Tealeaf-reading: first base
[…] Mike Sweeney has done everything asked of him since getting here. Sweeney has also become a harmonizing focal point in the clubhouse. He’s provided that vocal leadership the Mariners had been seeking out the past few years. And he’s producing with the bat now that he’s playing more regularly
Unless Sweeney’s knees blow out on him these final two weeks, it’s going to be very difficult for Shelton to make the squad.
This stuff about how he’s a great leader and whatnot isn’t coming out of nowhere. We can safely assume that our manager and staff have been offering good reviews of his play. And Mike Sweeney’s gotten great character reviews through his career, so sure, I’m sure he’s doing fine on that score.
But you’re hoping he hits .260/.320/.410. Shelton’s going to be a much better hitter. And if you’re small sample-sizing, Shelton’s been destroying the ball this spring.
The team’s said again and again that they’re looking for talent first, that they want to build a winning team by winning games. This minor roster decision may end up offering us some welcome insight into how they actually value these different qualities. Because if they want to win games, it’ll be Shelton if only one of them makes the team.