Sport Mariners Reel in an Ace to Keep With the Pace in AL West
Watch: Taylor Moore records his first-ever PGA Tour ace at RSM Classic
On Sea Island's Seaside Course, two firsts happened on Friday at the RSM Classic courtesy of rookie Taylor Moore.pic.twitter.com/1xlPYfXWkx Taylor Moore records an ace at @TheRSMClassic on the par-3 17th.
Seattle took a big step toward building off of its surprise success last season by signing 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray on Monday.
Close your eyes and travel back in time with me—way back to the year 2018. Bryce Harper was a National, the Rockies made the playoffs, and the Orioles were ... still terrible. But a funny thing happened in the Pacific Northwest that season: the Mariners, despite being outscored on the year by 34 runs, won 89 games and hung around the playoff race much longer than most expected them to (?).
Rather than build on that surprise success in 2019, the team followed it up by losing 94 games, then finished below .500 again in 2020. After shocking many with a 90-win, minus-51 run season in 2021, Seattle now appears intent on staying in the game’s upper tier.
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The Mariners took a considerable step toward ending the franchise’s two-decade postseason drought on Monday, agreeing to awith reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. The move signals a front office deciding quite emphatically that the rebuilding phase is ready to give way to contention and, if things go by design, meaningful games in October.
Before breaking out last season, Ray slogged his way through an erratic 2020. He walked a staggering 17.9% of batters across 51⅔ innings, averaging nearly eight walks per nine frames. Ray had been a real “Three True Outcomes” darling prior to 2021, racking up strikeouts, walks and home runs allowed at a higher clip than most any other starter.
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There is plenty of interest in the list of big-name free agent shortstops, but what about one of the teams at risk of losing one of those players? © Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports The Los Angeles Dodgers may have an opening at shortstop, as Corey Seager is among the highly-touted free agents on the market. The Dodgers are trying to bring back Seager, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, but are not showing interest in any other shortstops. Dodgers are trying to bring back Corey Seager but don’t appear seriously interested in the other big free agent shortstops.
But everything clicked for the left-hander last year. After re-signing with Toronto on a one-year, $8 million contract, Ray nearly cut his free passes in half, posting a 6.7% walk rate after a career mark of 11% heading into the season.
While harnessing his control, Ray did not lose grip on his ability to miss bats. Ray struck out 32.1% of hitters he faced in 2021, just shy of his career high. No pitcher in baseball history has struck out more batters in his first 1,000 career innings than Ray, and though he still gave up his fair share of home runs (1.54 HR/9 in 2021), his command of the strike zone has significantly raised his floor and made him among the most difficult pitchers to handle in the league.
So how did Ray get so much better seemingly overnight? For one, he relied more heavily on his fastball to much improved results. Opposing hitters batted .292 with a .682 slugging percentage against Ray’s four-seam fastball in 2020, perhaps as a result of the left-hander’s substandard command, which enabled them to hunt heaters at will. In the previous four seasons combined, opponents hit .215 with a .371 slugging percentage against the pitch, while Ray posted a 4.04 ERA across 117 starts.
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There are countless teams trying to sign Marcus Stroman this winter and you can now add the Seattle Mariners to the list. There's no denying that starting pitcher Marcus Stroman is a wanted man right now. While the New York Mets are hoping to bring him back to town, the feeling is that he co uld join a new club come 2022. Now, a new team is ready to shoot its shot with the Long Island native. According to MLB insider Jon Morosi, the Seattle Mariners are now ready to shoot their shot with the star hurler. Could a move to the Pacific Northwest be in the works? Good update on Marcus Stroman's market from @timdierkes.
Ray rediscovered his command last year and leaned on the four-seamer, throwing it nearly 60% of the time and holding hitters to a .222 batting average against it. He all but scrapped his curveball and became more or less a two-pitch pitcher, going with the slider at a 30.8% clip. Perhaps another adjustment is needed and Ray will have to find a third pitch that he trusts, but the results were there with this current approach.
As mentioned above, the Mariners thrived last season despite being outscored in the aggregate by 51 runs. By comparison, the Tigers (minus-59) went 77–85 last year and the Rockies (minus-57) went 74–87. Seattle’s rotation ranked 19th in ERA (4.61) and 22nd in fWAR (7.3), while its offense was 26th in fWAR (11.5) and 28th in on-base percentage (.303). This is not an attempt to dismiss the team’s success from a season ago—on the contrary, it’s remarkably impressive that the Mariners even sniffed the playoffs—but this is not a roster that exudes postseason potential, even with a bullpen that was outstanding down the stretch in close games.
Ray’s arrival certainly doesn’t change all that, but if his adjustments last year are here to stay, he gives Seattle a bonafide ace that every playoff team craves. Ray led the AL with 193⅓ innings last season, and his ability to pitch deep into games will be critical for a team that might need to replace one of the few proven starters it had last season in Yusei Kikuchi, who is currently a free agent. Other starters currently in the fold are Chris Flexen, Logan Gilbert and Marco Gonzales.
Mariners reportedly acquire All-Star Adam Frazier as team hopes to break postseason drought
The Seattle Mariners are desperately trying to break their postseason drought. After just missing out on the playoffs, the team reportedly traded for All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. In exchange for Frazier, the San Diego Padres will receive pitcher Ray Kerr and outfielder Corey Rosier. The Seattle Mariners are acquiring second baseman/outfielder Adam Frazier in a trade with the San Diego Padres, sources familiar with the agreement tell ESPN. Going to San Diego will be hard-throwing left-handed reliever Ray Kerr and outfielder Corey Rosier.
The AL West is currently shaping up to be, and the Mariners still have strides to make to be considered among the top of the heap. Landing Ray is just one step, but it’s a meaningful one. Seattle might not be a playoff team just yet, but with Ray in the fold and a farm system brimming with talent that’s ready to make an impact at the big-league level, the light at the end of the tunnel is drawing ever closer.
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They signed Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to deals worth a combined $500 million, but their 2022 outlook remains bleak. View the original article to see embedded media.Let’s start this off with a tip of the cap to Jon Daniels and the rest of the Rangers’ braintrust. They looked at a roster that lost 102 games in 2021 and took the flashiest, most expensive route to immediately upgrading it, spending $500 million on a pair of superstar shortstops in Corey Seager and Marcus Semien while outbidding MLB’s two richest franchises in the process.