Lorena Martin filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the Seattle Mariners earlier this week, per Drew Perine of the News Tribune. Martin has been vocal in alleging a pattern of racial and gender discrimination from high ranking officials within the Mariners organization, who have unequivocally, and unsurprisingly, denied Martin’s accusations. Major League Baseball is said to be investigating the matter, but now the King County Superior Court will have the opportunity to make their own determination. Until these respective investigations are complete, let’s take a look at the baseball news from around the AL West…
- The Angels’ recent signing of Matt Harvey makes sense both in terms of team need and length of the deal, even if it took $11MM guaranteed to ink a pitcher whose 4.94 ERA from a year ago was seen as a pleasant surprise. Combined with the subsequent one-year, $9MM deal given to Trevor Cahill, the Angels have done well to add rotation arms without committing dollars beyond 2019. In terms of upside, GM Billy Eppler is hopeful Harvey can return to 2015 form when the dark knight posted a 2.71 ERA (3.05 FIP) in 189 1/3 innings for the Mets, though there is no single factor (conditioning or otherwise) prompting Eppler’s optimism, per Maria Torres of the LA Times (via Twitter). Whether he rediscovers his 2015 self or refines the 2018 version, Harvey has definite upside that should help Eppler in his stated goal to increase the team’s win expectancy. Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan speculated in a recent Fangraphs podcast about whether the decreased spin rate on Harvey’s curveball could be tied to the hand numbness he suffered as a symptom of thoracic outlet syndrome, which ended his 2016 season. Lindbergh and Sullivan are purely speculating, but it’s an interesting theory.
- Jerry Dipoto dropped some not-so-subtle hints that the Mariners have interest in Japanese lefty Yusei Kikuchi while on MLB Network Radio. That’s hardly a surprise, given Seattle’s long-term relationship with Japanese players. Still, Dipoto also interestingly noted “two years” as the timetable for the Mariners competing again in the West. That they are rebuilding certainly hasn’t escaped anyone, but knowing the timeframe in which Dipoto’s current strategy plans to produce fruit is worthwhile knowledge in interpreting Seattle’s transactions this offseason and beyond. How aggressively Dipoto sticks to this unofficial two-year timeline could speak to the level of symbiosis that exists between Dipoto and ownership.
- Texas GM Jon Daniels, meanwhile, does not want to put a timeframe on the Rangers’ rebuild. With Adrian Beltre retired and Jurickson Profar now in Oakland, the Rangers have turned the page on the most recent era of Rangers’ baseball, but the trade itself does not necessarily signal a longer rebuild, especially given the advanced development level of the prospects returned. While there was no urgency to deal Profar, a stalemate in extension talks with his agent Scott Boras appears to have been a (not at all surprising) contributing factor in Daniels’ willingness to move their former top prospect, writes Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. With third base now vacated (again), Daniels made a point to snuff out any musings about Joey Gallo returning to the hot corner, as they will likely look outside the organization or give Patrick Wisdom, 27, an extended look. Eli White, one of the prospects acquired in the deal, has an outside shot of pushing his way to the majors next season, though he profiles more as an up-the-middle player.