With Thursday being the only off-day in the next three weeks for the Mariners, we'd better get to some reader questions. But before we start, here's my question for you. Is anybody NOT excited about this weekend's Yankees series with Michael Pineda and Felix Hernandez on the mound? Should be a fun time at Safeco. But first, let's get some answers.
Seeing that Erik Bedard is pitching again, and doing well, do you consider the trade to get him still as much of a bust?
-- Micah F., East Grand Forks, Minn.
It is interesting how that trade doesn't look quite as horrific as everyone once thought, both because Bedard has remained with Seattle and is re-establishing himself as a pretty darn good pitcher (3-0 with a 1.09 ERA over his past five starts isn't bad) and because the Orioles' haul isn't doing as well as expected.
Adam Jones is a good center fielder, but the jury is still out on pitchers Chris Tillman and Kam Mickolio, the two other top prospects in that deal. Tillman, 23, is 6-13 with a 5.43 ERA in three seasons with the Orioles. Mickolio was traded to the D-backs and has struggled.
One of the reasons Bedard re-signed with Seattle is because he felt he owed it to the city and club after not providing much return in that deal. And it appears things might finally be working out.
I remember hearing that Bedard's contract wasn't guaranteed. What's the deal now that he's made the team?
-- Frank M., Seattle
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Bedard signed a $1 million base contract that was guaranteed once he made the final 25-man roster out of Spring Training. So he'll earn that money this season, regardless. But because of his history of arm problems, he and the Mariners agreed to a bonus structure that could earn him up to an extra $5.6 million if he stays healthy and keeps pitching instead of the normal guaranteed deal most veterans receive.
He's actually already earned $500,000 in bonuses based on his nine starts and 51 2/3 innings, which meets the initial incentive level in each category. Here's how his bonus money stacks up: $250,000 for 50 innings, $300,000 for 75 innings, $350,000 for 100 innings, $425,000 for 125 innings, $475,000 for 150 innings, $500,000 for 170 innings and $500,000 for 190 innings.
He also has a similar scale for games started: $250,000 for eight games, $300,000 for 12 games, $350,000 for 16 games, $425,000 for 20 games, $475,000 for 24 games, $500,000 for 27 games and $500,000 for 30 games.
Right now, he's on pace to start 30 games and throw 169 2/3 innings.
What are your thoughts on the Pineda nickname discussion? And what do you think of calling him "The Conductor?" rather than "Prince" or something that plays off Felix? He deserves his own original title.
-- Tom K., Vashon, Wash.
I agree that any Pineda nickname should stand on its own, but I don't think you can force these things. Someone more clever than me will come up with something that makes sense and catches on. If people want to send in suggestions, I'll post the best ones. But, frankly, this feels like a job for Rick Rizzs.
I'm looking for an open tryout. Where can I find info? I am ready to be part of the future of the Mariners!
-- James, Stanwood, Wash.
You might be in luck, James. The Mariners are holding tryout camps on June 13-15, though you have to be young enough to be a legitimate prospect. There is no charge, but players can only attend one camp and should bring a copy of their summer team schedule.
There'll be a tryout June 13 from 3-5:30 p.m. PT at Everett Memorial Stadium (for ages 16-19), June 14 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at Tacoma's Cheney Stadium (ages 16-21) and June 15 from 3-4:30 p.m. at Mt. Hood CC in Gresham, Ore., (ages 16-19). For more information, contact Joe Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dana Papasedero (email@example.com).
Do the active players ever make public appearances? I've only seen some for retired players, which are fun, but I'd like to meet some of the current players if possible.
-- Mosiah M., Everson, Wash.
Given their schedule, players aren't available too often for those types of things. But Brendan Ryan and Chris Gimenez will be at the Kent Fred Meyer (10201 SE 240th St.) on May 31 to sign autographs from noon-1 p.m.; and David Pauley will be at the Arlington Wal-Mart (4010 172nd St.) on June 2 to sign autographs from noon-1 p.m.
Whatever happened to Mariners prospect Kevin Mailloux?
-- Blaeze C., Edmonds, Wash.
Mailloux, a 45th-round Draft pick in '09, had a nice year as an infielder for Class A Everett last year (.296, 15 HR, 52 RBIs). But at 25, he didn't think he would have much chance to make the climb up the ladder, and he retired from pro ball and is playing for the London Majors, an independent semi-pro team in London, Ontario, according to The Windsor Star (here's the link -- http://www.windsorstar.com/sports/Mailloux+ends+quest+career+majors/4835357/story.html).
Who do you think the Mariners will take with the second pick in this year's Draft?
-- William N., Ellensburg, Wash.
Depending on what Pittsburgh does at No. 1, Seattle will have a shot at power-hitting third baseman Anthony Rendon from Rice, top college pitchers Gerrit Cole of UCLA and Danny Hultzen of Virginia, the top prep pitcher in Dylan Bundy from Oklahoma, or talented high school position players Bubba Starling (an outfielder from Kansas) or Francisco Lindor (a shortstop from Florida).
The Pirates can only take one of those. Given the Mariners' need for offensive help, I think they'd snap up Rendon if they believe his health isn't a problem. But with a recent shoulder issue and being a right-handed hitter going to Safeco, there is some risk there along with the big upside.
Jack Zduriencik and his scouts have been looking closely at all these guys, and they'll pick the one they're convinced is a difference maker on June 6.