The Time Has Come

Dave · July 2, 2006 at 9:07 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Early speculation is that Jeremy Reed has broken his thumb and is going to miss at least 4-6 weeks. This leaves the Mariners with exactly one real outfielder on the roster. Ibanez is a DH masquerading as a LF, and Willie Bloomquist is a 2B who gets used in center because he plays hard. Carl Everett can’t run, and isn’t even an option.

Ichiro is the only real outfielder the M’s have in the major leagues right now. The internal options from Tacoma include Doyle (.287/.392/.434), Choo (.316/.391/.477), and unfortunately, Mike Morse (.233/.283/.421). None of these three should be asked to patrol CF in Safeco Field. Doyle and Choo would both be fine in a corner outfield spot, however, and both would provide significantly better offense than anything they could expect from Willie Ballgame.

So the team is in a situation where they need to open up a corner OF spot and they need a legitimate defensive center fielder. They’ve spent years dancinng around the issue, but Reed’s injury pushes it to the forefront – move Ichiro to center.

It’s the best move, and it’s not even close. Reed hasn’t been hitting for the last 18 months anyways, and the Mariners best 9-man line-up in a playoff push wouldn’t include him swinging the bat. The team is in playoff contention, and they’ve got to figure out how to maximize every advantage they can. Ichiro has publically stated that he’d move to center if asked, though behind the scenes, we hear all kinds of rumors about how he wants an offseason’s notice to train for the new position.

At this point, though, you can’t afford to let Ichiro’s personal preference take precedence over the good of the club. The team needs him in center field. Putting Ichiro in CF allows you to move Ibanez to right, which minimizes his defensive liabilities in Safeco, and Doyle or Choo in left. Or, you could just put Doyle/Choo in right, as both have the arm for it.

If the M’s have the guts to make the move, Reed getting hurt could be the a blessing in disguise. The Mariners best team has Ichiro manning center field, freeing up a corner OF position to add offense. They’re not getting the offense they need from Jeremy Reed, and they won’t get it from Willie Bloomquist.

Odds are the M’s won’t do it. It’d be a pretty dramatic move to not only change Ichiro’s position but essentially cause Jeremy Reed to lose his job to an injury, but he’s played his way out of the line-up on his own. The M’s have internal options who deserve those at-bats, and this injury creates a perfect chance to maximize the talent on the roster and get the best possible line-up on the field.

Ichiro to CF, Doyle or Choo to the majors. Whichever one doesn’t come up now can replace Carl Everett when the M’s finally tire of him.


58 Responses to “The Time Has Come”

  1. mara on July 3rd, 2006 11:13 am

    What are the thoughts on the theory that Reed can’t hit anymore because his wrist has never healed properly since the first time he hurt it?

    Ironic that Doyle may finally get called up juuuuust before I get the chance to see him play here in Portland (TAC @ POR 7/13-16).

  2. Paul B on July 3rd, 2006 11:24 am

    #51 — Reed hasn’t hit because, IMO, he won’t. Even when healthy. He hasn’t shown that he is really developing into a major league hitter. He had a high average in the minors, but no power and he doesn’t walk much.

    His OPS is almost identical to Bloomquist, and there are zero ML CF’ers with a worse OPS and at least 200 AB’s.

  3. msb on July 3rd, 2006 11:28 am

    when did Bavasi say he wouldn’t trade anyone off the 40 man?

  4. dirk on July 3rd, 2006 11:29 am

    Reed seems like a perfect 4th outfielder. He could play all three spots, and hit well enough to give guys a day off once in a while.

  5. adamt on July 3rd, 2006 11:33 am

    According to the Rainiers website, Adam Jones will replace Choo in the AAA All-Star game because Choo has been called up to replace Reed:

  6. Karen on July 3rd, 2006 12:43 pm

    Well, at least those of you who want to see a few Rainiers called up to Safeco don’t have to wait until September… 🙂

  7. DMZ on July 3rd, 2006 12:50 pm

    Choo’s call-up has its own post now.

  8. penguin on July 3rd, 2006 2:36 pm

    Re #36 – Even then, Ichiro had time to prepare for the WBC. It’s not so much that he couldn’t do it but that he prefers to do it fully prepared, just like the way he does everything. He will probably switch positions when and if asked, but I was just wondering if switching right now in the middle of the season is the best FOR HIM. The M’s do depend on Ichiro’s production at the plate to do well.

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