PEORIA, Ariz. — The Mariners are 10-4-1 and nearing the midpoint of their 33-game spring schedule as we latest long-form twitter question-and-answer exchange.
Thanks for the nice response. Let’s get to it:
@panteraritual: if walker isnt ready opening day do you expect him to get called up when healthy..or stay in Tacoma til a spot opens up?
I’d expect him to open the season on the disabled list. He could then get a couple of rehab starts at Triple-A Tacoma. Barring setbacks, it’s hard not to see Taijuan Walker in the rotation when ready.
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@c_hawk02: will the mariners add one more bat before opening day? If so, who is it most likely to be?
They continue to look with their preference being a right-handed bat with pop. They were linked recently to White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo, who fits that profile. But I’ve heard nothing more on that in the last few days.
@thegentleman4 : about what % you think Franklin wins starting SS?
The competition between Nick Franklin and Brad Miller appears pretty close at this point. (Am tempted to give to 50-50 prediction that my esteemed predecessor at the TNT always favors…but I won’t.)
Almost every scout I talk to seems to question Franklin’s ability to handle the position. (Most tend to like Miller, at least defensively.) Those guys are better evaluators than me, but I’ve seen nothing to show Franklin can’t do it.
@dwcash159: How much of an impact will Cano have on the field and in the clubhouse.
The biggest impact on the field is he is one of the game’s top five players. That’s obvious, isn’t it? Say you’re an architectural firm, and you add one of the world’s best architects. Your firm gets better.
Off the field, I think his biggest impact could be that he is now the club’s unquestioned spokesman because he is, well, the unquestioned face of the franchise.
That means being the front man for media questions, especially tough questions when the team struggles. So far, he seems to be embracing that role, but times have been anything but tough.
Say this: Cano had the best possible role model for his new responsibility while in New York — Derek Jeter, who is always available, always unflappable and always professional.
@joeypepinvoice: I've heard several mentions of McLendon being a 'Players Manager' and that he 'has their back'. Different than Wedge? How so?
There’s little dispute the Eric Wedge era didn’t end well. I wasn’t here then, so I can’t offer any first-hand specifics.
As for Lloyd McClendon, he generally drew high marks from players while in Pittsburgh. I’ve neither heard nor seen anything to suggest that won’t be the case with the Mariners.
That said, we’re in spring training, and the club has generally played well. There’s been little for players to grumble about. So I’d hold off making any sweeping conclusions.
@a_goodwin2014: Has Brad Miller really bulked up that much? And does it seem to be making a big impact?
I’m told he’s a little bigger. As for a big impact? I don’t know. He’s having a nice spring, and his best game might have been Monday night when he beat out a bunt, legged out a triple and made a couple of nice defensive plays.
Of course, all he’s got to do is be better than Nick Franklin. That currently seems too close to call.
@pfitterer: Has the clock run out on Almonte as CF and lead off hitter? Hitting .120 and made 4 errors in 25 2013 games.
If the season opened tomorrow, it’s a good bet that Abraham Almonte would fill both of those roles. But the opener is still almost three weeks away, and a lot can happen.
When competition is tight, how guys play late in spring is far more important than how they play early in camp. And in all cases, a player’s “book,” his past performance is a major factor.
@cameronseib: Why hasn't Atlanta been discussed as possible destination for Franklin? Would be immediate upgrade over Uggla.
I don’t know for certain that it hasn’t. Assuming it hasn’t, that would suggest the Braves don’t agree with your assessment.
@forecasterpeter: No chance Ervin Santana ends up in Seattle?
Sure doesn’t seem like it.
@shawnhodgins21: Mariners still looking to trade for an OF or a pitcher?
My sense is they are open to either possibility but are looking harder for a bat. Even then, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency to add someone.
@charlie_fahlman: Mariners engaging in talks with Kendrys Morales? Legit chance they agree to terms and he comes back to Seattle?
Don’t think so. And I really doubt it. Club officials seem content with a rotation of Justin Smoak, Logan Morrison and Corey Hart at first base and DH.
McClendon identified Smoak on Monday as the starting first baseman and continues to view Hart as the right fielder (while acknowledging that will be an ongoing determination). That positions Morrison for a lot of DH duty.
If the Mariners are happy with those options, and they seem to be, that really doesn’t leave a spot for Morales.
@catselan: If the competition between Franklin and Miller stays even, do we keep both? Take the best trade offer?
The Mariners see no reason to trade either player unless they get something equitable in return that fills a need. Both players have options, which means either one can simply be sent to the minors.
And barring a trade, that’s exactly what is likely to happen. One guy will be the starter in the big leagues; the other will be the starter at Tacoma. Keeping either to fill a reserve role doesn’t appear to be an option.
@tomyazwinski: Ackley seems to be hitting well. Who else is looking good or great this spring?
Lots of guys. Robinson Cano is nine for 15. Stefen Romero seems to hit everything hard, although the numbers don't reflect it. Justin Smoak is having another encouraging spring.
Both shortstops have had nice moments. So has Michael Saunders. And a number of kids, such as D.J. Peterson and Cole Gillespie. Jesus Montero has shown some pop…t’s not a short list.
@kody_davis: As of now who is in the starting rotation to start the year?
Planning to do a rotation-candidate analysis later this week, but the short version is it’s hard to say beyond Felix Hernandez.
Nobody has pitched more than four innings yet, which means pitchers are only now starting to work through a lineup for the second time.
But…James Paxton has been really good. Same goes for Erasmo Ramirez. Scott Baker’s limited work has been encouraging. But everyone who has drawn a starting assignment is still in the mix.