So, are the Mariners a Good Team now?
90+ losses with Swagger, baby


Mojo sez,

"So, is it safe to say that the Mariners are officially a good team?"


To which MVP-caliber poster MtGrizzly confidently says, "Huh?"

"It's only safe to say that the Mariners have played well for the first two weeks of spring training. That is, unless it's safe to say that KC is also a good team. I won't take much seriously until after the WBC. Once those players come back and the kids are mostly all busted down to minor league camp - that's when things will get interesting."

Sully sez,

I get a kick out of the people who feel like they have to remind me that it's spring training and it doesn't matter. Thanks you guys. I never looked at it that way before.


Dr. D sez,

We knew that ... we logically inferred that the Mariners were going to get good at some point.  This isn't Jose Vidro and Miguel Batista having a couple of peachy-keen weeks.  This is Justin Smoak (1556 OPS), Jesus Montero (1491 OPS), and Dustin Ackley (1100 OPS) walking up to Matt Cain in the yard and shanking him under the short rib.

We infer from that -- the progress of the thoroughbreds -- that Mojo's question is reasonable.  We're not operating in a vacuum here.  I don't know what Kansas City is supposed to do.  THIS SPECIFIC team was a team that was SUPPOSED to get good, and now it looks like it is very good.

The question is on everybody's mind; Mojician was the one who dragged it out into the open.


Since the charity game, the M's have scored 67 runs and allowed 40, good for a Pythag of 7-3 or 8-2.  If the Mariners' record was actually 7-4 or 8-3 instead of 10-1, we wouldn't be in the middle of all this chatter.  In that sense, that 10-game winning streak is totally meaningless.  

A clear look at the first two weeks of spring training would proceed on the same basis as if the M's were 8-3 right now.


The first thing I do, when the M's rack up another 16-6 win, is hit the box score to see who did the damage.  

I don't care so much whether Casper Wells hit a home run off Chris Capuano or hit one off a fringe AAA/MLB pitcher; that factor is a little overstated.  PCL pitchers are very, very good, pokey, and in spring training they are fighting like wolverines.

But I do care whether they won because (1) Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley shed the enemy's blood, versus (2) Raul Ibanez and Alex Liddi doing it.

Yesterday, the Mariners won 16-6.  Click open the box score.  Eric Thames had two doubles and a 5 1 2 2 line.  What do I care about that?  That's not going to happen in April, because Eric Thames won't be here.  That is 100% pure mirage, mirage if you're asking "will this translate to the regular season?"  It won't.

Carlos Triunfel had two hits.  Worthless to me.

Casper Wells had three hits and six bases.  So what?  I know what Casper Wells is.  That 4 3 3 5 line item doesn't imply anything about Jeff's regular season enjoyment from the third deck.

Raul Ibanez had a spectacular 2 3 2 2 line.  Raul is who he is:  last year's Raul, a little worse or a lot worse, one of the two.  See where I'm going with this.  The guys getting the 16 runs yesterday, those runs aren't going to translate into the regular season.

Catricala had a hit.  Tyler Hicks did.  So the M's had 16 hits, and probably 11 of them meant nothing in terms of April.  What were the five that did matter to me?  ... that's another story.


Point is, as the M's bury one hapless opponent after another, I'm asking which hits and runs are going to translate?

Answer is:  a whale of a lot of them.  Smoak's looking great.  Montero is looking great.  Gutierrez is looking super great.  Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales are legit #3-#4 hitters.  Kyle Seager, Michael Saunders, Raul Ibanez.

What it's safe to say, for me, is that the 2013 Mariners are looking dangerous.  Glad I'm not an Astros fan.




Wells is at .795 OPS and everyone else among the 14 most likely are at .833 and up. Zunino and Hicks are even in that group. In fact when you're talking about the guys that are producing, Hicks and Zunino are the only ones other than those 14 that are above.795 OPS with Francisco Martinez being right at .795. That a good percentage of that damage has been done against MLB pitching is more uplifting to the idea that the offense is good now. This group even includes Brendan Ryan, Kelly Shoppach and Justin Smoak.
I can understand the idea of being more intent on seeing how they do once other teams get their WBC players back, but the average competition won't rise that much. They've scored 89 times in 12 games which is 7.4 per. I think I'd be pretty excited by seeing 6 per. I don't expect them to be scoring this prolifically when the season starts, but this looks like an offense.


Happy that the team is hitting ...
Brendan Ryan has a 1550 OPS.
IMO, That kind of puts the whole "how much do ST stats mean into some perspective".
Honestly, while I think Peguero ultimately washes out, I'm pretty happy with the 2013 offensive outlook.
My concern is with the rotation. Z has shown great "flexibility" in regards to rotation handling. He has not shown (historically) that his initial choices out of ST are all that great, (Pineda the exception that proves the rule).
Forgotten are the 2009 choices like: Jaku, Olson and Snell (before rolling Yahtzee with Fister).
Buried are the 2010 memories of RRS implosion and French failures
Ignored are the 2011 days of dreadful 10 Furbush starts or the 7-start Vasquez debacle
Not so forgotten are the 18 Noesi starts (that could've gone to Erasmo or Iwakuma).
Z is plus-plus at fixing deficiencies.
The club has been fair to poor at making the best choices for the rotation coming out of ST.


Or at least that the Starting Five in April are not going to be as strong as the Starting Five in August.
Yes, it's easier to go with Beavan and Saunders than to burn the redshirt on Maurer or Hultzen and let them break camp with the team. Burning Pineda's redshirt surprised the heck outta me, but that doesn't happen much (with any team, not just the Ms).
I still think if we do take one of the Big Four out of camp and put him on the 25-man, it does not necessarily mean that guy is now at the head of the pack. Zduriencik was very upfront with his irritation at how little trade value he was getting for players who had yet to see much big-league time. If we want to make a July trade using one of the Big Four then some big-league time before then would make sense - if that person was set up to do well out of the gate.
Who would that be? Hultzen had a bit of a setback with the hip flexor, Walker still doesn't have a TOR's laser-focus (and as young as he is that makes perfect sense), Maurer is 2 years older than Taijuan but just had his first full season in the minors, and Paxton doesn't even have a season with more than 100 IP (and still has control issues that make give some people pause).
Honestly, the way it's setting up Erasmo may wind up being the trade chip with the most value if he comes out of the gate like he finished last year, and that would suck for me, considering how fond I am of him. He's set up to be with the team in April, though, while none of the other guys get that assumption from me.
Too easy to use Beavan and Saunders for 6 weeks and see where the kids are - once their extra year of service time is assured. if we're gonna trade em (like Pineda) then the extra year doesn't matter to us at all, but if we wanna keep em it might be a different story.
We'll see. I don't think the April Five will be the most talented 5 pitchers we could place in the starting rotation, but hopefully they'll be the most ready to log innings and get wins. Winning would be nice as we continue to set ourselves up for continual pennant runs.


yeah, 12 PA by anyone are pretty meaningless aren't they? 236PA by the 14 players considered to have a chance is a bit more meaningful. Ryan is not a horrific hitter, contrary to his 2012 stats. The end of spring training won't change anyone opinion on that, but we'll see soon enough. The idea isn't "OMG, they're going to lead the league in HR" it's "they might actually have a decent offense." Meaningless is going too far in my opinion. Absolutes tend to do that...
I don't know how much Zduriencik puts towards the choices on who comes north. To blame those choices on him is presumptive.

Anonymous's picture

2009: Jaku got the first of his 7 starts on April 16, Olson was never anything but an emergency starter (only 3 of his 11 starts came in a row), and Snell was acquired so they didn't have to keep giving either starts after Bedard was hurt, while Fister was a guy that had struggled in AA the previous season.
2010: Rowland-Smith's collapse is, I guess, on the Mariners, but still, the Mariners' alternate choices were French, Snell, and journeyman David Pauley who was able to make it work for a bit.
2011: Both Furbush's and Vasquez's opportunities as starters came late in the seasons after the trades of Fister and Bedard in a season that was well lost by that point.
2012: Represents the first time that the team chose the wrong starter after Spring Training, but there have been a few mentions by Baker that Iwakuma wasn't capable of pitching on a 5 day schedule, and again, Erasmo Ramirez had not performed well the previous season at AA and AAA to the point that he would have been an obvious choice for the rotation.
This is the first season the Mariners have had real choices to fill out the rotation.


Yes, the Ms didn't have *as many* choices in previous years ... but to say they had none is stretching things a bit.
Jack went and SELECTED Olson ... and French ... and Snell ... and Dickey
When your GM trades to bring in Olson, French, and Snell ... and those guys jump ahead of everyone already in house, it may be true that the in house choices were worse, but that doesn't change the fact these were the choices the GM made.
Don't get me wrong - Jack also selected Vargas ... and Millwood. But Vargas wasn't good quickly and Millwood is a lot like Saunders and Garland this year ... guys with a lot of innings under their belt that remove a lot of the noise when trying to peg the future for prospects.
My point is more that regardless of pedigree, prospect pitchers are no slam dunk to succeed, and while the article asks are the Ms a good team - it doesn't mention pitching at all. I'm just noting that with the young-ish vets added to the offense (plus the year of 2012 experience behind the younguns), the rotation (at the moment) is probably the bigger mystery and the part of the team that could have the most "early" problems. I think with the depth, things will work out. But, I have little faith that the club make a one-roll Yahtzee out of the gate with the rotation.


and prefer to get legs under the young ones (that was a hilarious british show...) as soon as possible. For the team to be good I don't think it's necessary to be solid in the rotation probably beyond 2 spots if the offense is good enough. There seems a pretty good chance that they've got 3 to lean on and 2 spots to hope which even with failures in the last 2 spots applies to more playoff contenders by far than have had 5 solid starters. We probably won't have 5 solid starters until they get the young ones acclimated which is probably a couple to 3 years away, but can compete with a decent offense and 3 good starters in the meantime. A completely packed rotation of producers doesn't seem far off either.

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