Hall and Saunders
You’ve probably noticed that Bill Hall has been essentially an everyday player since he arrived in Seattle, and that after Adrian Beltre returned and Mike Carp joined the club when rosters expanded, Wakamatsu has found playing time for Hall by sticking him primarily in left field. Because of that decision, Michael Saunders has essentially disappeared. In the last two weeks, Saunders has three plate appearances. Three.
I know the M’s wanted to see what Hall could offer them if he got regular at-bats, and Saunders hasn’t exactly made a case for more playing time with his performance, but I’m not a fan of this arrangement. While Hall was a nice little pickup as a potentially useful and relatively cheap utility player, his total potential value to the M’s is fairly limited. He turns 30 this winter, and the odds of him fixing his contact problems are slim at best. Given his inability to regularly put the bat on the ball, Hall’s just not going to hit enough to make him a good enough player to be the team’s regular left fielder in 2010.
Saunders, on the other hand, actually has some real ability to improve with regular playing time. He’s had a rough go against major league pitching so far, but there’s a reason they call it a learning curve – the rate of improvement increases exponentially with playing time. We can’t really expect him to figure out how to hit a major league breaking ball sitting on the bench, and the 2010 Mariners could really use a version of Michael Saunders that can hit a breaking ball.
With the team out of contention, the goal for the last two weeks out of the season should be to help next year’s club as much as possible. And for that team, Michael Saunders is simply more important than Bill Hall is. I’m fine with Wak getting Hall in the line-up, but not at Saunders expense.
Less Bill Hall and more Michael Saunders please.