WELCOME TO SEATTLE ADAM LIND
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto completed his ninth trade of the off-season, acquiring Adam Lind from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for a trio of teenage minor league right-handed pitchers. Lind brings power (32 doubles, 20 home runs) and on-base percentage (.360). You can see full details below in the blog, but Jerry’s thoughts on why he fits for our club were clear. “Adam lengthens our line-up as a first baseman who gives us on-base percentage and power. First base was a spot we came here looking to fill, and we feel that Adam is a good fit for us.”
MAKING THE ROUNDS
Mariners Manager Scott Servais made media rounds at the Winter Meetings today, including interviews with MLB Network, MLB Network Radio and ESPN. He also met with our local beat writers, national and international writers for a 30 minute session.
Here is part of his transcript from his media session (read the whole thing here):
Q. You’ve had a lot of turnover here in short order. What’s the biggest challenge with that many new faces and a new face of your own?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Well, they’re all new to me, that’s the first thing. Obviously, there’s been a ton of turnover in our roster. Change was coming. We talked about it early on, wanted to get a different look to our team. That’s what we focused on. Obviously, Jerry has done an awesome job trying to go out and acquire players that fit the mold he’s looking for. On the tough side, we’ve given up some very good players, guys that are going to go on and have very successful careers, and it may come back and hurt us at times. To get good players, you’ve got to give up good players. We’ve been aggressive. I don’t think people understand how hard it is to make trades. But we’re getting after it, and I don’t think Jerry is going to slow down any time soon.
Q. Scott, you mentioned the new guys. But how much contact have you had with the guys that are coming back, especially that core group of guys, Felix and Cano and Seager?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Quite a bit of contact. I’ve talked to 10 to 12 players face to face, many more on the phone, trying to get a feel — let them get a feel for me, first of all, and kind of what I’m like. More importantly, listening to them and where they’re at. Everybody is at a different point in their career, and I feel it’s important where I’m at to listen to them. That includes Mike Zunino, as well, who we consider a high end prospect who’s going to have a very successful major league career. I’ve spent a lot of time. I’ve been in Dominican talking to Nelly, I’ve talked to Robbie, Ketel Marte down there. I met with Felix and Walker. I talked to a lot of guys. I learned a lot about where they’re at, and I think they’ve learned a lot on where they’re going to go.
Q. Scott, it seems like the way managers are hired these days, it’s different from in the past. It used to be you spend a lot of time in the minors as a manager or maybe several years as a bench coach. We’ve seen more managers without previous experience get hired. As somebody who has spent time in the front office as well, why do you think this has changed?
SCOTT SERVAIS: I spent plenty of time in the minors. I don’t know if you’re aware, but that’s where I’ve been the last ten years. I have not managed in the minor leagues. I have not been a bench coach in the big leagues. And I’m not the first. Lucky for me, there’s been many guys, and I could go through the list, talking to them earlier today. Mike Matheny and Brad Ausmus, guys with different paths. Mine may be more what A.J. Hinch has gone through, just coming from the front office. I think there’s tremendous value in understanding of how to put teams together and how front offices look at that. I will use that to my benefit. The one thing I’ve not done is I have not managed a major league team, but I’ve managed people. I think, when you look at the game and how the game’s evolved, it is about managing people and creating an environment that they feel good about coming to work every day and a certain culture along with that. That’s what I think I can bring to the Mariners. Again, it’s about the players and putting them in a position to win. So, again, it’s been a different path, I’ve said it all along, that I’ve taken to get here. I feel fortunate, and I’m really excited about getting started.
MLB STAND UP TO CANCER AUCTION
For the fourth consecutive year, Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network and the 30 Clubs have organized a Winter Meetings charity auction that includes once-in-a-lifetime baseball experiences and unique items to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. This initiative, which has raised nearly $500,000 since its inception, was inspired by the numerous employees, friends and fans of the game who have been affected by cancer. A significant portion of the proceeds will go to Stand Up To Cancer, a longtime partner of Major League Baseball, its founding donor in 2008. In addition, this year’s auction will benefit Do It For Durrett, in honor of the late Texas Rangers ESPN.com beatwriter Richard Durrett, who passed away suddenly last year, and the YouCaring page established for Miami Marlins Sun Sentinel beatwriter Juan C. Rodriguez, who is currently battling a brain tumor. The auction is live on MLB.com until Thursday, December 10th at 9:00 p.m. (ET).
Following are the Mariners items supporters can bid on at http://www.mlb.com/SU2Cauction:
- Seattle Mariners – Meet & Greet with Nelson Cruz
Seattle Mariners – Kings Court Experience
Seattle Mariners – Watch an Inning from the Booth with Rizzs and Goldsmith
As he does each day at the Winter Meetings, Jerry Dipoto met with our travelling beat media this afternoon. In addition to laying out his thoughts on the Lind acquisition, Jerry talked about the position player group, mentioned his thoughts on bullpen construction, and walked through the improvements we’ve made in our line-up, specifically in our ability to get on base. Jerry also talked through the strategy of trying to get ahead of the market here by making moves early in the, rather than waiting until players we were interested had been bid up in the Winter Meetings frenzy.
TOMORROW’S RULE 5 PRIMER
Every year, Major League Baseball holds two player drafts. Most fans are familiar with and have a basic understanding of the First-Year Player Draft, which occurs each June and deals with amateur players in the United States and Puerto Rico. But the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place in December and concerns professional players, is often confusing. This factsheet aspires to clear up how the Rule 5 Draft works.
A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $50,000 to the team from which he was selected. The receiving team must then keep the player on the Major League 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season, and the selected player must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days. If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team he was selected from for $25,000. If his original team declines, the receiving team may waive the player.
Once a player is selected, he is automatically assigned to his new organization’s 40-man roster.
Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played in pro ball for five years. All players on a Major League Baseball team’s 40-man roster, regardless of other eligibility factors, are “protected” and ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
Teams draft in reverse-order of the regular season standings. Any team that does not have any vacancies on its 40-man roster may not make a selection.
There are also Triple-A and Double-A phases to the Rule 5 Draft. Players put on the Triple-A reserve list cost the selecting team $12,000, and players put on the Double-A reserve list cost the selecting team $4,000.
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Bill Kearns has seen it all in Mariners history, literally. Kearns, who is 92, has been with the Mariners organization since it joined the American League in 1977. In fact, he signed his contract to join the Mariners before they were even the Mariners (see his original contract below).
Tonight at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida, Kearns was honored as one of the Scouts of the Year. Kearns joins Bill Bryk of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Doug Mapson of the San Francisco Giants, and Howard McCullough with the Arizona Diamondbacks as the 2013 Baseball Scouts of the Year winners. The award, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, was created to acknowledge baseball scouts that have devoted at least a quarter of a century to the profession, recognizing these ambassadors for their achievements to our National Pastime. All recipients’ are also honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in the Diamond Mines exhibit.
Kearns also scouted for White Sox and KC Royals. In his youth, this Master Scout was a standout SS for the Brooklyn Dodgers and was signed by the legendary Branch Rickey. After service during WWII, Bill continued an academic / athletic career that got him noticed for his instructional abilities, enabling him to serve as a player/ manger in the minors.
The following is a true gem, Bill’s original offer letter and contract from 1976, surely something that will make its way to Cooperstown.
You can listen to Bill tell stories about his scouting career in the following interview today on MLB Network Radio.
Each year at the Winter Meetings, Major League Baseball hosts a lunch with all 30 managers and the media. It is pretty cool to see all the managers in one spot, and makes for a great photo. Here is a photo of the 15 American League managers for the 2014 season, with Lloyd McClendon front-and-center between Rays manager Joe Maddon and Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
Earlier this morning at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik joined Matt Vasgersian, Harold Reynolds and Ken Rosenthal on the MLB Network. In case you were not up early enough on the West Coast (the interview aired live at 6:15 a.m. PT), here is the interview:
The annual Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are about to kick off at the Swan & Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. A large Mariners contingent from the baseball operations and player development staff will be in Orlando (along with your blog contributors from the media relations crew).
What exactly are the Winter Meetings you ask?
The Baseball Winter Meetings is the annual gathering of members of The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, including Major League Baseball, and their affiliated parties. Baseball front office personnel, trade show exhibitors and job seekers will fill the property during these four days in December making it the largest gathering of baseball executives in the world. The meetings consist of seminars, league and organizational meetings, the Baseball Trade Show and special events, such as the annual Awards Luncheon, Banquet, Gala and the PBEO Job Fair.
You’ll hear a lot about the Winter Meetings on the MLB Network, ESPN, MLB Network Radio and across various forms of social media. For twitter followers, be sure to follow the hashtag #WinterMeetings and the @WinterMeetings account.
On the blog, we’ll try to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what is going on, what interviews are taking place with manager Lloyd McClendon and GM Jack Zduriencik, and hopefully some fun photos of recognizable baseball names.
The Mariners nine minor league affiliates wrapped up the 2012 season putting together one of the best season in club history, combining for a 496-406 (.550) record. The organization led all Major League farm systems in wins and winning percentage, while setting a new record for most wins in a single season. This has led to optimism in the Mariners pipeline, as Seattle has one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. Baseball America unveiled their annual Top 10 Prospects list ranking the top Mariners in the minor leagues.
Baseball America’s Top 10 Mariners Prospects:
1. Mike Zunino, c
2. Taijuan Walker, rhp
3. Danny Hultzen, lhp
4. James Paxton, lhp
5. Nick Franklin, ss/2b
6. Brandon Maurer, rhp
7. Carter Capps, rhp
8. Stefen Romero, 2b
9. Brad Miller, ss
10. Victor Sanchez, rhp
Catcher Mike Zunino, selected by the Mariners with the third overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player draft, quickly established himself as an offensive and defensive force and was ranked by Baseball America as the Mariners No. 1 prospect. In his first professional season, Zunino hit .360 (58×151) with 35 runs scored, 14 doubles, 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 44 combined between Short-A Everett and AA Jackson.
The Mariners had six pitchers ranked in the top 10, including five of the top seven prospects. For the second straight year, right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker (#2) was tabbed as the Mariners top pitching prospect. In only his third professional season, Walker, 20, was one of the youngest pitchers in the Southern League and was also named to the North Division All-Star Team. Left-handed pitchers Danny Hultzen (#3) and James Paxton (#4), joined right-handed pitchers Brandon Maurer (#6), Carter Capps (#7) and Victor Sanchez (#10) to round out the Mariners top pitching prospects. After being in the minor leagues less than a year, Capps made his Major League debut on Aug. 3, 2012 and became only the third player from the 2011 First-Year Players draft to make his ML debut. Hultzen, Maurer and Paxton each ranked amongst the Mariners organization leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts, while Sanchez at age 17 was the youngest player in the top 10.
While the Mariners are known for their top pitching prospects, it was their offensive numbers that really stood out in 2012. Amongst all full-season minor league clubs, the Mariners affiliates finished in the top 5 in nearly every offensive category, including ranking first in hits, home runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. Infielders Nick Franklin (#5), Stefen Romero (#8) and Brad Miller (#9) joined Zunino as the Mariners position players in the organizations top 10 rankings. Romero was named the Mariners Minor League Player of the Year after batting .352 (167×474) with 85 runs scored, 64 extra-base hits and 101 RBI in 116 games combined between High-A High Desert and AA Jackson. Franklin was recently named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospect Team, while Miller ranked second amongst all Minor Leaguers with 186 hits.
The Opryland Hotel was bustling with activity this morning as the 2012 Winter Meetings officially kicked off in Nashville. Since we are two hours ahead here in The Music City, you may not have been able to watch Jack Zduriencik on the MLB Network this morning. Here is the video of Jack’s interview with Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds:
Jack also stopped to talk with several reporters between interviews, and capped his morning media session by joining Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquett on MLB Network Radio on XM/Sirius. Here is a 3-minute segment of that interview: