Mariners Insider

Mariners camp: babies aren’t coming, they’re here

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Jan. 30, 2012 at 8:24 am with 9 Comments »
February 1, 2012 12:04 pm

Take a few weeks off, suddenly the Seattle Mariners can’t stop making news, from the Michael Pineda - Jesus Montero trade with the Yankees to signing journeyman Kevin Millwood to inviting every young player in their farm system to spring training.

Yes, a bit to catch up with, so let’s start with some of the youngsters you’ll be reading about.

The Mariners have invited these nine prized rookies to camp among the 25 non-roster invitees this spring: RHP Taijuan Walker, LHP James Paxton, INF Nick Franklin, OF Vinnie Catricala, RHP Erasmo Ramirez, RHP Stephen Pryor, RHP Forrest Snow, C Jesus Sucre and C Ralph Henriquez.

Acccording to Baseball America, that group of youngsters includes the men with the Mariners best farm system fastball (Walker) and curve (Paxton), with Danny Hultzen (best changeup and command) and Chance Ruffin (best slider) already on the roster. The commitment to youth in Seattle this season includes bringing everyone old enough to shave to camp.

Which doesn’t mean there isn’t Plan B.

Clearly, the 37-year-old Millwood belongs there, a 163-game winner who hasn’t had a good season since 2009. A low-risk, probably low-reward signing – he gets $1 million if he makes the team – Millwood will make Seattle’s rotation only if pitchers like Charlie Furbush, Blake Beavan, Hultzen, Paxton and Walker are deemed not ready for opening day.

The Mariners have other veterans in the wings, like reliever Aaron Heilman, 33, and lefty Oliver Perez, 30. Seattle has depth it would just as soon keep in the minors – and Millwood, Heilman and Perez fall in that group. If they make the team, it will be because one young pitcher or another proved he needed more time.

Heading into camp Feb. 12, the Mariners realistically have four members oof their starting rotation - Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hisashi Iwakuma and Hector Noesi. That means Seattle arguably has the most talented group of competitors for the fifth spot in franchise history. How many springs would the Mariners loved to have had a pitchers like Hultzen, Paxton, Walker, Furbush, Beaven and Ramirez?

The answer is easy. All of them.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. WTraveler says:

    That group doesn’t look nearly as good as last years last place finishing starting rotation out of spring training–and we have not helped in the hitting dept. At least the Ms are creating some employment for some kids–but thats about all.

  2. Pretty much the M’s media is trying to shine dog poop it does matter how you look at it, it is still dog poop = ie M’s organization…

  3. jchawks08 says:

    Just wait till 2016 guys. This will potentially be a division winning ball team. Just freakin’ wait.
    (Please pick up on the sarcasm..)

  4. I think Beavan pitched well enough last season to merit being a lock in the starting rotation to start the season. Hopefully he has a good spring, because I really like the mental makeup that he brings to the mound.

    I’m actually getting really excited for this season. I think our bullpen is going to be as good, or better, than last year, and I think our starting rotation is going to post a sub 4.00 ERA for the year.

    The key will be if the offense can score more than 4 runs a game. Obviously, they need Ichiro to have a bounce-back season (hitting .300) and they need Smoak, Carp, Ackley, and Montero to continue to develop and produce.

    Guti being healthy is another reason for excitement.

    The Rangers are going to be good, but I think that the Angels’ offseason has been overhyped. Pujols’ numbers have been in a 3 year decline, and while he is still a GREAT player, the change in leagues might impact him this season. Who else in that Angels lineup really scares anyone?

  5. hawkfan777 says:

    Coach,

    It is nice to hear some optimism. I think the Mariners will probably be a 500 team but I also am excited to see the young guys grow this year. I think Smoak, Ackley, Carp and Montero will be fun to watch this year. There will be some fun pitching as well depending on who the starters end up being.

  6. Hope I’m still alive in 2016 & that I can still afford cable tv. I may have to cut back to broadcast only before the season starts, which would mean no baseball.

  7. As a fan living out of state for the last 15 years it’s interesting comparing the online tenor of Seahawks fans and Mariners fans. As of late both have been pretty comparable in terms of talent and record with neither being very good but getting younger and seemingly more talented. The local TNT blog Seahawk fans are relentlessly optimistic and the Mariners fans are hopeless. I wonder if it’s a reflection on the sports themselves, with football being far more intense in terms of individual game activity and season duration. Does baseball attract the glum Eeyores of the world? Or is it just a Seattle thing?

  8. Thanks Hawksfan. I think .500 is realistic this year, and the fact that progress is being made the RIGHT way (building the farm system, solid drafting and scouting, player development, savvy trades, developing the best stockpile of young pitching in baseball, avoiding blockbuster free agent deals) leaves a lot of optimism for the future. After this season, the team will/should know which young players are going to pan out and what holes they can fill through trades or free agency. I like the young core of pitchers and position players they are building here.

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