Archive for February, 2011

RFA expected to return to old form

SI’s Peter King is speculating that Restricted Free Agency could return to the old form in which a player with four-or-more years of experience will be an Unrestricted Free Agent.

If that’s the case it will impact DT Brandon Mebane who under the 2010 CBA rules would have been a RFA. Now he may wind up being an UFA.

That would prevent Seattle from being able to tender him and receive a draft pick as compensation if a team signed him to an offer. Seattle would also have the option of accepting that offer the team made him and matching the contract.

Now Seattle will have to wait to receive nothing if Mebane leaves, but they will be able to continue talking contracts with him until a new CBA is reached. The current CBA expires Thursday March 3rd at midnight. Meaning if no new deal is reached at the stroke of 12:01, March 4th the owners are expected to lockout the players and delay free agency.

Charity Game Lineup

Larry Larue of the Tacoma News Tribune

 

The Mariners have announced their lineup for today’s exhibition game against the San Diego Padres. The annual Charity Game will kick off at 12:05 PT at Peoria Stadium. Players will still be playing their hardest despite it being an exhibition game as Manager Eric Wedge will really start to sort out position battles. The lineup for today’s game is as follows:

  1. Ichiro RF
  2. Chone Figgins 3B
  3. Milton Bradley DH
  4. Justin Smoak 1B
  5. Adam Kennedy 2B
  6. Miguel Olivo C
  7. Michael Saunders CF
  8. Gabe Gross LF
  9. Jack Wilson

Today’s starting pitcher will be Erik Bedard and he will be pitching one inning. The other scheduled pitchers are Luke French, Manny Delcarmen, Denny Bautista, Justin Miller, Cesar Jiminez, Yusmmeiro Petit, and Chris Smith.

In other news from spring training, Jody Gerut just recently announced his retirement. The 33 year old left-handed outfielder was signed to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. Many thought Gerut had a good chance to play on the opening day roster as a backup outfielder. Gerut no longer felt the competitive drive and he “Didn’t want to be a player that plays for only his paycheck” says Gerut as he talked with Shannon Drayer of MyNorthwest.com.

Franklin Gutierrez also arrived back to camp yesterday after undergoing medical tests in Seattle to check for stomach issues. He didn’t want to use his stomach issue as an excuse but he believes it could have impacted his season a little last year in which he put up disappointing numbers offensively. He revealed that this stomach issue has been affecting him since last spring. The test results have yet to come back on what could be wrong with his stomach.

Intra-Squad Rotations Announced

The Mariners are scheduled to play their intra-squad game on Friday at Noon PST. This will be the last step before their first spring training game on Sunday against the Padres.  The Mariners announced the pitchers for each team. The game is planned to be 5 innings long, with each pitcher pitching one inning.

The rotation for team one will be Michael Pineda, Dan Cortes, Fabio Castro, Chaz Roe, and Jose Flores. Team two’s pitchers are Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke, Edward Paredes, Yoervis Medina, and Tom Wilhelmsen. The starters will be Michael Pineda and Blake Beavan. Wedge has stated that there is no real significance in the decision on who will be starting but one thing is for sure; each team will be facing a huge presence on the mound with Pineda at 6’5” and Beavan and 6’7”

All eyes will be on Pineda as he looks to continue to impress people and convince them he deserves to be on the opening day roster. He has been looking very good in his bullpen sessions but we will have to wait and see how he does in live games against major league talent. Beavan should start the year at AAA Tacoma but we could see him make his major league debut sometime in 2011.

In other news, David Aardsma is no longer walking on crutches. He did have the crutches on hand but it is good to see him walking on his own weight. He will begin to throw in about a week if all goes according to plan.

3 players signed

The Seahawks re-signed three players in the past two-days. None of them are their top free agents like Matt Hasselbeck, Brandon Mebane, Olindo Mare or Raheem Brock.

CB Roy Lewis, WR Isaiah Stanback and RB Chris Henry signed undisclosed deals with the Seahawks in the past 48-hours. Lewis had spent two-years on practice squads with Seattle and the Pittsburgh Steelers before earning a spot as a special teamer. He’s also developed into an effective nickel-and-dime back before injuring his knee in the 2010 season and ending the season on the injured reserve.

Stanback has had an injury plagued career since entering the NFL in 2007 out of the University of Washington as a quarterback. Since his four-years in the NFL he’s mainly viewed as a wide receiver and a quarterback for trick plays. He’s played for the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots and has appeared in 16-games through three-years. He has only five receptions for 46-yards.

Henry was signed to the Seahawks practice squad in September and added to the active roster for a few weeks towards the end of October. He’s played for the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans before signing with Seattle prior to the start of the 2010 season. He’s played in 11-games compiling 32-rushes for 122-yards and two touchdowns.

Seattle still has 24 players heading into free agency without a contract. It still looks likely Seattle won’t use a franchise or transitional tag on any of those players allowing them to test the market once free agency starts.

With no new CBA as of now the expected date of free agency, March 4th is still up in the air until a new CBA is finalized between the owners and players association.

Valero heading to Tennessee

Seahawks former Offensive Line coach Art Valero is leaving to take the assistant OL spot with the Tennessee Titans.
Valero took over for zone-blocking guru Alex Gibbs just a week before the season started.

Seahawks Offensive Line coach Art Valero is leaving to take the assistant OL spot with the Tennessee Titans.Valero took over for zone-blocking guru Alex Gibbs just a week before the season started.

Valero will work with the Titans Offensive Line coach Bruce Matthews after spending a season with Seattle. He would have worked with new Offensive Line coach Tom Cable in Seattle had he remained in his current position with the team.

He joins Jedd Fisch (Quarterbacks coach), Rocky Seto (assistant secondary coach), Jerry Gray (Defensive Backs coach) and Dan Quinn (defensive line coach) as the coaches leaving the 2010 coaching staff.

It’ll be interesting if Seattle replaces Valero with Pat Ruel or if Cable brings in his own guy. Another possibility is leaving the position open and keep Cable fully in charge.

Week 1 of Spring Training

 

heyyyyy

Week one of Spring Training is in the books and we are getting closer and closer to live baseball. As we take a look at the Mariners week in review, there aren’t any huge stories that stand out. I have not heard of any players that have showed up with huge weight losses or gains. It appears that everyone has reported on time which is always great news.

Pitchers have been busy throwing bullpen sessions and the guys that have created the most buzz are Erik Bedard and Michael Pineda. Bedard has appeared to be healthy, and coaches have been impressed by him thus far. Mariners’ fans have been longing to hear the word healthy and impressed used with Bedard for a long time. Pineda has impressed a lot of people as well and he will be answering a lot of questions this spring. If he keeps this up, I say punch him a ticket for the opening day rotation.

In other news, we all remember that the Mariners announced the hiring of Ken Griffey Jr. He will be serving as a “Special Consultant” and help serve in a very wide variety of fields in the organization.

One of the earliest pieces of news this spring was that David Aardsma was still on crutches. He is still working to walk normally and he won’t be back until at least mid April It appears that Manager Eric Wedge wants to go the route of a veteran reliever to fill in the closer roll as opposed to the rookies- Josh Lueke and Dan Cortes. The frontrunners for the job are Brandon League, Chris Ray, and Manny Delcarmen. Both Ray and Delcarmen are non-roster invitees.

Another position battle has emerged this spring and that is at shortstop. Wedge has stated that Brendan Ryan will be working a lot at shortstop this spring in competition with Jack Wilson. It appears that the other player will get the second base job. Well how exactly is that a battle if it appears both players will be starting on opening day? If we look a few months into the season then Dustin Ackley really begins to come into the picture. It appears that whoever is starting at second base will be holding it down until Ackley is ready.

Is this the year of redemption for some players on the Mariners roster? Well as I mentioned above, Bedard is looking good in the bullpen sessions but there is another player that is in better shape compared to last year. That player is Milton Bradley. He is in a contract year and the last time he had one, very good things happened. But let’s not get our hopes up.

Inner-squad matchups will begin any day now and then the first live game is February 27th against the San Diego Padres. Make sure you follow me on twitter @Mike_Schwartze for all your up to date Mariners news!

Let your voice be heard

It’s a question that has a tough answer.

Whose side to take- the players or the owners? The one who performs or the one who employs those that brings joy to millions of people around the world on Sundays, Mondays and occasionally a Thursday from September until February.

Come March 4th if no new CBA is agreed on the owners of 32-NFL teams could lockout the players.

So whose side do you take? The players want more money, while the owners want less money for the players and more in their pockets. It’s a common trade when new CBAs have to be finalized. Both sides feeling that the other side isn’t giving them the right piece of the pie.

The players like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady could afford a season of vacation, while the other rookie younger players could afford the money in their wallets. So they’re not getting hurt the most out of the lockout. The owners can go on their vacations and continue to own a team with replacement players- so they’re not getting hurt.

The fans on the other hand- well what do they get out of it?

“As far as the owner’s reaction I have no idea,” Seahawks die-heart fan Lorin “Big Lo” Sandretzky said. “The owner’s won’t stoop down to our (fans) level. They’re billionaires. They won’t stoop down.”

Big Lo is organizing a Seahawk Fan Forum that will take place Mon., Feb. 21st 11 a.m. Western Time at Liquid Line in Kirkland Wash. Currently the Seahawks are one of 17 teams taking part in the forum that takes place between 3 p.m. until 4 p.m Eastern Time.

Jillian Ricard started the idea and already has over half-of-the NFL team being represented.

“We heard of the idea through the Seahawkers,” Big Lo said. “They dropped it because they’re affiliated with the team themselves and didn’t want to do it. So it fell in our lap.”

The idea is a simple one- let the fans voice their opinions, while learning exactly what is going on during the CBA negotiations.

“For the fans that don’t know what’s going on it’s perfect for them,” Big Lo said. “A lot of people don’t know exactly what CBA stands for. To most it means College Basketball Association, but truly it’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.”

The fans aren’t allowed to sit in on the NFLPAs meetings with the Owners and this is their time to show their support or pitch a fit if they want a new CBA before or not too long after the expiration of the current CBA.

“If you’re a fan you have to show support,” Big Lo said. “Do you want football or don’t you? You have to know the actual facts.”

It’ll be a time for the fans to learn what’s going on behind the closed doors and what’s taking the two sides so long to reach an agreement.

Big Lo is one of two organizing the event in Kirkland for the 12th Man. Liquid Lime will be providing drink and lunch specials for those in attendance.

Big Lo has tried to get some players to attend the event, but given their off-season schedule and commitments hasn’t had the luck he would have liked to receive.

“All the support I and the fans give them and no support back,” Big Lo said. “Half-of-me is one way (favoring the lockout) and the other half wants football. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.”

So what happens to the fans if a new CBA isn’t agreed by March 4th? The owners appear likely to lockout the players. Meaning free agency won’t happen and possibly the 2011 NFL Season could have replacement players in uniform come Opening Day.

“People won’t pay to watch other’s play,” Big Lo said. “Only reason I will pay is to keep my season ticket seats.”

The attendance will most likely drop and who knows what will happen to the TV ratings. There will be fans that won’t watch football again just as there were when MLB went on strike in 1994.

“We (fans) could have a walkout if the NFL goes on a lockout,” Big Lo said. “Everybody unite together against the Owners and Players. This is what we can do to you and will do. It would be an eye opener for every professional league.”

The Fan Forum that will take place Monday won’t see a new CBA agreed on after, but they could make a difference just as the mediation the NFLPA and Owners are currently going through. The important thing is getting the fans in the support for a new CBA.

“To save the football season you have to get involved,” Big Lo said. “You have to be active.”

For those of you that can’t attend the event in person you can follow the event via the computer on:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/superfan-ustream-chat

Time: 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Profootballtalk.com’s: Seahawks Offseason Priorities

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/15/offseason-priorities-seattle-seahawks/

I’ll read the article after my classes today and post an up-date reaction.

Mariners Hire Griffey

 

The Mariners announced today that Ken Griffey Jr will be hired as a special consultant for the organization. The greatest Mariner in franchise history will now be spending his time behind the scenes with the ballclub. 

 

Mariners President Chuck Armstrong talked with Kevin Calabro of 710 ESPN Seattle about the new hiring and they discussed what Griffey will be doing with the club. Griffey will be involved in pretty much everything. He has really expressed his desire to help the club and he wants to do a lot. The job will be very open ended and he will help where ever he is needed. The job position will always be always-evolving and Griffey could be doing something different everyday.

I think he will really fit in well while working with the Mariners community. Griffey is an icon and fan-favorite in Seattle and therefore he will be able to establish a great bond between the club and fans. With his new job title, Griffey has also stated a desire to reach out to the minor league affiliates. He wants to talk to the young players and potential future stars about what it means to be a Mariner. Many of these players in the lower minors grew up watching Griffey and he is a role model to many of them. Getting the opportunity to talk to and work with Griffey could go a long way with these minor league players. Another thing that Griffey wants to do, that stood out to me, is that he wants to work in the broadcast booth. Armstrong talked about working Griffey into the current broadcasting rotation from time to time. It would be very fun for Mariners fans to hear one of the greatest players in baseball history call and analyze the game. 

Griffey knows that Jack Zduriencik is calling the shots and he has stated that he will not be doing anything that Zduriencik disapproves of. This is a great move by the Mariners to bring Griffey in. I truly think he will make an impact, both big and small.