A new Catcher
The Mariners, desperately thin at Catcher, signed former LA Angel (of Santa Monica), Chris Ianetta. The 32 year old, Ianetta is a 10 year veteran who should help the young and struggling Mike Zunino out.
More known for defense than offense, last year, Ianetta hit .188 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI in 92 games. He has signed a 1 year deal with an option.
Zunino was rushed to service way too early and was given a workload beyond what a young catcher should absorb. Zunino hasn’t really had a mentor with major league credibility to back him up and teach him the game. Ianetta is not a threat to take Zunino’s job, but rather split time to give Zunino time to learn his craft.
I like this pickup, as it is low risk and does not threaten Zunino’s long term prospects.
Robinson Cano Unhappy?
Recently, former M’s coach Andy Van Slyke took it to Cano’s reputation by calling him “one of the worst players he has ever seen.” After this bombshell dropped, now we hear Robbie Cano wants out of Seattle. That quote comes from an article by John Harper of the New York Daily News.
“So maybe Van Slyke is just so bitter about being fired that he needed someone to blame. But even if Cano has had the best intentions as a Mariner, one long-time friend who spoke to him recently says the second baseman is not happy in Seattle, especially with a new regime in charge there now, and that he’d love to somehow find his way back to New York.”
It is hard to tell if he is frustrated that dirty laundry got put out to air or if he is truly disgruntled. One hopes that he is just frustrated with being back-stabbed, as those wounds heal with time.
But if he is truly disgruntled, then the M’s have a huge problem. Cano is still owed a titanic $192 million over the next eight seasons. Cano is 33 and injuries are starting to creep in as he is coming off his worst year offensively; for Cano that is, he still hit .287 with 21HR and 79 RBI.
If Cano wants out, the M’s would have to eat part of that giant contract, as it isn’t feasible that anyone would absorb such a contract (not even the Yankees). Cano also has a no-trade clause which controls where he would get traded.
I expect that this is a case of frustration over injury and a poor season rather than a deep rooted regret. The Mariners GM was hired to fix exactly these kinds of situations, and this will be interesting to see how he approaches the situation and the result.
New Pitching Coach
Former Mariners draftee, Mike Hampton was hired by Jerry Dipoto to add to Scott Servais’ coaching staff. Mike Hampton is a 16 year major league veteran who joined the Mariners in 1990. He first appeared as a 20 year old in 1993 for the Mariners before being traded to Houston.
Hampton spent the next 15 years in the National League amassing a 148-115 record, including two all-star seasons and one 22 win season. He won five Silver Slugger Awards and a Gold Glove Award. He was also the Most Valuable Player of the 2000 National League Championship Series.
Hampton had been serving as a minor league pitching coach for the last 3 years; the Anaheim Angels of San Bernardino County hired Hampton to be the pitching coach of the Arkansas Travelers, their Class AA affiliate in the Texas League.
New 1st base coach
Casey Candaele was hired as the new first base coach. “Mighty Mite” (Casey) is a former utility infielder for the Expos, Astros, and Indians. The journeyman’s scrappy play and small stature made him a fan favorite and earned him the nickname “Mighty Mite.” Casey had most recently been a coach in the Texas Rangers minors.
Also of note, Candaele’s mother Helen Callaghan (Candaele), was an inspiration for the movie “A League of Their Own.” Helen was referred to as “Ted Williams of women’s baseball.
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