2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Thursday

Price. (Harry How/Getty)
Price. (Harry How/Getty)

We are now just one day away from the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees have not yet made a move but I expect them to do something by 4pm ET tomorrow. They need pitching — I’m not sure how much more obvious it could be at this point — and a new second baseman sure would be cool too. Don’t be fooled by the six-game lead in the AL East, there are holes on the roster.

Late last night, Cole Hamels was traded to the Rangers in an eight-player deal, taking arguably the best available pitcher off the board. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we learned the Tigers are making David Price and their other rental players available, which is significant because Price would look wonderful in pinstripes. We’ll again keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here. Talk about all of ’em in this open thread.

  • 2:50pm ET: Not only do the Yankees not want to trade top prospects, they are hesitant to trade guys like Adam Warren and Bryan Mitchell as well. The sense is they will add a reliever to deepen the bullpen. Warren could then be a candidate to return to the rotation. [Joel Sherman]
  • 2:47pm ET: The Mariners plan to keep impending free agent Hisashi Iwakuma. He’s a favorite of ownership and they could always re-sign him in the offseason. The Yankees had not been connected to Iwakuma but he seemed like a logical fit. (Masahiro Tanaka‘s teammate in Japan!) [Jeff Passan]
  • 2:23pm ET: The Yankees are “poised to strike” and are in on all the available arms. That … really doesn’t tell us anything new. The Yankees are typically a club that waits until the last minute to make trades, however. The Martin Prado and Stephen Drew deals were announced after the deadline last year.[Ken Rosenthal]
  • 2:01pm ET: The Yankees are on the “periphery” of the Yovani Gallardo race. He is very available and a bunch of teams are in the mix. Gallardo is still scheduled to start against the Yankees tonight. [Heyman]
  • 12:50pm ET: David Price is heading to the Blue Jays for a package of top prospects, including Daniel Norris and Anthony Alford. So scratch him off the list.
  • 12:06pm ET: The Blue Jays appear to be “closing in” on a trade for David Price according to multiple reports. Toronto hasn’t been to the postseason since 1993 and they acquired Troy Tulowitzki a few days ago. The chips are firmly in the middle of the table.
  • 10:07am ET: The Yankees are considering among Mike Leake‘s most likely landing spots at this point. They’re also a candidate to acquire Jeff Samardzija should the surging White Sox decide to move him. Special assistant Jim Hendry drafted the righty when he was Cubs GM and Larry Rothschild was Samardzija’s pitching coach in Chicago for a few years. [Heyman]
  • 9:30am ET: The Yankees are one of four serious contenders for David Price, along with the Dodgers, Giants, and Blue Jays. All four clubs are in talks with the Tigers. [Jon Heyman]
  • The Yankees discussed Dustin Ackley with the Mariners. Ramon Flores and Ben Gamel came up but Seattle wanted more — I believe it was Flores or Gamel, not both — so talks stalled out. For whatever reason the Yankees have been after Ackley for years. [Mark Feinsand]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Yankeemetrics: Back to baseball, wins (July 17-19)

Winner! (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Winner! (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Deja vu
The Yankees started the second half of the season the same way they ended the first half, beating the Mariners 4-3 on Friday night. It gave them a 4.5-game lead in the AL East, their biggest division lead since August 2012.

A-Rod delivered the game-winning hit with a solo homer in the seventh inning that broke a 3-3 tie. It was his 19th go-ahead home run in the seventh inning or later as a Yankee; since he joined the team in 2004, no other Yankee has hit more than 10 such homers.

Masahiro Tanaka allowed three runs over seven innings and improved to 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA and 27 strikeouts in three career starts against the Mariners. He is the fourth Yankee to win each of his first three starts against Seattle (Chien-Ming Wang, Tom Underwood, Tim Leary), but the only one of those guys to do it while striking out at least seven batters in each of those games.

Tanaka’s off-speed pitches have been really impressive over his last two starts. Against the Mariners and A’s (July 9) he threw 144 sliders, curves and splitters combined, and those pitches yielded just two hits while netting him 34 outs.

Oh no, don’t cha know
It’s not often you can say after a baseball game that one player beat you … but that’s pretty much what happened in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Mariners. Robinson Cano hit two homers and drove in all four of the Mariners’ runs — an outburst that hardly could have been predicted before the weekend.

Cano entered the game 9-for-40 (.225) against the Yankees since leaving for the Pacific Northwest two seasons ago, his worst batting average against any American League team in his career. Not only was it his first multi-homer game in a Mariners uniform, it was also the first time he had at least three hits and four RBI in a game over the past two seasons.

Brian McCann drove in both Yankee runs with a two-run homer in the fourth inning, his 15th home run of the season. He is the ninth catcher in major-league history to hit at least 15 homers in 10-or-more seasons, and one of only three to do that in his first 11 career seasons. The others? Oh, just Mike Piazza and Johnny Bench.

Throwback Sunday
CC Sabathia turned back the clock and delivered a ace-like performance in the series finale, going pitch-for-pitch with King Felix for six innings, and Mark Teixeira hit another clutch late-inning homer to give the Yankees a dramatic win over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

Sabathia now has a 2.33 ERA in 13 starts against the Mariners since joining the Yankees, the lowest ERA vs. Seattle by any pitcher in franchise history with at least seven starts against the M’s.

Teixeira’s game-winning blast was his 23rd homer and 63rd RBI of the season, more than he had all of last season … and it’s the middle of July. The big hit came off a 98-mph fastball from Fernando Rodney, the fastest pitch that Teixeira has sent over the fence since August 14, 2012, when he clobbered a 99-mph heater off Alexi Ogando into the right-field seats at Yankee Stadium. Before the home run, Teixeira was 0-for-9 in 11 matchups vs. Rodney, his most plate appearances without a hit against any active pitcher.

7/17 to 7/19 Series Preview: Seattle Mariners

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The All-Star break is (finally) over and the Yankees return tonight with the first of three against the Mariners. That means Robinson Cano is back in New York for the third time as a Mariner — they played one series in the Bronx last season, but one game was rained out and had to be made up later in the summer. Also, Jesus Montero is back! He was called up from Triple-A not too long ago. The Yankees swept three games from the Mariners in Seattle last month.

What Have The Mariners Done Lately?

The Mariners split a four-game series with the Angels before the All-Star break and they’ve been alternating wins and losses for 12 games now. (They’re due for a win tonight if that pattern continues.) Seattle has been a huge disappointment this year, lots of people were expecting them to win the division, but they’re 41-48 with a -48 run differential. That’s the second worst record in the AL.

Offense & Defense

You’re not going to believe this, but the Mariners are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball this season. Crazy, I know. Never happens. They’re averaging 3.51 runs per game with a team 91 wRC+. Manager Lloyd McClendon’s offense is healthy too. No position players on the DL or even day-to-day.

Montero. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
Montero. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Cano (85 wRC+) is in the middle of the worst season of his career, though I suspect you already knew that. He’s been much better over the last two weeks or so (133 wRC+). That’s still not the Robbie we remember, but it’s a lot better than what he was doing earlier this season. DH Nelson Cruz (158 wRC+) has 21 homers this season — he hit 18 homers in his first 46 games and has hit three homers in his last 41 games. Zoinks.

3B Kyle Seager (114 wRC+) has been solid and OF Seth Smith (130 wRC+) is killing the ball in a platoon role. SS Brad Miller (109 wRC+), OF Austin Jackson (84 wRC+), DH Mark Trumbo (94 wRC+), and 1B Logan Morrison (92 wRC+) all play everyday. Montero (59 wRC+ in extremely limited time) has seen time at first. C Mike Zunino (45 wRC+) is the regular catcher and OF Dustin Ackley (85 wRC+) and OF Franklin Gutierrez (108 wRC+ in limited time) are platooning in the outfield. Yes, Gutierrez is back in baseball. C Jesus Sucre (-93 wRC+) and IF Chris Taylor (24 wRC+) are on the bench.
The Mariners have a surprisingly weak team defense. Cano and Seager are both excellent and Zunino’s a stud behind the plate, plus Jackson can still go get it, but there’s not a whole lot to see besides that. Cruz has actually played more right field (49 games) than DH (38 games) and he’s abysmal in the field, same with Smith and Montero. Miller has a knack for hilarious errors. LoMo’s okay around the bag but won’t wow anyone. Cano, Seager, and Jackson … hit it to anyone but them.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (7pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. SEA) vs. LHP Mike Montgomery (vs. NYY)
Montgomery, 26, is a well-traveled former top prospect. He’s was part of the James Shields/Wil Myers swap a few years ago before going to Seattle for Erasmo Ramirez before the season. Montgomery has a 2.29 ERA (3.66 FIP) in eight starts and 55 innings this year with low strikeout (15.7%), walk (6.0%), and home run (0.65 HR/9) rates. His grounder rate (46.1%) is about average. He has a reverse split (.364 vs. .241 wOBA in favor of lefties) in his brief big league time. Montgomery’s fastball sits low-90s and his best pitch is a fading low-80s changeup. He’s settled on mid-70s curveball as his primary breaking ball and will mix in upper-80s cutters. Montgomery held the Yankees to one run in six innings in his MLB debut last month.

Saturday (1pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. SEA) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (vs. NYY)
A lat strain sent the 34-year-old Iwakuma to the DL for two and a half months earlier this year, and tomorrow will be his third start back. He has a 5.22 ERA (6.21 FIP) in five starts and 29.1 innings with few strikeouts (16.5%), few walks (4.1%), an average number of grounders (46.3%), and all the homers (2.76 HR/9). All the homers. Righties (.390 wOBA) have hit him harder than lefties (.356 wOBA) so far this year. Iwakuma lives in the upper-80s with his sinker and throws low-80s splitters and sliders as well as a low-70s curveball. The split-finger is his go-to out pitch, as it is for many Japanese hurlers. The Yankees didn’t see Iwakuma during the series in Seattle because he was still on the DL.

(Joe Robbins/Getty)
Felix. (Joe Robbins/Getty)

Sunday (1pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. SEA) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (vs. NYY)
Hope you weren’t expecting the Yankees to mix Felix this weekend. He has a 2.84 ERA (3.27 FIP) in 117.1 innings across 18 starts this year with very good to great everything: 24.1 K%, 7.5 BB%, 57.3 GB%, and 0.77 HR/9. Lefties (.292 wOBA) are having some more success against the 29-year-old than righties (.246 wOBA). These days Hernandez throws a fastball only 40% of the time or so — he favors his low-90s sinker over his low-90s four-seamer — and instead relies heavily on his upper-80s changeup. He throws that pitch more than one-third of the time, believe it or not. An upper-70s curveball is Felix’s preferred breaking ball, though he’ll also throw a bunch of mid-80s sliders per outing. The Yankees scored seven runs in 4.2 innings against Hernandez last month, but I wouldn’t bet on a repeat.

Bullpen Status
The Mariners only have a six-man bullpen right now, but they do have an open roster spot, so someone will get called up before tonight’s game. RHP Carson Smith (1.73 ERA/1.95 FIP) and RHP Fernando Rodney (5.50/5.27) have been sharing the closer’s job of late. Smith is the high-leverage guy — he comes in to get the big outs regardless of whether they’re in the eighth or ninth inning.

RHP Mark Lowe (0.64/1.61) is the Seattle’s only other righty reliever. LHP Joe Beimel (2.73/4.03) is the matchup lefty, former Yankees LHP Vidal Nuno (2.39/2.96) is the long reliever, and LHP David Rollins (12.46/4.92 in very limited time) was just called up not too long ago. Both bullpens are fresh thanks to the All-Star break, but check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of New York’s top relievers anyway. Then head over to Lookout Landing and USS Mariner for the latest on the Mariners.

Yankeemetrics: Seattle sweep! (June 1-3)

This is what a game-winning homer looks like. (AP)
This is what a game-winning homer looks like. (AP)

King me!
The Yankees’ season-long trend of #weirdbaseball continued on Monday night when they destroyed one of the best pitchers on the planet, Felix Hernandez, tagging him for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 7-2 win over the Mariners.

Of course, this performance came less than 24 hours after they lost three-of-four games to the worst team in the American League (A’s), which followed a sweep of the best team in the American League (Royals). But you knew all that stuff already.

What you might not know is that:

• The Yankees were the first team ever to score at least seven runs and draw five walks against King Felix in a game.
Mark Teixeira is just the second player to hit a grand slam against Hernandez in Seattle (joining the legend of Alberto Callaspo).
• Teixeira now has six career homers against Hernandez, the most of any player against the former Cy Young winner.
• King Felix had a 1.79 ERA in his previous five starts against the Yankees, which was the second-best mark by any pitcher who started at least two games vs. the team in that span (since July 24, 2012).

Teixeira was the big star of the game, so let’s give him some more props here. He now has 18 homers at Safeco Field, which is the most of any visiting player at the ballpark. His grand slam was the first by any Yankee in Seattle since Bernie Williams hit one against J.J. Putz on May 16, 2005. And before Teixeira, no Yankee first baseman had ever hit a homer with the bases loaded against the Mariners. History, folks.

Jones, Drew … You gotta be kidding?
One of the Yankees’ most unlikely wins of the season was sparked by perhaps the most unlikeliest of heroes on Tuesday night.

Trailing 2-1 and down to the final strike, Stephen Drew and his .160 batting average knocked a game-tying double into right field to send the game into extras. Excluding pinch-hitters, it had been 40 years since a Yankee batting ninth in the order had a game-tying, two-out hit in the ninth inning (Rich Coggins in 1975 against the Brewers).

Garrett Jones then delivered the game-winner in the top of the 11th, crushing a three-run homer off lefty Joe Beimel to break the 2-2 tie. He became the first Yankee with a go-ahead homer in the 11th inning or later in Seattle since Kevin Maas on May 5, 1991.

How unlikely was the win for the Yankees? Not only were they 0-3 in extra innings this season before Tuesday, but they also had lost all 23 games this season that they trailed entering the ninth inning.

Hook, line and sinker
The Yankees finished off their sweep of the Mariners with a 3-1 win on Wednesday, extending their win streak in Seattle to eight games. That’s the team’s longest road win streak vs. the Mariners in franchise history.

Masahiro Tanaka pitched a gem in his first game back since going on the DL more than a month ago, striking out nine batters without a walk and allowing just one run in seven brilliant innings. The only other Yankee pitcher to put up that line (0 BB, at least 9 K, 1 run or fewer) in Seattle was Scott Sanderson on May 3, 1991.

This day was a milestone marker for Tanaka, his 25th game in the majors, and he’s done quite a lot in those 25 outings. Consider these numbers among pitchers to debut in the last 100 years:

• 16 wins are tied with Mel Stottlemyre for the most by any Yankee in his first 25 career games.
• 174 strikeouts are the most by any Yankee in his first 25 games, and the third-most by any AL pitcher, behind Yu Darvish (188) and Herb Score (180).
• 1.01 WHIP is the lowest mark by any Yankee in his first 25 games (min. 50 IP).

Mark Teixeira found the outfield seats at Safeco once again, clubbing his 379th career homer, which matches Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez for 67th place all-time. It was also his 35th home run against the Mariners, tied with Juan Gonzalez for the fourth-most against the franchise. Only Rafael Palmeiro (52), Manny Ramirez (39) and Frank Thomas (36) have hit more.

6/1 to 6/3 Series Preview: Seattle Mariners

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The West Coast trip continues and will conclude early this week in Seattle, with a three-game set against Robinson Cano and the Mariners. The Yankees are 9-2 in their last eleven games in Safeco Field dating back to 2011. Jeremy Bonderman pitched for the Mariners the last time the Yankees lost in Seattle. That … seems impossible.

What Have The Mariners Done Lately?

The Mariners lost a 12-inning game to the Indians yesterday and dropped three of four in the weekend series. (Hey, just like the Yankees!) After being a trendy World Series pick coming into the season — or at least a trendy AL West pick — Seattle is disappointing with a 24-26 record and a -18 run differential. They’re in fourth place in the division.

Offense & Defense

As has been the case quite often in recent years, the Mariners have a below-average offense, scoring just 3.72 runs per game with a team 96 wRC+. They can’t blame it all on the ballpark either (wRC+ is park adjusted). The Mariners are totally healthy on offense. No position players on the DL or even day-to-day.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Manager Lloyd McClendon’s lineup is anchored by DH Nelson Cruz (194 wRC+), who is tied with Bryce Harper for the MLB lead with 18 homers. Cano (80 wRC+) is in the middle of the worst season of his career — I suspect you knew that already! — despite having Cruz hitting behind him, so yeah, lineup protection doesn’t help as much as everyone thinks. 3B Kyle Seager (125 wRC+) has been very good and OF Seth Smith (125 wRC+) has raked as the left-handed half of the left field platoon.

OF Justin Ruggiano (89 wRC+) is the other half of the platoon with Smith, and ex-Yankees farmhand OF Austin Jackson (65 wRC+) recently returned from the DL to resume playing center every day. Remember when a bunch of Yankees fans were upset the team traded Jackson instead of Brett Gardner? What a weird time that was. Anyway, 1B Logan Morrison (101 wRC+), SS Chris Taylor (22 wRC+), and C Mike Zunino (77 wRC+) are the rest of the regulars while C Welington Castillo (22 wRC+), UTIL Brad Miller (106 wRC+), UTIL Dustin Ackley (54 wRC+), and UTIL Willie Bloomquist (12 wRC+) fill out the bench. Yes, they have a five-man bench at the moment.

The Mariners have a surprisingly bad team defense. Well, not bad, but it’s not great either. Cano and Seager are both excellent and Zunino’s a stud behind the plate, plus Jackson can still go get it, but there’s not a whole lot to see besides that. Cruz has actually played more right field (31 games) than DH (19 games) and he’s abysmal in the field, same with Smith and, to a lesser extent, Ruggiano. Taylor’s alright at short and Miller has a knack for hilarious errors. LoMo’s okay around the bag but won’t wow anyone. Cano, Seager, and Jackson … hit it to anyone but them.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: RHP Michael Pineda (Career vs. SEA) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (Career vs. NYY)
You didn’t think the Yankees were going to miss Felix, did you? Of course they weren’t. Hernandez, who is still somehow only 29, has a 1.91 ERA (3.19 FIP) in ten starts and 70.2 innings this season, so he’s basically as good as ever. He’s got a great strikeout rate (26.6%), a great walk rate (5.6%), a great ground ball rate (62.1%), an above-average home run rate (0.89 HR/9), and no platoon split (.258 vs .249 wOBA in favor of righties). Felix is on the very short list of the best pitchers in baseball, but you knew that already. These days Hernandez throws a fastball only 40% of the time or so — he favors his low-90s sinker over his low-90s four-seamer — and instead relies heavily on his upper-80s changeup. He throws that pitch more than one-third of the time, believe it or not. An upper-70s curveball is Felix’s preferred breaking ball, though he’ll also throw a bunch of mid-80s sliders per outing. This will not be fun.

Tuesday: LHP CC Sabathia (Career vs. SEA) vs. TBA
Seattle’s starter for tomorrow’s game is TBA because lefty James Paxton was just placed on the 15-day DL with a finger injury. (Paxton’s DL stint is why they’re carrying a five-man bench at the moment.) Ryan Divish says all signs point to fellow southpaw Mike Montgomery getting the start in Paxton’s place. Montgomery, 25, was once one of the best prospects in baseball, but his career has stalled out in Triple-A due to control issues. The Royals traded him to the Rays in the James Shields-Wil Myers deal two years ago, then the Rays traded him to the Mariners for Erasmo Ramirez in Spring Training. Montgomery has a 3.74 ERA (3.30 FIP) in nine starts and 53 innings in Triple-A this year, posting his best strikeout (21.8%) and walk (6.9%) rates in years. His fastball sits low-90s and his best pitch is a fading changeup. Montgomery never did figure out a reliable breaking ball — he’s thrown a curveball, a slider, and a cutter at times over the years in an effort to find a third pitch. If Montgomery doesn’t start tomorrow … I have no idea who else it would be.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Wednesday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (Career vs. SEA) vs. RHP Taijuan Walker (Career vs. NYY)
Walker is a nice reminder that even the best pitching prospects will break your heart, or, at the very least, run into bumps in the road to stardom. The 22-year-old has a 6.18 ERA (4.78 FIP) in ten starts and 51 innings so far in 2015, with an average strikeout rate (20.3%) and below-average walk (9.9%), grounder (39.2%), and homer (1.41 HR/9) rates. Righties (.374 wOBA) have hit him a tad harder than lefties (.340 wOBA), which is the opposite of what he did in limited action from 2013-14. Walker has a big fastball, sitting in the mid-90s with his four-seamer, and he throws it nearly 70% of the time. He throws his upper-70s curveball only 5% of the time, instead using an upper-80s splitter as his go-to offspeed pitch. Walker will also throw some upper-80s cutters. As with most young pitchers, there are good days and bad days, and so far this year Walker’s bad days have outnumbered the good days.

Bullpen Status
Like I said earlier, the Mariners played 12 innings yesterday, and that was after starter J.A. Happ went only five innings. McClendon needed seven innings out of his bullpen and all seven of his relievers pitched. RHP Tom Wilhelmsen (1.53 FIP), RHP Mark Lowe (2.88 FIP), LHP Charlie Furbush (3.03 FIP), and LHP Joe Beimel (3.20 FIP) have all pitched each of the last two days.

Closer RHP Fernando Rodney (4.98 FIP) has been very shaky this season. I mean really, really shaky. He’s put 39 runners on base in 21.1 innings. Yikes. RHP Dominic Leone (6.32 FIP) and RHP Carson Smith (2.29 FIP) are the last two relievers, though Smith has pitched himself into a setup role of late. He’s not a “last guy in the bullpen” guy. Head over to our Bullpen Workload page to see the status of Joe Girardi‘s bullpen. For updates on the Mariners, check out Lookout Landing and USS Mariner.

A Haiku for the Rest of MLB [2015 Season Preview]

Does Donnie like Haikus? Of course. (Presswire)
Does Donnie like haikus? Of course. (Presswire)

Opening Day is now only three days away. We’ve spent the last four weeks previewing the Yankees and the upcoming season, and yesterday we broke down the rest of the AL East. Today we’re going to wrap up our 2015 Season Preview series with a quick preview of the other 25 teams in baseball. After all, the Yankees are going to have to try to beat those teams this season too.

If you’ve come here looking for a serious preview post, you’re not going to get it. It’s Friday afternoon, Opening Day is right around the corner, and this year’s preview series is over. Instead, we’re going to have some fun and preview those other 25 teams in Haiku form. I encourage you to tell me how much my haikus suck and to make some of your own — pro tip: use the Haiku Counter to make sure you have the right number of syllables — and leave ’em in the comments. Enjoy.

Atlanta Braves
Traded their best bats
For a whole bunch of pitchers
They know scoring’s down?

Arizona Diamondbacks
Is Nuno their ace?
The answer just might be yes
Payback for ’01!

Chicago Cubs
Bleachers aren’t ready?
No prob, Bryant won’t notice
He’s in Iowa

Chicago White Sox
D-Rob and Melky
Back together in ChiTown
Growing ugly beards

Cincinnati Reds
Good enough to win?
Nah, not in that division
Can we have Cueto?

Cleveland Indians
Brantley is awesome
Kluber is really great
World Series pick? Eh

Colorado Rockies
Troy’s still a Rockie
Kyle Kendrick, OD SP?
Wait for ski season

Detroit Tigers
Miggy, Price, V-Mart
Lots of stars and real big names
Bullpen still a mess

Houston Astros
I don’t understand
You won “process World Series?”
That doesn’t exist

Kansas City Royals
Pennant last season
Volquez is replacing Shields?
For real? Yeah, for real

Los Angeles Angels
They have that Trout guy
I wish the Yankees had him
It’s Teixeira’s fault!

Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw is the best
Donnie Baseball gets his ring?
If not, just blame Puig

Miami Marlins
Paid Giancarlo
They’re going for it again
When’s next fire sale?

Milwaukee Brewers
They all hate Ryan Braun
But not as much as A-Rod
This team is boring

Minnesota Twins
Phil’s still homer prone
Nunez’s helmet still falls off
Just like the old days

New York Mets
Take back New York, huh?
Orange and blue like the Knicks
But with fewer fans

Oakland Athletics
Ballpark is ugly
Beane traded everyone again
What’s a Stephen Vogt?

Philadelphia Phillies
Rebuild? Finally!
Cole will be traded real soon
Then skip to next year

Pittsburgh Pirates
Cervelli pumps fist
McCutchen cut his dreads
A World Series team?

St. Louis Cardinals
Contender again
Such a boringly good team
Gets boring haiku

San Diego Padres
Kemp, Upton, Myers, Shields
But what about Yangervis?
Solarte Partay!

San Francisco Giants
The World Series champs
But it’s an odd number year
So no repeat then

Seattle Mariners
You can have Robbie
You are still stuck with Jack Z.
Yankees win the trade

Texas Rangers
Could this be the year
That Elvis Andrus will hit?
Hah, made myself laugh

Washington Nationals
Awesome rotation!
Future Yankee Bryce Harper
Has nice ring to it

6/10-6/12 Series Preview: Seattle Mariners

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The schedule gods were kind to the Yankees this year. This is their final trip out to the West Coast and it only lasts six days. Not too bad. The Yankees are in Seattle to open a three-game set against Robinson Cano and the Mariners tonight. Seattle won all three games at Yankee Stadium earlier this season, one of which was postponed a few weeks by rain.

What Have They Done Lately?
The Mariners are coming in very hot. They’ve won eight of their last nine games (including the makeup game in the Bronx) and just took three of four from the oh so terrible Rays in Tampa. At 34-29 with a +34 run differential, the Mariners currently sit in the second wildcard spot, 2.5 games up on New York.

Offense
Manager Lloyd McClendon’s team has an 85 wRC+ and averages 4.16 runs per game, so they’re below-average offensively. They’re banged up too. 1B Logan Morrison (8 wRC+) and DH Corey Hart (82 wRC+) are on the disabled list and both 1B Justin Smoak (79 wRC+) and OF Michael Saunders (112 wRC+) are day-to-day with quad and shoulder problems, respectively. Smoak has been used as a defensive replacement the last few days but hasn’t been able to do much more than that.

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

As expected, Cano (120 wRC+) has been the team’s best hitter this year, though his power output (two homers and .090 ISO) is way down. 3B Kyle Seager (118 wRC+) has been very good while Brooklyn-born OF James Jones (99 wRC+) has been league average. He grew up in the Ebbets Field apartments. Pretty cool, no? OF Cole Gillespie (121 wRC+ in limited time) has been a useful part-timer, but otherwise the Mariners don’t have anyone who has been even an average hitter this season.

OF Dustin Ackley (81 wRC+) and C Mike Zunino (84 wRC+) are disappointments, but at least Zunino has the whole “young catcher in MLB” excuse to fall back on. SS Brad Miller (47 wRC+) has been awful, Ditto OF Stefen Romero (69 wRC+), OF Endy Chavez (65 wRC+ in limited time), and backup C John Buck (84 wRC+ in limited time). UTIL Willie Bloomquist (72 wRC+) has been playing first base with Smoak banged up. Cano and Seager are the two guys the Yankees can’t let beat them.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday: LHP Vidal Nuno (vs. SEA) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (vs. NYY)
Iwakuma, 33, was on the disabled list with a finger injury when these two clubs first played. Masahiro Tanaka‘s former teammate with the Rakuten Golden Eagles has a 2.66 ERA (3.44 FIP) in seven starts and 50.2 innings this year. Last year, when he finished third in the AL Cy Young voting, Iwakuma had a … 2.66 ERA and 3.44 FIP. Freaky. His strikeout (6.39 K/9 and 19.2 K%) and walk (0.71 BB/9 and 2.1 BB%) rates are both down a bit from last year while his ground ball rate (55.8%) has jumped a notch. Iwakuma’s homer rate (1.07 HR/9 and 15.8 HR/FB%) is about the same and lefties (.313 wOBA) had hit him much harder than righties (.228 wOBA). Like Tanaka, Iwakuma’s out pitch is a mid-80s splitter, though his upper-80s four-seamer and sinker lag behind his ex-teammate. A slow low-80s slider is his other offspeed pitch.

Wednesday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (No vs. SEA) vs. RHP Chris Young (vs. NYY)
The Mariners have struck scrap heap gold with Young, who has a 3.42 ERA (5.38 FIP) in eleven starts (and one relief appearance) and 68.1 innings. Safeco Field has been perfect for his extreme fly ball (25.8% grounders) ways, as he’s been much more effective at home (.230 wOBA) than on the road (.269 wOBA). He doesn’t have a platoon split, doesn’t miss bats (4.35 K/9 and 11.6 K%), doesn’t limit walks (3.95 BB/9 and 10.6 BB%), and doesn’t keep the ball in the park (1.32 HR/9 and 8.0 HR/FB%). And yet, it works for him. Baseball is so weird. Young is a pure two-pitch pitcher these days, throwing a mid-80s fastball about 75% of the time and filling in the gaps with upper-70s sliders. He survives because of his funky delivery, which hides the ball very well. Young held the Yankees to two runs (one earned) in 5.2 innings back in April.

(Mike Carlson/Getty)
(Mike Carlson/Getty)

Thursday: RHP Chase Whitley (No vs. SEA) vs. LHP Roenis Elias (vs. NYY)
Due to injuries, the 25-year-old Elias jumped straight from Double-A to MLB this season, and he has a 3.64 ERA (4.01 FIP) in 13 starts and 81.2 innings so far. Not bad for an unheralded Cuban signee. Elias has good but unspectacular peripherals across the board — 7.71 K/9 (20.8 K%), 3.20 BB/9 (8.7 BB%), 0.99 HR/9 (11.8 HR/FB%), and 46.3% grounders — and he has small home/road and left/right splits. Elias uses a low-90s fastball to set up his mid-80s changeup and upper-70s curveball, both of which are quality offerings. The Yankees won’t have to face Felix Hernandez this series, but Elias did strike out a career-high ten while allowing two runs in seven innings in the Bronx a few weeks ago.

Bullpen Status
The Mariners made the long flight from Tampa to Seattle yesterday, and their bullpen has worked quite a bit of late. Closer RHP Fernando Rodney (2.72 FIP) has pitched in two of the last three days and four of the last seven. Setup man RHP Danny Farquhar (2.70 FIP) threw two innings yesterday and RHP Dominic Leone (2.85 FIP) has pitched in back-to-back games.

The rest of the bullpen includes RHP Yoervis Medina (4.04 FIP), RHP Tom Wilhelmsen (4.06 FIP), LHP Joe Beimel (3.08 FIP), and LHP Charlie Furbush (3.66 FIP). There isn’t a true long man in the bunch, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just unusual. The Yankees were rained out yesterday, so their bullpen is rested. Check out our Bullpen Workload page anyway. For the latest and greatest on the Mariners, head over USS Mariner and Lookout Landing.