Improve, Don’t Buy Or Sell
With the three game losing streak and a record below .500 again, those who don’t think this team can keep up with the Rangers are renewing their calls to hold a sell-off, move Erik Bedard for prospects, and commit the rest of the season to playing prospects. However, those who think this team’s pitching can keep them in the race are calling for the team to make a move to acquire a left fielder and/or a designated hitter post haste in order to keep the team in the race before the lack of offense sinks the season.
I’d like to suggest that the buy/sell decision is, right now, a false dichotomy. The team doesn’t have to choose today whether they’re buyers or sellers – you can upgrade the roster without marrying yourself to one extreme plan or the other.
The reality is that there isn’t a single player in this organization right now who should be a starting left fielder in the big leagues, and there isn’t a player in this organization who projects as a respectable starting left fielder in 2012. The position is a gaping hole (as it has been for most of the team’s history) with no solution on the horizon. Regardless of whether you think the Mariners are contenders or not, the reality is that they need a new left fielder. If they don’t get one now, they’ll just have to go get one this winter, so they might as well go get one now.
Whether it’s Ryan Ludwick, David DeJesus, Casey Blake, Luke Scott, or someone else we haven’t talked about, they will improve the 2011 team, and that’s helpful even if you don’t think this team is going to win the AL West. I don’t think they’re good enough to hang with Texas either, but that doesn’t mean there’s any point to pushing forward with a bunch of Triple-A players sharing a Major League job.
The organization doesn’t gain anything by running out any of the guys here now. If you want to give Mike Carp playing time, that should come at DH. If you want to give Carlos Peguero playing time, I’m glad you’re not in charge. These guys are not “the future” here. The team’s future left fielder currently plays in another organization, so acquiring a guy who is only under contract through the end of the season doesn’t block anyone who should be playing. That guy might even turn out to be useful enough to stick around for 2012, and then the team would have one thing they could cross off their winter shopping list.
There will come a time when the M’s need to decide whether or not they should trade Erik Bedard. That time is not today, and that decision has nothing to do with the fact that the team needs to improve left field. If Jack Zduriencik can get a real left fielder in here without giving up a major part of the future, he should absolutely do it. Even in rebuilding years, you still want Major League players on the Major League roster.
This team needs a Major League left fielder, and the sooner the better. That has nothing to do with whether or not they should be buyers or sellers. For now, they should just be improvers.