Mariners Offseason Report


Achieving a winning record for the first time in four years, the Seattle Mariners finished the 2014 season one game out of playoff contention and have completed an offseason that suggests a continuation of such success.

Possessing a defense that ranked second in fielding percentage and a pitching staff that dominated opposing hitters by posting a league best .230 batting average against, the Mariners solidified themselves as a worthy candidate for an AL Wild Card spot. But their post-season dreams were squashed when they couldn’t find their bats late in the year.

Despite the offensive successes of Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano, the Mariners lineup struggled to find themselves at the plate. Fortunately, the Mariners front office made offseason dealings that attempt to remedy a collectively stagnant offense that ranked 27th in on base percentage.

Nelson CruzThe Mariners acquired the best power hitter of 2014 when they signed Nelson Cruz to a four year, $57 million deal. Hitting forty pitches over the fence last season, Cruz led the majors in homeruns while also finishing third in RBIs with 108. Granted, Cruz accomplished these feats while playing within the confines of Camden Yards, arguably the most batter-friendly ballpark in all of Major League Baseball. Transitioning to Safeco Field means that Cruz’s numbers will see a decline. But regardless of his statistical decline, Cruz’s power will provide a huge help to a struggling offense.

Through a trade in which the Mariners dealt relief pitcher Brandon Maurer to the San Diego Padres, the Mariners acquired outfielder Seth Smith. Smith isn’t overtly impressive, but should provide a compliment to the M’s new addition of power within the lineup, as he had a .367 OBP in last year’s stint with the Padres.

Earlier in the week the Mariners also signed second baseman and longtime Milwaukee Brewer Rickie Weeks to a one year deal worth $2 million. Bouncing back from an ugly 2013 season, Weeks improved his batting average last year by .065 and will compete for a spot in the outfield, as the position at second is clearly occupied.

Maurer and Michael Saunders have both departed, but overall the Mariners have managed to keep their core intact while adding a couple of key players and hoping for the return of another. Riddled with injury and illness Franklin Gutierrez missed all of last season and has played in only 81 games in the last three seasons. But a potential return is imminent as Gutierrez has been invited to spring training.

Projected rotation prior to spring training:

  • Felix Hernandez
  • Hisashi Iwakuma
  • James Paxton
  • Taijuan Walker
  • JA Happ (acquired in Saunders trade)


Although Chris Young had a successful year, it doesn’t look as if the Mariners are going to re-sign the 35 year old starting pitcher, as they have Erasmo Ramirez and Taijuan Walker vying for the last spot in the rotation.

Facing position battles at starting pitcher and in the outfield, it’ll be interesting to see what transpires during spring training.

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Super Bowl XLIX Reaction: Seahawks hand it over


It’s been almost 48 hours since the Seattle Seahawks lost, and confusion persists as 12s everywhere attempt to process the worst call in super bowl history.

Set up by a miraculous heads-up play from wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a subsequent 4-yard run from Marshawn Lynch, the Hawks faced second-and-goal with 26 seconds remaining in the game. The Hawks needed all but one yard in order to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, and an attempt to get Lynch in the end zone would have most likely secured that fate. Instead, that second-down play will be infamously remembered as the worst call in super bowl history. Calling a pass play despite having arguably the best running back in the entire league, quarterback Russell Wilson targeted Ricardo Lockette on a slant pattern. With little hesitation, Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler jumped the route and intercepted the football, resulting in a 28-24 Patriots victory.

The Seahawks’ loss would be easier to stomach if the reason for it made more sense. Unable to digest the irrationality of the call, the sporting world remains perplexed. There are some who object to “second-guessing” and “Monday morning quarterbacking”, but the majority of the Seahawks fan base is smart enough to realize that this circumstance involved immediate questioning as soon as a passing play was discernable.

courtesy of

courtesy of

In his efforts to defend the call, Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll made it seem as if the play was a throwaway; that they would have attempted a run just after—had it resulted in an incompletion. However, history (the NFC Championship Game) indicates that an incompletion was the best possible outcome of that play. A slant pattern over the middle in the most condensed part of the field was dangerous, and if a pass was the desired action then the Hawks should have thrown a fade to the only receiver that had made plays on that day.

Super Bowl Football

Seahawks wide receiver and former Foot Locker sales associate Chris Matthews is the lone bright spot of Super Bowl 49. Catching four passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, Matthews’ performance was essential in providing Russell Wilson with a much needed target on a day in which the Hawks wide receiving corps was virtually shut down. The Patriots secondary was extremely effective at holding the Hawks receivers to a minimum. Unfortunately, the Hawks couldn’t duplicate such play from their own secondary, and injury took its toll in the form of Jeremy Lane.

After breaking his wrist following his first career interception, Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane was replaced by fourth-stringer Tharold Simon. Thoroughly beat on almost every play, Simon struggled to defend Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (among others). Witnessing Simon’s inability to cover the Patriots’ receivers, quarterback Tom Brady exploited the dime corner on his way to becoming Super Bowl MVP.

Surprisingly, Wilson had both a higher QBR and quarterback rating then Brady, but all that remains relevant is Wilson’s single interception. No feeling of confidence has ever regressed into utter disbelief so quickly. Hawks fans everywhere will forever ask themselves “Why?” without ever gaining rationale behind the most incomprehensible loss in Hawks history. Both having taken credit for the play call, the mystery of whether Carroll or offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was responsible may go unanswered forever. Hopefully, in due time, one of them will apologize rather than defend their decision.

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Seahawks Talk: Super Bowl XLIX

Watch Daniel and I as we analyze Super Bowl 49 and tackle this week’s biggest headlines: Deflate-Gate, Foles and Mariota, Marshawn Lynch’s presser, and Doug Baldwin being ‘aight.

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Former LOB member Brandon Browner sparks controversy

Former “Legion of Boom” member and current Patriots’ cornerback Brandon Browner made headlines Monday upon the release of an interview in which he generated controversial comments regarding his injured ex-teammates; Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.

In an interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Browner was asked about the toughness of his former teammates. In answering the question Browner acknowledged the impact of their physical toughness and further said, “At the end of the day, this is about the Super Bowl. I’m gonna tell my teammates ‘go hit that elbow, go hit that shoulder.” He would go on to say, “Try to break it if you can. You can be my best friend after the game but, at the end of the day, I know you want the Super Bowl just as bad as I do.”

Taking issue with the aggressive nature of Browner’s statements, Seahawks’ linebacker KJ Wright responded by saying, “We don’t play like that, we don’t go out there and try to hurt guys.”

Seahawks’ wide receiver Doug Baldwin empathized with Browner saying, “I’d expect nothing less.” Baldwin would go on to recognize the harshness of what Browner said but also remarked about the raw competitive nature of the Super Bowl and its players, “I understand the fans want it to be classy and everyone to be politically correct, but that’s the truth of the matter…We want this game just as much as they do, and they want this game as much as us.” Providing a similar but less serious reply, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner smiled before attributing Browner’s words to the same competitive nature that Baldwin made mention of.

While there remains disagreement about the justification of Browner’s statements amongst the Seahawks players, there is a collective disdain from fans as they respond over social media to express their displeasure.

Browner wasn’t available for comment on Monday.


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A Wave of Fines Following the NFC Championship

Matthews illegal hit on WilsonIn the wake of the NFC Championship game, the NFL front offices have been focused on two things; investigating under-inflated footballs, and divvying out a slurry of fines.

A $22,050 fine was issued to Packers’ linebacker Clay Matthews for his illegal blind side block to the head and neck area of Hawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson.

courtesy of

courtesy of

Seahawks G JR Sweezy was fined $8,268 for his hit on Matthews   that ensued after the play pictured to the right.

courtesy of AP/Images

courtesy of AP/Images




Marshawn Lynch was fined $20,000 for an “obsecene gesture” that he

made following his 24-yard touchdown run.




Upon congratulating his teammate, Seahawks WR and onsided kick recover-ee Chris Matthews was fined $11,025 for placing a hand on his crotch.

courtesy of FOX Sports

courtesy of FOX Sports

After the NFL issued a fine to teammate Chris Matthews, Lynch took to twitter in expression of his displeasure.

“I feel embarrassed to work for a particular organization that fined a teammate of mine for shaking my hand after a touchdown”- @MoneyLynch

Failing to talk to the media again following Sunday’s game, Lynch will face yet another fine in the coming days.

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NFC Championship Recap

After enduring a miraculous roller coaster ride of emotions, the Seahawks are on their way to Super Bowl XLIX.

Mightily struggling to generate any offensive points in the first three quarters, the Hawks managed to piece together an amazing late-game performance to defeat the Packers 28-22 in overtime. That overtime period ended with a 35 yard connection between quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.

Kearse’s game ending catch couldn’t be more exemplary of redemption. Having missed all five of his previous targets, four of which fell into the hands of Packers defensive backs, Russell Wilson threw Kearse’s way once again. Recognizing the bump and run coverage with no help over the top, Wilson gave Kearse a hot route which he executed to perfection. Slipping his man to the inside and running a fly pattern to beat Packers’ cornerback Tramon Williams to the endzone, Kearse proceeded to catch a dime of a throw from Wilson. Overcome with emotion following his efforts, the traditionally soft-spoken Kearse burst into tears.

The victory was comparable to the summary of their entire season in a way; battling to stay afloat at the beginning but reclaiming dominance in the end.

Totaling 46 yards of total offense while turning the ball over on four out of their seven possessions, the Hawks were completely dependent on their defense in the first half. Remaining strong despite the uneven time of possession in which the Packers exceeded the Hawks by seven minutes and twelve seconds at halftime, the Hawks defense had strung together two goal line stands and two interceptions to hold the Packers to just 16 points. For anyone that had witnessed the self-destructive play of the offense in the first half, the 16 point deficit seemed unfitting.

With no points on the board and just under five minutes to go in the third quarter, the Hawks attempted a fake field goal. Former tight end and current lineman Garry Gilliam caught a 19 yard pass thrown by punter Jon Ryan. The play gave hope to a potential super bowl berth, but on the first play of their second drive of the fourth quarter, Wilson threw his fourth interception. It appeared as if the possibility to reclaim their NFC Championship title was fading, but one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history was in the works.

After forcing a crucial Packers’ 3 and out, the Hawks received the ball with just 3:52 left in the final quarter. Four plays into the drive running back Marshawn Lynch caught a pass from Wilson and scampered 35 yards for a touchdown. But after further review the officials marked Lynch out at the nine yard line. The Hawks then managed to score on third down with one yard to go, on a quarterback option play in which Wilson kept the ball and rushed in for a touchdown.

Down by a score of 14-19 with only two minutes and nine seconds remaining, the Hawks attempted an onside kick. The onside kick ricocheted of Packers tight end Brandon Bostick and into the hands of Hawks wide receiver Chris Matthews. One play after the two minute warning, Lynch ran 24 yards for a touchdown, giving the Hawks a one point lead.

Ahead by only one point following the touchdown, the Hawks needed to attempt a two point conversion in order to go up by a field goal. On their two point conversion attempt, the pocket collapsed and Wilson struggled to find an open receiver before scrambling backward in his efforts to avoid being sacked. But, at the last second, Russell heaved a pass out of desperation and tight end Luke Willson was able to secure the ball for what would prove to be a necessary two points.

Orchestrating two sequential touchdown drives that took a miniscule two minutes and 28 seconds, Wilson lead the Hawks to overtime, where they would pull of an incredible victory to secure back to back super bowl appearances.

Exuding an incredible sense of resiliency in order to comeback, the Hawks victory was simply outstanding. As a result they have now earned consecutive NFC Championship titles and remain a force to be reckoned with as they now face the New England Patriots in Glendale on Feb 1.

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NFC Championship – Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers

Possessing the 23rd best rushing defense in the NFL, the Packers are extremely reliant upon their offensive potency. Therefore, the key to a Hawks’ victory lies in minimizing Aaron Rodgers’ effectiveness while executing a performance identical to their season opener.

Having defeated the Pack by a score of 36-16 in Week 1, the Hawks are seeking a similar outcome in the NFC Championship rematch. However, achieving such a one-sided victory is highly unlikely.

Averaging 35 points per game throughout the course of the regular season, the Green Bay Packers’ offense is extremely prolific, an attribute that earned them a super bowl title back in 2010. But unlike the Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl run and the majority of their 2014 regular season, their offense will not go uncontested.

Undaunted by the threat of Rodgers, the Hawks must also prepare for Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy. With his accumulation of 101 yards on the ground against the Cowboys, Packers’ RB Eddie Lacy is currently averaging the most rushing yards per game amongst all postseason players. Look for a solid matchup between Lacy and Wagner as the rest of the Hawks set their sights on pass coverage and pressuring Rodgers.

Recently in the news for his post-game antics, Marshawn Lynch will need to make headlines with his on-field performance this Sunday.

Remaining NFC Champs is ultimately dependent on the success of the whole but in order to ensure those collective successes the Legion of Boom and Marshawn Lynch need to deliver.


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