Archive for March, 2011

It’s Time

The wait is finally over! The Mariners kick off the 2011 Major League season against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland. The game is scheduled to start at 7:05 PT and we will see a great pitching matchup between the reining AL Cy Young Award Winner, Felix Hernandez, and right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill.

The active 25-man roster heading into the season look as follows:

Pitchers: Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Doug Fister, Erik Bedard, Michael Pineda, Brandon League, Chris Ray, Aaron Laffey, David Pauley, Jamey Wright, Josh Lueke, Tom Wilhelmsen.

Catchers: Miguel Olivo and Adam Moore

Infielders: Justin Smoak, Jack Wilson, Chone Figgins, Brendan Ryan, Luis Rodriguez, Adam Kennedy

Outfielders: Ichiro Suzuki, Milton Bradley, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders

Designated Hitters: Jack Cust

The rotation will be Hernandez, Vargas, Fister, Bedard, and Pineda.

Tomorrow’s opening day lineup will be as follows:

  1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  2. Chone Figgins, 3B
  3. Milton Bradley, LF
  4. Jack Cust, DH
  5. Justin Smoak, 1B
  6. Miguel Olivo, C
  7. Ryan Langerhans, CF
  8. Brendan Ryan, SS
  9. Jack Wilson, 2B

P. Felix Hernandez

Some more Opening Day Notes:

The Mariners have a few notable players starting the season on the DL, Franklin Gutierrez and David Aardsma. Both should be back by mid-April so we shouldn’t worry too much. Brandon League has been named the closer in Aardsma’s absence. Another thing to watch for is that Ichiro needs only 3 hits to tie Edgar Martinez for the franchise record in hits.

This is what we have all been waiting for, baseball season is finally here. Let us enjoy tomorrow’s game and hope for progress to be made this year.

Kolb heading to Seattle?

Last year Seattle went after Charlie Whitehurst- the quarterback they felt would be the future when Matt Hasselbeck was ready to retire or leave in free agency.

Despite Whitehurst never having any true NFL experience the Seahawks gave up quite a bit in draft picks for the unproven Whitehurst. To acquire Whitehurst the Seahawks had to swap second-round picks and send the Chargers a 3rd-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Whitehurst would appear in six games for the Seahawks starting two- including a Week 17 match-up with the St. Louis Rams. Winner takes home the NFC West Division crown and would earn the chance to host a home play-off game against defending Super Bowl Champions the New Orleans Saints.

Whitehurst would go 22-for-36 with 192-yards and a touchdown defeating the Rams 16-6 and giving the Seahawks their seventh all-time division title and fifth in the past seven-years.

Despite Whitehurs’s success the Seahawks still have their doubts as to whether or not Whitehurst is their future at quarterback. In only six-years in the NFL he’s appeared in eight games- starting two of them completing 57 passes for 507-yards and two touchdowns.

Now the Philadelphia Eagles are shopping former 2nd-round pick Kevin Kolb and according to Sports Illustrated Don Banks the Seahawks could turn out to be the top suitor for Kolb.

Unlike Whitehurst, Kolb has proven himself he’s played in 19-games- starting seven of them and passed for 2,082-yards and 11 touchdowns, but has also thrown 14 interceptions.

If Seattle were to trade for Kolb they most likely would have to give up more to the Eagles than they did for Whitehurst- a 2nd-round pick in 2010 and a 3rd-round pick in 2011.

It might cost them a 1st-round pick in this year’s draft (25th overall) and a conditional pick in 2012, but is that worth it?

Kolb could be a product of a system and he has yet to truly show his potential with the Eagles. He lost the starting job to Michael Vick after an injury, but prior to the injury he had thrown for six touchdowns and only four interceptions. Maybe all Kolb needs is a chance to prove himself.

I’m a strong believer in competition at the quarterback position and he would get that with Whitehurst, but is it worth giving up more picks to get him?

The biggest issue might be if no one is on the board come Seattle’s pick in the 2011 Draft than you make the trade, but if there is a player who will fill a hole or improve your team do you pull the trigger for Kolb?

It will be a question that will have to be answered fairly sooner than later, but two things are for sure- Kolb has proven himself and that is way more than Whitehurst had done when Seattle acquired him.

Finally Carroll is all about competition at any position and willing to take risks.

The uncertainty will be if Kolb is the next risk Carroll and GM John Schneider take on.

 

Mariners Re-Assign 5 to Minor League Camp Including Dustin Ackley

One of the biggest questions heading into spring training was where Dustin Ackley would start the year. Many projected that he would begin the year at AAA Tacoma (including myself) so that he could fine tune his defense at second and avoid Super Two arbitration status. Well the decision is final as the Mariners assigned him to AAA today. This will be a great opportunity for fans to see Ackley at the brand new Cheney Stadium to open the year. He should make his major league debut sometime in June.

The Mariners made a lot more moves today regarding non-roster invitees.

The Mariners announced that Gabe Gross will be assigned to minor league camp. He has had a very rough spring, hitting .077 in 26 at-bats. He could end up at AAA Tacoma or possibly be released.

Ryan Langerhans has been hitting .333 in 36 at-bats and has earned the role of reserve outfielder on the opening day roster. He was brought in to compete with Gross, and Jody Gerut for the job.

The Mariners assigned catching prospect Steven Baron to minor league camp as well. Baron had zero chance of making the opening day roster but he was brought up to provide some catching depth and work with the veterans. Baron is great defensively but he will need to greatly improve his offensive game if he hopes to one day reach the majors.

Fabio Castro gave up 5 runs in 7 innings this spring which wasn’t enough to keep him around. The very small, 5’7” 185lb lefty should stick around at AAA for some left-handed relief depth.

Sean Kazmar came into camp with an outside shot to compete for a bench utility role. He hasn’t helped his cause, hitting .130 in 23 at-bats. He may end up in Tacoma to serve as a utility player but we will have to wait and see.

I Hope I can Add to Your Reading Experience…

Thank you to Brett for the invitation to offer some content on NWPS12.com.  I’ve been writing for Bleacher Report, and will be porting some of the relevant articles here.

I’ll be posting several articles today (sorry for the deluge).  I will also be adding weekly “Blue Friday” posts on the Seahawks’ draft needs heading up to the NFL Draft starting April 28th.

I look forward to your feedback and sharing thoughts and ideas on professional sports in our area.  Feel free to contact me with questions or article ideas…or if you think I’m nuts, which I’ve been accused of.  A few examples—I don’t think Pouncey or Solder are worthy of first round consideration at all, and I think Gabbert is as over-rated as a QB can get.  I could be wrong on that, but I was ripped pretty good for saying Anthony Davis was over-rated last year and he would need a few years at least to be considered a decent OT…and even then he should be considered a guard.

Anyway, a healthy dialog is a good thing.  I look forward to sharing with the community.