Transaction Update (11/19/04):
Earlier in the week, I said that Brett Evert was the only prospect that needed protecting. Shows how much I know, but let's get right to that...
Edit: There are new Baseball America transactions up. Recently added, scroll down
The Mariners have added SS Michael Morse
and OFs Shin-Soo Choo
and Wladimir Balentien
to the 40-man roster. To make room, LHRP Randy Williams
has been traded to the San Diego Padres for UT Billy Hogan
and have outrighted SS Ramon Santiago
On top of that, Baseball America
is reporting that the M's have signed 1Bs Nate Espy
and Jesse Hoorelbeke
, RHP Masao Kida
, OF Kit Pellow
, and C Bryce Terveen
, 23, has been playing with the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League, and has just ended the season batting .258/.291/.301. Not exactly a high point for a guy who was previously batting over .300 and had set a goal of .360, but I digress... Morse was put in the AFL primarily for the purpose of working on his defense, and he has done just that. Though he made four errors in the first two weeks, he has made no errors since that time. Whether he still has the range of a paraplegic hippo
or not remains in question, but it would seem that the throwing has been spot on. Morse also has a good amount of power potential, and some (though perhaps not many) have compared his swing to that of Richie Sexson.
, 22, has been a hot topic ever since the M's signed him out of Korea several years ago. A former pitcher that has been solid since switching to the OF, Choo hit .301/.422/.466 in the AFL this season. His time was limited due to an injury (hit by pitch), but this is yet another level under his belt where he's hit above .300. In the outfield, Choo doesn't have the same kind of instincts as guys who have played their for their entire careers, and probably would end up as a corner man though he certainly has the speed for center. While he had his best season thus far this year, scouts believe that there may be more to him in terms of home run power. Add that to his ability to snag bases at Ichiro levels (though not with Ichiro success), and you've got a pretty interesting prospect.
, 20, played for the Netherlands Olympic Baseball Team earlier in the summer and pounded a few home runs in play, though didn't do much else. Such has been the story of his career, a number of home runs, but other areas remain a work in progress. Strikeouts remain a concern with him, though in previous season he has demonstrated that he is a fairly intelligent batter and will start taking a good number of walks as the season goes on. Defensively, the M's had him playing in center for Wisconsin this year, though he probably doesn't project there long-term. Similarly, he has a decent arm, probably good enough to play right in a pinch, but with superior throwing arms ahead of him on the depth chart (Choo and Ichiro, namely), left field seems more reasonable should he make the big leagues with the M's. And for those wondering about why they've added him to the roster now, I guess it's because VWL years do count, and those would have pushed him to where he could've been selected in the rule V draft, and let's face it, who doesn't like a guy with 40 HR potential?
, 29, got his cup of coffee last season with the M's after years of toiling in the affiliated minors as well as the independant leagues. Good for him. Overall, he's not bad as a LOOGY type or even short relief, but he's no Sherrill and there are certainly better guys out there. He's left-handed and can hit the broad side of a barn, he should have a career somewhere in the majors.
21, I regard with some level of curiousity. For one thing, he had the fifth-best debut of any JC player in the 2003 draft, according to BA, and for another thing it seems like he can play both the infield and the outfield (drafted as a SS, played entirely in the OF this year). What interests me about this move is less the player involved and more what it could symbolize. To speculate and throw vague theories out, it could mean that the M's have given up on Jeremy Dutton
or Mike Cox
, who have been just awful in two pro seasons. That would mean they're either banking on Hogan to fill the spot, or they're planning on moving Yung-Chi Chen
, Oz Navarro
, or Asdrubal Cabrera
up to Inland Empire for next year. If I were betting, my money would be on Chen due to his age, but at this point all this is nothing more than blatant speculation.
, 25, was rushed through the minor leagues and given a starting spot with the Tigers for two years because he's pretty good with a glove. They found out he sucks with the bat. After seeing him pound the ball through spring training, the Mariners found out the same in Tacoma and designated him as clubhouse barista or who knows what. All we know is that whenever a player went down and there was no one else to bring up, they spent the option on him as opposed to a better player. In the unlikely event that Santiago is picked up by someone, then the M's traded Carlos Guillen for Juan Gonzalez
Deadline's at 9pm PST today, so maybe we haven't seen the last of the moves, but I don't think they would have announced something if they had other plans.
, 26, spent six years in the Phillies system before signing on with the Cardinals this year. He has a career average of .282 and has never made it out of Double-A. Who is Nate Espy? Nate Espy is another in a long line of minor league
free agent first basemen that are signed and never seem to do much in the system.
, 27. See also Espy, Nate. This man is competition for Ryan Balfe
, except he has a fun last name. Say it with me now...
, 36, was a decent reliever in Japan who has yet to do anything notable in the US. He seems to have been removed from the roster though, trading spots with Ugueto who was on the inactive list while he dealt with family issues in Venezuela. Kida will still probably get an invite to spring training, and that kind of scares me, but it certainly could be worse.
, 31, is your prototypical AAAA player who has occasionally latched on to a big league team for a short time. The only difference is that, unlike most AAAA players, he has only played in the systems of two major league teams over his career, while most others seem to have around five under their belt. Seems like he might get an invite and a look as fourth OF, but there are certainly better options.
, 26, is likely the replacement for Jim Horner
, who retired, and Pat Borders
, who recently joined the Brewers. The high minors need a veteran backup, and Terveen's the guy to do it. Since he can't really hit, I'm assuming that his catching abilities are at least decent.
Sickels Chat Wrap
As I said earlier, there was a chat with minor league guru John Sickels
over at Baseball Prospectus earlier in the day. A few questions did come up pertaining the Mariners...
Suraj (New York): What can we expect from Felix Hernandez next year and beyond?
John Sickels: If he stays healthy we should see him sometime in '05. He is the best pitching prospect in the game right now. I have several questions here about him, so this will suffice. Hernandez has the best combination of pure stuff and command in the minor leagues today. If I were running things in Seattle (which I'm not of course), I would start him off in Triple-A in 2005. If he pitches well, I would promote him to the major leagues in late July or early August, and use him out of the bullpen, an apprenticship in long relief. I'd love to keep him in that role for '06 as well then move him into a full-time starter job in '07. But teams are somewhat reluctant to do an Earl Weaver-style break-in nowadays, with service time being an issue and all.
jmilluh (PA): If you were the Mariners, would you trade Jeremy Reed for Ryan Howard as has been rumored on the net?
John Sickels: Hmmm....Howard can kill the ball, but it is easier to find a first baseman who can hit than a center fielder who can hit. I dunno about that one. I'd have to think about it.
Personally, I don't know about the rumored trade because it doesn't seem to make sense to get rid of Reed unless he's part of a larger deal than this. Also, the M's had a similar thing in A.J. Zapp, plus a bit of D and minus a little power, though there are rumors now that Zapp didn't take as well to certain instructions as the M's may have liked. It seems like the sportswriter in questions was doing the old trick of throwing together two interesting prospects and calling it a trade
, but I can't think of a whole lot of reasons why the M's would specifically seek the Phillies out and schedule a meeting.
40-man Roster Deadline Approaching
reminded me, the deadline for setting the reserve lists for both major league and minor league rosters is fast approaching. By next Friday, any prospect left off the 40-man roster that are eligible will be subject to the major league rule V draft. Last year, around this time, people were wondering about whether or not Leone would be included, but this year most of the questions have already been answered, with Blackley, Lopez, and Reed safely occupying spots. The only major prospect I can think of off-hand that still doesn't have a spot and needs one would be Brett Evert.