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Monday, December 18, 2006


Roster Moves: Unless there are Problems with the Physical, Vidro now a Mariner

Since last I blogged: Roster updates:

Jose Vidro was traded to the Seattle Mariners for OF Chris Snelling and right-hander Emiliano Fruto. The trade is on hold until Vidro’s Monday physical. Vidro had a no-trade clause in his contract, but he agreed to the trade after discussing it with the Mariner’s skipper and with his wife (Vidro’s wife, not the manager’s wife). Vidro was told that he would be their DH, and backup at 1B, 2B, and 3B. With Vidro’s trade, Lopez will move to second base (played 12 games at 2B in career), and Guzman will cover the short-stop duties.

Christopher Doyle Snelling, 25 (birthday: December 3, 1981), was signed by Seattle as a amateur free agent March 2, 1999. He made his major league debut May 25, 2002 with the Mariners against the Orioles. In three major league seasons Snelling has appeared in 59 games, and his 2006 appearance in 36 games is his most ever, to this point. He hasn’t exactly shown anything, yet, in the majors, so the reason for his acquisition by the Nationals must be due to potential. In three seasons, Snelling has hit .237, with 2 SB and 3 CS, 5 HR, 1 triple, and 8 doubles. Snelling has played 38 games in RF (265 innings, 33 GS, 1 error), 14 in LF (119 innings, 14 GS, 0 errors), and 1 in CF (1 inning, ball never hit near him). For his 59 major league games, Snelling has already made $1,244,500.

As mentioned, his acquisition is based on potential, so let’s check out his minor league stats. Snelling started in 1999 at the age of 17 in low A ball. In 8 minor league seasons, Snelling has played at the low A, high A, double A, AAA, and Rookie level (for some reason, after playing 47 games in AA, and 18 games in AAA in 2003, Snelling spent the entire 2004 season at the Rookie level, unless the website I’m using is wrong). Snelling appeared in the AAA in three seasons. In 2003, Snelling played in 18 AAA games, hitting .269, striking out 12 times to 5 walks, hit 3 home-runs, and 2 doubles, picked up 1 stolen base, and his OBP was .333. Snelling then appeared in AAA in 2005 for 65 games. In those 246 at-bats, Snelling hit .370, hitting 8 HR, 2 triples and 17 doubles, while knocking in 46 runs (RBI). He was caught stealing more often than he successfully stole a base (3 CS to 2 SB), and struck out more often than walked (43 SO vs. 36 walks). In 2006 he appeared in both the majors and AAA. In AAA, Snelling appeared in 69 games, and in those 241 at-bats, he hit .216. He had 13 doubles, 1 walk, 5 home-runs, and 39 RBI. His strike-out to walk ratio suffered (60 K to 31 BB), though he managed to get more stolen bases than get caught trying to steal (4 SB, 2 CS). In the minors, Snelling has only appeared in the outfield. He has 11 errors in the minors. Apparently he isn’t particularly speedy, and/or hasn’t mastered the base-paths yet, doesn’t have great power. He has a tendency to strike-out more often than walk, though there are several seasons when he walked more often than struck-out.

Columbian Emiliano Fruto made his major league debut last season on May 14, 2006. The right-handed reliever stands 6' 3", and is reported to weigh anywhere between 170 (Baseball Cube) and 235 (Baseball Reference) pounds. In his first season in the majors (at the age of 22), Fruto pitched in 36 innings in 23 relief appearances. He ended up with a record of 2-2 and an ERA of 5.50. In those 36 innings, Fruto gave up 34 hits, 22 earned runs, 4 home-runs, 24 walks, hit 2 batters, and threw 4 wild pitches. He also struck out 34 batters. He has played 6 seasons in the minors. Like Snelling, Fruto started when he was 17. Unlike Snelling, Fruto started in the Rookie leagues. He entered the Seattle system as a starting pitcher, but was quickly transformed into a relief pitcher (starting pitcher complete first season, 13 GS in second season with 20 relief appearances). He has appeared in AAA in three seasons (2003 - 1 game, 4 inning pitched, 0.00 ERA, 1 win 2 K 2 BB; 2005 - 9 games, 11 IP, 1 win, 2 losses, 13.09 ERA, 12 K, 11 BB; and in 2006 - 28 games, 45.1 IP, 1 win, 3 losses, 3.18 ERA, 55 K, 21 walks).

Both look like the could use a little more seasoning in the minors, though both might get a chance this season. Fruto appears closer to making the transition to the majors (maybe more because the Nationals need pitching, and Fruto appears poised to make the transition).

Other roster news:
11/8/06 Signed RHP Jesus Colome to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.
11/14/06 Purchased the contract of RHP Jermaine Van Buren from Triple-A Columbus.
12/07/2006 catcher Jesus Flores and right-handed pitcher Levale Speigner selected in Rule 5 draft.
12/14/06 Signed RHPs Chris Schroder and Chris Booker, LHP Mike Hinckley, OF Kory Casto and C Brandon Harper to one-year contracts.

28 year-old right-handed-relief-pitcher Jesus (De la Cruz) Colome made his major league debut in 2001 and has appeared in 186 games in the majors. 6' 2", 170 pound Colome has a record of 11-22, with an ERA of 4.73. In 251 innings pitched, Colome has given up 244 hits, 141 walks, and 34 home-runs, while striking out 201 batters. He has three errors, and has never gotten a major league hit.

6' 1", 220 Jermaine Russell Van Buren made his major league debut in 2005. The 25 year-old has a major league record of 1-2, 9.00 ERA in 16 games (19 IP). In those 19 innings pitched, Van Buren has given up 16 hits, 19 ER, 1 home-run, and fifteen walks, while striking out just 8 batters.

2007 season
Currently, the Nationals list three starting pitchers on their depth chart:
1. Patterson
2. O’Connor
3. Hill

I’m worried.

Catcher seems covered with Schneider & Harper. 1B has Johnson, who we all hope remains healthy. 2B now has Lopez, who has only played 12 games at the position in his major league career. Castro is Lopez’s back-up on the on-line depth chart. Oddly enough, the depth chart has Guzman last, with three players ahead of him for the SS role. It is likely that Guzman will be the SS, with Castro, Zimmerman, and Lopez his back-up. Zimmerman covers 3B with Castro his back-up. Casto and Church are penciled in for LF, though there is talk that Snelling might get the chance to play LF. Logan, Church and Escobar will fight for center field. Kearns is in right with Church penciled in as his back-up.

I would not want to start the season today with three starting pitchers. When and how are we going to get the starting pitchers we need?

Emiliano is a great loss to the M's. Great pithcer, fan favorite,pays attention to the game in the bullpen, jokes with players and fans.

I think he'll make a major league pitcher, and be better in '08 than this year.

A Rainiers Fan
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