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M’s All-Prospect Team – 2006

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on September 8, 2006

It wasn’t a banner year for the Mariners minor league system. The highlights – Adam Jones, Francisco Cruceta, etc – are outweighed by the lack of promising talent in the upper levels.

But we aren’t here to dissect the farm system as a whole, because if we were, I’d follow with “Tony Butler, Chris Tillman, Greg Halman, Doug Salinas, Alex Liddi” etc.

Blah, blah, blah, the future is supposedly bright. Right? I think so, and I’m not alone. One NL scout recently sided with me when I told a Reds farmhand that I’d much rather be the Mariners, post 2006, than the A’s, Angels or Rangers

But, what about 2006?

Back to the best seasons from each position.

 

2006 All-Prospect Team

1B – Bryan LaHair

LaHair would have been the choice here even without his week-long power surge, which isn’t so much a tribute to the 24-year-old’s overall season but more of a rip on the organization’s depth at the position. Only Marshall Hubbard, who hit just .278/.361/.421 with 11 homers in 126 games split between Inland Empire and San Antonio.

LaHair finished the year, combined between Double-A and Triple-A, at .309/.381/.474 with 16 home runs. If LaHair was a right-handed bat, he’d be leading the Jon Nelson’s and TJ Bohn’s of the world, but that’s about it. His left-handedness makes him worth keeping an eye on, as does the fact that he’s 6-5 and 225 pounds, and an intelligent hitter who can spray the ball to left field.

It’s still very possible that he joins the big club sometime this month, after helping Team USA win the Olympic qualifying tournament.

2B – Luis Valbuena

Had Michael Garciaparra been healthy all year, he’d likely have been the choice, here, but Valbuena has a decent year split between the two Class A affiliates.

The 20-year-old has some pop but didn’t show it off much this season, posting just 38 extra-base hits in 128 starts. Valbuena, a left-handed hitter, isn’t much to talk about defensively and a switch to left field is probably necessary, but the Mariners are planning on using the Venezuelan at second base again in 2007.

Valbuena’s overall numbers are less-than extraordinary, but he put up a .286/.371 line in Wisconsin with 44 walks and 44 whiffs, then scuffled in 43 games in the Cal League, hitting just .252/.315. Another winner here by default, but Valbuena, like LaHair, is worth watching, even though a position switch is likely in his future.

Watch his OPS as he moves through the system. if he can keep it above .800 as he develops, he’ll probably have a java shot at the big leagues.

3B – Ron Garth

Garth isn’t even the best third base prospect in the system (as long as he’s playing there, Tui gets that nod) and he isn’t likely to stick at the hot corner, either. But the 21-year-old played the majority of his games at third and played it well defensively while putting up a middle infielder’s offensive line.

Garth, a Nicaragua native, batted .275/.339/.413 with 10 home runs for Wisconsin, and is probably going to continue to play second and third for Inland Empire, due to a lack of organizational options.

Garth isn’t a future major leaguer, but he’s a pretty solid bat in A ball, and had a good year in a tough league in which to hit.

SS – Oswaldo Navarro

Navarro, somewhat like his friend and former M’s prospect Asdrubal Cabrera, is a fun player to watch… in the field. When he picks up a bat, the results are satisfactory for a 21-year-old in the upper levels of the minors, but his future isn’t as potentially bright as his fellow countryman, Cabrera.

Navarro is listed as a switch hitter in many media listings, but he bats exclusively from the right side these days. He hits like he’s built – pretty lightly – but he does pop an occasional extra-base hit.

As we’ve talked about here before, Navarro needs to mature physically and get a lot stronger in his upper body in order to hit beyond the minors. He’s a dedicated diamond dog, however, so effort won’t be a problem.

Navarro is a future reserve middle infielder.

C – Jeff Clement

Clement’s first full professional season started off well, as the former first-rounder hit .288/.386/.525 in 15 games with Double-A San Antonio. But the backstop had to undergo meniscus and elbow surgeries that sidelined him for seven weeks.

Upon returning, the club made the mistake of immediately promoting Clement to Tacoma. He wasn’t ready to play everyday ANYWHERE, let alone in the PCL. Clement never recovered from the rusty return and hit .257/.321/.347 with the Rainiers.

The three most important things to remember are that Clement just turned 23, just completed his first full year in pro ball (in which the injury limited him to only 82 games played) and that he’s a tough, dedicated youngster with plenty of time to develop his skills, both at the plate, and behind it.

Clement’s power will come, in a similar manner as former Mariners prospect Shin-soo Choo. Choo improved his slugging percentage by nearly 70 points this season over 2005, and there’s no reason Clement can’t do the same, even more.

Power is the last thing to develop, especially for a catcher, who’s focused so much on improving defensively.

DH – Mike Wilson

Wilson’s late-season struggles notwithstanding, the former second round pick took another step this season after a solid year in Wisconsin last year.

But, like LaHair and one of the three outfielder’s on this team, Wilson hasn’t proven anything, other than the fact that he can get hot for small stretches and impress the heck out of those in attendance for the good streaks.

Wilson has two holes in his swing right now – down and away with the soft stuff (big surprise) and anything in on his hands… another shocker, eh? He’s far too impatient and lacks the plate coverage to make up for slightly above-average bat speed, but has the physical tools to hit for power.

For Wilson, it’s all about thinking his way through his ABs. More patience+better pitch recognition=more confidence. More confidence+consistency=legitimate offensive prospect.

The jury is still out on Wilson, and he’ll get a chance to prove his worth in Triple-A next season, probably as the club’s DH and part-time outfielder.

OF – Adam Jones

He’s simply the best prospect in the system, and it’s not close right now. He’s answered the questions we asked at the beginning of spring training (can he sustain success in the upper levels versus quality pitching? — can he adjust to center field without losing focus offensively? — can he continue to improve as he’s challenged aggressively by the organization?) and answered them all with a resounding yes.

He went from “raw and inexperienced ” in center field to “you can tell he’s starting to get it — and he certainly has the natural skills to get the job done.”

He made consistent, effective adjustments at the plate, learned from previous plate appearances and really didn’t slide into long streaks of bad at-bats.

Jones also got better in every aspect of the game of baseball. You name it, he’s light years better now than he was in February. Tracking fly balls, making the throws from the outfield, fielding grounders on the run, hitting the breaking ball, laying off the slider away, running the bases… he’s a solid, solid prospect with a pretty bright future.

Oh, and he’s going to continue to get better – he turned 21 on August 3 and wants to work on getting bigger and stronger without losing any of his speed.

Let’s see. A 6-2, 220-pound center fielder with 25+ homer power, that may ultimately go beyond the 30-mark, a cannon arm and a great team attitude to go with a strong work ethic.

I’ll take that. Wouldn’t you?

OF – Greg Halman

Not a ton to say about Halman, as he’s a raw, 19-year-old ( was 18 for his entire ’06 season) with a lot of physical ability, but an untested, unproven, inexperienced set of tools.

But he’s 6-4 and 215 pounds, is a plus runner with a plus arm, good insticts (may continue to play center field), and a healthy power swing that produced extra-bases on half of his hits with Everett this season.

Halman will have to learn how to work the count and get the best pitch to hit, but when he connects, it always has a chance to either go over the wall, or go through it. He’s a specimen, and baseball has been in his life for a long time.

I expect him to learn quickly, but here’s to hoping the club stays patient with him. At this point, I’d guess he starts 2007 in Wisconsin, with a slight chance at the Cal League butAugust. His spring performance will determinehis route for next year.

OF – Wladimir Balentien

Same old, same old with Big Bad Wlad. Big swings, bigtime power, lots of whiffs. The one difference this season is that he drew 70 walks, more than twice his previous career-high of 33 set last season at Inland Empire.

Balentien needs to either go back to his free-swinging ways, or find a way to mesh his patient side with his aggressove nature.

The 22-year-old is the toughest bat to evaluate in the entire system. He could end up flaming out as early as 2007, where he might just reset the league record for strikeouts in a season set by AJ Zapp in 2004. Or, he could make the proper adjustments, likely after a two-year stay in the PCL, and become a useful big-league bat.

Who knows.

SP – Ryan Feierabend

“Don’t pay any attention to the statistics next to Ryan Feierabend’s name.” They mean nothing. Okay, they mean something, but only when taken into proper context.

The newly-turned 21-year-old posted a K/9 of 7.4, a solid number for a developing southpaw with the upside of Feierabend. The average age of the batters in the Texas League this season was 23.9, more than three years older than Feierabend.

The lefty is the organization’s best pitching prospect at the moment, and could get a shot to win the fifth spot in the rotation next spring, though it’s more likely that he starts the year in Triple-A with a chance at a call-up next summer.

He’s ramped up to 153 2/3 innings and is probably ready to approach 190 frames in 2007. Feierabend is another prospect in which to be patient. He’s just 21 and has plenty of time mature and develop into a legit major league starting pitcher.

He’s well on his way.

SP – Francisco Cruceta

Potentially the M’s fifth starter next season… potentially next season’s version of Julio Mateo – but better. Cruceta will miss bats at the next level. The only question is whether he’ll post league-average strikeout rates as a starting pitcher, at least until he improves his breaking ball and his overall command, or become another in a fleet of top drawer power arms the Mariners have at their disposal out of the bullpen.

I’ll bet on… okay, I’m not sure.

RP – Mark Lowe

The Mariners have a laundry list of things to accomplish this winter, but one of them should be to assure themselves that Mark Lowe’s right elbow is sound, and prepare him to return to the starting rotation.

They have to at least entertain the though, discuss it with Lowe, Pat Rice, Brad Holman and company, and see how he responds to longer stints on the hill next spring. if it doesn’t work out and he reverts back to his low-90s heat with fading secondary pitches, they can always toss him back into the bullpen where they know he can succeed.

Lowe was unbelievable this season at all three stops.

RP – Eric O’Flaherty

How can you not love O’Flaherty’s future? He’s a former starting pitcher who moved to the pen to curb his back problems, but at 21 years of age has embraced his new role. How could he not, it got him to the bigs, where he’ll probably remain for good.

O’Flaherty has legit major league stuff that should allow him to stay effective against both lefties and righties. His cutter is a solid offering versus RH bats, and he extends the same pitch into more a of slider versus lefties.

His fastball sits in the low 90s and his slider can get righties to bite, too. He was just as good against righty bats as he was against lefties in the minors, and has continued that trend in the big leagues, though right-handers have four hits in their past six ABs against him.

O’Flaherty’s makeup is perfect in a middle-to-late innings relief role, short of the setup role, at least for now.

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46 Responses to “M’s All-Prospect Team – 2006”

  1. so to make the list would have had to have had a Great year?

  2. yeah.

  3. Jerry said

    How about the all-organization team based on upside/talent more than 2006 performance.

    1B. LaHair (Avila is the only other guy worth even mentioning)

    2B. Valbuena (although Yung-Chi Chen is an interesting player too)

    3B. Matt Tuiasosopo (until he moves to RF, that is. Hopefully he can stay in the infield)

    SS. Oswaldo Navarro (…at least until the M’s sign SS prospect Carlos Triunfel…)

    OF: Greg Halman

    OF: Adam Jones

    OF: Michael Saunders (my prediction for a huge breakout season in 2007, if anyone cares…Carlos Peguero is the honorable mention here).

    DH: Wilson.

    RHSP: Brandon Morrow (not particularly close)

    LHSP: Anthony Butler (upside just barely gets him the nod over much more polished guys like Feierabend and Thomas)

    RHRP: Stephen Kahn (the most likely to pull a Lowe next year)

    LHSP: Cesar Jimenez (whose attempt to start this season made lots of people forget that he is a much much better relief prospect)

  4. I think Tillman has a bigger upside than Morrow… but he does have one other obstacle to jump than does Morrow… established work ethic.

  5. Clinton said

    What makes Tillman’s upside better than Morrow’s?

  6. Clinton said

    I’m sorry. Bigger, not better.

  7. JasonAChurchill said

    Tillman is an 18-year-old who already tags the 95 mph range with his fastball, has a developing change and a better breaking ball than Morrow will probably ever have.

    Tillman is more of a risk, due to age and all that jazz, but he has a higher upside, no doubt.

  8. Nighthawk180 said

    With that stated above would you rate him as a starter? Also do you think Morrow will end up being a starter in the majors or another young power arm in the pen?

    Thanks
    Nighthawk180

  9. JH said

    The Ms have already seen and passed on Triunfel, unless his asking price comes way down (last I heard it was at $1.1 million).

    The way the international market’s shaping up this year, that’s not gonna happen.

  10. Jerry said

    JH,

    Is that John Helfgott?

    So, the M’s did take a look at him? Hopefully, they decide to open their pocketbooks a little bit. I have heard that he is a stud.

    Have you seen him or heard any scouting reports besides the stock stuff at espn.desportes and BA?

    I keep hoping that the M’s reel in one of the elite prospects. And it sounds like Triunfel is defintely in that group.

    I would love to hear any information you have about him, any of the other latin american free agents, or the guys that the M’s have already signed (didn’t Mario Martinez get the biggest bonus?).

  11. JH said

    Yes, this is Helfgott. I didn’t get a firsthand look at Triunfel. The information I have on him comes straight from Patrick Guerrero, who said “I don’t think he’s worth the money they’re asking for him.” Pretty strong indication the team’s not going after him.

    The big Latin-American signings this year are Martinez ($600,000), OF Rey Lebron ($200,000), and some guy named Rodriguez, who I don’t have any information on (position, tools, etc) besides the fact that he signed for $280,000. The team has probably signed a few more pitchers since I last checked in with Ms reps down here, since a handful of the Ms’ DSL arms are pretty sure bets to be sent to the states next year.

  12. Triunfel was considered by “numerous clubs” but all of them balked at his original asking price of more than a million.

    Interesting situation.

    The M’s “like” him, but they don’t love him. Not a mill worth of love anyways.

  13. JH said

    The Ms have never ponied up for one of the Boras guys in the DR, though Welington Dotel trained with Kukie Acevedo, one of the buscones associated with Boras.

    Given the recent performances of Dominican Boras clients, that doesn’t look like a bad thing. Top dollar clients of trainers like Enrique Soto and Ivan Navoa tend to be more sought after.

  14. It’s going to be ineteresting if MLB starts to mandate that players “register” with MLB and front their personal info, with proof, including submitting permission to randomly test for drugs of any kind, and to partially mandate the signing bonus figures, like they do in the rule 4 draft.

    That’s five or six years off, if it ever happens, but the league wants to do it, and most teams already love the idea.

  15. Jerry said

    Besides Triunfel, are there any other guys who are exceptional?

    It would be nice to see the M’s add some guys like Triunfel: big middle infielders with power.

    It is amazing how fast things change with farm systems. About a year ago, the M’s had a ‘problem’ with their glut of middle infielders. But Betancourt graduates, Jones and Tui move, Asdrubal Cabrera is traded, and Luis Valbuena has a mediocre year, and all of the sudden the M’s are a bit thin.

    Likewise, last year, the M’s had very few outfielders. Now we have Jones, Lo, Halman, Peguero, Craig, and a few other interesting guys at the lower levels. Things change quickly.

  16. One scout I know did the math on three of his former clubs’ success with latin hitters through 2006.

    One in 41 made a useful impact in the bigs.

    Don’t get too excited about some teen who gets a ton of money, or some much-talked about 17 year old. Just don’t.

  17. JH said

    Well, is that all hitters, or specifically guys who get big bonuses? The guys signed in the $20-$70,000 range are pretty much a roll of the dice. Find a skinny kid with demonstrated athleticism and quick wrists, and hope he learns how to become a hitter. That approach pretty much defines the DSL Ms’ offense this year. None of their current hitters are big money guys, but a few have a chance to become interesting.

    The 6-figure guys are a slightly different ballgame, though they still have a huge bust rate.

    Speaking of 6-figure guys and the Ms, Welington Dotel could not have regressed more from where he was even in minor league camp. The Ms brought him back to play in the DSL playoffs, and he looked absolutely horrible. I’ve gone from borderline believer to total seller unless his approach changes completely. It didn’t help that every single Ms’ coach would yell “agresivo! agresivo!” (aggressive) before every pitch he saw. He’s still got a lot of raw power, but if he has pitch recognition skills at all, he’s choosing to ignore them.

    Re: other unsigned guys, the last time I was at the academy the Ms’ scouts were going after a guy named Bartolo Mercedes. I don’t know anything about him, or whether he’s related to either Mercedes currently playing for the DSL Ms, though.

  18. Jerry said

    Regarding international guys,

    I was under the impression that the latin american talent market has become a lot less hit and miss in the past few years. I remember reading that the buscones are getting better and better at identifying talent and grooming kids to be legit prospects.

    I have no actual data to back that up, but it seems like it is generally true. It seems like more of the big name signings – like Elvis Andrus, Fernando Martinez, and Jose Tabata – are panning out more and more these days. At the very least, they are developing into legit prospects before they flame out.

    It seems like the market is catching on to this, and the amounts that guys are getting paid is going up and up.

    Would you two concur on that?

    Obviously, it is easy for me to sit here and bitch at the club for not signing a lot of these guys, since it isn’t my money. But, compared to how much the club spends on the roster, and how much they bring in annually, getting a good prospect for 1 million bucks is a bargain. Even if only 1 in 5 of them actually pan out to be really good major league players, that is still worth it. Sign 10, and hope that two turn into really excellent big league guys. Two solid to good players – under team control for several years – is well worth it.

  19. JH said

    The amount of money people get is still misleading as an indicator of talent level. It’s all about representation. Teams still find people in backwater towns in the DR without strong representation who they can sign for $50-70,000 whose tools are just as good as the 6-figure guys. Keep in mind, you’re talking about very poor countries here. A lot of kids are happy to sign with the first team that offers them any money at all. Not everybody is represented by a big-name trainer.

    The “less hit-and-miss” perception is basically a function of those two guys you mentioned. Martinez and Tabata are two guys who have had very impressive debuts. That doesn’t mean the entire system has become less hit-and-miss. For every Martinez or Tabata (sidenote: I don’t know what Tabata’s signing bonus was. Anyone?), there’s a handful of guys like Anderson Amador, who signed for $800,000 and never showed anything as a hitter. He’s been converted to the mound, and may still have a future, but it doesn’t look too good. 2 years with one great debut each doesn’t mean the system’s changed at all, and this year’s market is the most inflated it’s ever been.

    Keep in mind, Jerry, the Mariners are a top-5 spending team in the international market. They might not go after the 7-figure guys, but they sign several guys to 6-figure contracts every year. 6-figure guys currently in the organization include Kuo-Hui Lo, Greg Halman, Carlos Peguero, Welington Dotel, Gregorio Rosario, Chia-An Huang (looks like a flameout), Alex Liddi, Rayon Lampe (likely flameout), Doug Salinas, Miguel Marquez, and Jorge Agudelo (unsure on the exact bonuses of those last 4, but they were high-target signings). The international scouting department also ponied up big bucks for Shin-Soo Choo, Jose Lopez, Chris Snelling, Felix Hernandez, and Yuniesky Betancourt over the past 5 years.

    There’s also a lot of value in casting a really wide net. If Halman was a Dominican with competent representation, he would have signed for more than half a million easily. By scouting off the beaten path, the Ms found an elite international talent for the bargain price of $100,000. Ditto with Liddi.

    The Ms spend money, and they’ve gotten a few damn good international prospects to show for it, not to mention a third of the current lineup and the major league team’s best starter. There are plenty components of the Mariners’ front office worthy of criticism, but the international scouting department/budget isn’t one of them.

  20. Willmore said

    Off topic, but still.

    I have one of these crazy thoughts every few weeks or so, and I need someone to tell me I’m crazy.

    Looking over DIPS and how some pitchers are pitching better than the end-result suggests, I come across 2 pitchers who have had great seasons, but you wouldn’t know it from their ERA. Jake Peavy and Jeremy Bonderman. Now, the front offices are high on the players, but with a perceived bad season, could it now be remotely possible to snatch one of them away somehow ?

    Jake Peavy is probably impossible, especially in the light of the extension he signed, but Bonderman is another story, in my opinion. It has less than 1 percent chance of happening, but you never know.

    I would give a lot for Bonderman. Namely, any one of the following: Lopez, Clement, Sexson.

    The Tigers are perceived to be loaded at starting pitching, and in that ballpark, they have the confidence of the ’02-’03 mariners that anyone they plug in would work. However, they are not set offensively. Lopez would be a nice young position player with upside that could be just the thing for them. Sexson is a veteran presence that would allow them to compete in ’07 again. Clement would be a fabulous replacement for Ivan Rodriguez once he leaves after ’07 or ’08. Would they take it ? Maybe, maybe not, but I would give it, and Bonderman would be a great addition to the Mariners if we also snag Matsuzaka.

    There are a dozen other possible combinations of trades, involving prospects, multiple players from each side, but I just wanted to keep it simple.

    So am I crazy in giving up the team’s offensive future and present for a non-ace pitcher ?

  21. Jpax said

    JH, my question would be are the Mariner’s finding more teams scouting Internationally?

    We seem to have made some real finds, especially in Venzuela and Taiwan, now perhaps from Europe (Liddi, Halman). Is the competition growing for these areas? Where are the next potentially fertile grounds? China, South Africa, Europe?

    Willmore, I wouldn’t make the trade unless it was Sexson. I just think the other young position players have so much upside yet that we haven’t seen.

  22. Willmore said

    China seems to have the most potential, primarily because the government has revved up the funding and the interest in sports. Not to mention the sheer number of potential athletes with the amount of kids born there. The WBC has shown that, their team had kids 17-19 years of age, who will grow and develop a backbone of chinese baseball. However, the fruits of this market are some ways away. I wouldn’t expect much of anything to come out of there for at least a decade, unless a freak athlete over there gets into baseball, like Yao was pulled into baseketball. The 2008 Olympics have boosted the sports programs in the country, and baseball is one of the beneficiaries, since it’s still in the program for ’08, and China will want to win or compete in every sport.

    http://www.shanghaidiaries.com/archives/2004/11/30/in_search_of_baseballs_yao_ming/

  23. Jerry said

    JH,

    I hear what you are saying about the international presence in general. But, to me as an outsider, it seems like the m’s presence in Latin America in particular has waned a bit. Out of the players that you mentioned, it seems like there are more and more players coming from untapped markets, mainly Asia and Europe.

    I can understand why the M’s would be scouting unscouted markets more than the popular places like Venezuela, the DR, and other Latin American countries. In untapped markets, there is less competition for top talents. But, the problem with that M.O. is that countries in the Old World just don’t play baseball much. You might find some really good athletes in the Netherlands or Italy, but the vast majority of the physically talented players will end up playing other sports. It would be like cricket teams scouting the US: there are athletes there, but they have no background in the sport. There isn’t an infrastructure to teach young people the sport and groom talent like there is in areas where that sport is really popular.

    You are down there, and obviously know more about the way that things are going with the organization in Latin America than anyone else. My impressions on the subject could just be the media. It was interesting that the signing that got the most press this year with Phillips, instead of some of the latin american players the club signed.

    Thus, from the outside, it seems like the M’s are moving away from Latin America in favor of other areas. In particular, it seems like the M’s have left the D.R. to other organizations and have focused elsewhere. Is this the case? Or are they maintaining a solid presence in Latin America while also adding in other areas?

    Basically, are we getting passed by other organizations down there?

  24. JasonAChurchill said

    For one, Jerry, there is only so much money to go around. Recently they have tossed that cash into a pot that has been stretched from Australia and such to Taiwan, etc.

    I’m not big on all the Latin talent. I don’t think it’s nearly as good as some think it is. Most of these guys are a waste of money.

    The majority of these players signed this summer aren’t any better than Waldimir Balentien or Yung Chi Chen.

  25. JH said

    ¨Basically, are we getting passed by other organizations down there?¨

    Simply put, no. The Ms are a top-5 team in terms of overall investment in the DR. Other big spenders are the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Mets. Every once in awhile a team decides to take a step up in its investment in the DR, and might be seen as ¨passing¨ the Ms, but really that just means that there´s more competition for the million-dollar guys. The Nationals and Giants´ huge statement signings this year don´t change the Ms´ operation at all.

    I used to think you were right, that the Ms had given up on DR scouting to the detriment of the farm system, but it´s not the case. The team went through a rocky transition from their last director of operations down here to Patrick Guerrero. They had a couple of down years as a result, but they spend heavily and are able to get guys with a lot of upside. That they don´t currently have any blue-chip Dominican prospects is a testament to how much of a crap shoot this game is, not to their level of investment.

    As for Venezuela, Bob Engle considered Miguel Marquez the country´s top amateur pitcher when the Ms signed him 2 years ago. Doug Salinas had the most impressive stateside debut of any first-year international pitcher outside of Deolis Guerra this year. They just put $600,000 into a Venezuelan outfielder in the most recent signing period. They´re spending big money and getting solid returns. The Ms didn´t use the Baseball America/ESPNDeportes top 10 list as their guideline for signing international talent. I know that´s your only way to identify international signings as names you´ve heard of, but it´s a really, really bad way to judge your team´s performance in this market.

  26. Jerry said

    Thanks for the information JH.

    It is nice to hear about this stuff from your perspective, since the information that makes it into the US press is so questionable.

    By the way, what can you tell us about Marquez, Salinas and this new OFer? I imagine that you are referring to Mario Martinez as the 600K OFer. I have also seen him listed as a SS.

  27. slim said

    Couple of thoughts on the article above:

    Balentien really only has next year to put it all together. 2007 is his final option year and I’m betting some team will claim hime if he doesn’t stick with the big club in 2008. But he could develop enough to take over Perez’s job by then.

    Cruceta is out of options, so he has to impress this month if he’s going to make it to spring training next year. It’s doubtful that the M’s will carry him all winter if he doesn’t show some sign of big league success. And I doubt the reigning PCL strikeout leader will make it through waivers. Even if he did, he’s already been outrighted once which means that he can chose to become a free agent if the M’s decide to do it again. The M’s are facing a bit of a 40 man roster crunch this November with fringe players like Baek and Huber impressing.

  28. The M’s aren’t going to let Cruceta go. Even if he sucks this month. Barring injury or winter trade, Cruceta will be in the mix for a spot on the staff somewhere come spring training.

  29. Jerry said

    Speaking of international signings….

    Wellington Dotel just got a 50-game suspension for a positive test for performance enhancing drugs.

    Bummer. That sucks.

    If you are going to take steriods, at least have the decency to do really well.

    Here is the link.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/minors/news/262433.html

  30. Dotel’s status was just about on empty anyways.

  31. Ru said

    Jpax
    I’m from Italy and maybe I can give you some informations about how it works here.
    My hometown park has a banner saying “Mariners home in Italy” and the team played home games with M’s uniforms so I guess there’s some form of control; non Italian players (6 allowed by rules)in the team are all from DR and mostly comes from the M’s low minors.
    Liddi was playing for another team who’s not under M’s control, but as far as I know only the M’s and the Indians control a team in Italy .I’ve seen only an Indians scout at the park (and to be honest he looked more interested in scouting italian girls than players).

  32. marc w. said

    Ru,

    That’s fascinating; I’d never heard of an M’s affiliated club in Europe. So who are some of the non-Italians on the team – how old are they? When does the season start/end?

    thanks!

  33. JH said

    If the Ms were planning to start Dotel in Everett anyways, does the suspension have any effect on him at all?

    Agreed, if Dotel was 85% done as an interesting player before this, he’s at 99% now.

    He was clean when he signed (his trainers test), and he still has some intriguing physical tools, but right now his approach is a total mess. That it’s gotten worse in the last 6 months and not better is a very bad sign.

    The vast majority of minor league steroid suspensions have been latin-american players. A lot of that is the make-or-break desperation, but with these guys, there are so many sketchy people training/”advising” them that if they say they didn’t know what they were taking, there’s actually a chance they’re telling the truth.

  34. Ru said

    Marc,
    italian league have only 10 teams, 3 games a week (friday night,saturday afternoon, saturday night) and the season lasts from april to september, but is frequently interrupted by international competitions.
    Fortitudo Bologna strangers are all from latin countries (5 from DR 1 from Columbia), but not very young (all over 30 maybe around 32/33).
    The names I remember are Jesus Matos who is the best starter of the team and maybe of the league and Felipe Urueta (who is younger than the other guys) who plays the OF.

  35. Eric said

    So where do you see Doug Fister in a prospect standpoint. And what of the aquasox staff I went to watch the sox alot and they had alot of quality arms not the greatest Numbers but the arms were incredible. Who are the prospects or potential prospects from that team?

  36. Bretticus said

    Jason–Any word on the firing of Rohn and departure on Hassey? What does this mean for the managerial situation?

  37. The M’s, mostly Bavasi and Howard Lincoln, decided Rohn was not going to be their choice for manager at any point, rendering his presence useless.

    This is also good for Rohn… he’ll manage in AAA next year, or get a coaching job in the bigs. The man knows baseball and a has GREAT feel for the game inside and out.

    Hassey was not going to come back whether Grover was retained or not…

  38. Willmore said

    Stupid. Unless they give me the next coming of Lou Pinella or snag Girardi from the fish, I don’t see what better option there is.

    Not to mention they basically screwed Rohn out of a year during which he could have been padding his resume for a big league job.

    Jason, if you get word of whom they might be looking at, share it with us.

  39. Geoff said

    Congratulations to Ryan Feierabend on another fine performance tonight with the Mariners! He allowed zero runs, walked one, struck out two and allowed a hit in four innings.

  40. They’ll wait to compile a list… just like with players. I have some names, but nothing concrete. They have spoken internally about 3 or 4 bats.

  41. Alex said

    Any of those bats worth it in your opinion?

  42. Geoff said

    Best of luck to Ryan Feierabend in his first professional start on Sunday. May of the people from your hometown (Elyria, Ohio) and high school (Midview High School in Grafton, Ohio) are very proud of you.

  43. Feierabend is going to be a good pitcher. Warning to all — he’s not ready for the show, so if he struggles and looks bad on Sunday, don’t freak out.

    Also, if he tosses a 4-hitter, don’t get too excited.

  44. Willmore said

    What if he’s out after 2/3 of an inning with a torn labrum ?

  45. Goose said

    Ah! Don’t even say that Willmore!

  46. Willmore, you deserve a torn labrum.

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