July 14, 2006


Mariners promote Jones: Young center fielder one of top prospects in organization (DAVID ANDRIESEN, 7/14/06, Seattle P-I)

Despite the need in center field, where Jeremy Reed is out because of a broken thumb, Jones' promotion is somewhat surprising because of his age and high prospect status. But his recent strong play apparently made the case.

Jones was batting .277 for Tacoma with 14 homers, 55 RBIs and 13 stolen bases and was the Rainiers' only representative in Wednesday's Triple-A All-Star Game -- but the Mariners made a late request that he not play in the game, portending Thursday's move.

Jones has been red-hot since June 1, batting .336 with six homers and eight doubles in 140 at-bats.

Jones, the Mariners' top pick in the 2003 draft, was the organization's minor league player of the year in 2005 after batting .296 between Inland Empire and Double-A San Antonio. He started this season in Tacoma and batted .234 in April and May before heating up. In June he batted .342 and had nearly as many hits (39) as he managed in the first two months of the season combined (44).

The right-handed batter recorded 25 multi-hit games and produced a 20-game hitting streak that ended just before the All-Star break, the longest in the Pacific Coast League this season.

It would be astonishing if he can hit the curve once that's all he's seeing. Matt Kemp can't.

Mariners building for now and the future (Bob Finnigan, 7/14/06, Seattle Times)

If Seattle officials choose to rebuild/reload by July 31, or later in the offseason, at least there is a solid nucleus with which to start.

If nothing else, the Mariners are far ahead of this time last year. They now have a middle infield that could excel for a decade, with second baseman Jose Lopez and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt; a catcher in Kenji Johjima, despite his intermittent struggles behind the plate, to provide time for Rob Johnson, Rene Rivera or Jeff Clement to develop; and a bullpen centered on Rafael Soriano, George Sherrill and closer J.J. Putz.

When one adds Adam Jones or Jeremy Reed in center field, Seattle is strong in the spine of the defense, and young. That's huge.

They have also established pitching standards under new coach Rafael Chaves. [...]

The Mariners are also in a quandary concerning both Joel Pineiro, who has drawn some interest from the Yankees and other clubs, and Gil Meche. [...]

As it stands, the Mariners could be $24 million lighter in salaries next season, depending on which way they go with Moyer, Everett and Pineiro, at the July 31 deadline or this winter.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 14, 2006 7:43 AM
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