Postseason to be held at neutral sites, Manfred wants fans (and their wallets) in attendance
Commissioner Rob Manfred's office has announced an agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association on neutral locations for this years Division Series, League Championship Series, and World Series. While the first round of playoffs will still be held at the higher seed's home ballparks, the latter rounds will be contained to southern California and Texas.
Giants series relocated
The Mariners' two-game series against the San Francisco Giants that was slated to begin tonight has been postponed one day and relocated to San Francisco due to abysmal air quality in Seattle. This was done after complaints were lodged by players, principally from the Giants, but also from the Seattle side.
The Mariners today have outrighted Mallex Smith from their satellite training facility off of the 60-player pool of available personnel for 2020. On paper, he is now assigned to Triple-A Tacoma. The move was not, apparently, made to clear a spot on the 60-man list for someone else.
Opt-outs and COVID cases
Below is the current list of major league players who have opted out of playing in 2020 due to concerns over the coronavirus, plus a list of players who are known to have been infected with COVID-19. This list will obviously grow and evolve as preseason training camps progress, and we will update it as needed to keep current.
Mariners add outfielder for reasons(?)
Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto added a player to the Mariners' major-league roster today by claiming outfielder Phil Ervin off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
M's postponed until Friday and other news bits
In addition to tonight's and tomorrow's games between the Mariners and the Oakland A's being postponed, Thursday's contest has also been pulled form the schedule. This doesn't appear to be because the Oakland crew has had any further COVID-19 issues beyond the one case that was revealed on Sunday; rather, it seems to be more of a logistical issue for the A's coupled with extra caution. Instead of traveling to Seattle, the A's will go home to Oakland and prepare for their series with San Diego, scheduled to begin Friday.
Trade deadline recap and the new state of the M's
The wild and wacky 2020 mini-season, with its expanded playoff structure and small-sample-sized skewing of performances, made for some interesting wheeling and dealing over the last few days. With 2020's oddly timed August 31st trading deadline now behind us, what interesting conclusions can we make?
Another trade, plus COVID hits the West and postpones next games
Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto swung one last trade as this afternoon's MLB trading deadline hit, sending reliever Taylor Williams to San Diego in exchange for a player to be named later.
Well, that didn't take long.
No game tonight
Tonight's game between the Mariners and the San Diego Padres has been postponed.
Better late than never: Fraley promoted
It took them until the season was half over, but the Mariners have finally promoted outfielder Jake Fraley to the team. He is slated to start tonight in right field in Seattle's game against the Texas Rangers.
More roster moves
The Mariners made another pair of roster moves today, placing relievers Erik Swanson and Taylor Guilbeau on the injured list with muscle strains. To fill their spots, the club has activated veteran reliever Yoshihisa Hirano from the COVID-19 injured list and recalled left-handed pitcher Aaron Fletcher from the satellite camp.
Vogey DFA'd, Mallex to taxi squad
The Mariners made a series of roster moves upon their return home from their 1-7 road trip, giving them a slightly different look as they prepare to take the field at TMP tonight against the Dodgers.
Nancy and the Heart Attacks
There's a lot that's different about this Mariners season from last year. A lot. From leaguewide (and nationwide) changes related to the pandemic to the Mariner-centric issues with young players getting big-league playing time. But one thing that is thud far exactly the same is the revolving door in and out of the Seattle bullpen.
M's make minor moves
The Mariners made a couple of minor transactions today ahead of their game tonight in Arlington, Texas. They are:
News bites: 8/4/20
A few items from the day to pass along:
Cardinals' COVID outbreak grows
The St. Louis Cardinals are the new Miami Marlins. Today's coronavirus test reporting, from tests performed over the weekend, bring the Cardinals' total number of infections up to 13 (seven players, six coaches and/or support staff among the traveling party).
COVID updates, etc.
Another day, another postponement in Major League Baseball. As was the case yesterday, tonight's game in Milwaukee between the hometown Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals has been bumped due to more positive test results for COVID-19. One St. Louis player, two coaches, and a staff member traveling with the team tested as infected, in addition to the two Cardinal pitchers that we learned yesterday had tested positive. None of the six Cardinals consented to make his identity known.
More COVID cases puts season in (more) jeopardy
Another coronavirus case among the Miami Marlins and two COVID-19-positive test results from the St. Louis Cardinals were made known today, bringing the Marlins' total number to 18 players and two coaches and causing enough concern with the Cardinals for MLB to postpone their game tonight against he Milwaukee Brewers.
Just a few items for the day:
Marlins outbreak further illustrates Manfred's faults
As posted this morning, the Miami Marlins are in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. Since posting that article, test results from late last week came back and seven more Miami players and two coaches had positive results for the coronavirus. The personnel involved were not identified. The Marlins' opponents over the weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies, underwent supplemental testing today and both the Phillies and the Marlins postponed their scheduled home games this evening.
Between COVID-19 and short preseason, pitchers start dropping like flies
The first few games of 2020 are in the books, and we're just starting to see how both a short preseason training camp and holding games during a pandemic is hurting various teams' rosters.
Opening Day is here
Whether it's a good idea or not, opening day is happening, and it's happening today. Empty stadiums, masks in the dugout, broadcasters working from home, it's the weird and wacky 2020 mini-season, for as long as it lasts.
16-team playoffs a go for 2020
It's official, as of about three hours ago—which is also three hours before the first pitch of the truncated 2020 season—the playoffs will include eight teams per league this year, assuming a postseason is played at all.
As opening day nears, questions still remain
After much delay we're finally here. In this bizarre age of coronavirus and leadership by idiots, all of the hemming and hawing over schedule length, pay scales, health protocols, et cetera, is over; all of the logistical puzzles have been solved and the troubles are all behind us, so we're set for games to—
Mariners firming up roster in advance of Opening Day
For good or ill, Major League Baseball will open its truncated 2020 season this week, and the Mariners are getting ready.
More 2020 logistics as MLB rolls the dice with 2020
Make of this what you will—the District of Columbia gave the Washington Nationals an exemption to its COVID-19 isolation policy, saying players may forego the 14-day quarantine if they become infected so long as they restrict themselves to Nationals Park and their residences/hotels for the two-week period, while the Canadian federal government has denied a similar exemption to the Toronto Blue Jays, so there will be no games played in Canada and the Jays have to find somewhere else to call home for 2020.
Updates on the folly surrounding the 2020 season
We're still a week or two away from seeing any real evidence of success or failure in Major League Baseball's coronavirus health and safety protocols, but we are seeing evidence of failure to see the big picture in other ways.
Not much to talk about today, but here are a few notes to pass along.
It just continues
My, oh my.
More players test positive for coronavirus
More players have been reported to have had positive COVID-19 tests as training camps get underway. All-Stars Freddie Freeman, D.J. LeMahieu, Salvador Pérez, Miguel Sanó, and Aaron Nola are among today's new additions to the list.
The dominoes start falling
As preseason training camps open up, the coronavirus test results come in. A reported 31 positive tests came in the initial screenings as payers reported to their home ballparks this week, including Cleveland's Delino DeShields Jr., San Diego's Tommy Pham, and Texas' Brett Martin, all of whom approved their result being made public. This in addition to previously known infections, such as that of All-Star Charlie Blackmon and two Rockies teammates and 11 Philadelphia Phillies.
Manfred steps in it again and the COVID IL gets its first of many uses
Commissioner Rob Manfred went on the Dan Patrick radio show yesterday and metaphorically stepped on another rake to whack himself in the face. In discussing the lengthy and ultimately pointless so-called negotiations with the players' union—and the animosity created by them—Manfred said this: "The reality is we weren’t going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went."
Players start opting out as COVID-19 continues to rage
As tomorrow's deadline for players to report to preseason training camp approaches, four major league players have announced they will be opting out of the 2020 season due to concerns over the coronavirus.
Details begin to emerge for 2020 changes
The players' union and Commissioner Rob Manfred's office have given up on arguing over economic matters for now, but they are still ironing out protocols for health and safety in the theoretically-upcoming abbreviated 2020 campaign. Some of those protocols will translate to rule changes on the field in the interest of player safety.
Commissioner announces 2020 season will commence
So. You know all that arguing and wrangling and bad blood being spilled and hostility being ginned up between ownership and the players' union over the past couple of months? Yeah, that was for nothing.
MLB closes spring facilities, season negotiations stalled again
Surprising absolutely no one who's been paying attention, multiple major league clubs have reported COVID-19 infections among their players and staff and apparent outbreaks in their spring training facilities. MLB today ordered all spring facilities closed again, after several clubs shut down complexes on their own.
Latest on 2020 negotiations
Well, Commissioner Manfred's tactics seem to have backfired on him, as his office has resumed negotiations for a new agreement to open a 2020 campaign. It's not all good news, though it does appear that a deal will be struck now that the league has given up on trying to reduce player pay beyond the pro rata agreement already made in March.
Manfred, owners give themselves black eye in 2020 negotiations
Stop me if you've head this before, but Rob Manfred is incredibly bad at his job. I mean, picture the worst job you can imagine a commissioner of baseball doing, then multiply that by a factor of five and you might get close to just how bad the man is at the job he's contracted to hold until 2024.
Empty talk of starting season continues among owners
My screed from last week about the ridiculousness of these "plans" to start the 2020 season remains true, but the Commissioner's office and MLB ownership groups continue to put forth proposals to get things going. Today they formally approved this idea and have submitted it to the players' union.
Plans for a new Opening Day are foolhardy
Sigh. It's like there's a new one every week now: A "plan" to start the Major League Baseball season in some fashion amid the coronavirus crisis.
Gordon wins 2020 Hutch Award
Dee Gordon, the Mariners' second baseman and sometime-outfielder, was honored today with the 2020 Fred Hutch Award, bestowed upon a Major League player who exemplifies courage and fortitude in off-the-field community activity in the manner of the late Fred Hutchinson.
Another 2020 plan that won't happen
A few days ago, Major League Baseball was discussing a 2020 season played entirely in Arizona. Today the talk is around playing a season with all teams using their spring training facilities as their home fields.
2020 season to start up? Don't hold your breath
The last few days have seen some reporting that suggests Major League Baseball is preparing to start the season sometime late next month or early in June. Don't read too much into it, though.
The Longest Offseason
Today was supposed to be Opening Day across baseball. Alas, instead it's just another day in this holding pattern that will last...months? Who knows at this point. The players' union and the Commissioner's Office are struggling to come up with rules covering things like service time for arbitration and free-agency purposes and the draft in this strange year (how would you like to be the Los Angeles Dodgers, having just traded prized prospects for one year of Mookie Betts and then have that one year be wiped out and he's a free agent before he ever suits up for LA?).
Still no baseball
Hi, everyone. Weird times we're living in, aren't they? With COVID-19 having shut down so much of our regular lives, we're all making do as virtual shut-ins.
Events continue to unfold at high speed, but here's the latest on the state of affairs with MLB and the Mariners.
Well, that was fast.
Age of uncertainty
Opening Day is just two weeks away...maybe.
M's add players you may have heard of
The rumors proved to be true: The Mariners have reunited with onetime prized prospect Taijuan Walker.
Trader Jerry boots an easy grounder
As we speculated about last week, the Mariners today traded catcher Omar Narváez. He was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Class-A pitcher Adam Hill and a competitive balance draft pick.
Early offseason odds and ends
It is not going to be an offseason like last year's for Your Seattle Mariners, with massive roster churn and a constant check of the Twitter feed to find proof of life on Jerry Dipoto when we haven't seen news of a trade in 48 hours. But there will be some tweaking, and said tweaking has begun.
The next wave of NPB imports
First was Hideo Nomo, in 1995 (no offense to Masanori Murakami). Then a number of pitchers, including ex-Mariners Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Kazuhiro Sasaki. Ichiro broke through in 2001, opening a modest floodgate that swept in Hideki Matsui, So Taguchi, Kenji Johjima, Kazuo Matsui, Norichika Aoki, and plenty of others. Yusei Kikuchi made the jump last season. Next season, a few more veterans of Nippon Professional Baseball may make their debuts in the Major Leagues.Star outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo has already been told he'll be posted by his current club, the Yokohama BayStars, for bids from Major League teams. Seibu Lions outfielder...
M's fill coaching vacancies from within
Next season will see some new faces among the Mariners' coaching staff, but not the wholesale turnover that came after 2018. Having previously announced the reassignment of pitching coach Paul Davis and the release of bullpen coach Jim Brower and third-base coach Chris Prieto, the remainder of the staff will stay on.
August Roster Churn
The trade deadline may have come and gone, but the roster of the 2019 Mariners continues to be fluid.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,...
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.
M's are done, but 2018 continues
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:
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.
Well, that was ugly.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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).
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.