Instant Analysis: Kendrys Morales Trade

So the Mariners have finally made a move. No, It isn’t to the level of Josh Hamilton or Justin Upton, but it is a move. And it improves this team, something you can’t necessarily say about the moves we’ve made in the past. The Mariners dealt their number two starting pitcher Jason Vargas to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for 1B/DH Kendrys Morales. Let me give you a little background about our new addition and then why you should like this move.

Kendrys Morales

Age: 29

Position 1B/DH

Bats: Switch Hitter

Throws: Right

Last Season’s Stats

  • Avg: .273
  • At-Bats: 484
  • Runs: 61
  • Hits: 132
  • HRs: 22
  • RBIs: 73
  • On-Base %: .320
  • Slugging: .467
  • OPS: .787


I am a fan of this move for several reasons. First off, we all are aware of the historic struggles the Mariners have had with producing runs. Morales will bring some needed pop to the middle of the order. Now it won’t be a vast improvement, just so we’re all clear, but we are receiving a serviceable bat, all while saving about $4 million dollars by offloading Vargas’ $7.4 million that he is set to receive this season. Both players are in the final year of their contracts, but are arbitration eligible, simply meaning the M’s are in control of Morales once his contract expires with the chance of going to arbitration to settle on a contract if they wish to bring him back.

Secondly, I will admit, Vargas was a decent pitcher last season. Posting a 14-11 record with a 3.85 ERA on this team isn’t too bad. The only downside is he was significantly worse on the road, having a 4.78 ERA compared to a 2.74 ERA at home. Several things can account for this. First is Safeco Field, one of the best pitchers parks in baseball. But the walls are coming in this season. I don’t think Vargas would see the same success at home, especially because he is much more of a fly ball rather than ground ball pitcher. He also gives up the long ball more than most, so the walls coming in really wouldn’t help his cause. You could point to the fact that even though his ERA was 4.78 on the road, his record was a respectable 9-6. Then again, don’t you remember how well the Mariners hit on the road (at least for their standards)? That number may be a little skewed.

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Ichiro Suzuki and the Impermanence of Icons

Credible Italian Guy is back again, giving us his thoughts and opinions on the Seattle Mariners. This time, he breaks down the trade of Mariners Icon Ichiro Suzuki.

Thank you to Seattle Sports and Otherwise for deeming me qualified to write a post that I am most certainly not equipped to handle. I don’t really believe any fan or even baseball writer can adequately assess something as significant as Ichiro’s end in Seattle. There has been so much written about what Ichiro has meant to Japan, Seattle, and Baseball in general. There is so much to say that I know a blog post wont allow, and there is so much to say that I will never be able to find the words for. But I will certainly do my best:

Growing up a Mariner fan in the early 2000’s was not an easy proposition. With the exception of one or two seasons, my fandom has been marred by losing season after losing season. The Mariners have not been even remotely good for the last decade, this much is clear. Of course after enduring ten-plus seasons of futility I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t ask myself “Why are you wasting your time with this non-sense?” The answer to this is complex and multifaceted but in a way the answer is Ichiro.  Not in a literal sense, but in a sense so much more impactful.

Why do we love sports? As easy as it would be to say we love the thrill of victory, that only goes so far to explain our inescapable romance with a child’s game, there has to be something more.

My first memory of the Seattle Mariners that I can remember was when I was ten years old. I remember sitting on my porch on the cool summers eve as I had just finished up dinner, basking in the now mellow sun, letting the ants run underneath my bare feet as I anxiously awaited 7:05, because I knew that was when the Mariners were going to be playing ball. There was no project, no deadline, and no career decision to be made; all I felt was an occasional breeze and the excitement of things to come. Mom and Dad were sitting in the family room; still lingering over dinner as I sat down on my carpet and watched the most breathtaking thing a 10 year old can see; his favorite team take the field. I felt safe, I felt comforted, and I felt as if there could be no wrong in the world. If I turned on the TV at 7:05, Dave Niehaus would welcome me to another Mariners baseball game, and win or lose, the rest was just gravy. To this day I can still remember taking my Fischer-Price toy bat and trying to do all the poses that the Big-Leaguers did, from the awkward stance of Brett Boone to John Olerud’s smooth swing. I didn’t see them as prima donnas and over-privileged athletes, I saw them as pure magic. I guess that is why I still obsess over the child’s game: because in a way, it still makes me feel like a child. Sure, as I have matured my understanding of the game has taken a new, less fantastical form; but the spark that started my love affair with the game will never subside.

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Top 11: Down on the Farm

Another Top 11 coming right up! This time a look at the young guns in the Mariners farm system. The major league team might not be very impressive, but Jackie Z and co. have been hard at work stocking the shelves of the minor league affiliates with top talent through the draft and trades. Here’s the best of what the Mariners farm system has to offer.

11. Phillips Castillo (OF, Rookie)

This 18 year old prospect, who was signed by the Mariners out of the Dominican in 2010, shows great promise a few years down the road. He began by hitting a solid .300 and a .848 OPS in the Arizona League last season at the Rookie level. Castillo possesses the potential to develop some power in his bat, but will also hit for average. Again, keep in mind that he is still at least three years away, but ESPN Insider Keith Law did coin him as the Mariners’ minor league “sleeper,” which is promising. He probably has one of the highest ceilings offensively in the Mariners system, but we all know that anything can happen in the minors.

10. Brandon Maurer (SP, AA)

Selected by the Mariners in the 23rd round of the ’08 draft, Maurer is your prototypical starting pitcher coming in at 6’5″ and 200 lbs. This is now year five for the 21 year old righty and he seems to be making steady progress. He has been injury prone in the past, having dealt with elbow troubles, but he seems to be doing quite well so far this season with the Double-A Jackson Generals of the Southern League. He currently boasts a 5-1 record and 3.82 ERA, but has been extra impressive in June, compiling a record of 3-0 and a 2.73 ERA. Look for him to continue to improve if he can stay healthy.

9. Brad Miller (SS, High-A)

Selected in the second round of the 2011 draft, Miller has torn up the minors since then. He batted .415 for the Clinton Lumberjacks in the Single-A California League, and has set another hot pace this season by batting .322 with a .934 OPS for the Advanced-A High Desert Mavericks. This should come as no surprise though, as Miller was the ACC player of the year in 2011 for Clemson and is a two-time USA national team member. He has been described as a “hard-nosed” player who can either stick at shortstop, or develop into a utility man down the road.

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Seattle Mariners Season Preview

College basketball is coming to a close and that can only mean one thing: Baseball is upon us. The crack of the bat, the smell of freshly cut grass, and sunny days that change into warm summer evenings. America’s pastime and all that it encompasses is something that is in a league of its own. The nostalgia that surrounds the game of baseball is unparalleled. It was my first sport; my first great interest. And that cannot be changed. Just like my fan hood towards the Mariners, who have unfortunately left us disappointed for the past ten years. Regardless, I’m as excited as ever for this season. You may ask what I’m excited about? To be honest, it might be just a bunch of false hope, but let’s take a deeper look at the team Jackie Z and Eric Wedge have assembled for us this year.

Opening Day Lineup:

1. Figgins 3B, 2. Ackley 2B, 3. Ichiro RF, 4. Smoak 1B, 5. Montero DH, 6. Carp LF, 7. Olivo C, 8. Saunders CF, 9. Ryan SS, Pitcher: Hernandez


  1. Chone Figgins, 3B: Who would have thought that this guy would still be in the starting lineup after last season. Unable to move everyone’s favorite Mariner due to his grossly overpaying contract, Figgins has found himself in a more comfortable position: batting first in the order. Figgy was the opening day leadoff hitter for three years for the Angels and in those years his combined average was .280. I think anybody would be ecstatic if he even got into the vicinity of that number this season. After a dismal .188 average last year in 288 at-bats and only 11 stolen bases, the only way to go is up…at least we hope. He’s hitting only .214 in spring training. I’m just going to leave it at that.
  2. Dustin Ackley, 2B: Ack made a splash last season with his call up from triple-A in mid-June. Through his first ten major league games last season he was batting .303. My SS&O partner in crime and I were even on hand to see his first MLB home run (thanks again for the tickets Brandon). He did cool down a little as the year went on but he finished with a respectable .273 average. Not too shabby, especially for this offense. Ackley still remains one of the best young players in the game.
  3. Ichiro, RF: The Old Reliable himself, Ichiro experienced a small setback last season (at least for his standards). It was the first year in his 11 year career with the Mariners that he did not eclipse 200 hits or bat over .300. Albeit 184 hits is still impressive and a .272 average isn’t terrible, but it just wasn’t Ichiro-esque. He is getting up there in age, now at 38, which could account for the setback, but I don’t see him repeating that this season. He’s batting .400 in Cactus League play which is right where he should be. All of that aside, the major news of this offseason with Ichi is his switch from leadoff to third in the order. We have heard for years that the guy has power in his bat that he’s never shown just because of the fact that he has never needed to at the number one spot in the order. I’m still skeptical about the claims but am hopeful that the rumors are true. It just doesn’t seem right given the size of the man, but hey, if anyone were to wow you at the plate wouldn’t it be him?  Continue reading