We’re Back! (uhh, and some moves, too)
Sorry about that disappearance, guys – technical snafu. But we should be good to go now.
Clement and Balentien officially up, with Norton and Wilkerson going away. Wlad is the new starting RF, and Clement will probably DH vs right handers for now.
There’s a few different topics of conversation here. Here’s a quick overview:
1. The team has to be applauded for taking swift action when faced with the reality that they misjudged the talent on the roster this winter. We’ve seen them take far, far longer than this in the past, dragging the corpses of Carl Everett and the like into the deep summer while the team falls out of contention. Adam Jones wasted three months of productive baseball sitting down in Tacoma last year after it was obvious that he could help the team, and the team flatly refused to let him make the team better. They learned from that mistake, and have reacted swiftly to the understanding that they had internal options that were better than the guys they had around. Kudos to Bavasi, McLaren, and company.
2. The service time thing is a more interesting issue than is currently being discussed. Yes, the M’s could have pushed free agency for Clement back a year by waiting to do this move until next week, and for some people, that’s enough to call this move stupid. But the Mariners aren’t ignorant of that fact – they just have a different set of beliefs about how that should affect roster decisions. You don’t have to agree with those beliefs (I don’t think I do, but I am willing to admit that they have something of a point on the lack of ethics of intentionally holding a guy down when you believe he’s ready), but you should be willing to admit that it’s not ignorance that drove that decision.
3. With Wilkerson and Norton going away, it appears that Balentien is being handed the right field job on a daily basis, because the only other outfielder on the bench is Willie Bloomquist. It will be interesting to see whether the team begins to look for a left handed veteran if Balentien doesn’t start hitting immediately, and with his skillset, there’s a decent chance that he could struggle adjusting to major league pitching.
4. I don’t expect Clement to see any time behind the plate except in case of an emergency. With Johjima and Burke around, and the organization still not being too high on Clement’s defense, I’d imagine he’ll just DH against right-handed pitchers and be used as a pinch hitter when he doesn’t start. I don’t think Clement coming up means anything to the playing time of the two catchers already here.
5. Seriously, what does this organization see in Miguel Cairo?
6. My projections for what Clement and Balentien will do now that they’re up? .240/.300/.390 for Wlad and .270/.350/.470 for Clement.