Hello and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. Over the break Buster Olney posted an ESPN insider-only piece. The article listed the Mariners as the 10th-best defensive team in the majors.
To me, that seems quite low. Jerry Dipoto has done a bang-up job transforming the team from a defensive abyss to an adept fielding squad. I’m not quite sure where the M’s could stand to improve.
At catcher you have Mike Zunino, one of the game’s best pitch framers. At second and third you have Gold Glove winners in Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. In the outfield the M’s have perhaps the fastest and most defensively-adept squad in the big leagues with Leonys Martin, Jarrod Dyson, and Mitch Haniger.
The only real questions are at shortstop with Jean Segura and at first base with Dan Vogelbach. Segura is moving back to short after playing second base with the Diamondbacks last year. He’s drawn slightly below-average marks across various defensive metrics at short.
Vogelbach is still very young and there are definitely defensive concerns. But come on, it’s first base. That’s literally the position where you put bad defenders, and he has time to improve.
I highly doubt that nine teams in the big leagues have a better defensive setup than Seattle does. But defense is probably the hardest skill to measure by using stats, so I guess it’ll be up to the Mariners themselves to prove that they’re a stronger defensive team than people think.
Now, let’s see what else happened this weekend.
In Mariners news...
- Eno Sarris at Fangraphs wonders if Drew Smyly has already taken the first step towards recovering from his poor 2016 performance.
- Good news for Cody Martin fans (or Gonzaga fans, go Bulldogs): he’s staying in the organization.
The #Mariners have outrighted the contract of RHP Cody Martin to AAA Tacoma. 40-man roster remains full at 40 players.— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) January 13, 2017
- The M’s have successfully signed every arbitration-eligible player, avoiding any hearings. This is good because arbitration is not a fun process for anyone.
Around the league...
- The biggest signing of the weekend involved the Padres. San Diego agreed to a six-year contract extension with Wil Myers.
- The Rangers signed Tyson Ross to a one-year deal worth $6MM. Yes, that’s all it took. Perhaps the M’s should have committed to that?
- Coco Crisp hasn’t been hit by a pitch in over five years! Neil Weinberg at Fangraphs investigates why this is.
- Grant Brisbee finds it strange that we aren’t hearing more about Jorge Posada as a potential Hall of Famer.
- The Braves made a minor acquisition, netting Micah Johnson from the Dodgers for a PTBNL or cash.
- In former Mariners news, Chris Iannetta has signed with the Diamondbacks for 2017.
- If you prefer fast baseball games, don’t tune in to a Yankees matchup this season. The Bombers employ the league’s slowest starting rotation.
- Kelsey Plum of the UW women’s basketball team just moved up to 7th in the nation’s all-time scoring list with her 3,041st point in a win over Arizona State. The 8th-ranked Huskies are quickly becoming must-see television.