In the event of a water landing, your seat cushion will be of no use
Injury scenarios and cost to the team. Advanced warning: some of this is scary to contemplate.
Starters: pitcher is replaced by Baek/Woods in the rotation. Cost ranges from about a run a start (Felix) to no impact (Batista). Worst case is Felix goes down for the season before Opening Day, and you can add at least 30 runs allowed to your guess at the team’s totals. And likely a lot more, since that saps the bullpen, too.
Relievers: replaced by Tacoma call-up. Putz down means the ninth gets much rockier, and whole bullpen takes a step back to earth. It’s not going to be have an effect every day, but as a unit, they’re going to give up more runs. But even in the worst case, with Putz out all year, replacing his seventy innings only hurts the team fifteen, maybe twenty runs.
Catcher: Johjima’s replaced everyday by Rivera/Rob Johnson/?. Offensively, that’s a disaster. A full year without Johjima’s 20 runs shaved easily. If Clement’s bat finds him in Tacoma, he’d be a better option, but at this point in his development it’s hard to argue for promoting him again, and almost certainly still a big step back.
First base: If Sexson goes down right now, the best option’s Broussard, and in total production, it depends on your opinion of Broussard – given his career numbers, last year’s time with the M’s looks like a fluke, but you saw him, right? He looked baaaaaaaaaad. His defense at first might even be worse than Sexson’s. Potentially this is a wash, or ten runs back for a season. If Broussard’s not around, it’s likely we see Morse or a reasonable facsimilie, or even an emergency Ibanez move, with an outfield replacement. LaHair’s a better first base option than Morse, I’d say.
Second base: nowww we’re in trouble. Lopez to Bloomquist for a season’s twenty runs easily. A Garciaparra/Tui/Navarro replacement’s unlikely to be an improvement.
Shortstop: same deal
Third base: same deal. But worse.
Outfield: right now, any significant outfield injury presents the team with a choice between calling up Jones and playing Reed. In left, either of those guys would be massive defensive upgrades on Ibanez at the cost of hitting. The no-hit Reed for Ibanez is easily 20 runs a season, for Ichiro it’s ridiculous, losing the offense and glove cost maybe 40, even 50 runs, and Guillen we don’t know, but it’s likely to be 20. A Reed that hits like it once looked like he could hit puts 10-20 runs back.
Jones, if he’s ready and driving the snot out of the ball, is still young and developing, and could be better offensively and defensively than our memory of Reed-to-be. But if looks like he needs more time in Tacoma, Reed should get the call, since he’d be better to contribute immediately and Jones’ development helps the team down the road, when they’re potentially competitive.
In the corners, we could also get Morse. I don’t think I have to say too much more about that.
DH: Like first, it’s Broussard now. A season of Broussard (and likely platoon partner) over Vidro… well, that depends on your opinion of Vidro and Broussard. If you think Vidro’s going to be awesome and Broussard’s a total scrub, swapping them for a year’s a 30-run loss. More likely, it’d be a wash.
A moment of reflection: the team’s extremely vulnerable to injuries. Losing Ichiro or Felix for a couple of months almost means you should turn out the lights and walk away, and the infield situation’s almost as bad. The team, to be competitive, doesn’t need everyone to stay healthy all year, but it does desperately need those two players all season, at least, and the infield as a unit to not miss much time, and even then, whether you’re a believer in lineup presence and bullpen anchoring or not, losing Putz or one of the team’s core hitters would likely cause a lot of disarray as Hargrove shuffled lineups, positions, and bullpen roles trying to find something he’s comfortable with, and that’s no fun to watch.