Good morning everyone! Yesterday, David Schoenfeld at ESPN listed some positions of concerns for contending teams in 2017. According to Schoenfeld, the Mariners did not adequately address their weakness at first base this offseason.
I understand why M’s fans might be worried about a Dan Vogelbach/Danny Valencia platoon at first base. But allow me to be overly positive here for a minute.
Fans didn’t see the best of Vogelbach last year. The slugger collected just one hit in his eight games of action with Seattle. He overwhelmingly failed the eye test, which is what people will remember. What people won’t remember as well is that Vogelbach never finished a minor league season with a wRC+ under 126. There’s no reason to believe he’s suddenly going to forget how to hit now, especially considering Edgar and Scott Brosius will be able to work their magic with him all season. Defense will continue to be an area of weakness for the youngster, but Vogelbach spent all offseason trying to improve his work with the glove. Hopefully that translates.
When it comes to Valencia, I wrote a whole essay in January about what he brings to the table. It essentially boils down to this: Valencia’s problem isn’t his ability to hit. It’s a matter of whether he can stay out of trouble. Valencia has a tendency to wear out his welcome with organizations, and it’s the Mariners’ job to channel his talent into a positive asset for the team.
The M’s might not have the best first basemen in the league, but I really doubt they’re going to end up being 28th in baseball in first base fWAR. They shouldn’t even end up in the bottom half of baseball. First base is finally a potential plus for the team. Let’s hope they can make it work.
Now let’s see what else is going on in the world.
In Mariners news...
- Marc W at U.S.S. Mariner wonders what prompted Jean Segura’s transformation, and muses about whether the shortstop can sustain his success.
- Bob Dutton has a lot of interesting information in his latest blog update, including Vogelbach’s adjustments to the shift and a potential long relief battle between Ariel Miranda and Dillon Overton.
- Larry Stone takes a look back at the formerly vaunted “Big Three” pitching prospects for the Mariners. Now that only James Paxton remains, Stone wonders where it all went wrong.
Around the league...
- Our good friend Patrick Dubuque takes Don Mattingly’s advice, figuring out ways that baseball could eliminate the strikeout from the game.
- Even though the World Baseball Classic is a glossed over event here in the states, it’s been a resounding success around the world, writes J.J. Cooper.
- Major League Baseball is considering altering baseballs to make them stickier and easier for pitchers to grip.
- The daughter of recently-deceased Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was born on Friday. Fernandez’s late girlfriend is seeking to make their daughter the beneficiary of the former pitcher’s estate.
- Grant Brisbee thinks the AL West is the second-most competitive division in baseball this year.
- Eno Sarris wonders if teams are now shifting too much.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Antonio Brown to a four-year deal, making the football player the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL.
- You could own an island if you beat Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson’s 40-yard dash time.
- Baylor continues to boil in some hot water over a sexual abuse case, and women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey doubled down on the university’s message that the school is a safe place for women.
- Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has declared that February 25th will be celebrated as “Kelsey Plum Day.”
- Speaking of great basketball players, Steph Curry had a rough night yesterday.