A few weeks ago, the annual Mariner commercials came out. If you haven’t seen them yet, I would highly recommend you take a look here. As usual, they were quite funny, and they taught us some things like where Tom Wilhelmsen gets his cookies and where Kyle Seager finds his inner peace. However, there may be a few more important observations we can take away from the advertisements.
One thing we can look at is who was not featured in a commercial. The team doesn’t want to use players that they think will leave the team during the season, because otherwise they will have to stop running a commercial in July after the player in it is traded. A couple significant players were not used in this year’s batch of ads. The most notable were Kendrys Morales, Justin Smoak, Franklin Gutierrez, and Hisashi Iwakuma.
Morales hitting a spring training homerun. Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Kendrys Morales is on the last year of his contract with the Mariners, so the lack of his presence in a commercial seems to indicate that he may be put on the trading block before the trade deadline. Taking him out of the lineup would provide a plethora of possibilities for other guys like Liddi, Thames, Wells, Bay, Peguero, or even prospects like Zunino or Franklin.
Perhaps if Smoak has a good first half, the Mariners will see Morales as an unnecessary piece for the Mariners and try to swap him for some value at a different position.
That transitions us to our next player who got left out of the advertisements: Justin Smoak. Although Smoak has been named the starter at first base, the fact that he wasn’t used in an ad seems to say that his long term place on this team is not secure. As I wrote a while back, I believe the Mariners are giving Smoak his final chance, and that they won’t be afraid to part ways with him if he doesn’t produce. The commercials this year seem to support that assertion.
Another notable player who failed to make an appearance in the commercials this year is Franklin Gutierrez. This is the last guaranteed year on his contract, but he has a club option for next year. Because of this, we may see Guti traded to a contending team before the trade deadline. His skill sets could make him very valuable to a club like the Yankees, Orioles, Cardinals, or Rangers that have plenty of offense but could use a gold glove caliber center fielder to help their outfield. There is also a chance that the Mariners left him out due to injury concerns, since he seems to be unable to go a month without some type of setback.
Hisashi Iwakuma is the final key player that failed to be featured in a 2013 advertisement. It is quite possible that the language barrier prevented him from participating in a commercial. It doesn’t seem like he would be a likely guy to go on the trade block since he inked a two year contract with the club last year, but he probably will have some trade value; more so than any other Mariner starter besides Felix, at least. Perhaps if some combination of the big four is knocking on the door of the big leagues, Seattle will feel comfortable moving Iwakuma at the deadline.
Probable third starter, Joe Saunders, also didn’t appear in an ad, but this is not surprising since he has essentially no name recognition or marketability in Seattle and is only on a one year contract.
Before putting too much stock in who did and didn’t appear in a 2013 commercial, remember that other factors could have caused players not to participate. Perhaps they don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, didn’t have the time, or maybe the marketing department just didn’t have an ad that they would fit in to. Regardless, these are just a few things from the commercials to keep in mind as we look towards the season.