I am spending this very Seattle day indoors watching the last bits of the Packers/ Panthers game.* Might give other games some thought, but after the week I’ve had, I think I’d prefer to just shut down and watch the South Park marathon currently happening on another channel. I’ve spent my week sick, and overtaxed. My cat JJ (yes, named after that JJ) was in the ER for two days with bladder problems, and that ultimately means that I can no longer fork out a downpayment to keep my season tickets with the Ms; there simply isn’t enough money left after the debt I am now in over his medical bill. This is fine, as we have to do what we have to do as responsible pet owners, but it completely takes the wind out of my sails for heading to a pub for lunch to watch football. Home is cheaper and less noisy.
The Mariners, meanwhile, were busy while I was trying to avert crisis. We have sent Logan Morrison back to Florida, and he is taking Danny Farquhar and Brad Miller with him. My initial reaction was to be disapponted in the move, because Morrison was a player I started out not liking as a personality. He was a fair to middling player acquired during a time where we needed one that was much better, and his online antics made me wonder if Seattle was really the right fit for him. But he grew on me after a bit, and when he had his moments, they were great and a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately, those moments were not frequent enough for Jerry Dipoto to keep him around (or for us as fans wanting to see some more runs put up to want that to happen), and after my initial shock, I warmed up to the idea. I like the concept of an everyday first baseman. It seems like forever since the team has had someone at first who was truly worth keeping there. Since 2008, our first basemen have been:
- Miguel Cairo
- Tug Hulett
- Richie Sexson
- Mike Carp
- Mike Sweeney
- Russell Branyan
- Justin Smoak
- Alex Liddi
- Nick Franklin
- Kendrys Morales
- Jesus Montero
There are other bench players I am sure I am missing, but that’s not really an all-star list, is it? In return for these three, we got back RHP Nate Karns, reliever CJ Riefenhauser, and some kid named Boog Powell who has nothing to do with the ex-Oriole Boog Powell, but who is apparently ranked 13 in the list of Tampa Rays prospects, so we have that going for us. Powell spent 56 games at the triple A level last year, after playing 61 games in double A. He is 22 years old and Steamer projects him to improve next year, so he might be fun to watch come up, though I really hope they don’t rush him (which will also be a point of interest as far as how Dipoto handles our minors). I should probably get down to Tacoma at least once in 2016, unless of course the team sticks him at double A. He will be getting an inviation to Spring Training, though, so at the very least I might be able to check him out on TV or radio.
The general consensus seems to be that this move was a good one, and I can’t say I disagree. I feel awful about Brad Miller; he was one of the guys I really liked here, and I had hoped he would improve and thrive here, and he may do well with the Rays, but he’s 26 now, and probably should have spent more time in triple A before being moved up here; I don’t think his short stint with the Rainiers was really long enough to get a full idea of who he is as a player. I am hoping he makes a nice utility guy with the Rays; he’s a likeable guy and I wish him luck. As for CJ Riefenhauser, I’m going to leave that to the upcoming season. He’ll be 26 years old by the time the season starts, and he has spent just about his entire baseball career in the Rays minor leagues. His numbers are difficult for me to gauge, because my understanding of pitching metrics is light, and the fact that he’s a reliever makes it even more difficult. I’m guessing he’ll spend time between here and Tacoma next year, but I’m not sure I see a 26 year old reliever with a 6.27 FIP being a regular in our bullpen. Stranger things have happened, though.
I feel like Nate Karns is the gem in the bunch. He’ll be 27 by April, and while he hasn’t spent much time in the majors, he is being looked at as a back-of-the-rotation starter, probably anywhere from 3-5 depending on injuries and whatever else. Per Nathan from Lookout Landing, he is under team control for the next five years, so if this doesn’t work out, it’s not like we have a bunch of red tape to wade through to get ourselves out of it. He is fresh out of his rookie season, and I am keen to see what he can do.
The name Byung-ho Park has also been floating around. Park is a player in the Korean League, on a team called Nexen Heroes. I am going to be the first to admit that the amount of knowledge I have about the KBO could fit in maybe half a thimble. In fact, I know more about British baseball than I do about Korean baseball, and Korean players are actually sought after by MLB teams. The Heroes accepted a bid for MLB teams to even start to speak with Park about a deal; the bid winner is still a mystery, but the Mariners have not been ruled out. The winning team has 30 days to nail down a deal with Park, and if they don’t, then the Heroes lose the money and the bidding team goes back to square one. Park is, of course, a first baseman. There have been a number of Korean players in MLB, but there are issues with how stats in Korea equate to professional baseball here. I got into a discussion earlier today on Twitter with Alex from Seattle Sportsnet regarding the hype around Park and how it’s not as easy to measure the Korean metrics as it is Japanese metrics, since we deal with Japan more frequently in trades. Park’s statistics are at BaseballReference.com , and while I am in no way taking those numbers at face value, I feel I need to point it out that a lot of people doubted Yu Darvish when he came over here as well, and yet he has shown up as advertised. Does that mean Park will as well? Of course not; but the basic (very basic, yes) numbers in KBO look good, and if he is obtained at a sensible price, why not check him out?
All of this might be moot anyway, because nobody knows who is talking to whom. But I have to say, Jerry Dipoto has started the offseason with a bang. I am looking forward to seeing what else he is able and willing to do.
*Game is very over and was very terrible as this is actually posted.