. We were 11 games over .500 on April 11 and 11 games under .500 by May 30. Quick work. Hopes dashed. See you next year. Or the year after. Or...
No-stakes losses to Houston already lost to memory
At this point in the season, when only the very last playoff spots have yet to be clinched and most teams are just playing out the string, things take on a less meaningful aura. I mean, this is sports, and in the grand scheme of things it's all not-that-meaningful, but you get the point. In the case of the just-completed two-game mini-series between the Mariners and Houston Astros, things were even less meaningful: The Astros are already American League West division champions again and the Mariners have been rooted in last place for a while and are assured of finishing there.
M's lose series to Orioles despite the unheralded greatness of Marco Gonzales
The Baltimore Orioles are, by record, the second-worst team in the Major Leagues, behind only the 4½ games worse Detroit Tigers. The Mariners had already beaten them three out of four times earlier in the summer, and coming off a sweep of the not-as-bad-but-still-not-good Pittsburgh Pirates, one could be forgiven for thinking the M's would take their final road trip of the season in impressive fashion. Instead, Seattle dropped two of three to the hapless Orioles and come home having recorded a 4-2 road swing.
Mariners sink Pirates in three-game sweep
With the season winding down and the Mariners hoping to merely avoid the indignity of losing 100 games, this final road trip to Pittsburgh and Baltimore was just what the doctor ordered. Building on their series win at home versus the White Sox, the Mariners' winning streak reached five games with the completion of a three-game sweep of the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
M's take wacky series from Chisox
That was nuts.
Ichiro celebration weekend
As this is being written, the Mariners are in the midst of Ichiro Weekend, three days of celebrating the career and achievements of one Ichiro Suzuki. One because, well, there are many people in the world named Ichiro Suzuki—"Ichiro" translates to "first son," of which there are lots, and Suzuki is the second-most common surname in Japan—there is and will be only one Ichiro, and he played the bulk of his Hall of Fame MLB career as a Seattle Mariner.
Reds series shows what to expect from next year's M's
The Cincinnati Reds are not an intimidating team, but they are Major Leaguers and just a few days ago many of the Seattle Mariners were not. So taking two of three in this Interleague matchup is meaningful, in a couple of ways.
Kyle and the Kids Take One from the Reds
I'm part of a season ticket group that meets every March to divvy up the season's games and talk about the year ahead. Mostly it's gallows humor. It's a good bunch of guys, with good humor and a deep knowledge of baseball history. I tend to buy tickets to 10 Mariner games, and last night was my last for the season. It was also the first time I ever saw the Cincinnati Reds live. I think. I grew up in an AL city.
Astros embarrass Mariners in 4-game sweep
Nobody expected much. It was already a mismatch on paper, with Houston sporting one of the best records in baseball as they approach 100 wins yet again, Seattle flailing along in last place on their way to 100 losses. The Astros were 12-1 against the Mariners in the season series. They had Cy Young favorites Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole scheduled over the weekend. But, you know, it's baseball in the big leagues, upsets happen.
Mariners mauled by Cubs at Wrigley
Though it still feels a bit weird to say, the Chicago Cubs are a very good team. Meanwhile, as we are completely accustomed to saying, the Seattle Mariners are . . . not. So it's not surprising that the Cubs swept the M's in their brief two-game set at Wrigley Field.
Mariners split with Rangers instead of winning series for some reason
In what was the final series played by the Mariners in the current home of the Texas Rangers (they'll open a new retractable-roof facility next season), Seattle manager Scott Servais decided to be charitable and allow the Rangers to split the four games. At least, that's one theory.
Yanks Use Former M's to Crush M's on a Beautiful Sky-Blue Day in Seattle
So after the M’s managed to tie the game in the bottom of the 4th with a 2-run homer by Kyle Seager that eked out over the outstretched supertall glove of Aaron Judge in right field, making it 2-2, and the teams switched sides, I wondered how long before the Yankees retook the lead.
M's swept by Evil Empire
In three games against the New York Yankees, the Mariners were hopelessly outmatched and lost all three contests. Pitchers Tommy Milone, Yusei Kikuchi, and Justus Sheffield each served up five earned runs to the New Yorkers in their starts (or "headline game" in Milone's case), while the Yankees' starters were much sharper.
Marco shines in series win vs. Blue Jays
The annual Canadian Invasion came down this past weekend to see the Mariners host the Toronto Blue Jays just a week after the two teams played out in Ontario. Like in that earlier series, the M's won two out of three with the rubber match featuring a brilliant pitching performance by the Seattle starter.
August Roster Churn
The trade deadline may have come and gone, but the roster of the 2019 Mariners continues to be fluid.
M's blow sweep, but take 2 of 3 from Rays
The Mariners arrived in St. Petersburg looking for revenge, and they nearly got it.
New Yankee Stadium
Getting back to the digression from a few weeks back, when I took off on a week-long east coast non-Mariner road trip, a look at new Yankee Stadium. This is out of order, as we went to Philadelphia before New York (and after Washington), but I still don't have my Philly photos available, so I'm shuffling the deck a bit.
Kikuchi pitches shutout in series win over Jays
This was the guy.
Seager clubs Tigers as M's take 2 of 3
The Mariners needed a break, and the Detroit Tigers obliged. Seattle had dropped eight of their last nine games coming into Detroit, some by rather irritating fashion, and three against the worst team in the Majors was a welcome turn of events. It wasn't a sweep, as it was when the Tigers visited the Northwest, but the M's will gladly take two wins out of three at this point of the lost 2019 campaign.
Hey Jack Kerouac, I Think of Lopes' Homer
Last Tuesday, after Omar Narváez lined a single to right in the 7th inning, breaking up Dinelson Lamet's bid to become the first pitcher in San Diego Padres history to throw a no-hitter (the only MLB team that doesn't have one), and after the Padres scored 3 more in the top of the 8th, making it 8-0, there didn't seem to be much for a Mariners fan on a lovely Tuesday Seattle night to root for. But then baseball happened.
M's celebrate Edgar weekend by losing three times
It was Edgar Martínez Hall of Fame weekend the last few days at the ballpark by Elliott Bay, with celebrations, giveaway goodies, and a speech by the newly-minted Hall of Famer himself on Saturday during pregame activities. The honors for Edgar were fun and, of course, well-deserved, and we look forward to next year's unveiling of the new statue of Edgar commemorating "The Double" from the 1995 ALDS that was announced on Saturday.
How goes the rebuild?
This is not a good year for Your Seattle Mariners. At least, not at the big-league level, and not by the standard metric of, you know, winning. But there are other ways to gauge progress, especially when the club is in the midst of a rebuild.
M's snap losing streak, split with Padres
The Mariners returned home Tuesday and began a new homestand with two games against their ostensible/former Inerleague "natural rivals," the San Diego Padres, a team that has given them fits over the last couple of years. The teams split the two-game set, giving the M's a 1-7 record vs. San Diego since 2018.
I left town for a week, and so did the Mariners. I think I fared better overall.
Beckham suspended for rest of Mariner tenure
Another season, another Mariner infielder suspended for PED use. It was announced this morning that Tim Beckham has been caught violating the MLB/MLBPA drug policy. He has been suspended for 80 games, or the rest of this season plus 32 games to start next season, assuming he gets a contract for 2020.
I'm gonna sleep until Tuesday
Apologies. I had intended to post more frequently during my just-completed non-Mariners road trip, but circumstances—including 15-inning games, wifi failures, camera battery issues, and other stuff—hindered that plan. But I have returned now, and all the tech necessary is available and time is less restricted.
This week's non-Mariners road trip began with two games at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. Both games were against the Atlanta Braves and both were won by the visitors, though the home Nats did make things interesting at the end of the contests.Some thoughts on Nationals Park as a facility:
Trade deadline action
Greetings from our nation's capitol, where while attending the Nationals-Braves game this afternoon grandsalami.net kept tabs on all the wheeling and dealing as today's 1:00pm PDT MLB trading deadline approached. The Mariners were involved in a couple of notable deals (one involving the Nationals, as it happens).
For the next week or so, things here at grandsalami.net might seem a little off. I am joining a couple of friends in taking a trip to see other teams in other parks, placing the Mariners on the back burner for the duration. There will still be posts and info, but some of it will be about games at Nationals Park and Yankee Stadium.
M's sweep worst team in Majors, feel good about it
Your Seattle Mariners were having, to be blunt, a miserable July. A week ago they were at 3-11 for the month, nearly the reverse of that blissful 13-2 opening run at the start of the season and about as fun to watch as wood rotting in the rain. But: This was a good week.It began with the badly-slumping Texas Rangers giving the M's their first series win since taking two of three in Milwaukee in June and continued with a gift from the scheduling gods, a four-game set against the Detroit Tigers, owners of the worst record in the big leagues.
Mariners manage series win against slumping Rangers
The Texas Rangers rolled into town having lost seven in a row and losers of 12 of their last 16. The Mariners began the series having lost 15 of their last 19. It was to be a clash of ciphers, and so it was, with the M's ending up winners of two out of three on the strength of the pitching of Marco Gonzales and Mike Leake.
Good riddance, Angels
With the merciful end of today's loss to the Los Angeles Angels, the Mariners bid adieu to their AL West rivals for the season. Due to the quirky schedules we get nowadays, there always seems to be something odd with the Angels' dates on the calendar—last year all three of their visits to Seattle were done with before the M's set foot in Orange County, for example—and this year it's that the season series is done with on July 21st.
I wasn't supposed to be at tonight's Mariners-Angels game. In my season ticket group's draft, this game went to another guy, Grant. But Grant decided to head to Cooperstown to see Edgar Martínez get inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend, so he put tonight's tix up for grabs and I said, sure, I'll take ’em, even though it is the frickin' Angels AGAIN and not even a Marco Gonzales game.
On the heels of an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Angels down in Orange County, the Mariners were pasted good in a two-game set in the East Bay. The Oakland A's outscored the M's 19-4 in the two games, making the umpiring problem in Tuesday night's contest nothing but a footnote.
Angels humiliate M's in return from break
The Mariners returned to action following the All-Star break with a three-game set in Anaheim against the Angels, and it was ugly. Not only were the Mariners swept, they were also no-hit in the first game. Mike Leake had his monthly meltdown, Wade LeBlanc served up a pair of home runs in three innings, and Matt Carasiti relieved Yusei Kikuchi and predictably allowed all inherited runners to score before Anthony Bass came in and did what he does best: put runners on and take the loss in a game.
Jim Bouton Interview
Former Major League pitcher and celebrated author Jim Bouton died Wednesday, July 10, at the age of 80. No cause of death was reported but Bouton had been suffering from cerebral amyloid angiopathy for some time. Bouton was a member of the Seattle Pilots in their only year of existence, 1969, until he was traded to Houston late in that season, and kept a diary of his time there and with the Astros; he would turn that diary into a best-selling book, "Ball Four," released to acclaim and controversy in 1970.
Jim Bouton’s Ball Four, which Major League Baseball viewed as akin to a bomb flung into their living room by a traitorous freak when it was published in 1970, has become respectable. It’s not just that The New York Public Library included Ball Four among their “Books of the Century” in 1996—the only sports books so honored—or that one of Bouton’s old teams, the New York Yankees, invited Bouton back to an Old-Timers game after years of shunning him. It’s the book itself.
I was recently asked by friend of the site Mike Putnam (hi, Mike) for some info on how former Mariners who were traded way since last season were doing as compared to the guys they were traded for. That's a bit of an involved question, really, since by this point a few guys have been traded for other guys who have since been traded for yet other guys. So, since we're in the All-Star break, this seems a good time to do a dive into it.
Mariners limp into the break with series loss to A's
Friday night the Mariners were undone by a defensive error and a poor relief choice. Saturday Marco Gonzales turned in a gem. And Sunday Scott Servais played with matches and gasoline again by using an "opener." So went the final series of the unofficial first half of the season, the Oakland A's taking two of three as we head into the All-Star break.
Pitching failures turn series win into series loss vs. Cards
The just-completed Interleague series vs. the St. Louis Cardinals was a frustrating experience from before the first pitch of the first game, and not just because I was prevented from getting into the ballpark on time Tuesday night because of an electronic ticketing fiasco. In the greater Mariner fan universe, we were given yet another experiment with "the opener" Tuesday (and Thursday), which was enough to make one shake one's fist and scream into the void and diminish any expectations of things getting better.
Vogey an All-Star, new voting system underwhelms
The 2019 All-Star Game will be played a week from tomorrow in Cleveland, and Your Seattle Mariners will be represented by everyone's favorite sandwich inspiration, Daniel Vogelbach. Vogey earned his selection with a mid-year OPS of .898, 20 home runs, and 48 RBI.
M's fight well in losing cause for two games, give up early in third
On the heels of their promising series win in Milwaukee, the Mariners took on the Astros in Houston for three games to remind us all why this season has been so disappointing.
M's preview the future with solid interleague series win
Prior to the Mariners' series win against the low-hanging fruit known as the Baltimore Orioles last weekend, the club had gone 7-11 in the month of June. Taking three of four from the awful Orioles may have given the M's a morale and confidence boost, because they just won a more challenging series, taking two of three from the contending Milwaukee Brewers for their first Interleague wins of the year.
M's take three of four from worst team in MLB, retain semblance of self-esteem
If only the Mariners could face Baltimore pitching every day.
The halfway point: how's it going?
Today's 8-4 loss to the worst team in the big leagues, the Baltimore Orioles, marks the halfway mark of the Mariners' 2019 season, at least in terms of games played. 50% through the campaign, the M's sit at a fairly unpleasant 34-47, last in the American League West at 15½ games behind division-leading Houston. On the surface, this seems like a horrid season for Seattle baseball, particularly after a surprisingly strong start that saw Seattle atop the leaderboards and nearly undefeated in the first few weeks and fall hard and fast off a cliff after the stellar 13-2 early record.
M's take just one of three from team with .324 winning percentage
After another opener-fueled defeat and a blowout loss behind the ever-mysterious Yusei Kikuchi, the Mariners remembered that the Royals had an eminently beatable pitching staff and teed off on KC's erstwhile ace, Brad Keller, in yesterday's series finale to reclaim a modicum of self-esteem and halt their losing streak at two.
Back in California, M's win another series
The Mariners completed their latest road trip of inefficient mileage—Anaheim-Minneapolis-Oakland—at 5-4, their first over-.500 road trip since April 5-11. After taking two of three from the Angels and dropping two of three to the Twins, Seattle won the rubber match against the Athletics Sunday afternoon by a score of 6-3.
Dipoto makes eighth trade of the season, inspires plethora of puns
Adiós to the Accidental Mariner.
BREAKING: Encarnación traded to Yankees
Within the last half hour, 1B/DH Edwin Encarnación has been traded to the New York Yankees. Details are still forthcoming, and a more involved post will be available later tonight. All that is known right now is that the "Accidental Mariner" is a Mariner no more, he is a Yankee.
The "opener." The "headliner." You may have heard these terms being bandied about lately on Mariner and other Major League teams' broadcasts or read them elsewhere in the baseball press. It refers to a fad—some would charitably call it a "strategy"—that has become increasingly popular among big-league managers this season and that has infected Scott Servais and the Mariners over the past couple of weeks.
Mariners actually win a series
In a callback to happier times, the Mariners won a series last weekend. In taking two out of three from the Angels on their home turf in Anaheim, Seattle brought its win-loss record to 28-41—still rather pathetic but hey, a win's a win.
Injury update, near-trade, and the bullpen shuffle
A quick roundup of Mariner roster moves and almost-moves over the past few days:
Mariners surprisingly competitive against former Colt .45s, but shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly
No one had much hope for success in the just-completed four-game series versus the first-place Houston Astros. The M's had just dropped five straight series with an overall 3-14 record and were looking like the 1962 Mets.
Fans enjoy Edgar Martínez book signing event
Mariners great Edgar Martínez signed hundreds of copies of his new book, EDGAR: An Autobiography (co-written with Larry Stone) this evening at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. The book will officially be released next week, but those at EBBC got an advance opportunity to purchase the book and have it signed by the new Hall of Famer.
EDGAR book contest winners
Thanks to all who entered our contest to win a free copy of Edgar Martínez's new book, EDGAR! Whether you are a winner or not, we encourage you to be on hand at the Elliott Bay Book Co. tomorrow evening, Wednesday June 5th, 2019 at 6:00pm. Edgar will be signing his book, along with his co-author Larry Stone of the Seattle Times. Tickets to the signing are $28, which includes a copy of the book. Check-in begins at 4:30 and a large crowd is expected, so it's recommended you arrive early if possible.
"It's bad baseball."
In dropping three of four to the Angels this weekend, the Mariners continued to look more like the Bad News Bears than a Major League baseball team.
Bruce trade final
The trade we reported on yesterday involving outfielder/first-baseman Jay Bruce was completed today, with Bruce headed to join the Philadelphia Phillies. To take Bruce's roster spot, outfielder Braden Bishop was recalled form Triple-A Tacoma.
Dipoto nearing seventh trade of the season
Outfielder/first-baseman Jay Bruce may be headed to Philadelphia. According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Mariners and Phillies have been discussing a trade of Bruce; Passan had indicated the deal would be completed this weekend, but more recently has amended his report to say that nothing has been formally agreed to.
Edgar Martínez's autobiography
GrandSalami.net is pleased to promote the pre-release book-signing event at Elliott Bay Book Company next Wednesday evening with the Mariners' own Edgar Martínez. The Seattle sports icon will be signing copies of his new memoir, EDGAR, several days in advance of the book's official release date of June 11, 2019.
M's drop another series but look less bad
The Mariners' latest homestand opened with something we hadn't seen in Seattle for a good while now: a well-played baseball victory. It was, sadly, a one-and-done phenomenon, as the next two contests against the visiting Texas Rangers went into the loss column, but in all three games there were positive take-aways to mitigate yet another series defeat.On Monday we saw the beginnings of the rebirth of center fielder Mallex Smith. Throughout the series, Smith has been the player the M's thought they were getting when they shipped Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia to Tampa Bay last fall: a leadoff man...
Last-place Mariners continue descent into bottomless pit
The Mariners ended their latest road trip with a whimper today, spoiling a decent start from Mike Leake by failing to hit baseballs against the Oakland A's. Though they fell behind early on a couple of Oakland home runs, the game was close for most of it, with a score of 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning before the bullpen let it get away; it's just that the Mariners can't score runs without hitting balls over the fence.
The Mariners are a bad team. If we didn't know it already, getting swept in this three-game series by the Texas Rangers let us know.
More roster juggling
The Mariners today made several more changes to their active roster. Infielders Dee Gordon and Ryon Healy have been placed on the 10-day injured list—Gordon due to lingering pain from being hit by a pitch in New York two weeks ago and Healy due to a lower back strain—reliever Parker Markel has been optioned down to Triple-A Tacoma, utilityman Dylan Moore has been activated from his stint on the injured list, and infielder Shed Long and pitcher Tommy Milone have been promoted from Tacoma to the big-league club.
Dipoto makes sixth trade of the season
When reliever Anthony Swarzak entered a game against the Twins last week in Seattle, an encouraging cheer was heard in the upper deck of the ballpark by Elliott Bay: "Swarzak! Raise your trade value!"He didn't, really, despite his one scoreless inning of work, but he was nevertheless traded today. Swarzak will head to Atlanta, where he'll join a similarly middling bullpen for a team that has some potential. In exchange, the Braves are sending left-handed reliever Jesse Biddle to the Mariners.Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto has a tendency to seek out potentially undervalued players and reclamation projects, and Biddle fits that profile.
OK, we can give up hope now
Remember back when the Mariners were taking baseball by storm, the early surprise in the Majors with a 13-2 record that was this close to being 15-0? Yeah, fun times. It might seem now like those days were back in 2018, but really it was just a little over a month ago. Mariner fans were riding high, thinking this whole "step back," "sort-of-rebuild year" thing was just unwarranted pessimism.
Roster juggling redux
The Mariners made yet more roster moves today, recalling pitchers Matt Festa and Ryan Garton from Triple-A Tacoma. Both will be available in the bullpen immediately. To clear space for them, southpaw reliever Zac Rosscup has been designated for assignment and alleged starting pitcher Erik Swanson was optioned to Tacoma.
The Mariners' active roster has seen a lot of additions and subtractions since Opening Day in Tokyo, with players seemingly coming and going several times a week, and we're due for some more before today's game versus the Twins.
Mini-sweep of A's slows plunge into sadness
The Mariners returned home from a dismal road trip that saw them drop eight of ten games to the Indians, Yankees, and Red Sox and slip under the .500 mark for the first time this year. They were outscored 57-41, lost some badly and lost some barely, shot themselves in the foot a few times and were bludgeoned others. It was enough to make one wonder if these M's could ever win another series.
A few thoughts on the first two games of the Boston series . . .
The JP Crawford era begins
Infielders Dee Gordon and Dylan Moore both had to come out of yesterday's game against the New York Yankees due to injury, leaving the under-benched Mariners in the position of having to play someone at second base who had never played the middle infield. Moore has been placed on the 10-day injured list, Gordon has not (for the moment), but the upside of this misfortune is that Seattle's shortstop of the future can now become Seattle's shortstop of the present.
Schizophrenic Mariners leave New York in shame
The final tallies were 7-3, 5-4, 10-1, and 3-1. But the scores don't really tell the story.
Dipoto makes fifth trade of the season
Seattle General Manager Jerry Dipoto made yet another trade this weekend, acquiring right-handed reliever Austin Adams from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Class-A prospect Nick Wells and cash considerations.
Don't despair (yet)
Last month I said don't get happy. The hot start for the 2019 Mariners was likely a mirage, but there was still real hope that it might not be. The offense was really cooking in the first couple of weeks and the only concerns were that the bullpen would blow up and that the defense would give way too many runs. Was it sustainable? Probably not, but still...
Ichiro is back again.
Well. That was embarrassing.
Dipoto makes fourth trade of the season
The Mariners traded minor-league infielder Ryne Ogren to the Orioles for right-handed reliever Mike Wright today.Wright has had a spotty professional career, pitching reasonably well at the Triple-A level and poorly at the Major League level. In ten appearances this year with Baltimore, he's posted an ugly 9.45 ERA and brutal 2.025 WHIP, and last year's 5.55 ERA/1.625 WHIP in 481⁄3 innings weren't much better. At Triple-A Norfolk from 2015-2017, however, he was 17-11 with a 2.99 ERA and 1.152 WHIP (2401⁄3 IP).Perhaps GM Jerry Dipoto thinks Wright was mishandled in Baltimore and better coaching can bring his big-league performance...
Stop me if you've heard this before: The Mariners lost to the Padres.
Series win in SoCal
Having dropped six straight at home, the Mariners course-corrected on their just-concluded four-game series in Orange County, taking three of four from the LA Angels with a barrage of home-run power. This puts the M's back atop the American League West standings, believe it or not, as the Astros had some trouble with their vastly inferior Texan neighbors this weekend.
Homestand of Horrors
When the just completed homestand began, the Mariners were the talk of baseball. A surprise juggernaut that won 11 of their first 13 games and were very nearly undefeated, a powerful lineup hitting home runs and scoring at a record pace. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
In last night's game against the Cleveland Native American Stereotypes, the Mariner bullpen pulled off quite an achievement. Well, "achievement" . . . there are probably better words. But the relief corps, known from the get-go as a problem area for the Mariners this season, turned in an eighth inning for the history books.
Astros sweep M's with elite pitching
The Mariners' hot start ran into a cold shower this weekend. The Houston Astros rolled into town and outslugged and outpitched the M's to a three-game sweep and dropped the Mariners' record to 13-5.
Dipoto makes third trade of the season
The Mariners today traded backup catcher David Freitas to Milwaukee for 23-year-old pitcher Sal Biasi, who has been playing in the Class-A Midwest league.
The Mariners made two roster moves today, activating reliever Shawn Armstrong from the injured list and promoting fellow right-hander Ruben "R.J." Alaniz from Triple-A Tacoma. Pitchers Erik Swanson and Matt Festa were sent to Tacoma to make room.Armstrong was expected to be a significant contributor to the Seattle bullpen from the get-go, but landed on the IL just before the club opened the season in Tokyo with an oblique strain. The career reliever spent the bulk of last season with Tacoma, where he went 2-5 with a brilliant 1.77 ERA, and impressed with the big club after a promotion to...
With today's wild extra-inning victory over the Kansas City Royals in the books, the Mariners come home riding a six-game winning streak and an incredible overall record of 13-2. They have set a Major League record for most games with a home run to start a season; they lead the American League in runs scored, hits, batting average, on-base percentage, home runs, total bases, stolen bases, walks (and hit batters), and runs batted in; and under the radar, their pitching staff leads the league in saves and is second to Houston in quality starts.
Keeping GrandSalami.net alive
Greetings, loyal readers. In this, the second year of the new iteration of The Grand Salami, e.g. the online-only era, I continue to do my best to keep you, the Mariner fanbase, informed and entertained. Alas, I am mostly doing it on my own, as getting volunteers to write for the site is, understandably, a hard sell. The site is still operating well into the red and there's no budget for writers. I want to change all that, but getting out of the red is a challenge, and I would like your help and indulgence.
More IL traffic
After pitching two innings in yesterday's drubbing of the Royals, reliever Chasen Bradford went on the injured list today with shoulder inflammation. Bradford had been one of the Mariners' more effective relievers in the early season. The injury is considered to be mild and he isn't expected to be out more than the minimum 10 days.Taking Bradford's place on the roster is right-hander Erik Swanson, one of the prospects acquired from the Yankees in the James Paxton trade. Swanson appeared in one game for Triple-A Tacoma so far, a five-inning start that saw him allow six hits and no runs.
Don't Get Happy (Yet)
Don't look now, but Your Seattle Mariners are the best team in the American League.
Swarzak to the rescue(?)
The Mariners have activated right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak from the injured list today, He will be available in the bullpen for tonight's tilt against the Angels.
Dipoto makes second trade of the season
We're just six games into the season, and General Manager Jerry Dipoto has already made two trades. The first, last Friday, brought in backup catcher Tom Murhpy. Today's deal with the Texas Rangers nets the Mariners relief pitcher Connor Sadzeck (not to be confused with Anthony Swarzak).Sadzeck has had a brief taste of the big-leagues—91⁄3 innings with the Rangers last season—but has little experience above Double-A. Last season he threw 38 innings for Round Rock in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he was uninspiring (5-3, 4.03 ERA, 1.368 WHIP) but not terrible.
M's best Boston despite themselves
Well, this was a home-opening series for the books, wasn't it? The World Champion Red Sox come to town with their vaunted starting pitching and stacked lineup to face the don't-call-it-rebuilding-it's-just-we're-kind-of-in-between-good-years Mariners and most thought it would be an easy start for Boston; they could bank a few wins here before heading down to Oakland and feel pretty good about themselves.
Strickland out for weeks
After blowing a save in the second game of the Boston series, reliever Hunter Strickland was diagnosed with a grade-2 latissimus strain and will be out of action for at least eight weeks. Strickland felt discomfort while warming up in the bullpen prior to entering the game, but didn't consider it to be debilitating until he'd thrown pitches in the game. He was tagged with the loss after serving up a three-run home run to Mitch Moreland in the ninth inning.
Dipoto makes first trade of the season
It's not even April yet and the always-restless general manager of the Mariners, Jerry Dipoto, has made another trade. This one is small and eminently reasonable: Dipoto has dealt 20-year-old prospect Jesús Ozoria to San Francisco for catcher Tom Murphy.The Mariners began the season with defensively-challenged Omar Narváez as the primary catcher and warm body David Freitas as the backup, so a low-risk pickup for a second-string receiver is a sensible move. Whether Murphy is actually an upgrade over Freitas is yet to be determined, but this one goes into the "why not? Can't hurt" bucket.Murphy was waived by Colorado...
Game 3: Yard Sale
Oh, man, you may have thought. The M's have to face Chris Sale in the home opener? Well, yes, they did, and they tattooed him. Sale may have struck out the side in the first, but he'd be gone after three innings, three homers, and seven earned to give him an early-season ERA of 21.00. What else was interesting today?
It's opening day (again!) Time for the traditional exercise of trying to predict the future and declare, in advance, the winners in this upcoming season. Bill and Tim give it a go, even though we pretend no expertise beyond the average fan's. How good are our skills? How much do we know? How much do our biases show (hint: a lot)? Well, all we really know for sure is, some of these predictions will be wrong.
Second Opening Day
The Mariners have already played their first games of the season, having defeated the Oakland A's in two contests in Tokyo, but tomorrow they resume action when the other 28 Major League teams open their seasons. The home opener begins a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox, the only visit of the year for the defending World Series champs.
Changing the rules
Major League Baseball is once more tinkering with its rules. Is that a good thing? Bad? Just weird? Grandsalami.net's Erik Lundegaard and Tim Harrison try to sort it all out.
Game 2: Curtain Call
We didn't know when the game began that Ichiro was calling it quits. That news came a few innings in. Kyodo News had the story and those of us keyed in to Twitter started getting the alerts. The ESPN broadcast caught up to us a bit later, and for half the game or so half the drama was how was Ichiro going to leave the game.
One Down, 161 to Go
Konbanwa, baseball fans. Are you ready to pull another all-nighter for Game 2 from Tokyo tonight/tomorrow morning (game time 2:35am PDT)?
Next Year is Here
Winter is over. Well, not technically, but hey, it was nearly 80 degrees today in Seattle (in your face, Miami!) and tonight the Mariners take the field for the first official game in the 2019 championship season. Or tomorrow night, or tomorrow morning, based on your time zone. It's complicated. Temporal mechanics and all. Anyway, come 2:30am PDT the Tokyo Dome will be abuzz with excitement when the Oakland A's take the field as the "home" team against our Seattle Mariners.
Meet the Mariners
With Opening Day only ... let's see, carry the one ... 27½ hours away in Tokyo, it's time to get familiar with the 2019 Seattle Mariners. Who are these guys? With so much change form the 2018 roster will we recognize even a handful?
With the Mariners opening the season in Tokyo and playing a couple of exhibitions against the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants beforehand—M's 2, Yomiuri 0, thank you very much—I thought it might be fun to take a look at not only those Giants, but the Japanese Majors in general. In this modern Internet age, it isn't terribly hard to follow Nippon Professional Baseball during the season, though it does help if you can read a little Japanese—at least enough for the box scores. Some games are even "televised" online, though one would have to do a little work to get around a...
What should we call the home ballpark?
Though officially dubbed T-Mobile Park, here at GrandSalami.net we've chosen not to refer to the Mariners’ home field by that name. What should we call it instead? Thoughts?
Shameless Commerce Department
Grandslami.net is now featuring prints of Mariner player portraits in the store. Four players currently available, with others to be added as the season progresses. If your favorite Mariner isn't yet in the mix, sound off in the comments and put in a request!
Around the Division
We all know the Mariners have been active over the offseason, generating a dizzying amount of roster turnover. But what have the other clubs in the American League West been up to? What's the competition going to be like this year? Let's take a look.
Thanks to Ball Four, several team-dedicated websites, and the memories of local baseball fans, the on-field history of the Seattle Pilots is well-documented. Not so well-documented, however, is the off-field history of the franchise that existed for just one season, 1969. While the team was bad, the failings of the players paled in comparison to the ineptitude and clumsiness of the front office.
The New Staff
We all know the Mariners have churned their player roster something fierce this offseason, but what might have escaped notice is the turnover among the coaches. Aside from manager Scott Servais, only two of Seattle's 2018 coaches are returning this season, Manny Acta and Chris Prieto. Everyone else is new.
Change of Clothes
Looking at the Mariners' new spring training duds and the new uniform set the Marlins have this year got me to thinking about the Mariners' history of sartorial styles. The current uniform concept is, aside from some minor tweaks in the wordmark and number outlining and an early addition of the compass rose on the road jersey, unchanged since it was introduced in 1993. Which isn't bad. It's a nice design, and light-years better than what came before it. But might it be time for something new?
M's Trivia Challenge
While we wait for spring training to gear up in force, let's take a walk down memory lane and see how well we know our Mariner history. Take the GrandSalami.net Mariners Quiz! When you've reached the end, you'll be brought back here and you can let us know what you thought. Onward!
The lack of activity around baseball this offseason has generated a lot of fretting and anxiety with the Major League Baseball Players' Association, with some voices alleging collusion among clubs not to offer high-priced free-agent contracts. Though the current collective bargaining agreement between the MLBPA and ownership, represented by commissioner Rob Manfred, is in place through 2021, some in the players' union are already talking about a strike if negotiations on the next CBA don't go their way.
Doug Fister retires
Former Mariner pitcher Doug Fister has retired from baseball, his agent said today. Reported by MLB.com, Fister's agent Page Odle described the decision as "100% family driven," noting Fister's desire to spend more time with his young children. There were several teams interested in Fister's services this year; according to Odle, Fister received Major League contract offers from multiple clubs over the winter.A seventh-round draft selection by the Mariners in 2006, Fister was never thought of as a top prospect but climbed the minor-league ladder relatively quickly and made his Major League debut in August of 2009.
Manfred pumps the brakes on big rule changes
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred today said that the MLB Players' Association's proposals for major rule changes—universal designated hitter rule, draft rules that penalize losing teams—are not under consideration...for now. Rather than declare such ideas dead on arrival, Manfred instead declared that the time for discussing such things is in the negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement. The current one expires at the end of 2021.
On the Eve of Destruction: Universal DH proposed
Acouple weeks back, we noted that Major League Baseball had proposed some small rule changes for next season and beyond, tweaks to do with time a player would have to spend on the disabled list and time necessary to spend in the minors after being optioned down. Now, according to a piece by Ken Rosenthal in The Athletic, the players' union has responded with a counter-proposal that expands on MLB's change ideas and adds an explosive to the conversation.
Manfred's wish list
Unable to leave well enough alone, the powers that be at Major League Baseball are seeking more changes to the league rules, according to a source that spoke to the Associated Press this week. The proposed changes just heard about would be in off-field rules concerning the Disabled List and minor-league options, and they're not necessarily bad ideas, but these days when I see "new rule coming" I immediately become suspicious.
MLB seeks new rules on DL, options
According to sources speaking with the Associated Press this week, Major League Baseball has proposed changing the minimum length of a stint on the disabled list back to 15 days and adding to the length of time a player must stay in the minor leagues after being optioned down.
M's unveil new Spring unis
At a media event yesterday, the Mariners showed off new uniforms that they will wear in spring training. Instead of the northwest green jerseys and inverted trident "M" caps worn last spring, the new outfits consist of "powder blue" jerseys and a capital "M" against a four-pointed compass on the caps. The caps will also be worn for batting practice throughout the season.
Mariners sign free-agent Strickland
Right-handed reliever Hunter Strickland, last seen in the uniform of the San Francisco Giants, today signed a one-year contract with the Mariners. Financial details were not yet available, but the contract value is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $2.5 million. Strickland, 30, is still shy of the six years of service time needed for unrestricted free agency, so even though the deal is for one year, the M's still have team control through 2021 via arbitration.Released by the Giants last November, Strickland has a career record of 14-14 with a respectable 2.91 ERA over four-plus seasons in San Francisco.
Ichiro officially returns
The Mariners announced today that they have re-signed franchise icon Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training.It was an expected move, telegraphed all the way back in May, when the team moved Ichiro off the active roster and into a non-player role with the title of "special assistant to the chairman," an invented position that allowed Ichiro to train and travel with the club but not suit up for games. At that time it was clear that Ichiro was not retiring as a player and intended to try to play again the following year.The contract...
"Thank you, sir"
He had to wait 10 years, often with low vote totals, before a push of SABRmetric dudes, the Mariners organization and its fans, and, maybe most importantly, the pitchers who faced him...
Edgar Martinez: Hall of Famer
It's finally official: Edgar Martínez is going to the Hall of Fame. Announced today, the lifetime Seattle Mariner is one of four new Hall of Famers; the class of 2019 includes Martínez, Mike Mussina, Roy Halladay, and Mariano Rivera—the first player to be elected unanimously.
No one in the wings
If Edgar Martinez worked a corporate 9-to-5 job he’d be the guy who arrived early, performed, excelled, was slapped on the back by the boss, and when the time came for that big raise or promotion … someone else would get it.
Where are they now?
Mariners sign different infielder Beckham than last year's infielder Beckham
The Mariners signed two free agents yesterday to Major League contracts, infielder Tim Beckham (not to be confused with veteran Gordon Beckham, who spent the last two years bouncing back and forth between the M's and their Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma) and relief pitcher Cory Gearrin.Beckham, who will be 29 later this month, came up with the Tampa Bay Rays and spent the last season and a half with Baltimore. Primarily a shortstop, he's also logged plenty of innings at both third base and second base.
An odd reunion
In a weird but no-risk move today, the Mariners signed Dustin Ackley to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training.
Yusei Kikuchi signing official
The Mariners have officially signed Japanese free-agent pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to a multi-year contract. The former Saitama Seibu Lions star was posted for Major League teams' consideration at his request by the Nippon Professional Baseball club last month and chose Seattle after meeting with representatives of several MLB teams in December.
Kikuchi deal coming?
According to Yahoo! Sports, the Mariners are close to signing Japanese southpaw Yusei Kikuchi to a multi-year contract. Details are sparse, but due to the rules of the posting arrangement with Nippon Professional Baseball, Kikuchi must sign by January 2nd or forfeit is right to leave NPB for 2019.Kikuchi had reportedly been open to signing with any Major League team when his posting became official early in December and has met with several clubs.An eight-year NPB veteran, all with the Saitama Seibu Lions, Kikuchi holds a career record of 74-48 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.177 WHIP to go with...
Dipoto deals another
Mariner General Manager Jerry Dipoto has made another trade, this time with the Milwaukee Brewers. The trade sends outfielder Ben Gamel and 22-year-old minor-league pitcher Noah Zavolas to Milwaukee in exchange for outfielder Domingo Santana.Santana—not to be confused with first baseman Carlos Santana, whom the M's recently dealt to Cleveland—is a right-handed batter, offering some platoon balance to an outfield that had been overstocked with lefties. Since breaking into the Major Leagues with the Astros as a late-season callup in 2014, Santana has produced a career batting line of .261/.349/.458, mostly as a part-time player.
True to the Pink
It's official. The Mariners, T-Mobile, and the Public Facilities District all admit what we've known for a while, that the Bellevue-based mobile phone/cellular network giant T-Mobile is the new corporate sponsor of what used to be Safeco Field and will now be known as T-Mobile Park.
So Long Santana
Well, that didn't take long.
Jerry Dipoto is bored.
How did we get here?
It's not exactly standard procedure for a team that won 89 games to go straight into a massive rebuild. When you just barely miss the postseason, you typically look to improve on one or two areas that could put you over the top, not declare defeat and look to try again in three years. So WTF, you might ask of the Mariners, why are they blowing up the team?
Trades are official
The deals are done, and the Mariners are no longer the team of Robinson Canó, Edwin Díaz, or Jean Segura.
The Demolition Continues
Another day, another big trade for the Mariners. Well, "big"; the word has a lot of room for interpretation. It's big in that General Manager Jerry Dipoto is dealing away another big name, All-Star shortstop Jean Segura. It's maybe not so big in what he's getting back. Or maybe it is, this one's hard to project.The deal isn't final yet, and what the whole package will include isn't known. What is expected is that Segura will be traded to Philadelphia and that in return the M's will get young Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford and not-so-young first baseman Carlos Santana.
With General Manager Jerry Dipoto on another of his trading benders, the Mariners' roster is undergoing some stark change. Though Dipoto is by no means done tinkering—as we'll see, there are still some holes to fill—if games had to be played tomorrow, how things would look on the field?
Trader Jerry ships Colome to Chisox
While the giant trade of Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz to the Mets is still pending, Mariner GM Jerry Dipoto did trade a closer today. Reliever Alex Colome, who came to Seattle in an in-season deal with Tampa Bay last May, was dealt to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Omar Narvaez.Trading Colome leaves the Mariners without an established closer (presuming the deal with the Mets goes through), but adding Narvaez gives the M's a starting catcher, something they're in dire need of after trading Mike Zunino last month.Narvaez, who will be 27 in February, hit .275/.366/.429 in a part-time...
End of the Canó era?
Reports are flying around the Interwebs (sourced to Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic) that Mariner General Manager Jerry Dipoto is close to unloading second baseman Robinson Canó and his giant contract onto the New York Mets.
Into the Wayback Machine
While we wait for the next episode of Jerry Dipoto's Mariner Makeover Trade Bonanza, we thought we'd post a few items from the great history of The Grand Salami. During its 22 year run as a print magazine, we featured player interviews, news of the day, and columns from local sportswriters like Rob Neyer, Mike Gastineau, and Jim Caple.
Voice of the Mariners
This interview originally appeared in the August and September 2008 issues of The Grand Salami.
The Five Stages of Being a Mariner Fan
This article originally appeared in the July 2008 issue of The Grand Salami.
Dodging the Draft
This article originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of The Grand Salami.
Pulling the Thread of a Trade
With so many similarities in the recent trade of James Paxton to the hated New York Yankees to the 1998 trade of Randy Johnson to the Houston Astros, we thought we'd look back on that RJ trade and see what became of it for the Mariners over time. Sure, the initial deal was Johnson for three then-Triple-A players, but what were the ripple effects? How'd those guys do for Seattle?
By Any Other (Corporate) Name
We've known for a while now that the Mariners' home field would get a new name by next season. Safeco Insurance's deal for naming rights to the stadium expired at the end of the 2018 season and they were up front about not being interested in extending their association with the facility, so the speculation began in earnest last spring: Which corporate behemoth would step up to replace Safeco and brand their identity all over our beautiful ballpark?
Paxton Trade: Passable or Pox?
I keep going back and forth on the Seattle Mariners trading ace James Paxton to the hated New York Yankees.
More trades coming
More Mariner players may soon be on the move.
Big Maple to Big Apple
Prompting memories of 1998’s trade of Randy Johnson to the Astros, today Mariner General Manager Jerry Dipoto dealt his team's ace left-hander to an already-upper-echelon team: James Paxton is now a New York Yankee.Much like the Johnson deal made by then-GM Woody Woodward, Paxton was traded for three relatively-unknown minor leaguers, two pitchers and one position player. One of them, left-handed starter Justus Sheffield, may be ready for the bigs as soon as next season. The other pitcher, righty Erik Swanson, has a chance to crack the bigs but will likely play in Tacoma next year, while the position player,...
Site Refinements, GS Progress
Hello, faithful readers. As we get closer to Thanksgiving (what? How did we get here already?!), just a quick "Thanks" to those of you who have followed here from the former print edition of Grand Salami and those of you who came to the site after the magazine ceased to exist after 2017. I'm glad to have a readership through the growing pains of the new GrandSalami.net's first season and hope to grow it during the offseason as we get prepped for the Mariners taking the field in 2019.
Mariner Makeover Begins
Seattle General Manager Jerry Dipoto began rebuilding the Mariners for 2019 this afternoon, making a big trade with his favorite trading partner, the Tampa Bay Rays.Addressing one of the bigger questions of the offseason—do the 2019 M's try again with the 2018 plan of Dee Gordon in center and Robbie Canó at second, or do they get a new CF to play full time?—the Mariners acquired outfielder Mallex Smith from the Rays in exchange for defensive wizard and strikeout artist Mike Zunino and reserve outfielder Guillermo Heredia.Smith played all three outfield positions for Tampa Bay last year, most often in center.
Having two Game 163s to watch Monday was supposed to make for a great day, but it turned out to only be half a great day. Yeah, I have rooting interests, and they were only half met on Monday, but regardless of favored teams we saw one outstanding game with lots of drama and one snoozer with none at all.
M's are done, but 2018 continues
Wait 'til next year
We all knew it was coming, but the Mariners were officially eliminated from playoff contention last Friday when the Oakland A's won their game against Minnesota. The promise and giddy joy of the first half of the season, slowly ebbing away since the loss to the Angels on the fourth of July, irrevocably crushed under the cleats of Matt Chapman and company.
As I get ready to watch tonight's Mariner game against the Angels (on a delay—thank you, modern technology), I'm wrapping up the creation of a new page on gs.net. Inspired by a conversation I had a while back with friends who are relatively new to baseball, a reference for baseball terminology and lingo is right here for those times when you're watching a game and the announcer seems to start talking jibberish. It might be jibberish—especially if you're watching a White Sox game, Hawk Harrelson is an add one—but more likely it's something you, the aspiring baseball expert, should know.
The Yankees are here for a weekend series, and Salami contributor and world's only sensitive Yankee fan Bill Abelson brings us the goods on the Bronx Bombers. The Friday night matchup is a beaut, with Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka facing off against The Big Maple. Saturday will feature former Mariner J.A. Happ taking on Felix Hernández, while the Sunday afternoon affair has C.C. Sabathia scheduled for New York and a question mark for the M's. It's possible Marco Gonzales will be activated for that one, or Erasmo Ramírez could take the hill.
When a series win instills the air of defeat
The Mariners just finished a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, winning two of the contests and finishing the season series with the Orioles at 6-1. Pretty good, right? A series win after some trying times in this second half is something one might think would lift the flagging spirits of Mariner fandom.
It's September, which means Major League roster limits expand from 25 to 40 for the rest of the regular season. Who have the Mariners added? Well, today we saw a number of moves:
I didn't go to any of the three Dodger games at Safeco Field this past weekend. I had other things going on and no affinity or special dislike of the Dodgers, plus I knew the ticket pricing would be exorbitant, so I skipped the series. This turned out to be a good choice.
As the Dodgers pummel the M's in game one of this weekend series, I've taken some time to update some of the more egregiously outdated player profiles.
Signs of Life
After dropping three of four to the underachieveing Blue Jays and two of three in frustrating fashion to the Rangers, the Mariners have somehow come back to take the first three of a four-game series in Houston against the first-place Astros. It's been a huge lift for the club and, frankly, for a fan base that was all but giving up on what has been a tremendous season until the past month or so.Credit manager Scott Servais for trying something different and shaking up his lineup for the Houston series.
In addition to the standard update to the page for the current opposing team, player profiles for Felix Hernández, Denard Span, Zach Duke, and Ryon Healy have been updated/added. Others are still out of date and need attention, I know. If anyone wants to volunteer their help with that, I'm open to it...
Well, that was ugly.
The streak is over
The Mariners were on a winning streak (technically). Now they're not. The sad post-Independence Day fall from grace continues. There's still time for a recovery, but getting thumped by the Rangers is depressing.
Two in a row is a start(?)
The Mariners are on a winning streak. Not an impressive one, sure, but two games is technically a streak. And with the way the M's have performed since they broke their last actual win streak—eight games—on July 4th, two in a row feels like a notable achievement. We all hope this is the beginning of the resurgence Seattle needs to reclaim its playoff standing, but a win like tonight's doesn't do much to calm the nerves of the Mariner still-for-now-but-for-how-much-longer-faithful.
Are the Mariners collapsing?
With yesterday's loss to the woeful Toronto Blue Jays, The Mariners have been overtaken by the Oakland A's in the Wild Card race. The M's had held either first place in the division or a Wild Card position from May 18th through August 1st, but after their fantastic June—when they won 19 out of 28—they stumbled badly, playing under .500 for the month of July (10-13) and they've now dropped the first two games in August. Meanwhile, Oakland has surged, going 18-8 since July 1st, and the Astros and Yankees have held their own to hold onto their playoff positions.
The player profiles section has been updated to include the new arrivals—Sam Tuivailala, Adam Warren, Zach Duke, and Cameron Maybin.
Trade Deadline Roundup
July trade season is now over, and it was busy for Major League general managers. Some of the players we speculated about switched teams, some didn't, but all in all, there were 45 trades made since the All-Star Game (July 17th). Many involved the typical rental-type players, but there were some surprising longer-term deals among them too. Here's a quick wrap-up of the moves made by contenders and would-be contenders:
Mariners trade for Maybin
As today's 1:00pm trading deadline approached, GM Jerry Dipoto was, naturally, still working the phones. His efforts landed the Mariners one more piece as we head into the dog days of August, outfielder Cameron Maybin.
Mariners trade for more relief help
The Mariners made two more trades today, bolstering their bullpen with two veteran rental pieces.
Mariners trade for relief help
Mariner General Manager Jerry Dipoto struck another deal today, trading minor-league pitcher Seth Elledge to St. Louis for right-handed reliever Sam Tuivailala.While not a high-profile trade, the acquisition does fit Dipoto's pattern of hunting down players in controllable contracts that fit specific needs. In this case, the 25-year-old Tuivailala slots into the Mariners' relief corps as a righty-batter specialist, though he has had full- and multi-inning appearances this year for the Cardinals and could be used that way here as well.Drafted by the Cardinals in 2010, Tuivailala is a converted shortstop with a power arm.
It was brought to my attention that a few areas of the site had been misbehaving of late, so I spent some time today implementing a few fixes:
Trade Winds Pick Up
Now that the All-Star Game is behind us, July Trade Season begins in earnest. Manny Machado has finally been traded (to the Dodgers, for five minor-leaguers) and serves as an unofficial starting gun; let the wheeling and dealing begin!
When the Royals were last in town, I was offered a ticket to my choice of one of the three games in that series. I looked at the schedule, saw that the Saturday game had the fun "Turn Ahead the Clock" promotion and nearly picked that one, but then I looked at the pitching rotation and saw Marco Gonzales' name for the Friday game. "Friday," I told my friend with the ticket connection, "no question." The King still reigns and Big Maple is the undisputed ace, but the guy I want to see pitch is Marco.
So, the fans, the players, and the Commissioner's office have spoken. Only three Seattle Mariners have been selected for the 2018 AL All-Star team: Edwin Díaz, Mitch Haniger, and Nelson Cruz. Something is broken.
Tom Hutyler is Bad at His Job
I've got a few pet peeves when it comes to the ballpark experience at Safeco Field. Aside from what the Mariners do on the field, I mean.
M's lose Zunino to DL again
Mike Zunino was getting the day off on July 4th. Chris Herrmann started at catcher and Z was kicking back in the dugout. But then the Mariners mounted a threat against the Angels and Z was asked to pinch-hit and finish out the game. He walked and singled in his two plate appearances, a very good sign after he spent a good deal of pre-game time working on his batting mechanics with Edgar Martínez and Minor League field coordinator Mike Micucci, but rolled his ankle while running the bases.
It's All-Star season once again, and the 2018 contest in Washington, DC, should have plenty of Mariner representation. Jean Segura, James Paxton, Mitch Haniger, Edwin Díaz, Nelson Cruz, and perhaps Dee Gordon and Marco Gonzales are all deserving of a spot on the AL squad, and in the Mariners' best years they've sent a hefty contingent to the All-Star Game.
The Halfway Mark
Even though the All-Star break traditionally marks the start of the second half of the season, in terms of games played, the Mariners are there now. Having swept the Baltimore Orioles, the M's are now 51-31, 82 games into the 162-game campaign.
The Balancing Act of an MLB Schedule
Is it just me, or does anyone else think the Mariners' schedule is a bit wack?
First-place(!) M's begin homestand on a roll
It was looking bleak for Your Seattle Mariners not too long ago. On a Sunday afternoon in Detroit, Robinson Canó was hit by a pitch and left the game with a broken hand, and fans began to wonder how the M's would manage without him for perhaps a month or more. Then it was revealed that Canó had also flunked a PED test, so he'd actually miss half the season. Their third-place hitter and MVP candidate gone for half the year?! How could they survive?!
M's draft pitcher in 1st round
Breaking with recent tradition, the Mariners used their first selection in the 2018 amateur draft on a pitcher, drafting Stetson University sophomore Logan Gilbert with the 14th overall selection.
Cast your ballot
All-Star voting season is upon us. Sadly, you can no longer vote in person at the ballpark; gone are the days of whiling away the between-innings time by amusing your fellows with ballots filled out for the "all-disabled list team" or "worst-stats-ever team" along with your real choices, consigned to history are seating areas littered with little paper ballot chads.
Better late than never
Marc Rzepczynski leaves the M's after posting an ugly 9.39 ERA this season
The Target Tour
This isn't about the Mariners, but a feature in a Minneapolis community paper today by Jim Walsh spotlights Target Field tour guide Bob Lundegaard, father of GrandSalami.net contributor Erik Lundegaard, and I figured it was worth a link. If you're ever in Minneapolis, go for the tour and ask for Bob!
Is this for real?
Don't look now, but Your Seattle Mariners are just one game out of first place. On Memorial Day. While their arguably-best player is out on suspension and their other arguably-best player (really, there are several guys you could argue for) on the DL with a broken toe. After a week when the offense couldn't scratch out more than 2.7 runs per game. It's...unsettling.
Trader Jerry Strikes Again
General Manager Jerry Dipoto made his first in-season trade of the year earlier today, acquiring relief pitcher Alex Colomé and outfielder Denard Span from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league pitchers Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero.Colomé led the American League in saves last year with 47, but won't be asked to close in Seattle so long as Edwin Díaz remains effective. Instead, he will slot into a setup role, where Juan Nicasio has struggled.But the big piece of this deal, at least in the short term, appears to be Span.
In the first of what I hope will be a lengthy series of reader-submitted columns, Matt Estrada tells of his introduction to Mariner fandom and how Ichiro Suzuki became a favorite in the Estrada household.
M's Extend Lease with PFD
We don't yet know what it will be called, but the Mariners will continue to play at what is now Safeco Field at least through 2043. The team agreed to terms with the Washington State Public Facilities District for a new 25-year lease that has two three-year options attached that could stretch the life of the agreement through 2049.
You Get Nothing!
Because of a rainout in Detroit last week, the Mariners needed to bring up someone from Triple-A to make a spot start against Texas this past Wednesday afternoon. To make room, the M's designated reliever Erik (don't call him Eddie) Goeddel for assignment.This move struck me as problematic. Goeddel had been very effective in his short time with the Mariners and would certainly be lost to the organization with the DFA; meanwhile, other pitchers had been, shall we say, bad, and probably ought to be cut anyway.Today Goeddel was claimed off the waiver wire by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
PEDs: Make 'Em Pay
I was traveling yesterday and thus unable to write or post anything about yesterday's big news, the 80-game suspension of Robinson Canó, until now. I was, however, able to listen to sports radio as I drove and absorb what reactions the news was generating among the Mariner fanbase and mediascape. It was interesting.
Canó Suspended for PED violation
On Sunday, Robinson Canó was hit by a pitch and broke his right hand. Today he was handed down an 80-game suspension from Major League Baseball for violating policy on performance-enhancing drug use. He is not having a good week.
I think I can lay my concerns about James Paxton to rest now. In is first start of 2018, Pax looked bad, allowing six runs to the Indians without getting out of the fifth inning. He had three pretty good starts following that, but not great, and then another bad one in Texas. Was there something wrong? Had the Big Maple been cut down to size?
This was the profile I wrote about newcomer Ichiro Suzuki for The Grand Salami back in the spring of 2001:
Ichiro No More
Well, it's happened. Sort of.As rumored earlier this week, Ichiro Suzuki has hung up his spikes, at least for the remainder of this year. He is not officially retired, according to his agent, but for all practical purposes, the future Hall of Famer's Major League career ended last night, when he played all nine innings in left field for the Mariners in their loss to the Oakland A's.The Mariners are reporting the Ichiro will "transition" to a front office role currently defined as Special Assistant to the Chairman.
Irasshaimase! Tokyo Welcomes Mariners back to Japan
Major League Baseball has announced that the Mariners and Oakland Athletics will once again open the season in Japan in 2019. The two games will be held in the Tokyo Dome and the A's will serve as the "home" team. As was the case the last time MLB opened in Japan—also with the Mariners and Athletics, in 2012—the opening series will be held a week in advance of the rest of the league starting the campaign to allow for the M's and A's to readjust to the time difference between Japan and North America (Japan is 17 hours ahead during...
RUMOR: Ichiro may retire THIS WEEK
This is unconfirmed. To my knowledge, this remains informed speculation on the part of Root Sports' Brad Adam, based on a text exchange he had with Ichiro. But the scuttlebutt is that Ichiro may call it a career after this week's homestand.
State of the M's: April
Don't look now, but Your Seattle Mariners are a playoff team.
The Return of Roenis Elias
Following the 2015 season, the Mariners traded one of their promising young starting pitchers, Roenis Elias, to Boston along with reliever Carson Smith, for more seasoned starter Wade Miley. (Miley has since been traded himself, for pitcher Ariel Miranda.) Elias only made four appearances with the Red Sox after that, spending the majority of his time with Boston's Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket, and had a lengthy stint on the disabled list with a strained oblique. This week the Red Sox traded Elias back to the Mariners in exchange for either a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Mid-Road Trip Exam
The Mariners are halfway through their current road trip through Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago, and Cleveland, having taken the series with the Rangers two games to one and split the first two with the White Sox. How has it gone? Let's examine.
An Unlikely Champion for Daniel Vogelbach
Now, don't get me wrong. Dee Gordon is my guy. He's fast, he bunts, he steals, he hits, he defends. My kind of player. But I've become an enthusiastic booster for Daniel Vogelbach.Vogey is not my kind of player. He's slow, he bashes, he has to work hard not to be relegated to DH. And to me, someone who grew up a devotee of Whitey Herzog's St. Louis Cardinals of the 1980s, he represents the antithesis of cool. Cool was Vince Coleman and Willie McGee burning up the basepaths, Ozzie Smith turning cartwheels as well as double-plays, and Tommy Herr...
It's a Beautiful Day for an Off Day
Thank the schedulemakers that today is a bizarre Friday off-day for the Mariners. After the last two games, a blowout loss to San Francisco and a fall-from-ahead defeat at the hands of the Twins, this team needs a breather, a chance to reflect on their performance. It's not that the M's lost two straight. That's not that big a deal, and it's going to happen again—I daresay more than once—during the course of the season. It's the squandering of opportunities. The Mariners left 21 runners on base in those two games, going 3-for-29 with runners in scoring position.
San Fran Split
Random thoughts on the just-completed San Francisco series...
New Minor League Rule Goes Too Far
Commissioner Rob Manfred and baseball executives in general have had a bee in their bonnet about "pace of play" for some time now. They think baseball is allowing games to take too long, that fans don't have the patience for a three-hour game in this modern age of short attention spans and digital distractions.
Game One: Random Thoughts
Game 1 of 162 is in the books, and it was a nailbiter win for Your Seattle Mariners against the Cleveland Ethnically Insensitive Caricatures. Some random observations:
Mariners Figure to Extend Streak in 2018
In all of the major sports, what team has gone the longest without appearing in a playoff game? That's right, your Seattle Mariners, who haven't tasted the postseason since 2001.
Marjama the Man
New catcher Mike Marjama is the subject of the latest mini-documentary from LeBron James' UNINTERRUPTED. In the eight-minute film, Marjama details his struggle with body image and masculinity, which manifested as an eating disorder in his teen years. "I was going to be a man," he says.Professional sports has long been a domain rife with machismo, and whether that's a good thing or not I'll leave to your own sensibilities. But one thing is certain: It takes courage and guts—or, if you prefer the coarse macho language of the locker room, balls—to confront a personal demon like this, persevere, and...
Some Mariner fans are elated. Some are skeptical. And some are disgusted. Whichever camp you may find yourself in, the fact of the matter is that, at age 44, Ichiro Suzuki is a Mariner once more. Personally, I am in the first camp. I have always loved watching Ichiro play, and I'm delighted to get the chance to see him in person once again at Safeco Field. That Ichiro has the opportunity to continue his Major League career at all is satisfying, and getting to see him climb up the hits leaderboard back in a Mariners jersey is a sweet,...
Grand Salami: A New Era
Welcome to the new Grand Salami website. After 22 years as a print magazine, the gameday program and feature publication is transitioning to a digital-only format. Our intent is to provide the same kinds of commentary and information on the Mariners and baseball that we ran in the print magazine here on the website. GrandSalami.net will contain features like player profiles, coverage of opposing teams, and analysis of the ongoing Mariners season, as well as, we hope, input from you the readers—you are invited and encouraged to comment on our articles, reply to our polling, and converse in our forums!
How Much is a Mariners Game Ticket?
Determining the price of a Mariners ticket is a complicated matter these days.
J Michael Kenyon (1943-2017)
One of the most interesting characters in Seattle sports history never took the field for one of its sports teams. Writer and historian J Michael Kenyon was not only the Seattle Post-Intelligencer beat writer for the first Seattle SuperSonics team in 1967, he was also the P-I’s beat writer for the first four seasons of the expansion Seattle Mariners (1977 to 1980).
The King and the Commoners
King Felix stepped onto the castle balcony and gazed out at his kingdom, taking in the beauty of the white-capped mountain ranges on both sides, the sparkling blue waters stretching toward the ocean and the green forests spreading to the horizon. He also carefully averted his vision from the eyesore of the nearby tunnel-digging project, still stalled and going nowhere (why had he listened to his advisers on that idea?).
Secrets of a Successful Street Vendor
Hours before the crack of batting practice bats, Safeco Field’s ancillary businesses quietly prime for the harried hours leading up to the first pitch of the day. Service workers clad in Mariners gear jingle keys and talk on cell phones as they walk to jobs at nearby restaurants. Parking lot jockeys cordon off the ideal spot to work from while flagging down the day’s fares.
Remembering Dave: Andy Niehaus shares thoughts of his dad
I know many of you reading this have lost a loved one, a close family member. Well, when my dad, Dave Niehaus, passed away late last year, it was my first, and I have found all of the tired old clichés to be true. I used to snicker when people said things like, “You never know what you have until you lose it,” but not anymore.
Scalpers Shake Up Image
It was time to get ready for work, so Mac McCool excused himself from his lunch at FX McRory’s in Pioneer Square. Up from Portland on business, he was heading back to his hotel to get changed out of his Seahawks sweatshirt and grab a quick shave. After work, he thought he might try to catch a Mariners game. And that maybe his son, also in Seattle on business, would join him.