10 new faces in 24 hours. Wow. To say Jack Zduriencik reshaped the roster at the Winter Meetings is an understatement. This is a new ballclub, which looks like a good idea given that the team lost 100 games. After adding seven new faces last night through the J.J. Putz trade, the Mariners added three more players through the Rule 5 Draft this morning. Here is a quick look at all of them:
Reegie Corona, INF - First of all, I did not misspell his name. It really is Reegie. Corona was the M's first Rule 5 selection (2nd overall), and so he must stay on the 25-man roster. a 22-year-old middle infielder from the Yankees organization, Corona has never played above AA. He also has shown little power and marginal hitting ability. However, Reegie has got some speed, a little plate discipline, and enough defensive ability to possible play second, short, or third. In essence, he is a cheaper, younger version of Willie Bloomquist. Corona does not look like much more than a solid reserve even at his peak, but the M's could use some middle infield depth. He has a chance to stick.
Jose Lugo, LHP - Lugo was actually selected by the Royals with pick number nine and then traded to the Mariners, but it fairly common for one team to pick on behalf of another if they have no interest in a player at that slot. So, for all intents and purposes, Lugo was picked by the Mariners. He is a lefty that will turn 25 in April and has never pitched beyond A ball. However, he has posted high strikeout numbers with an impressive ground ball rate. Lugo's stuff appears to be good, but the jump from high A to the majors is a massive one. Also, he is a little old for the leagues he has been playing in. I am not sure he will make the opening day roster.
Pat Ryan, RHP - Unlike the first two draftees, Ryan was picked in the AAA phase, so he does not have to be on the M's 25-man roster. However, he is still worth looking at. Ryan was with the Brewers, so Jack Zdurienciek undoubtedly knows him well. His strikeout numbers are quite unimpressive, especially for a reliever in his mid-20s in AA. However, his ground ball to fly ball ratio is freakishly good. Ryan clearly has good sinking stuff which more than makes up for whatever shortcomings he may have with velocity or location. Roy Corcoran and Sean Green both made it to the majors largely on the strength of a sinker, so do not underestimate this pick-up. He provides some much-needed bullpen depth at a bargain basement price.
It is going to take some time to digest all these moves. However, today is the most excited I've been about the Mariners in years. I was legitimately intrigued and excited to see what the Mariners would do in the Rule 5 draft today, and I could get used to this feeling of hope and excitement.