SEATTLE — It’s a different approach this year for scouting director Tom McNamara and his staff. For the first time since 2010, the Seattle Mariners won’t have a marquee pick in the upcoming amateur draft.
The Mariners forfeited their first-round pick when they signed free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz in December after he received a qualifying offer from his former club, the Baltimore Orioles.
As McNamara points out, Cruz amounts to a pretty good first-round pick, but it means the Mariners won’t participate in the draft, which starts Monday, until their second-round selection — No. 60 overall.
Even so, McNamara says “there’s no doubt about it” when asked whether the Mariners can land an impact player.
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“There’s a lot of depth from about 20 picks before we pick,” he said, “right up to about 130. One advantage is we’ve seen more players. There’s not a lot of multiple looks when you’re picking 60.”
McNamara also points to the last time the Mariners didn’t have a first-round pick. That was 2010, when they forfeited their pick after signing free-agent utilityman Chone Figgins.
“We picked 43rd,” McNamara recalled. “We had one player on our one-through-30 board who was 16. His magnet was still on the board. It was Taijuan Walker.
“So I keep telling our guys, `There might be someone one-through-30 on our board who is there at 60. It happens. It happened in 2010.”
The draft runs Monday through Wednesday and consists of 40 regular round, a compensation round (for clubs that lost a player after making a qualifying offer) and two competitive-bonus rounds.
The Mariners garnered one of the 12 competitive-balance picks, No. 72 overall, which are determined through a lottery. Clubs in the 10 smallest markets and with the 10 lower revenue streams are eligible.
RODNEY’S WORK SCHEDULE
Struggling closer Fernando Rodney, in evaluating his 6.94 ERA, contends he needs to pitch regularly to stay sharp.
“I’m struggling,” he admitted, “but if you look at my last 20 games…I’m supposed to pitch every one or two days. Sometimes, it’s seven days. Eight days. Or five days. To get your stuff back, you have to pitch.”
It might seem that way.
But only three times this season has Rodney sat more than three days between outing. He twice went four days, and one went five days.
In seven occasions when he pitched with more than two days of rest, he allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings. That’s a 3.86 ERA.
Rodney has pitched 17 times with two or fewer days rest — and allowed 15 runs and 22 hits in 16 1/3 innings. That’s an 8.27 ERA.
The numbers get better if Rodney’s “last 20 games” standard is applied. He made 14 appearances in that span with two or fewer days rest, and allowed nine runs in 14 innings. That’s a 5.79 ERA.
No surprise here. The Mariners entered Saturday ranked last among American League clubs in scoring at 3.51 runs a game and last in batting average with runners in scoring position at .212.
The Mariners, through Friday, had scored 18 runs in nine games on their current 11-game homestand. They were also 10-for-69 with RISP — a .145 average.
Dating back to a 3-0 victory on May 27 at Tampa Bay, the Mariners have scored three or fewer runs in 10 straights games. That’s the third-longest such streak in franchise history.
The Mariners went 12 straight games without scoring at least four runs in 1988, and had an 11-game run in 2010.
Third baseman Kyle Seager, the reigning Gold Glove winner, entered Saturday with a streak of 38 errorless games. He had handled 124 chances without an error since a two-error game on April 25 vs. Minnesota.
Seager set a club record for third basemen with 69 consecutive errorless games from July 27, 2014 to April 15, 2015.
It was 30 years ago Sunday — June 7, 1985 — that rookie Bill Swift, two days after being promoted from Double-A Chattanooga, pitched five scoreless innings of one-hit relief in a 6-4 victory at Cleveland.
Swift, 23, was the second overall pick in the 1984 draft. He spent six seasons with the Mariners before going to San Francisco on Dec. 11, 1991 in a five-player deal.
Swift led the National League the following year with a 2.08 ERA. He spent three years with the Giants and three more with Colorado before returning to the Mariners for his final season in 1998.
Overall, he was 94-78 with a 3.95 ERA in 13 seasons, including 41-49 and 4.33 in seven seasons with the Mariners.
First baseman Logan Morrison matched a career high when he extended his hitting streak to 13 games by going 3-for-4.…Tampa Bay optioned right-hander Andrew Bellatti to Triple-A Durham after he worked three scoreless innings Friday and got the victory. The Rays recalled lefty Enny Romero from Durham…The Mariners’ starting pitchers had an ERA, prior to Saturday, of 3.74. That ranked third among AL clubs, behind Oakland (3.13) and Tampa Bay (3.28).
The Mariners conclude what has been a disastrous 11-game homestand by closing out a four-game series against Tampa Bay at 1:10 p.m. Sunday at Safeco Field.
Lefty Mike Montgomery (0-0, 1.50) will pitch against Rays ace Chris Archer (6-4, 2.01), a right-hander who worked eight scoreless innings on May 27 against the Mariners at Tampa Bay.
Montgomery spent two years in the Rays’ organization before a March 31 trade for pitcher Erasmo Ramirez.