With an off day to think about what’s happened during the first month of the season, the Mariners front office has one question that looms above everything else they do.
How long do we give _________ until we decide that we should get someone else?
It’s unavoidable. The question is everywhere.
The team isn’t getting anything from the right field position. How long do they give Brad Wilkerson until they decide they should get someone else?
The team isn’t getting anything out of the designated hitter position. How long do they give Jose Vidro until they decide they should get someone else.
The team isn’t getting anything out of the first base position. How long do they give Richie Sexson until they decide they should get someone else?
Through the first 26 games, the Mariners are getting a .198/.315/.407 mark from their 1Bs, a .200/.326/.263 mark from their RFs, and a .227/.276/.340 mark from their DHs. Those are three of the easiest positions in baseball to find guys who can hit, and they’re getting absolutely nothing.
No, you don’t want to make rash decisions on the basis of one month’s worth of baseball, but there were legitimate concerns about all three of those positions heading into the season. While the degree may be, these players’ struggles aren’t unexpected. Going in another direction isn’t justifiable just based on April, but when you factor in what we already knew about these guys going into the season, it’s simply correcting the mistakes of the past and recognizing what the organization should have figured out over the winter.
The team has options. The Reds and Cubs both have too many outfielders, so call about Corey Patterson, Ryan Freel, and Matt Murton. See what the Nationals want for Nick Johnson. Call up Jeff Clement. If you get two or three of those five guys, you can revitalize the entire offense. It won’t take an arm and a leg to pick up some useful role players and make some upgrades. With three trades and a callup, you could have the following line-ups:
1. Ichiro – CF
2. Johnson – 1B
3. Beltre – 3B
4. Ibanez – RF
5. Patterson – LF
6. Lopez – 2B
7. Clement – DH
8. Johjima – C
9. Betancout – SS
1. Ichiro – CF
2. Lopez – 2B
3. Johnson – 1B
4. Beltre – 3B
5. Sexson – DH
6. Murton – LF
7. Ibanez – RF (really, I’d prefer this to be Patterson, but I know they won’t platoon Raul…)
8. Johjima – C
9. Betancourt – SS
Seriously, you’re not going to have to mortgage the future to get Corey Patterson, Matt Murton, or Nick Johnson. Yes, you’ll have to give up some talent, but you’ve already decided to go for broke this year when you made the ridiculous Bedard deal, so no point in just going half way. If you’re going to try to win in 2008, try to win in 2008.
The offense needs help. The defense needs help. The team needs help.
How long the team is willing to give players who shouldn’t have had jobs to begin with will determine whether this team has a chance or not. As constructed, this isn’t a playoff team. It’s just not. Admit your mistakes, show some humility, and make the team better.