Friday, February 29, 2008

Games Start, Pitchers Heal, Other Notes

Happy Leap Day!

Spring Training games are in full swing, and it's nice to once again see some baseball highlights on ESPN. Seeing one of the game's greatest hitters from over a decade ago (Juan Gonzalez) taking the best pitcher in baseball (Johan Santana) deep has to be the most entertaining thing I've seen so far.

Our M's are playing pretty well so far, though I'm not going to get into too many game specifics just yet. Still a bit early to make any relevant observations at this point, in my opinion, though bench hopefuls Mike Morse, Charlton Jimerson and Jeremy Reed have been impressive.

Recovering pitchers Mark Lowe, Chris Reitsma and Arthur Rhodes have started throwing live batting practice, which is good to see. All three of these guys could be important parts of the bullpen this year. Anderson Garcia is also throwing again after taking some time off to recover from tendinitis. Phillipe Aumont is being held out of action with back and hip pain. More on how these guys figure into the bullpen picture here.

Shannon Drayer mentioned that Miguel Batista is working on adding a 12-6 curveball (or 12-5:30, as Batista calls it) to his arsenal. No word on whether or not he'll be unveiling it this year or if it's still a work in progress. He was throwing it his last Spring Training game with mixed results.

I'm getting the itch to do some digging and ink something slightly more original for all of you. Anything in particular you want to read about?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Clean Cut M's

posted by Jon

Sorry for the lack of updates lately, but I haven't really seen the point of relaying pointless anecdotes, charity game box scores or anything like that. If you are interested in that stuff I'm sure you've already looked up Geoff Baker, Shannon Drayer, Ryan Divish, Jim Street and others. This is a very slow time, but it should pick up in a little while. We'll start pumping out some pieces on players, position battles, and some projections will be coming in the following weeks.

One thing that did catch my eye is that manager John McLaren is going to have a set of appearance guidelines for the team. While they haven't all been determined, he mentioned that no full beards would be allowed, and no earrings either.

This is nothing unheard of. I'm sure all of you know that the Yankees have very strict guidelines when it comes to player appearance. The only player I can see having a major problem with this is Arthur Rhodes, who once was ejected at Safeco Field when asked by opposing hitter Omar Visquel to remove his diamond earrings because of the glare. The Mariner Moose may have a problem with being clean-shaven as well, but who knows?

I wonder if this will be the end of the crazy mid-losing-streak haircut days.

If there is anything else going on that you think we should dive into, feel free to comment on this post. I haven't been keeping up with the M's as diligently as usual, as other areas of my life have been screaming for attention lately.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Rotation Determined

posted by Patrick

The 2008 rotation is set as follows:

Erik Bedard (L)
Felix Hernandez (R)
Carlos Silva (R)
Jarrod Washburn (L)
Miguel Batista (R)

So we've got a 16-game winner from last year pitching in the fifth spot... cool!

There is no doubt that the lefty-righty dynamic played a factor here. John McLaren pointed out that back to back lefties did not work out last year.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2008 Bullpen Competition

posted by Jon

Last season, Seattle broke camp with a bullpen consisting of Julio Mateo, Brandon Morrow, J.J. Putz, Chris Reitsma, Arthur Rhodes, George Sherrill and Sean White.

2008 will see a much different bullpen coming out of Spring Training, with J.J. Putz being the only true lock. Putz used 2007 to solidify himself as one of the games best, converting his first 28 save opportunities on his way to becoming the second pitcher in franchise history to reach the 40 save plateau. He posted a career low 1.38 ERA and 0.70 WHIP, and would have added to his save total if it wasn’t for the Mariners’ 2-17 slide late in the year.

Seattle has five or six spots up for grabs, despite the trade that sent George Sherrill and Kam Mickolio to Baltimore. With almost enough relievers in camp to fill a 25-man roster from top to bottom, it's going to be a fierce competition. Here are the 2008 candidates as of February 20, 2008:

(Quick Termanology: LOOGY = left-handed specialist. For a good read on all the different bullpen roles, check out this post by Patrick on his old blog.)

Sean Green, RHP – A rough Spring Training landed Green in AAA Tacoma to start the 2007 season, but he still ended up making the third most big league appearances of the pitching staff. A very good sinkerball and unorthodox delivery had him cruising to a 2.44 ERA on August 3rd, but he struggled for the remainder of the season. You call it a tired arm, the result of Green’s first full major league season; Hargrove and McLaren’s mismanagement of the bullpen; or you could argue that the entire team was struggling down the stretch. I choose to blame management, but the bottom line is that Sean Green had a very nice year overall and you can expect him back next season. Some have speculated that Green could be moved into the setup role for 2008, but I would recommend a power arm in that slot. A pitcher that relies on groundballs and defense isn’t the type of guy you want with the game on the line. Give me someone that can strike someone out with the tying run on third base.

Eric O’Flaherty, LHP – Another guy that started the year in AAA, O’Flaherty showed he belonged in the big leagues last season by pitching 4.2 scoreless innings in relief against the New York Yankees on May 12th. O’Flaherty had an overall solid season in his first full year, posting a 4.47 ERA in 56 games. He’ll be competing for a role as a middle reliever or left-handed specialist this Spring, but appears to have the inside track as the team’s LOOGY. It would certainly benefit him, as his ERA against left-handers (1.38) was over six full points lower than against right-handers (7.52), not to mention lefties batted .183 off of him while right-handers hit .277.

Mark Lowe, RHP – We all remember Mark Lowe as the guy that made his major league debut on July 7, 2006, striking out the side on his way to a club record 17.2 consecutive scoreless innings to start a career. The streak was ended after he started having discomfort in his elbow, an injury that caused him to miss the tail end of August and all of September. Lowe continued to deal with injuries and pitched just 2.2 innings in the big leagues last season. When healthy he throws a high nineties fastball to go along with a nice slider and circle change. Lowe appears to be 100% healthy this Spring, and could find himself in a setup role should he rediscover his former dominance.

Brandon Morrow, RHP – No one expected Brandon Morrow to make any noise last Spring Training, but his pitching was so lights out that he forced Seattle management to make a tough decision. He made the team as a long-to-middle reliever and stayed with the big-club all season long, eventually pitching later in games. Many believe, myself included, that Brandon Morrow would be better served starting in AAA, rather than falling back into a bullpen mindset. That said, Morrow has the tools to become a dominate setup man this season, especially if his control problems are somewhat behind him (as his Winter League stats indicated). Manager John McLaren has already stated that Morrow will be pitching in the 7th and 8th innings. There has been some talk, however, that should the rest of the bullpen prove healthy and pitch effectively, Morrow could end up in AAA after all.

Chris Reitsma, RHP – After an awful season of pitching through injuries (career worst in several categories, including a 7.61 ERA and 1.94 WHIP), Chris Reitsma is completely healthy and determined to get back to his groundball inducing ways that made him a successful reliever between 2003-2005. Returning on a non-roster invitation, Reitsma will have to impress early and often to compete. The 30-year-old’s seven years of big league experience can only help him make the team, but I have trouble believing his experience alone could bump a more talented pitcher off the roster.

Arthur Rhodes, LHP – Swiftly approaching 40 and without back-to-back successful seasons since his last stint in Seattle, Arthur Rhodes is giving it one more shot after missing all of the 2007 season due to full-on Tommy John surgery. Should he be able to put some decent heat on his fastball and control his formerly wicked breaking pitches and changeup, Rhodes could land as the team’s left-handed specialist. Rhodes shouldn’t be ready for Opening Day, however, so his chances are contingent on other players’ inabilities or injury.

Ryan Rowland-Smith, LHP – The first ever MLB player with a hyphenated last name didn’t get much of a look in Spring Training last season, but a strong stint in AAA Tacoma had him up to Seattle for 26 games in 2007. Pitching in mid-to-long relief, RRS kept his ERA under four, showing off a very nice pickoff move and good control. He will likely be competing for a spot in middle relief. He will also get a long look as the team’s possibly LOOGY, but his splits over the last few years reveal that it may not be the role for him.

Cesar Jimenez, LHP – Last we saw of Cesar Jimenez, he was getting roughed up horribly in his final three appearances of his 2006 September callup. The 23-year-old southpaw throws a high-80s fastball to go along with a curveball and excellent changeup. He looked pretty good in 2007, posting a 3.51 ERA in 25.2 innings with AAA Tacoma, followed by stellar 0.77 ERA over 23.1 innings in the Venezuelan Winter League. I believe the main factors determining Jimenez’s fate with the major league club are the aforementioned Ryan Rowland-Smith and Eric O’Flaherty. Should they both make the Opening Day bullpen; I don’t Jimenez joining them.

Jon Huber, RHP – After impressing in his brief 2006 debut, Huber had a tough 2007. His atrocious Spring Training had him starting the year in AAA, where he posted a career worst 7.56 ERA. Huber was up and down a couple times with the big club, posting a 4.76 ERA over nine appearances. Huber isn’t a dominate pitcher, but gets grounders with a slider/curveball combination and can still squeeze out a few strikeouts. He could win a middle relief role with a solid Spring, though there appears to be better pitchers in front of him.

Anderson Garcia, RHP – There isn’t much to say about Garcia that I didn’t say upon his arrival. He’s got a great fastball that has already gotten rave reviews since he arrived at the Mariners’ camp, but his secondary pitches are still not major league ready. He will have to improve dramatically to make the team, though the fact that he’s on the 40-man roster helps him. He’ll also have to stay healthy, as he has been suffering from biceps tendonitis as of late.

Brodie Downs, RHP – Downs never pursued baseball after high school. Instead he went to work full time and occasionally played in local beer leagues, where he caught the eyes of scouts in Southern California. They urged him to quit his job and start playing at Modesto Junior College, which he did, and he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners 705th overall in last years draft. Now 28, Downs is attending his first big-league camp after pitching well in his first pro half-season in which he posted a 2.51 ERA in 25.1 innings between rookie ball, AA and AAA. He has two pitches deemed major league ready, including a “heavy” sinking fastball and slider. Pair that with the stellar work ethic he processes and you have all the makings of Seattle’s next great success story. The organization knows he is already in his prime years, so they will give him every opportunity to make the big club out of Spring Training.

Roy Corcoran (RHP), Philip Barzilla (LHP) – I haven’t been able to dig up too much on these two non-roster invitees. Both have had a fair amount of success during long minor league careers. I would assume that both players will be competing for middle relief roles, as Barzilla’s minor league splits do not indicate he’d be a good fit as the teams LOOGY. If I had to guess, I’d say Corcoran has a better shot at making the team.

Horacio Ramirez (LHP), R.A. Dickey (RHP), Cha Seung Baek (RHP) – These three, in my opinion, are the top three candidates for the long relief role. Could they be outdone this Spring? Of course, but I don’t believe their performances will determine their fate as much as some other players. Seattle has good reason to keep the entire trio on the 25-man roster, let alone just one of them. R.A. Dickey was a rule-5 draft choice this winter, so if he doesn’t make the cut he’ll be heading back to Minnesota along with some cash. Cha Seung Baek is out of minor league options, and will have to clear waivers should he fail to land a major league role. Horacio Ramirez will be making $2.75M this season, a steep salary to tuck away in the minor leagues.

That said, I believe Ramirez will be sent to AAA unless he proves to be head-and-shoulders above the rest of the long relief candidates. I also don’t see Dickey making the team as a reliever, as catcher Kenji Johjima has never seen a knuckleball until now and has issues blocking the plate anyway. It doesn’t seem practical to bring in backup catcher Jaime Burke every time Dickey is called upon mid-game. Baek seems like a good fit. He’s shown flashes of brilliance and is entering his ninth season with the Seattle Mariners organization. This could finally be the year he gets a regular role with the big-club.

While guys like Huber, Garcia, Downs, Corcoran and Barzilla appear to be longshots at best, there are other pitchers in camp whose chances seem even slimmer. Ryan Feierabend, Sean White, Robert Rohrbaugh and Jake Woods may be ready for consistent big league action, but the long relief role will likely be filled by one of the players listed above whose situation is a little more complicated. Joe Woerman and Stephen Kahn lack AAA experience, so in order to make the club they would have to outdo over a dozen pitchers this Spring. Phillipe Aumont will not be the next Brandon Morrow. Unlike Morrow, Aumont didn’t pitch in college, let alone high school. Did I miss anyone?

Last season Seattle broke camp with a seven-man bullpen, with the intentions of dropping one once the starters were ready to go deeper into ballgames. Last season we weren’t really sure what to expect out of Horacio Ramirez, Jeff Weaver, Miguel Batista or even Felix Hernandez; this year there are far fewer question marks. With the way the bench is shaping up, I wouldn’t expect Seattle to go with a seven-man bullpen. I posted my guess as to how the bullpen would shape up over at

Long Reliever: Cha Seung Baek
Runners Up: Horacio Ramirez, R.A. Dickey
Middle Relievers: Sean Green and Ryan Rowland-Smith
Runners Up: Chris Reitsma, Cesar Jimenez, Jon Huber
Left-handed Specialist: Eric O'Flaherty
Runners Up: Cesar Jimenez, Arthur Rhodes
Setup: Brandon Morrow and Mark Lowe
Runners Up: Chris Reitsma, Arthur Rhodes, Sean Green
Closer: J.J. Putz

The only thing I would change at this point would be put Arthur Rhodes ahead of Cesar Jimenez in the left-handed specialist competition.

Congrats on making through that. What would you like to see the bullpen shape up?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Niehaus Wins 08 Frick Award

posted by Patrick

Today, on his 73rd birthday, our very own Dave Niehaus has been selected as the 2008 Ford C. Frick Award winner for excellence in broadcasting. This prestigious award gives much deserved recognition to the great broadcasters in baseball history like Ernie Harwell, Vin Scully, Harry Caray, Bob Eucker and many more.

As many already know, Mr. Niehaus has been the voice of the Mariners since their inception in 1977. His voice has become familiar with M's fans both young and old and his sayings like "That ball wil fly away" and "My, oh my" have become part of Mariners history forever. Even through the many losing seasons early on, Niehaus has remained loyal to the orgination and to the fans and there is no one more deserving to see the Mariners succeed than Dave Niehaus.

This award is truly recognizing an amazing individual with great passion, dedication, enthusiasm and loyalty towards the game of baseball and the Seattle Mariners. He has already been eternalized in the Mariners Hall of Fame and now he will become a part of baseball lore as he is admitted into the broadcasters wing of the MLB Hall of Fame.

Note: As of the end of the 2007 season, Niehaus has called all but 82 of the teams 4,899 games

M's Sign Bubba Crosby; Lopez Stuck

The Seattle Mariners signed 31-year-old outfielder Bubba Crosby to a minor leaue contract today. He will not receive an invitation to Spring Training.

The Mariners will be left-handed hitting Bubba Crosby's fourth organization. He's been with the Dodgers for six years (12 MLB at bats), the Yankees for four (238 MLB at bats), and he spent 2007 in the Cincinatti Reds' organization in AAA. He has a career major league vital line of .216/.253/.300 and a minor league line of .277/.346/.417.

I can't imagine what the plan for Crosby is. He will not be given a chance to make the major league team, so I imagine he is just filling space.

In other news, Jose Lopez is stuck in Venezuela after failing to obtain a working visa on time. Is it just me, or has he had the same problem in past seasons?

Monday, February 18, 2008

M's Claim Anderson Garcia; Notes

Anderson Garcia, a right-handed reliever, was claimed off the waiver wire from the Philadelphia Phillies. He has been added to the 40-man roster.

Garcia has bounced around from organization to organization for the last seven seasons, but has made just one major league appearance. He has had some mixed numbers in the minors, but overall carries a career 3.93 ERA over 207 games (31 starts). The 26-year-old effectively throws a fastball in the mid-90s, but doesn't have the secondary pitches to be successful.

Garcia will be used to boost competition, but is a long-shot at best to make the ballclub. He will likely start the season in AAA.

In other news, former 2-time Mariner Bret Boone has come out of retirement to sign a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals. The 39-year-old will join his brother and father in the organization. Boone signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets for the 2006 season, but retired before the regular season started. I find it hard to see him starting anywhere at this point in his career, especially in Washington where they already have Ronnie Belliard and Felipe Lopez.

Not a lot going on besides that. Most of the position players are in camp a day early. Kenji Johjima can't do anything catch R.A. Dickey's knuckleball at this point. There is a theory that if Dickey makes the team Jaime Burke will catch him most of the time. This is a problem, however, since Dickey will be coming out of the bullpen. Either way, I don't see Dickey making the club. I would think that Horacio Ramirez and Cha Seung Baek will be given more of an opportunity. Only time will tell, and I promise that position battle will be covered in more detail at a later date.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Read and React: Who Would You Rather Have Long Term?

posted by: Dustin

So, since the Mariners' blogs around the internet have been rather boring since we landed Bedard, I figured I'd chip in a Read and React! Here goes...

Who would you rather have signed long term?
Felix Hernandez, or Erik Bedard?

Leave a comment telling BBT who you would rather see long term!

Please, do not say both. I know this would be ideal, but for sake of the blog post, please only pick one, if possible.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hargrove: "I'd like to try it one more time"

posted by Patrick

As Spring Training is set to begin, Mike Hargrove will not be managing a big-league camp for only the second time in 17 years. The other day, Jim Moore of the Post Intelligencer decided to give Hargrove a call to see how he was spending his free time and how he felt about not being in camp.

After admitting that he is missing being away from the game, Hargrove went on to make an interesting but not so surprising statement; "I know that I don't want to run the risk of being bored. Once this year is over, I'm going to want to do something. I'd like to try it one more time...[The competition] is what I'm going to miss the most. You can play golf or cards, and that's competition, but it doesn't reach the level or intensity of competition at the major league level. I'm not sure I'm done with that yet."

If you'll remember back to the time right before the All Star Break when Hargrove left the Seattle Mariners, his motives for leaving so unexpectedly were under question. The reasons that Hargrove gave were that he lost his motivation to manage and that he wanted to spend more time with his family. So has he all of a sudden regained his passion for managing or has he just got sick of his family? Grover's a good guy, so I hardly doubt it's the latter.

What's interesting about this relates back to his resignation press conference on July 1st of last year when he said "Will I manage again? Probably not; but maybe. I've told you guys this too: you will find kids that learned 'never say never', but I can't imagine myself managing again, so this is probably my last job."

One thing that is certain is that he probably won't be getting a big league job anytime during this season as he has agreed to manage a summer-league team in Kansas. But as for 2009, PI's Jim Moore reports that Hargrove is hopeful that he will get a call to return to his familiar spot on the bench as a big league skipper.

DH or AAA for Clement; Notes

Here are Spring Training notes from Thursday morning:

Manager John McLaren told reporters today that Jeff Clement will not be carried as a third catcher, nor will he challenge Richie Sexson at first base. Clement will report to AAA Tacoma unless he can beat out Jose Vidro for the DH job. Even though most of us think Clement would be better in the role, he'll have to have a monster Spring to have a chance. ''With his bat, he could DH,'' McLaren said. ''We're very happy with Vidro as our DH and with Kenji as our catcher. But we like surprises, too.''

Brandon Morrow will most certainly pitch in the late innings, not in long relief. This helps the team the most, but hurts Morrow's development as a starter.

McLaren says a platoon in right field is unlikely, though Wlad Balentien, Jeremy Reed, Charlton Jimerson and Mike Morse will all be given looks. If Norton should make the team, kiss this possibility goodbye.

Sources: Shannon Drayer - Ryan Divish - John Hickey

If I missed anything, feel free to post it in the comments for everyone. I'm busy working on the new site today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Legacy of Mariners Fans?

posted by Patrick

Before we move over to the new site, I want to know what our viewers think the legacy of the typical Mariners fan is so that we can design the site with the fans in mind. We know that Yankees and Red Sox fans are known to be loud and obnoxious. We know that A's fans can be awfully annoying and they don't pack the Colisseum very much. So what defines a Mariners fan. What are we known for?

With your help, we can make sure that the new site reflects Mariner Nation!

Bedard Named Opening Day Starter; Norton Signs

posted by Jon

Pitchers and catchers report today! Baseball season!

Erik Bedard was named Opening Day starter by Seattle manager John McLaren, according to multiple sources. McLaren cited "experience" as his main reason.

This is a surprise to me. I really thought that King Felix Hernandez would get the call. Erik Bedard made it clear upon arrival that he had no problem sitting shotgun to Felix, and there was a theory that Felix could use the self esteem boost and motivation that comes with pitching first in the rotation.

In other news, Seattle signed veteran Greg Norton to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. He's a very good pinch hitter with some decent pop from the left side. He plays primarily first base, but can play third and the corner outfield spots in a pinch.

I'm having trouble finding the logic here, as there was plenty of competition for the bench already. Should Norton make the team he'll almost certainly be joined by Willie Bloomquist, Miguel Cairo and Jaime Burke, potentially bumping Wladimir Balentien, Mike Morse, Jeremy Reed and others off the roster.

Compare this signing to the Roberto Petagine and Dave Hansen acquisitions of the past.

Personally, I hope he doesn't make the team; though I wouldn't be surprised if he does.

I have one last thing just for chuckles. Jim Street writes, "The DH position was an offensive bright spot for the Mariners in '07 [...]"

How can it be a bright spot when there was a season long power outage?

Street also describes Vidro as an "Edgar Martinez clone." Wow.

P.S. I'm still working on rewriting that "monster post" from a few days ago.

posted by Jon

Just before the weekend I was approached by about writing Seattle's page for their site. Nothing too complicated, just some guesses on how the roster will shape up, and if you follow the link after the bullpen projections you'll be taken to the rest of the piece.

We'll be covering Spring Training and all the position battles much closer here at BBT, but check it out anyway. It looks like it's going to be a really nice site. Their "grand opening" is on Thursday.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Improvements Coming

Just to let everyone know, posting may slow down slightly for the next week or two. Starting Monday or Tuesday we'll be prepping the new website so that we can be independant of blogger/blogspot. We could be ready as early next weekend, but it may take longer than that.

The new site may not seem like much of an upgrade at first, but we've got big plans and we will continure improving it once we launch it.

Thank you so much to all of you that have helped this upstart Mariners blog become a success this offseason!


So I spent 8-10 hours+ on this monster blog over the last couple days.

Blogger just deleted it. I somehow cleared the whole thing and the autosave kicked in before I could reverse it, nor would it let me reverse it.

This is so frustrating that I don't even feel like writing anymore. If you get a redone version of this post in the next couple of days, it was half-assed at best... blame it on Blogger.

Soon we'll be independent of this site. For now, I think I'll just throw my laptop out of this 3rd story window and go to bed. What a waste.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Interesting Note

posted by Patrick

I was watching the top sports radio show in Baltimore, the Anita Marks Show, and they were interviewing a few guys involved in the trade. One of those guys was the Orioles President of Baseball Operations, Andy MacPhail, and he had some interesting things to say. We all had assumed that it was the Orioles that had been the ones holding up the deal, and that may have been partly true. But after hearing MacPhail, it seems like this deal wasn't simply dragged along by the Orioles and careful owner Peter Angelos. When asked about the process, MacPhail said

"Trying to get the final players out of Bill Bavasi was like trying to get water out of a stone... He was very protective of a lot of his assets."

I tend to believe that this is why the deal took so long because as Bill Bavasi said at the Bedard press conference, "The devil is in the details." This isn't necessarily a bad thing; it's good that Bavasi didn't panic and pull the trigger. It's because the process took so long that we are now able to say with full confidence that this was a good deal for the Mariners and, for that matter, that Orioles fans are able to be happy with the crop of young talent and excited about the future.
On another note, George Sherrill was also on the program and said that he would definitely be interested in being a closer for the Baltimore Orioles. He also said that he knows he's going to have to get used to not winning as much, but that he's excited to be a part of a rebuilding process.

It's going to be fun for me to be able to catch the likes of Sherrill, Jones, and the others on local t.v. and hopefully some games this coming season. I am already looking forward to being at Camden Yards for the April 6th game where Bedard will likely pitch against his old Birds assuming he gets the number one spot in the rotation. It's going to be a special afternoon in Oriole Park.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Done Deal: Bedard a Mariner!

posted by Patrick

We jumped the gun a week and a half ago, but luckily so did everyone else. Now it is official:

Mariners Get:
LHP Erik Bedard

Orioles Get:
OF Adam Jones
LHP George Sherrill
RHP Chris Tillman
RHP Tony Butler
RHP Kameron Mickolio

Bleeding Blue and Teal now presents to you the newest member of the Seattle Mariners: ERIK BEDARD!

Erik Bedard comes as advertised; a potential Cy Young with a mid 90's fastball, a devastating breaking ball, and a will to win that will make him an instant favorite of the Mariner faithful. There were conversations earlier in the offseason about adding guys like Bedard and Silva but the chances of that actually happening looked pretty grim just a couple weeks ago.

Kudos to Bill Bavasi who addressed this team's needs while managing not to sell the farm. Think about it, we are getting to keep Wlad Balentien, Brandon Morrow, Jeff Clement and Carlos Triunfel; I never gave a thought to the possibility of reeling in Santana or Bedard without seeing one or two of those guys leaving Seattle. Now, as far as our big league roster goes, we've acquired Bedard and Silva for Jones, Sherrill, and a Silva contract worth $48 million over four years. In a market where starting pitching is extremely hard to come by, I'd say that's a pretty good trade off.

I know I've been very critical of Bavasi over the last couple years, but he did an excellent job this offseason and he deserves a lot of credit.

The picture above says Mission Accomplished, but realize that although we've won a battle, we've yet to win the war. We now have the team we need to give the Angels a serious run for the division title or atleast to make a run at wildcard, which we managed to do last year until we fell off the face of the earth during the last month of the season.

It's a new season.

It's a new era.

It's an amazing time to be a Mariners fan.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bedard Finally in Seattle!

My last entry (and the seven updates that were tacked onto the end) went a little something like this:

Erik Bedard will likely be in Seattle for his physical on Tuesday.
Erik Bedard is not yet in Seattle.
Erik Bedard will not come to Seattle until Angelos is happy.
Erik Bedard will be coming to Seattle on Thursday.
Erik Bedard is actually already in Seattle.

That was so much fun that I figured it was time to start over and do it again!

Today John Hickey and Geoff Baker are confirming that Bedard was on a flight for Seattle this morning, and he should be in town right now.

Baker says the physical will take place over a two-day span, meaning the announcement or press conference won't come about until Friday afternoon at the earliest, and possibly even on Saturday.

At this point, don't be surprised if this drags out until Monday, but a weekend announcement would suit me just fine.

I'm sure there will be more. I'll tack the updates to the top of the post this time. Check back!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

BBT Fantasy Baseball League Is UP!

posted by Patrick

As some of you already know, we are hosting a free fantasy baseball league via Yahoo this year and the league is now all set up. You will need to have a free AIM screen name as well as a free Yahoo account to participate.

The live online draft is currently set to occur on Tuesday, March 18th and 7:30 PM PST but is subject to change.

Mitch, topher, rob t., brian, brandonwazzy, adam, and claude have first dibs since they responded to the last post. All of you guys as well as anyone else who is interested, instant message Jon or I on AIM. Our screen names are...

Patrick: VivoEnSafeco082 (that is a zero before the 8)
Jon: JonWTd

Spots are going quick so get on it!

Note: If you don't have a screen name, you can get one for free here

UPDATE: 2/7/08, 10 am PST - Jon: We're still waiting on brian, adam and claude as far as the people who reserved their spot on the original post. We're getting pretty full already, so we're going to set a deadline of tomorrow at 1:00 pm PST for those three to officially sign up, and after that we'll open it up to everyone else again. If you're interested just comment on this post and we'll use that order as a waiting list of sorts. After commenting, send Patrick or I an IM and/or email so we have your email address to contact you with league info once a spot opens up. There will be spots opening up, so don't get discouraged if you want in.

UPDATE: 2/8/08, 3:40 pm PST - We have 3 spots left!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bedard to Take Physical Today

posted by Jon
Last Updated: Wednesday, 6:19 pm PST
"Bedard is supposedly in Seattle after all"

Roch Kubatko has an update on his blog. Looks like Erik Bedard will finally get his physical out of the way today.


I realize that it's just one day after Jones and Sherrill got theirs. This ordeal has seemingly lasted an eternity.

This is good news. Depending on how early Bedard gets to Seattle, assuming the physical is taking place in Seattle, we could have an announcement today. Cross your fingers!

I'll probably be tacking related updates to the bottom of this post, so you feed users have to remember to check back manually. It's tough, I know. MLBTR has been doing it to me all week.

UPDATE: 6:59 am - This was actually from before Roch's blog. I've never been so encouraged just to see the word "agreed." The Baltimore Sun:

The Erik Bedard trade saga dragged into another day, but it finally appears set for resolution. The Orioles and Seattle Mariners have agreed to the framework of a deal that would send Bedard to the Mariners for five players, including young outfielder Adam Jones, according to two league sources.

UPDATE: 5:53 pm - Geoff Baker, Shannon Drayer and the Baltimore Sun have all recently said that Erik Bedard is not yet in Seattle. We may have to wait until Thursday for that ellusive official announcement.

At this rate we might, just might, have Bedard by the All-Star break.

UPDATE: 10:02 pm - Frequent commenter and rumor fiend Rob T. says he just heard on XM Radio that Bedard caught a late flight and is currently in Seattle, and the deal could be announced tomorrow after all. This is completely unverified, but I do trust Rob. Can anyone verify this?

Some of the Seattle media tend to blog pretty late so hopefully someone will pick up on this in the next hour or two.

UPDATE: 2/6/08, 6:57 am - The Baltimore Sun has reworded the first paragraph of this article, changing it from "tonight" to "last night," indicating that Bedard is yet land in Seattle.

More later, I'm sure.

UPDATE: 12:09 pm - From what I can gather from local radio and this ESPN report, Baltimore won't have Erik Bedard fly to Seattle until they decide whether or not they're happy with the physicals of Adam Jones and George Sherrill.

Maybe they've decided that already. Orioles Hangout has heard the same XM Radio report mentioned above, but there have been no coinciding reports since last night.

Roch Kubatko is "guessing" that Bedard will be in Seattle today.

UPDATE: 3:32 pm - John Hickey is saying Bedard may not travel until tomorrow, and an announcement isn't expected before Friday. That goes well with this report, though the Orioles Hangout insider thinks the deal will be announced late tomorrow.

I'll believe it when I see it. Anyone wanna volunteer to camp out at Sea-Tac?

UPDATE: 6:19 pm - Jason A. Churchill of Prospect Insider said in a comment on his site that the XM report was true, and that Bedard was in Seattle as of 5:56 pm PST tonight.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sexson: Who Will We See in '08?

posted by Dustin

"Well, at least things can't get worse." No phrase has more truth than that right there, especially when talking about Richie Sexson. His 2007 was just terrible; the worst season of his career. There are no analogies to use to emphasize just how bad he was, but you all should know that he was a Mendoza-line player in 2007.

His average was remarkably low: .205
His home runs were down: 21 (13 less than '06 and 18 less than '05)
His RBIs were down: 68 (44 less than '06 and 56 less than '05)
He was rarely on base: 29.5% of the time

Again, "Well, at least things can't get worse." - I'm starting to love that phrase the more I type. So, I'm asking myself, "What 2007 performance by a first baseman can we expect from Sexson in 2008?"

Lofty Expectations:
Carlos Peña (Tampa Bay Rays). In 2007, Carlos put up huge numbers. He hit 46 home runs and drove in 121 runs. His average, however, was out of Sexson's reach, at .282. Speaking of statistics that are out of Sexson's range, Pena drew 103 walks last year as opposed to Sexson's 51. He may have stuck out a little too much, 142 times, but his walks drawn are an impressive stat. I don't believe Sexson can hit that many home runs, hit for that high of average, and walk that much.

Not Probable, but Possible:
Lance Berkman (Houston Astros) went through a slow start in 2007, but bounced back and ended up with a very strong season line. His average is the only thing I believe Sexson cannot touch (.278), but other than that, his line is very realistic for Sexson. He hit 34 bombs and 102 RBIs. He struck out enough, 125 times, and walked quite a bit also, 94 times.

One Realistic Expectation:
Justin Morneau (Minnesota Twins) put up Sexson numbers in 2007. His average, .271, isn't much higher than Sexson's career average of .263. He hit 31 home runs and drove in 111. He was on base 34% of the time, which is Sexson's average over his career as well. Morneau kept his K's under 100 and his walks above 50, which is something I think Sexson won't do, but I guess anything is possible. Who knows? I think his is a more realistic comparison and expectation.

Most Realistic Expectation:
Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox). Konerko, I believe, has the best 07 line that I believe Sexson will equal in 08. Konerko hit only .259, hit 31 home runs, and drove in only 90 runs. I don't believe that these numbers are too far out for Sexson. Konerko struck out 102 times and, while his walks are higher, they aren't too far out of reach for Sexson (78).

I see Sexson putting up Konerko like numbers. He hit around Sexson's average in home runs, and hit just under 100 guys home. I don't expect for Sexson to post a .275 average, 42+ home runs and drive in more than 120 runs. I think that would be expecting too much. I don't think that the Mariners are going to ask for that much either, especially after his terrible year last year.

I find myself thinking contradictory thoughts, however. I am scared that Sexson will put up huge numbers, since it is his contract year, and then he'll leave only to be successful somewhere else. If he puts up huge numbers, I could handle resigning him. Of course I will be thrilled if he puts up huge numbers though, because I believe that 2008 could/will be a playoff year for the Mariners and Sexson could be the one that propels them to the postseason or prevents them from making it.

My Projections:
Average: .258
Home Runs: 34
RBIs: 101
OBP: .387
Walks Drawn: 75
Ks: 142

Let's gets some feedback now, eh? You guys tell me which comparison will be most accurate, or tell me if you see another projection that is more accurate than mine. I only used 1st basemen. You guys can use anybody you want. Are my projections too lofty or are they just right?

I'm hoping that Sexson bounces back, and I'm sure you all are too.

One More Day? Please, No

posted by Jon

We all hoped to have some big news today, but it's looking like we'll have to wait one more day. Hopefully on Tuesday we can put this whole mess behind us and look forward to Erik Bedard winning games in Seattle.

Here's what Roch Kubatko of the Baltimore Sun had to say today:

This trade isn't officially done and might not be announced today, so don't take it as a bad sign if it gets pretty quiet.

It's believed that Adam Jones is taking his physical in Baltimore today. It can take several hours for test results to come back, and if we move past business hours, the club might wait until tomorrow to issue a press release.

Team doctors do more than have players turn their heads and cough. These things can take a while.

I've seen the process work both ways since joining the beat full-time in 1997. I've heard about players taking their physicals in the morning, and an announcement comes later in the afternoon. I've also been forced to wait an extra day.

At the latest, I would hope that the announcement is made tomorrow morning. I won't even entertain the possibility that Jones fails the physical. We've had enough strange twists to last each of us a lifetime.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times is thinking the same thing. Stone called into's Bottom Line this afternoon, telling host Casey Stern that he's "not that optimistic that it's gonna get officially done today," but went on to suggest it would get done tomorrow morning.

All that said, there is still a little time tonight and something could pop up.

Gotta love this waiting game. As always, we'll keep you posted!

UPDATE: 2:28 PM - Seattle P-I's John Hickey just posted on his blog. He brought up the fact that these two teams have been in no rush to get a deal done, so who knows when it will actually be announced. The second half of the post caught my eye:

Bedard, still at home outside Ottawa and still unsure of where he's going to be pitching this year, told an associate that as of 1:30 p.m. (PDT) Monday, he hasn't been told anything official about a trade.

He certainly hasn't undergone a physical exam, which would be mandatory from the Mariners' point of view for a trade to go down. He finished the 2007 on the 60-day disabled list after suffering a late-August right oblique injury.

I've brought up the question a couple times on here and elsewhere, and I'll continue to do so until an answer comes about. Why is all the talk about an Adam Jones physical, and none about an Erik Bedard one? You'd think he'd be more of an injury risk than Jones.

It just seems like there is something missing here.

UPDATE: 2:42 pm - I missed this one. About an hour ago Sean Welsh of the Baltimore Examiner was a little more straight forward, stating that the two clubs "will not finalize a trade today that will send star Erik Bedard to Seattle."

UPDATE: 3:52 pm - Geoff Baker posted a little while ago with an update on the situation. He confirms that Adam Jones and George Sherrill both had their physicals this morning in Baltimore. He says the other players involved on the M's side are probably not required to take physicals at this point.

Baker also helps answer my question from above about why Bedard's physical hasn't been a focal point so far. "It appears that Bedard has yet to fly to Seattle," Baker writes. "Our take on this? The Mariners probably want to get the 'all clear' sign from the Orioles before bringing Bedard in for a physical. Never know with Peter Angelos running things in Baltimore."

He goes on to say the deal probably won't be finalized until Wednesday or later. Great...

Physicals = Deal Near Completion

posted by Jon

Baltimore Sun:
The long-awaited blockbuster trade that would send Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners for five players is finally nearing completion. According to a league source, Adam Jones, the young outfielder who is the centerpiece of the Mariners' offer, is in Baltimore today and the deal is now pending results of physicals.
BALTIMORE -- Multiple published reports indicate that the long-rumored Erik Bedard trade may reach completion as early as Monday afternoon. Both and The Baltimore Sun have reported that key players have undergone physical examinations and that the trade is complete pending results, sending Bedard to the Seattle Mariners.

Geoff Baker:
It took a while, but we've finally gotten it confirmed that Adam Jones is indeed in Baltimore taking his physical today. Would have liked to have this out to you last night, but unfortunately, we could not get anyone to verify it. Finally, we can.

What else is there to say at this point? I'm glad this is finally happening, but I wasted most of my excitement over a week ago. Once I see a press conference I'll be bouncing around again.

There are other reports out there saying essentially the same things. Also, just when I started to doubt the inclusion of George Sherrill, it seems pretty certain that he is indeed in the deal.

More later, hopefully.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Read and React: What's the Deal?

Erik Bedard is seemingly moving closer to becoming a Seattle Mariner, but who will become a Baltimore Oriole?

Adam Jones we know, and most reports seem pretty certain about George Sherrill, Chris Tillman and Tony Butler. Kameron Mickolio has also wiggled into several reports as part of the proposed 5-for-1.

GM Bill Bavasi reportedly sent a final offer to Baltimore a while back, and the names included were Jones, Tillman and Sherrill. Now the offer includes those three, plus Butler and Mickolio. Could this simply be a counter offer, or did Butler and Mickolio replace Sherrill in the deal?

Sherrill is at the Mariners complex in Peoria right now, from what I gather, and now says he hasn't been asked to take a physical or anything like that, despite earlier reports that he was telling teammates that he was to take a physical in Baltimore.

Then there is Brian Roberts. Some have speculated that if Roberts is added to the deal Carlos Triunfel and Jose Lopez will be heading to Baltimore as well.

Time to get involved. Predict who will be involved in the final trade.

There is no such thing as an educated guess here. The rumors and speculation have mutated into a monster that no one can tame, so you'll have to refer to your gut for this one.

I'll add my prediction once you all get it started. Of course this would turn out to be a pretty pointless post should we wake up tomorrow to an official announcement. Get your guesses in before it happens! If you're correct, prizes could be involved! It depends on how many guesses we get.

Adam Jones Finally in Baltimore?

The Seattle P-I had this to say today:

Mariners outfielder Adam Jones traveled to Baltimore on Sunday, a source said, presumably to undergo a physical examination that originally was scheduled for Jan. 29.

A clean bill of health would be the last hurdle standing between the Mariners and Orioles and one of the most significant trades in franchise history.

The Mariners would get left-handed starting pitcher Erik Bedard in exchange for five players, highlighted by Jones and left-handed reliever George Sherrill. The Mariners also would send three minor league pitchers to the Orioles to complete the deal.

Some are saying that Jones already took the physical and he's in Baltimore for the press conference, but does it really matter? This deal is finally getting done and we should have a better idea of what's going on tomorrow.

I have just one question to ask: Why haven't we heard anything about a Bedard physical? He's the one with injury issues.

UPDATE: 2/4/08, 12:40 AM - According to The Baltimore Sun "a source familiar with the talks" said that no players involved have taken phyicals yet.

Considering the above P-I entry was posted pretty late, this statement could have been gathered before Jones was in Baltimore. This makes sense since this info was obviously saved for the Monday edition. Another possibility is that this "source" is just keeping quiet. Do I dare suggest that this source is correct?

The drama continues.


posted by Jon
Congratulations to the New York Giants for beating one of the greatest teams in football history on the biggest possible stage.

This has been, in my mind, the greatest Superbowl in recent memory. What a fantastic game. I really don't think that any football fan could ask for much more than that.

I still can't believe that Eli Manning escaped that swarm of Patriots only to lob one down the field complete after an absolutely ridiculous catch late in the 4th. What a game. 17-14 Giants.

Revisiting our Superbowl picks:

Patrick: 31-20 Patriots
Dustin: 28-17 Patriots
Jon: 34-31 Giants

Rob T: 38-24 Patriots
claude: 27-20 Patriots
Brian: 49-14 Patriots

My score was way too high, but it feels great to be victorious. Everyone enjoy the game? What a slugfest.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming: Bedard Watch, 2008!

Stone on Bedard Trade; Rumors

First of all, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times wrote an article about the proposed Erik Bedard trade. A couple items of note:

  • Adam Jones never went to Baltimore for a physical, according to Stone.
  • Stone appears certain that George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler and Kameron Mickolio are in the current deal.
No disrespect to Larry Stone, but I don't believe anything at this point. Maybe Jones was in Baltimore, maybe he wasn't. I'm not saying I believe Friday's forum "reports" over a reputable sports journalist, I'm just saying nothing is certain.

There are also some other crazy rumors out there today regarding a possible 6-for-2 deal that may or may not include Brian Roberts, and there is also something out there about Erik Bedard currently in Seattle.

The Roberts thing has been going around for a while but has recently been gaining steam. It wouldn't surprise me, because the Mariners could stand to upgrade at second base. If Roberts was added to the deal we would probably see one of the above pitchers dropped from the proposal, and possible Carlos Triunfel and Jose Lopez or Yung Chi Chen being added.

I'll reassess these rumors after I get some sleep and see if there is anything worth elaborating on. Please don't get too excited. We could all stand to learn from the headache that has been the last couple of weeks.

UPDATE: 11:30 AM - I just want to be clear in that there isn't much behind either of these rumors. The 6-for-2 could be true, but it would more likely be an extra outfielder or something coming back from Baltimore, not necessarily an All-Star second baseman. Of course, everyone would rather talk about Brian Roberts than say, Freddie Bynum.

Erik Bedard currently in Seattle? I'm skeptical. The rumor was based on a few vague comments by one of those Orioles Hangout "insiders."

Just remember, nothing is as it seems! We should know in the next 48 hours or less. Don't count on anything big breaking today. I guess there is a big important football game going on, or something.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

BBT Superbowl Predictions

posted by Patrick

Yes, we have gone off the beaten path to post a Superbowl thread in a baseball blog. As you probably already know, the surprising New York Giants will take on the not so surprising New England Patriots in the final showdown of the NFL season tomorrow (2/3/08) starting at 6:30 PM eastern time.

BBT writer picks (excluding the oft-absent Chris):

Patrick: 31-20 Patriots

Dustin: 28-17 Patriots

Jon: 34-31 Giants

Use the comment section to post your predictions!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Jones Passed Physical?

posted by Jon

As I'm sure you've figured out by now, there hasn't been a single media update on the Erik Bedard trade talks today that features any fresh information.

In the spirit of keeping you updated, I'm going to go ahead and pass along some information I would normally just keep in my back pocket.

Some of you may have noticed, but Rob T. from the comments sections has been helping us monitor the Bedard rumors over the past days and weeks, and especially the activity over at Orioles Hangout.

On the site's message board there is a poster named Belkast who is known as an insider among site followers. Each of his forum posts are followed with a disclaimer that boldly states, "This post has been approved by my source."

At 4:27 PM PST Belkast posted, "Jones passed his physical, and we're waiting on the exact date and time of the press conference."

This is consistent with what he has been saying. This morning at 9:31 AM PST he replied to a poster that thought he saw Adam Jones in Baltimore by saying, "Very possible. He is in town today taking his physical. Not sure if we get the official announcement today, depends on the physical but it should come soon after."

His stance has been steady. Yesterday he said that he heard the physical was today.

That's as far as I'm going to dive into it. It's not exactly like quoting Kenny Rosenthal or Buster Olney, but they haven't exactly been the greatest sources this offseason either. I'm sure someone will pick up on this when the Seattle media does their evening blogging tonight, should this information prove true. We'll keep you updated.

BBT Fantasy Baseball

Posted by Patrick

This year, Bleeding Blue and Teal will host a free fantasy baseball league through Yahoo for our readers. Dustin, Jon and I will all be competing and we want YOU to participate! I will update this post and un-bury it out of the archives once the league is created. For now, if you're interested, just leave a comment so we can gauge how much interest there is.

Note: To participate in Yahoo fantasy leagues, you will need a Yahoo account (free). We would also like you to have an AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) screen name (also free) to make communication amongst team managers easier.

Jon (6:22 PM): This will be my first ever fantasy baseball experience, so if you've never done this and would like to try it out, this could be a good opportunity for you.

Wilkerson's Role

posted by Jon

Brad Wilkerson has been a Seattle Mariner for less than a day, but he is already the subject of several questions flying around the blogosphere and M's forums all over the net.

1.) How often will he play?

"I will get a chance to win the everyday job," Wilkerson said yesterday. "And even if I don't, I still could get 300 to 400 at-bats."

Many speculated that the reason Wilkerson was going to sign with Seattle was because they were offering a starting job. Obviously that is not the case, though he'll still get more playing time here than he would in Boston or anywhere else.

Wilkerson's contract reflects on his expected role. If Seattle wanted him to start 150 games then they would have given him a $5M base salary, rather than the $3M base with incentives worth up to $2M based on plate appearances. There is no doubt that it is a backup or platoon player's contract, comparable to the one Miguel Cairo agreed to earlier this offseason.

How will Wilkerson collect those 300-400 at bats? Assuming that Adam Jones is Baltimore bound, the most common theory seems to be that Wilkerson will platoon in right field with Wladimir Balentien.

This would not be your typical platoon. Wilkerson bats from the left side, but hits lefty pitching better than right-handed pitching [mlb splits]. Balentien is in the same boat, hitting righties better than lefties for each of his last three minor league seasons [milb splits]. That said, Wlad would get most of the at bats out of the platoon.

On days that Wilkerson is not patrolling right field, he will be used as a backup for Raul Ibanez in left, Richie Sexson at first, and Jose Vidro at DH. There has been talk that Wilkerson can play center field as well, but he hasn't played much there since 2005, and his bad knees have slowed him down a little bit. Willie Bloomquist would be a much better option as Ichiro's backup, not to mention Jeremy Reed or Charlton Jimerson if there is room for them.

If Wlad struggles in spring training and starts the year in AAA, look for Seattle to find another platoon partner for Wilkerson. I don't see Seattle giving him 600+ plate appearances this year.

2.) Where would he hit in the lineup?

Seattle's lineup is a tough one to put together, and adding Brad Wilkerson doesn't make it any easier. Many people look at his career numbers, noticing the 20-30 home run potential and want to slot him near the middle of the order.

Believe it or not, Wilkerson has started 45% of his games as the leadoff hitter. In 2004 when he hit a career high 32 homers, he was the Expos' leadoff man.

The most important detail to consider when placing Wilkerson into the lineup is his proximity to Richie Sexson. As Patrick mentioned earlier this week, Wilkerson strikes out at a higher rate than Sexson, and having them hit back-to-back would be rally suicide.

My suggestion would be to hit Wilkerson seventh. You could slot Kenji Johjima in the six slot, giving you a high contact/low strikeout hitter with some pop between Sexson and Wilkerson. I don't really see anywhere else that his low batting average would fit.

3.) How is Wilkerson's defense?

I've yet to find a way to analyse defense that I am comfortable using. There are a lot of stats out there, but many of them are far from perfect. Basically I feel that Wilkerson's defense is all-around average. Here's what Lookout Landing had to say:

Defensively, he used to be all right, having logged a bunch of time in center for the Expos. But over time his body started to come apart, and at this point he's no longer a good glove. I recently called him ~average, but after going through the numbers, I think average is probably his upside. Seems to me he's more like -15 < x < -5, with 0 only attainable if he somehow stays in good health all year. He'll still probably represent a defensive improvement over Guillen, whose numbers slipped due to some lower-body issues.

I'm not sold on the idea that he is an upgrade over Jose Guillen. Even if there is a difference I doubt you'd be able to tell. Wilkerson isn't a liability, which we'll take for now.

Anyone know how good Wilkerson's arm is? I haven't been able to find a decent report on that.

That's all for now. I'm sure we'll have plenty more to say about him during spring training and throughout the season.

Wilkerson may not even last the entire season, though. His contract is small enough that if Wlad shows that he can hold his own in the major leagues, Wilkerson could find himself on the trading block come July.