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Playing Pepper 2009: Seattle Mariners

Posted on February 24, 2009 at 11:30 AM
Filed Under: Playing Pepper | Seattle Mariners
As the players start getting themselves ready for another season, I thought it'd be a good idea to do the same.  I contacted a blogger for each major league team and posted them five questions.  This is the result.  You can find the tentative schedule of teams here and today's main post is right here.

There was a lot of expectations for the Mariners last year.  Adding Erik Bedard to a team that had been contending was expected to push them into October.  Instead, every possible wheel fell off and the team collapsed into the basement.

To see if Seattle could shake off the dust and rise again, I contacted Jeff from Lookout Landing and asked him about Bedard, King Felix and others in the system.


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C70: Will Erik Bedard rebound in 2009?

LL: There's no way to give a definitive answer here. All I can really say is that Bedard is currently able to participate as much as any other pitcher in camp, and that's encouraging, given fears about his shoulder towards the end of last season. It seems like he's healthy, and a healthy Erik Bedard is at the very least an excellent #2, but some people are just more likely to get injured, and Bedard can only go as far as his body will allow him.

If by "rebound" you mean "start more than 15 games", then sure, I'll take that bet. But I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if when he gets out of bed tomorrow morning his arm falls off.

C70: What can we expect from Felix Hernandez this summer?  Will he take another step toward being a top pitcher?


LL: Again, hard to say, but we certainly hope so.

Ideally getting away from Mel Stottlemyre's fastball-first philosophy will help a little bit, because Felix threw more fastballs than ever before in 2008, and saw a drop in both strikeouts and groundballs while seeing an increase in walks. Those aren't positive trends. He needs to build more off of his offspeed stuff if he wants to be able to reach that next level. Don't be fooled by ERA; Felix took a step backwards last year, and needs to reverse his direction.

Hopefully Rick Adair will be able to help. Truthfully, though, this is something Felix needs to figure out for himself. If other people need to tell you how to improve your pitching, you're not a very good pitcher.

C70: What's the general fan feeling about management/ownership?

LL: Excited. The whole organization got a complete identity makeover after last season, and so far the returns have been encouraging.

The team now has a front office that knows how to value things like defense, sabermetrics, and freely-available talent, and while this will be remembered as the winter in which we brought Griffey back, in truth that's been one of the least significant moves. Jack Zduriencik and company have taken great strides to rebuild a broken franchise faster than anyone could've imagined. There's a portion of the fan base that isn't on board with his philosophies or execution, but those people will be on the wagon before too long.

As for field management, pretty much the entire coaching staff is new, so nobody has any strong opinions either way. Don Wakamatsu has yet to say anything astoundingly stupid, which is neat.

C70: Who is the top prospect in the Mariners system and will he make an impact on the major league level in 2009?


LL: Carlos Triunfel is the top prospect in the system, a soon-to-be 19 year old infielder who had more extra-base hits last year than Miguel Cabrera did at the same age. He's still a ways away from the big leagues, though, and isn't even a great bet for a September call-up. There's not much high-level talent in the upper minors.

C70: Will Jeff Clement get a chance to be the starting catcher?  Should he get that chance?

LL: He'll get a chance. As a matter of fact, the motto of the spring seems to be "no job is certain." He'll get a chance because he deserves a chance, because he has a lot of talent and Kenji Johjima's power disappeared.

Whether or not he ends up with the job is another matter that depends on a whole lot of factors, but with Griffey's signing, Clement seems pretty locked into his position, at least for the time being, and he's not going to ride the bench all season. If he starts to swing the bat and proves that he can handle being a regular backstop, he's going to be the starter.

I appreciate Jeff taking the time to give us some insight on the Mariners.  They've got a long road back, but with a new management team in place, they are likely headed in the right direction.


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Go M's....prove all the doubters wrong!

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David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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