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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Why We Are Fans

I haven’t written anything since LeBron James saved my soul by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder back in mid June. Nothing. I got halfway through an NBA Draft Review before reading Bill Simmons’ take on the same thing, realized mine sucked in comparison, and then scrapped it. Since that moment I have watched the entire first season of Workaholics 2.8 times, a miserable amount of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and put a fruit snack into a rotating fan and laughed like a four year old at it when it got smacked around the cage of the fan. The summer of snapchat has been fun to me, but I stopped writing when I shouldn’t have. For that reason, this article is about the roots of why if you’re reading this, you love sports, and if you love sports, why you love sports, because I love sports. We like sportz.

This is the kind of tomfoolery that kept me out of the game

If you missed me, I apologize. I let the 14 regular followers of this blog down. You probably didn’t though as I tend to inflate my own importance. But my obligation to write is not to the faithful 14, it is to myself.

My first sports memory is going to the Kingdome with my parents and my godparents for a Mariners game. I was afraid of the Mariner Moose (I just don’t trust the guy), and so my godfather took me up to the very last row of the stadium so the Moose wouldn’t come up there, and from that moment on I could watch the game in peace. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to like baseball when you aren’t living in constant fear of a seven foot tall woodland monster with crazy eyes. Baseball became from that point on not my favorite sport by any stretch, but a crutch. There’s nothing on TV at 8:30PM in mid-July, you know what, I’ll watch the M’s lose 4-1. I’ve never expected anything from my baseball team, I don’t really enjoy watching other teams play. I don’t get stoked for Sunday Night Baseball. But I always have the Mariners in my back pocket. They are terrible now, but I can make fun of them whenever I want while they are terrible, I can make Justin Smoak jokes (Smoaks), but when they get good in the 22nd century I will be one happy guy.

You are looking into the eyes of a menace

That’s what being a fan is. I’ve paid my dues. I have seen so much bad baseball, through my mullet phase, my lesbian Tim Lincecum phase, through my semi normal cut I have now that I am endowed with the ability to ride the Mariners train whenever I please. I feel bad for a fan base that has never experienced a dreadful era of baseball, or of any sport. Having a laughable sports team is something that I have based my entire life on. My dad taught me Take Me Out to the Ballgame with the addendum, “So root, root, root for the Mariners / If they don’t win it’s the same!” That is the only thing I know. The extension of this argument goes over to a section of sports that I care about more than anything.

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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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Lunchtime Links – 5/30

We’re back with another set of links that might be of interest…

  • Leading off is an article by Sportspress Northwest that describes the atrocious home batting average for the Mariners. A solid .193. You would think they would have better luck in the friendly confines of Safeco Field, but that is not the case. What I found interesting  is the author, John Hickey, brings up that the best hitter at home for the M’s is Casper Wells, with a .235 average. He’s currently in AAA Tacoma.
  • It was brought to my attention that an official website has been made for the new Sonics arena deal. There are also Facebook and Twitter pages affiliated with the site. On them you can find how you can personally help further the possibilities of a new arena in Seattle.
  • There was some sad news that broke yesterday. Johnie Kirton, former Husky running back and tight end, was found dead in his Santa Clara hotel room. The cause of death is still unknown. Kirton, 26, was currently playing for the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. He was on the Huskies from 2004 to 2008 and served as a team captain in his senior season.
  • Lastly, here’s an article by Larry Stone of The Seattle Times debating what the future holds with the Mariners closing role. Brandon League has been struggling as of late, but can he salvage the season and possibly net some prospects at the deadline for the M’s? Stone also talks about Stephen Pryor, a reliever in AAA Tacoma who is absolutely tearing up the competition at the moment. Pryor currently boasts a stat line of a 0.00 ERA over 11.0 innings pitched and 14 strikeouts. On top of that, if you combine those stats with his AA stats from earlier in the season, he has a 0.67 ERA over 27.0 innings pitched and 38 strikeouts. Impressive to say the least.

That’s all we have for you today! While I have your attention, go like our Facebook page in order to be updated on new content that is published on SS&O.

Lunchtime Links – 5/22

Another batch of lunchtime links coming right up!

  • The Sonics – Thunder saga continues, this time in regards to a shirt made by Warpaint Clothing. The front shows of the shirts shows the OKC skyline, resembling the iconic logo of the Supes. The back reads “Thank You Seattle – OKC.” As one would expect, a lot of hate has been sent to the Oklahoman company, some even as drastic as death threats. The company has since taken the shirts off of their shop. But, you be the judge, and vote in the poll below.

  • The first match of the Cascadia Cup was this weekend for the Sounders and they played Vancouver to a 2-2 draw north of the border. Whitecaps midfielder Davide Chumiento had a few words to say about the Sounders after the match. Big words for a player who has yet to beat the Rave Green since his team joined the MLS. The Sounders are in 3rd in the Western Conference standings, sitting three points back with two games in hand.
  • Mark Schlabach, writer for ESPN, came out with his second edition of the “Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25” and the Huskies broke into the rankings at #21. Yeah, nothing has been played in the 2012 college football season, but it’s always nice to see a national media writer show some respect for the Purple and Gold. Other Pac-12 teams to make the list are USC at #2, Oregon at #4, and Stanford at #12. The Huskies matchup in week 2, LSU, is listed as the #1 team. It should be an interesting start to the season, that’s for sure.
  • The Mariners picked up a solid win against the Rangers on Monday night, riding the pitching of King Felix. His stat line was impressive, conceding only 1 run over 8 innings while fanning 7 batters. He just continues to throw gems almost every time he takes the mound. The offensive production has been great on this four game win streak, so hopefully the M’s can keep it rolling.
  • Monday evening news broke that the Seahawks had acquired former Pro Bowler Kellen Winslow Jr. for only a 7th round pick that could be upgraded to a 6th rounder. I love the move by Pete Carroll here as Winslow has posted solid numbers over the recent years. The key will be if he can stay healthy and avoid off the field incidents. If that happens, he should fit nicely alongside Zach Miller, who is looking to bounce back after being injured for most of last season.

That’s it for now! Hope you enjoyed the light reading and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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