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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016. Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.

18 Comments

  1. Kivlehan has 430 PA’s at the Double-A level. He’s going to have to have an absolutely outstanding spring and somebody (LoMo, Ackley) would have to be hurt for him to crack the lineup, in my opinion. Much more likely he starts at Triple-A. He is close, though, and a name to watch.

  2. Hultzen is expected to show up to camp ready to go, is recovered from surgery. How the club plans to handle him isn’t known yet. Expect it to be very carefully. He’s still got to rebuild his arm strength and regain stamina. Really going to be a, “we’ll see how it goes and evaluate” process. Nothing is definitive other than he will be at camp, all things the same.

  3. What are Kivlehan’s splits vs. LHP and RHP? I could see him making the roster out of spring training as a 1B/OF platoon for either Morrison if he regresses vs LHP or Ackley. I would definitely take him over Montero 1.Because of his ability to play respectable defense and 2. His well-known work ethic and coachability.

  4. The only way montero can be on this team is if cruz gets hurt. You cant have 2 dh on the roster and he literally cannot play a defensive position

  5. I haven’t heard anything at all about Hultzen. Will he be back this year? Anybody know how his rehab has been going?

  6. Simply taking a Colorado Rockies batter and looking at his road splits is not a good indicator of what he might do elsewhere. Rockies hitters — the veterans, anyway — literally take a different approach at home than they do on the road.

    It’s sea level versus mile high and it’s very real. Pitches move so uniquely at Coors and then those hitters have to go out on the road 81 times a year, intermittently no less, and face breaking balls at sea level. Many believe this is why Matt Holliday went from great 05-08 in Colorado and then was merely solid-good in Oakland. Not just the change in ballparks but the smack-in-the-face sea level differential he faced in the first half of ’09 with the A’s. Notice he was terrible in April but terrific again in May-July before being traded to St. Louis and continuing to be very good.

    Now, Carlos Gonzalez is not Matt Holliday — his left-on-left splits are real — but he could play 81 games at Safeco and by the second half of the season there’s a pretty good chance he’s adjusted and figured some things to the point where he’s more than just useful.

  7. Marinermutt gets the hug. He articulated my exact sentiments about the disappointment that has been Jesus Montero. Nothing about the once, highly promising Venezuelan being a big or major contributor this season, just a potential 24th or 25th guy in the lineup, IF….

    Also, listening to the M’s President on KJR-AM yesterday, it’s clear that JackZ has a bit more money to spend. Whether that will be spent going into Spring Training, or to beef up the team at the All Star Break (assuming the M’s are in contention) will be up to the GM, says Mather.

    In other words, wailing and gnashing of teeth may not be necessary if there is not a major new OF acquisition now to placate the Condor-lovers around here. What if the Padres, who are wheeling and dealing like Billy Bavasi on Heisenberg crystals, crash and burn in the first half of the season. Justin Upton would then be available for a half season rental at much less than the Friars paid.

  8. Jerry,
    Congratulations! You’re the 1st person ever to mention Jesus Montero and the words “dangerously thin” in the same sentence.

  9. I’m okay with Montero as the 24th or 25th man on the roster. His first year in Seattle was decent. Has gone down hill since. But he must have talent. He was well thought of for many years when with the Yanks. Now I know they overstate their prospects but don’t we all.

    I wouldn’t give up on him just yet. He could provide a RH bat off the bench or part-time DH if Cruz is in RF which it sounds like he will be from time to time. Montero has messed up a couple of times the past couple of years. The Bio issue and of course coming to camp way out of shape last year. I have no issues with him jumping on the scout you sent him the ice cream. That was out of line in my view. Hoping he surprises us.

  10. Jerry , very nice ,,,now Gonzo lets just hug it out and get back to baseball…

  11. Gonzo,

    You need to relax. This has nothing to do with you at all.

    I brought it up because we are talking about depth. The fact that we were even discussing Montero is because the M’s are dangerously thin, particularly at DH/1B and corner OF. That’s what the thread is about: the M’s roster and depth.

    Our current first baseman – Morrison – has a track record for injuries. Not having anyone else on the roster who can play that position is a problem. In all likelihood, we’d probably see WFB playing 1B if Morrison went down. Again, that is a problem. We have the same issue in the OF right now. We have one guy who really deserves a starting job. Ackley is a big question mark, and the M’s should have a contingency plan if he doesn’t build on his late season success. Ruggiano is a very good platoon player and 4th OFer, but I don’t think anyone sees him as a starter. Even if we add another starter in RF to be the strong side of the platoon, we’d still be very thin in terms of depth.

    I have no idea why you are taking this personally. Its not about you.

  12. Jerry – Gonzo ….tis the season to be jolly …we get it you dont agree ..give it a rest

  13. I noticed you didn’t have a spot for Ramirez. I noticed Ackley batting second. The lack of depth in the outfield/infield can be fixed anything the M’s choose or desire to fix it. Rotation could be deeper and another innings eater AAA type wouldn’t surprise me since I know the 2 big starters are out of the question. But Ackley batting second shows me where the M’s have not been aggressive enough as they needed to be in fixing the lineup. I’ll say, there’s still time, but we’ve been watching a lot of names fly back and forth. There is still time and players available, I just wonder what priority the M’s have in getting a different #2 hitter.

  14. “over whether or not Jesus Montero will be a major contributor to the team next year.”

    Once again, Jerry, you come off as a real jerk putting words in other people’s mouths just to create a strawman argument to make yourself seem logical. Jesus at the end of the pines to pinch hit against lefties or to spell Logan Morrison at first base is not a debate about him being a “major contributor to the team next year.” The discussion was about whether James Jones, because of his baserunning or Jesus Montero because of his RH bat and lack of depth behind LoMo would be more likely to fill out this roster if the season were to start today.

    Are you really so daft and rude when this was just spelled out to you on the last thread? Why carry this over to a thread dedicated to the lineup projection IF the season started today? Grow up, dude.

  15. Wow, I knew the Ms lacked depth, but seeing it outlined in a depth chart is pretty bleak. This team has no depth whatsoever. The only area where we have any depth is the bullpen.

    Obviously there is still time left to address this, but every day more options come off the board. It’s a near certainty that the team will add a starting OFer that will push Ruggiano into a part time role. Adding two would be ideal. The Padres and Red Sox each have about 13 OFers each, so they are great trade matches. Plus Colby Rasmus and Norichika Aoki are still available.

    Still, this team is paper thin right now. The Ms biggest weakness last year was an inability to get even mediocre production from several spots in the lineup, including RF, 1B, and DH. That was mostly due to depth: Saunders, Hart, and Morrison missed significant time, and the team had nobody to fill in. I’m concerned that we will be in the same position this year. There are very few spots in the lineup where the Ms could survive a major injury. And, as it stands now, we have the guy who shouldn’t really play 65% of games penciled in as our starting RFer. Jack ditched a good player in Saunders due to his inability to play 150+ games, but the problem wasn’t Saunders. It was depth. Players get injured, and good teams have guys who can fill in for a few weeks or months without creating a sucking chest wound. I think the biggest reason the Ms missed the playoffs last year was because they couldn’t deal with any adversity. If a player got hurt or failed to live up to expectations, we were SOL.

    Yesterday I had a fairly silly argument with someone over whether or not Jesus Montero will be a major contributor to the team next year. The scary thing is that the lack of depth might make that an actual possibility. When you are 1 injury away from “Jesus Montero: Starting Firstbaseman!” or Steffen Romero playing everyday, thats a problem. That’s a REALLY bad sign.

    I don’t think the team is nearly done, but time is quickly running out. If he Ms acquired Seth Smith and Craig Allen, suddenly they have a bit of breathing room and the depth chart looks a lot different. But Jack needs to get on it. We have a good core of players. Now, we need to raise the floor in areas of weakness and add depth. That’s entirely doable.

  16. CarGo isn’t a fit in any manner in Seattle. He can’t hit left-handed pitching but will undoubtedly cost big-time talent as if he’s a star everyday player. He’s starting to break down — has played 180g combined the past two years and has never been over 135. That and he’s due $53m over the next 3 years. Walker ++ for Gonzalez — because that is certainly going to be the cost? Pass.

    One of the SS “winning the SS role” means consistent production IN THE MAJORS — not in spring training — so that cannot happen if one of them isn’t playing SS or is in the minors. Have to start the year with both available so one of them can actually win it to the point where trading the other or moving him off shortstop makes any lick of sense at all.

    Making Miller a value in the field off shortstop (and 2B) isn’t a quick-fix project and all it does is weaken his trade value because other clubs can’t watch him regularly at shortstop. The Mariners aren’t doing that anytime soon without assurances about shortstop.

  17. Take a look at Cargo’s stats – focus on that .160 ba away from Colorado and then consider what it would take to get him and pay him ….not good

  18. Sounds about right. However, if Miller wins the SS role, I see Taylor in AAA. If Taylor starts at SS, then Miller becomes our Zobrist-in-training.

    The only major upgrade in the outfield–with Justin Upton–now off the trade block–might be Carlos Gonzales of the Rockies.

    As a left-handed hitting outfielder, I wonder if the Padres will keep Seth Smith as their fourth man to balance out the righthandedness of Kemp, Upton and Myer? If so, is Colby Rasmus the most likely option for the M’s, allowing us to keep all the players listed as our most likely trade bait?

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