Happy short week Friday folks. It is with great sadness that I must relate that the Steve Baron era has officially come to a close in Seattle, with the Mariners’ lone roster move of the day seeing Baron released from the club after being designated for assignment last week. The Mariners have had incredibly bad luck spending high draft picks on catchers in their history. Baron, taken with the 33rd pick of the 1st round in the 2009 draft, was the latest backstop to be unable to find success at the MLB level. Baron had a solid season in AA-Jackson in 2016, but as a 25 year old in his 8th year in the organization, the team decided he was not worth saving a 40-man roster spot for for a second straight year.
Best of luck to him going forward, regardless.
In other Mariners, or Mariners adjacent news...
- Despite missing all of 2016, and expecting to miss 2017 as well due to surgery on a torn rotator cuff, Charlie Furbush wasn’t wasting his time or his opportunities in life. He was awarded the Moose Clausen Community Service Award by the Mariners RBI Club, who highlighted his extensive work with Toys for Kids and Mariners Care, among other causes. Thank you Charlie.
- Mike Zunino received some love from DRS this year, and was tied for 3rd best in the AL despite only playing in half a season.
- As the General Managers Meetings continue, more insight into Jerry Dipoto’s plans are potentially being revealed. Dipoto discussed his intentions to limit the look for SS help to veteran options with Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com He described his ideal target as “Maybe the shortstop version of Carlos Ruiz, but the market is not brimming with that type of player.” Dipoto spoke of Ketel Marte needing to show health and consistency in 2017, but seems to still believe in the 23-year-old.
- Greg Johns has compiled an interesting list of notable numbers from the M’s 2016 season. I was struck by the fact that just 9 of the 25 players on the opening day roster were still active for the M’s in game 162.
- Mariners cult hero Dae-Ho Lee is one of three MLB players to make the cut for South Korea’s final World Baseball Classic roster, joining Jung-Ho Kang of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Orioles outfielder Hyun-Soo Kim.
Around the League...
- José Fernández was posthumously voted the NL Comeback Player of the Year in the 25th annual MLB Players Choice Awards. The votes were cast prior to the Marlins’ former star dying in a tragic boating accident on September 25th. Mark Trumbo was the recipient for the AL. Jose Altuve was voted the MLB Player of the Year, one of a few surprising choices made by the players.
- The Los Angeles Angels re-signed 32 year-old reliever Andrew Bailey to a one-year $1 million dollar deal. An all-star with Oakland in his first two years in the league and former Rookie of the Year, Bailey looked decent in 11.1 IP last year in LA. It was his first real MLB success since missing all of 2014 with shoulder reconstruction surgery.
- Plenty of rumors abound, but the Yankees seem like a good bet to bring Aroldis Chapman back, as the New York Daily News reports both sides are already in contact. Also of note in the piece is that the Astros appear to have emerged as a trade partner with New York, and are eyeing catcher Brian McCann.
- The city of Arlington, Texas, voted to fund approve the construction of a new stadium for the Rangers. The team has created a site to encourage fans to share their desires for the new stadium, which can be found at this location. *whistles innocently*
- Tim Eckert-Fong at Athletics Nation compiled a list of players who they think could most plausibly be the next big free agent bargain, a la Rich Hill. While my biased opinion says this can’t hold a candle to the series of free agency evaluations done by our own Zach Sanders, this list is a helpful look at who Oakland fans may envision as the next unbelievably annoying A’s.
John’s picks for today...
If y’all are, like me, video game enthusiasts, but loathe to drop $60 on a major title, and also miss having a good baseball game to play due to a lack of access to a Playstation, I have a slightly atypical recommendation for today that is in the $20 or less range. Super Mega Baseball is more Backyard Baseball than MLB: The Show, but don’t mistake the cartoonish and goofy nature of the game for a lack of simplicity. This game has an arcade-y style that also features a full season mode of variable length. With the ability to create male or female characters, SMB allows you to create a team full of far more accurate, and comical, renditions of your friends and family than any sports game I’ve ever played. The difficulty system makes it easy to pick up and play, or challenging enough to keep it exciting for experienced players, and the controls work well with or without a controller. The 2014 Polygon Sports Game of the Year, SMB is available for PC, Xbox One, and PS3/4. Here is a rather lengthy but pleasant review of the game when it came out.
Tell me you don’t want to hit a homer out into what is absolutely Puget Sound at “Emerald Diamond” Stadium, where a familiar looking ferry comes in and out frequently during play.
It is nice to play a game that actually delivers the relaxation that recreational time is intended for, and with local multiplayer that allows different difficulty levels for different players, it is an excellent family or group game as well. If you are not a video game person, I apologize for extending your scroll time, but with a long weekend that may be thin on real baseball news, I want y’all capable of creating your own until then.