The Tacoma News Tribune published its rotation preview today. Previously this week, they'd done the OF, the infield, and the catchers. On Feb. 16th, the Times had done the relievers, so unless we also need a cricket-transfer preview, that would seem to allow us a flyover. Was there anything in these previews that was fresh to an SSI denizen? We'll cull it for yer. As y'know, we live to serve.
ROTATION AT THE TNT
Quick: picture an article written for Soccer Mom. Got it? Then you got the rotation preview.
There is nothing wrong with Soccer Mom. Dr. D married a fine specimen of such. Odds are, however, she's not going to info-tain Moe Dawg on baseball matters.
True, Moe Dawg might wish to glance at the NRI's in the article ... if he plans to get out to Tacoma at all this season. And maybe you forgot that Mike Montgomery is the one young SP who is out of options.
If you squint, there is an interesting opinion that between Paxton and Karns, tie goes to Paxton. That's tough, because Karns is by definition DiPoto's boy.
Things To Watch ... :: waves them off :: ... actually Paxton's plant foot, Taijuan's second pitch, and what they're going to figure out on Montgomery. Everything else is scripted, goin' in.
RELIEVERS AT THE TIMES
Beefy article by Divish. He releases the intel that Tony Zych was highly sought-after this past winter. What a shocker. Those back-channel grabs do, however, add to the M's subconscious inertia to put Zych first in line this March.
As y'know, Benoit-Furbush-Cishek are in. Nuno, Hultzen, Rollins (Montgomery Paxton 6SP) fight for the LH role. Zych, Cook, Ano, Scribner, De Fratus and Peralta form a 6-to-make-3 that will dynamically carousel throughout April and May. The Thing To Watch, besides Hultzen, is merely how those last 6-7 righties shuffle into line. But, the Opening Day roster won't mean much for them.
OUTFIELDERS AT THE TNT
I was interested to hear that Nori Aoki has "consistent on-base skills." Hmmmm... consistently .350, true. So I guess Aoki has consistent on-base skills in the sense that Charlie Furbush has consistent fastball skills. No, seriously, these days .350 is compared to a league average that has dropped to .320. Albeit with Aoki's weenie ISO and pretty good speed. The 100 OPS+ in a corner spot doesn't singe Dr. D's wagging tail, but ... it ain't Dustin Ackley In A Slump. That's the point, right?
The TNT opines that Seth Smith WILL collect 30 doubles and 12 homers with a decent batting average. This resolves Dr. D's own question as to whether Smith is any threat to decline. Good on yer, TNT. ... Dr. D is kidding. He assumes that Dutton's mood is a reflection of the M's ease and cheer about Smith. The M's like Smith really really lots. That's news for US.
Predicting 30 doubles and "a dozen" homers, that's kind of quirky ... had you noticed that Smith had 31 doubles, 5 triples, and 12 homers exactly in both 2014 and 2015? :- ) With the 50-70 walks, you could say that he Lengthens the Lineup. Hey, you gotta have a 6 hitter. Like Casey said, without one you'd have a lot of forfeits.
Dutton had a good point that somebody in the OF will get injured, perhaps getting out of his walker, so Boog is crouched at the airplane door to parachute in real early.
INFIELDERS AT THE TNT
Have to say that the ideas in this post weren't exactly the Old Country Buffet to SSI fatties. Not a lot here you hadn't yet grokked.
True, there was an interesting suggestion that if Marte bats .121 in March and Taylor bats .409, then Taylor could still win the job even before Opening Day. Hm. And Dutton insists that Montero has "a big advantage" over Dae-ho Lee because Montero is out of options. To pick one question out of a grab bag on that one: are you saying that Dae-ho Lee would go to Tacoma to start the year?
CATCHERS AT THE TNT
Says here (actually, says THERE) that the M's indeed fancy Iannetta's chances to bounce back with the bat. Sounds good to us. And they note that even if he didn't, an 80 OPS+ beats a 50 OPS+, even by today's liberal-arts understandings of math.
Clevenger, says here* has major issues on defense, making him exactly John Jaso. We might pause and reflect on the difference this puts between Jack Z and DiPoto; Zduriencik would sooner do standup comedy than let a bat-first catcher anywhere near his roster. Run prevention model, indeed ...
I guess we all have Spring Training totally figured out. That's kind of a letdown. But boy howdy, will we ever be ready when the Mariners ask our opinion.