Hello from the middle of that weird liminal space that exists between Christmas and New Year’s. I hope everyone is taking this time to build their effigies of 2020 to be burnt on New Year’s Eve. Remember, proper structural engineering when building a bonfire to rival Guy Fawkes Day is key, don’t be afraid to enlist a local dad or three in the operation.
On to the links!
In Mariners news:
- ICYMI, the ZiPS projections for the 2021 Mariners dropped yesterday, and they are...not pretty. Grant broke it all down for you here.
- Mariners team doctor Ed Khalfayan, who has been with the club for fifteen years, is stepping down in order to focus more on his private practice and duties as the Seahawks team doctor. Khalfayan will be transferring the duties of looking after the Mariners’ various strains and tears to another doctor, who has already been identified and will be officially announced in the next week.
Khalfayan will consult with the Mariners to find his replacement. Here's his statement. pic.twitter.com/hOY8NW12Gv— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) December 28, 2020
- Since I know you were worried, rest assured: RHP Jimmy Yacabonis will be back in a Mariners (or at least Rainiers) uniform this spring. You’ll remember Jimmy Yaks as the pitcher who served up the would-be grand slam that Kyle Lewis robbed, that became an iconic image for both Lewis as a Mariner and as the future ROY. Wasn’t that nice of him?
We have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with RHP Jimmy Yacabonis. pic.twitter.com/6WjpR8CUeK— Mariners Player Development (@MsPlayerDev) December 29, 2020
- Read the first of four pieces on the Tacoma Rainiers Year in Review, featuring quotes from Jarred Kelenic about what it was like to be at Spring Training during the shutdown, on the Rainiers blog.
- The podcast Mound Talk is doing a giveaway of signed cards from Mariners power relief prospect Travis Kuhn. You can listen to Kuhn talk pitching on the most recent pod here, and head over to Instagram to enter to win a signed card here.
- Speaking of podcasts, you can hear from Taylor Trammell on the Balk Talk podcast here. (Tim said that’s all I can say about it because he’s mad at Taylor for saying Mean Things Online about Notre Dame.)
- Mariners prospect Luis Liberato was picked by the Águilas Cibaenas in yesterday’s LIDOM re-draft. The LIDOM re-draft allows teams moving on to the post-season to draft a certain number of players off the rosters of eliminated teams, and is something I wish MLB would at least try adopting.
- After 40+ years, Greg Johns, the Mariners MLB.com beat writer, is retiring. Read his farewell column here. Congratulations on a great career, Greg, and thanks for all the stories.
Around the league:
- The Twins signed former Angel Hansel Robles, infuriating staff writer Mikey, who wanted him as a Mariner, but delighting me, as I’m curious to see what Minnesota’s pitching development can do with H-Robble.
Twins signed reliever Hansel Robles to a one-year, $2 million contract.— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) December 29, 2020
Robles struggled in 2020, but the 30-year-old right-hander was the Angels' closer in 2019 and posted a combined 3.58 ERA with 340 strikeouts in 317 innings from 2015-2019.
- Speaking of former Angels, J.C. Ramirez will be taking his talents overseas.
- Also taking his talents to Japan: former Mariner slugger Justin Smoak.
Veteran first baseman Justin Smoak is finalizing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants that will guarantee him somewhere in the $6-7 million, sources familiar with the agreement tell ESPN. Smoak, 34, will join a Giants team that won the Central League but lost in the Japan Series.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 29, 2020
- ‘Tis the season for ex-MLBers to head overseas, I guess:
CTBC Brothers confirmed the signing of Gabriel Ynoa. The 27-year-old right-hander is coming off a strong season in LIDOM where he posted a 1.84 ERA, 0.89 WHIP over 14.2 innings for the Gigantes. #CPBL https://t.co/GpBOJFh5fN— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) December 28, 2020
- More Angels moves: the team will be bringing back catcher Juan Graterol on a minor league deal, who IIRC was infuriatingly good at hitting against the Mariners, and only the Mariners, in 2020.
- The Royals will be smelling baseball, or at least the Omaha Storm Chasers will:
We have signed RHP Ervin Santana to a minor league contract. #Royals— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) December 29, 2020
- None of these moves are particularly exciting, but they’re moves, which is more than we can say for the Mariners:
#Rays add to catching depth by re-signing Kevan Smith to a minor-league deal.— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 29, 2020
- And hey, at least the Mariners are doing better than the Cubs, who according to the latest headline at FanGraphs, have “given up.”
- As mentioned above, the Darvish deal (along with the Snell deal) was officially announced yesterday, with Yu and his personal catcher Victor Caratini headed to San Diego. I choose to read this tweet from Yu Darvish as a touching tribute to Caratini, although of course Cubs fans made it all about themselves.
Don’t walk in front of me— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) December 30, 2020
There is no guarantee I will follow
Don’t walk behind me
There is no guarantee I will lead in the right direction
Walk alongside me
Because together we are one pic.twitter.com/Cq2YDYjJLk
- The Rays, Phillies, and Dodgers swung a minor three-way deal. Three-team trades, Jerry! Remember how much you used to love those?
Phillies have acquired LHP José Alvarado from the Rays in three-team trade. LHP Garrett Cleavinger goes to Dodgers.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) December 29, 2020
Alvarado, 25, dealt with shoulder & elbow injuries last two years. He throws fastball that averages 97, a curve & nasty slider. When healthy, he’s great ‘pen arm.
- The Dodgers’ deal with former Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle is officially for two years, as Kahnle recovers from TJ surgery.
I hope you have all enjoyed my writing over the years. Sadly I will no longer be able to continue as I have been utterly destroyed, wrecked and ruined, and sent shuffling off this moral coil by these photos of widowed penguins comforting each other.
Photographer Tobias Baumgaertner captured this image of two widowed fairy penguins looking over the Melbourne skyline. It has won an award in Oceanographic magazine’s Ocean Photography Awards 2020.— meindiva (@meindiva) December 28, 2020