Mariners Mondays is back on ROOT SPORTS with a look back at the two Opening Nights of 2012 – in Tokyo and in Oakland.
Mariners fans got an early wakeup call on March 28th when the Mariners and Oakland Athletics squared off in the Tokyo Dome. Game time for bleary-eyed Seattle fans was 3am PST. They were not disappointed. Ichiro put on a show for his countrymen with four hits, Dustin Ackley homered and singled in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning, and Felix Hernandez combined with two relievers on a six-hitter. The Mariners won the game 3-1.
A week later, on Friday, April 6th (after a quick trip from Tokyo to Arizona), the Mariners and A’s squared off again, this time at the Coliseum in Oakland. Chone Figgins and Ackley each had three hits, and Kyle Seager singled twice and drove in a pair of runs to help the Mariners beat the A’s 7-3. Jason Vargas had a solid start scattering five hits over 5.1 innings to earn his first win of the season.
Highlights of both games will air tonight (Monday, January 7) on ROOT SPORTS starting at 7:30 pm (check your local listings).
On January 14, Mariners Mondays looks back at two pitching gems from the 2012 season.
Here is the latest edition of the Mariners weekly Winter League Report.
While the news has been out there since before Christmas, we were able to finally announce the signing of outfielder Raul Ibañez to a one-year contract today. And for those wondering, we’ve already been able to confirm that Raul will wear his familiar #28 the next time he takes the field for the Mariners.
Ibañez, 40, is a familiar name to Mariners fans having appeared in a Seattle uniform from 1996-2000 and 2004-2008. Among all-time Mariners leaders he ranks in the top 10 in club history in nearly every offensive category, including home runs (127, 7th), RBI (547, 7th), extra base hits (341, 7th), hits (967, 8th), games played (986, 8th) and slugging percentage (.464, 9th).
“We spoke of adding some veteran presence to our ball club this off season,” said Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik. “In Raul we have a player and person with outstanding leadership skills who has participated in post season play the last several years. We will give Raul the opportunity to come in an compete and add an additional veteran presence to this ball club.”
In his four seasons since last appearing for the Mariners (2009-2012), Ibañez averaged 30 doubles, 22 home runs, 80 RBI and 141 games played a season with the Philadelphia Phillies (2009-2011) and New York Yankees (2012). He was a National League All-Star in 2009 and a postseason hero for the Yankees last season.
With the Yankees in 2012, Ibañez hit .240 (92×384) with 19 doubles, 3 triples, 19 home runs and 62 RBI in 130 games while playing left field (80 G/65 GS), designated hitter (23 GS) and right field (13 G/11 GS). In 8 postseason games he combined to bat .318 (7×22) with 3 home runs and 5 RBI. In Game 3 of the American League Division Series vs. the Baltimore Orioles he hit a game-tying pinch-hit solo home run in the bottom of the 9th inning (to tie the game 2-2) and a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning. Ibañez became the first player in Major League history to hit two score-tying or go-ahead home runs in the 9th inning or later in one postseason game.
“Raul is the ultimate professional both on and off the field,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “His veteran presence will be invaluable to our younger group of players.”
During his 17-year Major League career Ibañez has combined to hit .278 (1883×6771) with 396 doubles, 46 triples, 271 home runs and 1,116 RBI in 1,947 games. In 10 seasons with the Mariners (1996-2000, 2004-2008), Ibañez hit .284 (967×3407) with 127 home runs. When he appears in a game in 2013 he’ll join Mike Blowers (1992-95, 1997, 1999), Norm Charlton (1993, 1995-97, 2001) and Jeff Nelson (1992-95, 2001-03, 2005) as the only players in club history to have three separate stints with the Mariners.
Ibañez was originally selected by the Mariners in the 36th round of the 1992 June Draft out of Miami-Dade Community College. He made his Major League debut on Aug. 1, 1996 vs. the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ibañez Career Highlights:
- Safeco Field – Career .284 hitter (453×1597) with 66 home runs and 262 RBI in 467 games at Safeco Field (.355 OBP, .472 SLG, .828 OPS)…is the all-time home run leader at Safeco Field and ranks 2nd in hits (453) and extra base hits (161).
- Amongst active Major League players Ibañez ranks T15th in games played (1,947), 25th in hits (1,883), 21st in doubles (396) and 24th in home runs (271).
- Playoffs – Appeared in 10 postseason series (44 G) during his career, including the 2009 World Series with Philadelphia.
- Recorded 11 consecutive seasons with 15 or more home runs at age 30 or older (age computed on June 30 of each season)…trails Craig Nettles (12) for most in Major League history, and tied with Rafael Palmeiro, Eddie Murray and Hank Aaron.
- Recorded 16 career multi-homer games (6 with Seattle) and 10 walk-off hits (6 HR).
- Has homered in 32 different ballparks during his 17-season Major League career.
The Mariners have acquired first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas.
Morales, 29, has played his entire career with the Angels, batting .281 (455×1620) with 79 home runs and 265 RBI across six Major League seasons (2006-2010, 2012). In 2012, the Cuban native batted .273 (132×484) with 26 doubles, 22 home runs and 73 RBI in 134 games.
“We have been focused on adding offense this off-season, and feel that Kendrys will be a middle-of-the-order bat for us. He’s a switch-hitter with power who has played, and hit, in the AL West,” Zduriencik said. “He’s familiar with the teams and parks and is a proven run-producer. We hate to part with Jason, and really appreciate everything he’s done for us, but we are in a situation where we had to give up talent to acquire talent.”
After a career-best season in 2009 in which he recorded 43 doubles, 34 home runs, 108 RBI and finished 5th in the American League MVP voting, Morales was limited to 51 games in 2010 and missed the entire 2011 season. He suffered a fractured lower left leg following his walk-off grand slam May 29, 2010 vs. the Mariners. At the time of his season-ending surgery, Morales ranked amongst the American League leaders batting .290 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI.
“Kendrys gives us a veteran presence and a proven, middle-of-the-order bat, with power from both sides of the plate,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “Adding him to our line-up immediately makes us a better offensive club.”
Morales originally signed with the Angels as an International Free Agent on Dec. 1, 2004. He defected to the USA on June 8, 2004 after a storied career in the Cuban National Program. As a Cuban amateur he combined to bat .330 (287×871) with 37 home runs and 170 RBI. He was the first teenager to play for the Cuban National Team since Omar Linares in the 1980s.
Vargas, 29, has pitched the last four seasons with the Mariners, combining to go 36-42 with a 4.09 ERA (319 ER, 702.2 IP) in 119 games/110 starts. The left-hander has logged consecutive 200.0 inning seasons, combining to go 24-24, 4.04 ERA in 65 starts in 2011-2012. Last season, Vargas led the Mariners in wins, going 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA (93 ER, 217.1 IP), and ranked 4th in the AL with 22 quality starts.
Morales’ Career Highlights:
- Safeco Field – Career .292 hitter (35×120) with 7 home runs and 23 RBI in 34 games at Safeco Field (.346 OBP, .558 SLG).
- Switch Hitter – As left-handed batter (.290/66 HR/207 RBI)…As right-handed batter (.250/13 HR/62 RBI).
- Positions – Appeared at first base (312 G/286 GS), designated hitter (110 G/108 GS) and right field (18 G/5 GS) during MLB career…in 2012 started 92 games as designated hitter and 28 games at first base.
- Playoffs – Appeared in 16 postseason games with the Angels in 2007 (ALDS), 2008 (ALDS) and 2009 (ALDS, ALCS).
- Homered from both sides of the plate and had 6 RBI in the 6th inning July 30, 2012 at Texas…became the 3rd player in MLB history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning (also, Carlos Baerga w/ CLE, April 8, 1993 & Mark Bellhorn w/ CHC, Aug. 29, 2002).
- Dating back to 2009 (and despite missing a season and a half), has hit the 8th-most home runs (67) amongst MLB switch-hitters.
- In 2009 he ranked amongst AL leaders in slugging percentage (2nd, .569), extra base hits (3rd, 79), home runs (T6th, 34), RBI (T5th, 108), doubles (T8th, 43), total bases (6th, 322), OPS (8th, .924) and batting average (12th, .306).
- Named AL Player of the Month (August 2009) and two-time AL Player of the Week (July 27-Aug. 2, 2009) & April 19-25, 2010).
- On the disabled list from May 30, 2010 to the beginning of the 2012 season after suffering a fractured lower left leg.
Just in case you missed the first Hot Stove League Radio Show of the off-season, here are audio links to interviews with GM Jack Zduriencik, manager Eric Wedge and Jason Bay.
Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune also has a recap of the radio show in his blog.
Here is the latest edition of the Mariners weekly Winter League Report.
The Mariners Hot Stove League Radio Show debuts tonight from 7-9 p.m. on ESPN 710 Seattle. The radio show will be broadcast live out of the Alderwood Mall Team Store, with Rick Rizzs, Shannon Drayer and Matt Pitman hosting. TV announcer Mike Blowers is also scheduled to make an appearance, and guests include General Manager Jack Zduriencik, Manager Eric Wedge and an interview with the newest Mariner, Jason Bay.
You can listen to the show online at Mariners.com/hotstove.
Here are a few other media links pertaining to Jason Bay:
- Mariners.com story by Greg Johns
- Jason Bay Embraces Fresh Start – Shannon Drayer, 710Sports.com
- Jason Bay Another Piece for Mariners – Larry Stone, Seattle Times
- Jason Bay Just Wants Fresh Start – Ryan Divish, Tacoma News Tribune
- ESPN 710 Seattle with Kevin Calabro & Dave Wyman
- Bay with Softy Mahler on KJR 950 AM
- Blog post with video by Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune
- Blog post with video and photos by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times
- Associated Press story by Tim Booth
- TEAM Radio 1040 (Vancouver, Canada) — at 33:45 mark in Podcast
- Everett Herald: Bay Hoping to Capitalize on Fresh Start | Bay Confident He Can Regain Old Form
The Winter Meetings concluded last Thursday in Nashville, but the Hot Stove League is still full steam ahead as the Holidays approach. And speaking of the Hot Stove League, the Mariners first Hot Stove League Radio Show will debut tomorrow from 7-9 p.m. You can listen live on 710 ESPN Seattle with Rick Rizzs, Shannon Drayer and Matt Pitman hosting the two-hour show from the Alderwood Mall Mariners Team Store. You can also visit the store and get pictures with Santa Moose. We will pass along a list of scheduled guests on the show later today.
As far as the Winter Meetings go, here are two interviews with manager Eric Wedge and GM Jack Zduriencik that gives good look at the upcoming 2013 season. Enjoy!
And here is the full transcript from Wedge’s annual media availability at the Winter Meetings:
With the Winter Meetings now underway in Nashville, this short video with Jack Zduriencik and Eric Wedge talking about the work that needs to be done over the off-season is apropos. It’s Part 2 of a continuing series of video posts about getting the Mariners ready for the 2013 season.