Tuesday, February 1, 2011

MARINERS: Mariners Notes

If you bet on sports, bet that the AL West is a bit tougher this season. The Angels netted veteran slugging outfielder Vernon Wells. including his monster contract, in a trade from Toronto for outfielder Juan Rivera and catcher Mike Napoli.
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The A’s signed top relievers Grant Balfour and ex-Mariner Brian Fuentes, thus solidifying the lethal back end of their bullpen. The A's bullpen now consists of Balfour, Fuentes, Brad Ziegler, and 2008 Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey. The Rangers didn’t do much of anything, except for resigning submariner reliever Darren O’Day, who had a 2.03 ERA in 72 games.
For the Mariners, here are the answers…

News of troubled outfielder Milton Bradley’s arrest in Southern California this past week for alleged “threatening comments” made to a woman immediately sparked rumors of his future with the team. Seattle Times columnists Geoff Baker and Larry Stone have already voiced that it would be better off if the Mariners cut ties with Bradley, but that would involve eating 12 million dollars of his salary.
The Mariners should keep Bradley (and his baggage), because

#1, he has some limited upside platooning with Michael Saunders in left field or being a part-time switch hitting DH option with Jack Cust. #2, Milton Bradley needs the Mariners, as believe it or not this is one of his most stable team situations he’s had in his career.

#3, you don’t want to pay 12 million dollars for an empty roster spot.

In other news, the M’s signed two former top prospects to minor league deals; starting pitcher Nate Robertson, and outfielder Jody Gerut.
Gerut hit for the cycle last year with the Milwaukee Brewers despite hitting just .197 in 71 at bats while being slowed by injuries, but he hit .296 with the Padres in 2008, and had his best year as a rookie with the Indians in 2003 hitting .279 with 22 homers and 33 doubles. He is could be competing for a backup role along with Ryan Langerhans and maybe Greg Halman.

Robertson spent time with the Phillies and Marlins last year, but struggled and finished 2010 with a 5.95 ERA and a 6-8 record. His best year was in Detroit, whom he spent 7 years with, in 2006 when he had a 13-13 record and a 3.84 ERA. Robertson will now have to try to win a starting role in a rotation mix consisting of reigning Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Doug Fister, Erik Bedard, Luke French, David Pauley, and Michael Pineda. If that doesn’t work out, he might be suited to a long relief role with the team. He has a career 5.01 ERA.
Reach Matthew Carlson at nextseasonsports@gmail.com