News: Cole Gillespie is a Mariner
Compass Reading: Just don’t expect him in center field
1. As much as everyone in the universe except the guy with the pencil may wish for something different, Lloyd McClendon — as he loves to point out — has the pencil.
And McClendon’s pencil keeps writing “Almonte 8” on the first line of the card. Twenty-one consecutive times.
We like Abraham Almonte, too, and he’s a great story, but giving the most plate appearances to the guy with the least chance of making a non-random positive event occur is just not a good plan.
McClendon’s not shirking responsibility, and that’s to his credit, but a disaster that someone owns up to is still a disaster.
2. Gillespie has only played 76 games in center in the minors, and he’s been in the minors a long time. It’s never been his primary position as a pro. And since he’s been in the Mariner organization: zero official games in center.
3. McClendon obviously doesn’t see Michael Saunders or Dustin Ackley as center fielders either, so if someone is going to supplant Almonte in-house, it will be James Jones, Xavier Avery or Endy Chavez, and I don’t disagree that there’s not a ton of offensive promise there, either, though they can’t really be worse than Almonte.
I don’t think they view injury-prone Julio Morban as a center fielder anymore.
News: Jabari Blash getting noticed
Compass Reading: It won’t be the last time
In this space, we’ve always said that you need to get the “slugger who walks” — the ones who don’t are “random moon shot” guys. C-Peg and Miguel Olivo are the latter.
Now that Blash is putting it all together, his first 50 games at AA are kind of mind-boggling (6.1% HR rate; 19.6% BB rate). Yes, people will toss out some “Giancarlo Stanton, but not really” kind-of phrases, as someone does in the comments. I have, too. Go for it.
News: Bob Dutton speculates
Compass Reading: And it’s good stuff
The Tacoma News-Tribune reporter says the Mariners never stopped looking for a bat, but made “baseball-evaluation decisions” (as opposed to acting out of financial constraints) not to offer more dollars to Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales. That makes solid sense to me.
Dutton’s a former Kansas City guy, and he says if the Royals fall out of contention they will look to off-load Billy Butler. Sure, another basepath-clogger, but he’d be a much-needed RH impact bat that Gillespie and fellow ex-Beaver Stefen Romero aren’t likely to be.
- Tacoma had to fly to Las Vegas to avoid a rainout, but it didn’t avoid a blowout, falling to the 51’s 11-4.
- Rafael Montero, frequently speculated as possible return in a Nick Franklin-to-Mets deal, got the win for Vegas with this line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
- And speaking of guys named Montero, Jesus Montero returned from paternity leave with a home run (off the other Montero; Rafael, that is, not the baby) and a single. Only three walks in his first 14 games, but Mr. Zero Expectations is at an otherwise-encouraging .283/.328/.604.
- For Jackson, Jamal Austin got just his third home run in 1409 minor-league plate appearances.
- And Mickey Wiswall, who missed all of 2013, got his first homer since 2012. He had 21 dingers for the high-flying 2012 High Desert team featuring Brad Miller, Morban, Romero, Jones and others.
- And one of the guys from that team is now in an opposing Rancho Cucamonga Quakes uniform: Steven Proscia, who homered to help the Quakes overcome this year’s Maverick team. The “other Jabari” [Jabari Henry] got his third homer for the Mavericks.