Welcome back to a week with a more typical work/school orientation for many of us. While today may not be a real joy, take solace in the fact that we are inching incrementally closer to Spring Training. If that is a bit too far off for you, we are now under a week away from the MLB Winter meetings, which will take place December 4th through 8th. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll finally see some transactions to liven up this offseason.
To keep you sated until this weekend, start your day off right with a few pieces from the past week:
In Mariners News
- Jean Segura was interviewed recently by Arving Gonzalez (@ArvingGonzalez) of La Voz Del Fanático, which reports on sports from the Dominican Republic. Segura was asked about his feelings on becoming a Mariner, as well as whether he plans to try and play in the Dominican Winter League, as well as with the national team alongside his new teammate, Robinson Canó. Mr. Gonzalez was kind enough to transcribe and translate the interview for us, which you can listen to in its original Spanish below.
For those of you whose high school Spanish classes aren’t quite doing the trick, fear not:
Gonzalez: What’s your evaluation of the season you had last year? You took advantage of the opportunity the DBacks gave you, now tell us your feelings on being traded to the Mariners.
Segura: I understand it’s an honor to be in the company of Robi and Nelson in Seattle. The season in Arizona was really good, I can’t complain. I thank God everything went well, taking into account how I was struggling the years before. This is baseball: there will be good years and bad years. You have to take the positives out of all of them and keep working to be a better player day-by-day.
Gonzalez: You’re visiting [your former team in the Dominican League] Los Gigantes Del Cibao. With the trade, what are the possibilities of you playing here to stay in shape?
Segura: I always love playing with Los Gigantes. I’d like to play with them. I think this team is so young and talented, one of the best in the league. They run the bases, they hit home runs, have good pitchers, and they showed it in the tournament Tuesday. I hope the Mariners allow me to play here, to help the team win, and show the love and appreciation I feel for the fans and the team.
Gonzalez: Finally, you were interviewed in ZDeportes (another sports show) and you told them that the Dominican Republic General Manager hasn’t contacted you about playing in the World Baseball Classic. Would you like to play for the Dominican team?
Segura: I 100% want to play, but I haven’t received any contact or message informing me if I’ll be on the team. If they invite me, I’ll be proud to represent my country, and if not, you know, I’ll wait for next time.
- While we are on the topic of the Dominican Republic, we have tried to keep tabs on ways Mariners fans can help the victims of the devastating flooding that continues to affect the DR. 82 towns and tens of thousands of people remain cut off from assistance. If you happen to be in the NYC area or know someone who is, consider dropping a donation off on December 5th:
- Our own Kate Preusser continues her dedicated work on the Edgar Martinez Hall of Fame campaign, with her 24th straight day of an article on the topic. This weekend included a look at a specious argument against both Edgar and David Ortiz for Hall of Fame inclusion. It also took a glance at a rather poor, if well-intentioned effort at representing Edgar by a small local chain of crafts stores named Walm-Art.
Jerry Dipoto reiterated his satisfaction with the current position players on the roster, and while that can only be trusted as far as it can be thrown, he did double down on the focus being finding another starting pitcher above all else right now.
Dipoto: "Our focus is on the pitching. We're very comfortable with our position players. We would like to find one more starting pitcher"— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) November 27, 2016
- Mariners Director of Player Development, Andy McKay, did an AMA on r/Mariners last week, and shared a number of intriguing perspectives. Of note: A strong emphasis on establishing a culture of accountability in the farm system this year, high praise for AquaSox 2B/SS Donnie Walton and LumberKings P Nick Neidert, and a scientifically dubious hypothesis of Jerry Dipoto’s origins.
- The Mariners brought back a couple old friends on minor league deals, re-signing recently DFA’d RHP Ryan Cook, who spent all of 2016 on the DL, as well as C Steve Baron, a recent 40-man roster casualty with 11 ABs as a Mariner. The M’s also added two 24 year old RHPs: Peter Tago, the 47th overall pick in the 2010 draft, and Blake Perry, a former high school signee who has has spent seven seasons in the Diamondbacks farm system.
- Looking at Taijuan Walker with a fresh set of eyes, AZ Snake Pit investigated their new pitcher and his well-documented (for Mariners fans, at least) struggles with his curveball and working from the stretch.
- Dan Altavilla had an excellent MLB debut in 2016, and if Jerry can keep his finger off the trigger of his transaction cannon, the 24 year old reliever should be a key part of an unproven Mariners bullpen. Apparently he picked the right profession, since according to a close source (his own mother) his carpentry needs work.
[Ed. note: this is an MVP-level mom burn.]
- While we are in Instagram-land, it appears the Hernández family has gotten the Mannequin Challenge fever. Well, all but one of them...
Around the League...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman may seem like an odd candidate to be crying poor, but he is one of many MLB front office personnel pushing the new CBA to ditch the compensatory pick system in free agency. He says it has “hindered” the Yankees the past couple years in agency, which seems like the strongest endorsement imaginable for me.
- Tim Tebow’s foray into the AFL has come to a close. At Beyond the Box Score, Travis Sarandos looks into some other NFL players who moonlighted in professional baseball for a time.
- According to the LA Times, the Dodgers are in danger of discipline from the MLB if they don’t reduce their debt levels, meaning at minimum they are not likely to be major players in free agency. The Giants and Nationals currently appear to be frontrunners in the Céspedes stakes as a result.
- The current CBA expires at 11:59 PM Wednesday night. According to Ken Rosenthal, talks should intensify tomorrow in Dallas, but there are still many things to discuss. If the CBA expires, the owners have the option to lock out the players, which would put a freeze on all transactions and, in theory, negotiations.
Sources: Owners in today’s CBA talks made new proposal on int’l draft and luxury-tax provisions. Progress said to remain slow.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 28, 2016
For all of us, but especially Jerry’s sake, and for the sake of his family’s sanity, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Want some baseball talk in your ears? How ‘bout some Podcasts?
- The On Baseball Writing podcast released a new episode with an interview of Rian Watt of Baseball Prospectus, FiveThirtyEight, The Ringer, and Vice Sports. Last week, LL alumna Meg Rowley was the guest, and you can find a link to the full list of their episodes here.
- The Mariners Hot Stove podcast with Shannon Drayer and James Osborn has a thorough interview with Jerry Dipoto from earlier this week, and while it doesn’t contain hot Segura takes, it does have interesting insights into the roster-building mentality of the Mariners’ GM.
- Beyond the Box Score approaches the end of their offseason preview podcasts with their show on the Rockies, Marlins, and Cubs.
On This Day In Baseball History:
Thanksgiving may be over, but I think we can all be thankful that the Athletics traded Josh Donaldson out of the division on November 28, 2014, for SP Kendall Graveman, INF Brett Lawrie, RP Sean Nolin, and SS Franklin Barreto. Those Toronto series may be annoying, but I’ll take that over seeing him in each of the 85 annual matchups with the A’s.
Days until pitchers and catchers report: 77