The Mariners Upcoming Second Base Problem

Dave · August 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Last year, Dustin Ackley had a fantastic Major League debut, not just at the plate but also in the field, proving that the “he can’t play second base” criticisms were about two years out of date. He still showed some inexperience at times, but he clearly possessed the physical skills to handle second base, and he was improving at a rapid rate. Given that he profiled as an above average left-handed hitter, his ability to also handle second base made him a valuable asset, and the best non-Felix building block on the roster.

Obviously, things haven’t gone so well this year. He hasn’t fixed his contact issues and his power has taken a step backwards, leading to a particularly unproductive offensive season. The low power/high strikeout combination is a proven loser, and he simply has to fix the strikeout issue in order to become the hitter that everyone expected. That he hasn’t shown any improvement in this area all year is somewhat concerning. However, Ackley’s still a guy with a terrific track record, and his high contact rates suggest that his strikeout problems won’t be permanent. With Ackley, patience is the best approach. If he cuts down on the strikeouts, he’s a really good second baseman.

However, second base has suddenly become a pretty interesting position for the Mariners organizationally. In some order, the Mariners best middle infield prospects are currently:

Nick Franklin, Tacoma:

He’s still considered a shortstop prospect, but he’s actually played more games at second base this year (23) for the Rainiers than he has at shortstop (21). His range at short has always been considered fringy, and there has long been talk that second base might be his eventual home in the Major Leagues. The Mariners have used him at both spots, and while he’s still the best shortstop prospect in the system, there’s a pretty decent chance that he won’t have the range to hold down shortstop in the big leagues.

Brad Miller, Jackson:

The team’s second round pick last year, Miller was a shortstop at Clemson and has played the position exclusively since joining the Mariners. However, his pre-draft profile suggested that he might need to shift over to second base due to some defensive inconsistencies, and he’s made 34 errors in 129 games at the position this year. It’s not unusual for minor leaguers to make a lot of errors — the fields are often not in good condition, for one thing — but it’s something you see more out of 18-year-olds in A-ball than college-trained 23-year-olds in Double-A. Miller’s not a world class range guy, and the issues simply catching the balls hit to him might force a move off of short. If he can make some big improvements, he could stick at short, but second base seems like a potential landing spot for him as well.

Stefen Romero, Jackson:

One reason Miller hasn’t played a single game at second base this year — he’s been playing next to Romero for most of the season. They both started the year in High Desert and both got promoted to Jackson mid-season (but at different times), and Romero has hit his way into legitimate prospect status, leaving the position next to Miller essentially filled for most of the year. Romero was the team’s 12th round pick in 2010 and wasn’t supposed to be much of a prospect, but he just won’t stop hitting. Since getting moved out of the hitter friendly Cal League, he’s actually gotten better, mostly by hitting for even more power. 24 of his 55 hits in Jackson have gone for extra bases, and among players with at least 150 plate appearances, he’s been the second best hitter in the entire Southern League this year. Romero turns 24 in a couple of months and is a bit of a defensive question mark who might profile best in the outfield, but he hasn’t been a total disaster at second base this year. He’s kind of the new Vinnie Catricala, and it wouldn’t be shocking if he showed up to Spring Training next year and hit his way onto the team. Where he’d play isn’t really obvious, but second base would at least an option in the short term if the position were available.

Essentially, the organization has three interesting prospects who might profile as second baseman in the Majors, each of whom hit really well in Double-A this year. Franklin hasn’t hit as well in Tacoma, and Catricala’s breakthrough performance in a half season in Jackson last year should be a reminder that a couple hundred good at-bats in the Southern League aren’t enough to start rearranging your Major League roster just yet, but the team is deeper at second base than they are at any other position.

They’re also thinner in the outfield than they are at any other position. In fact, you could make a case that the Mariners should prioritize acquiring two legitimate Major League outfielders this winter, with Saunders/Wells sharing one job and the other two spots going to imports who could upgrade the offense. But, getting two good big league outfielders in one off-season isn’t the easiest thing to do, and given their depth at second base, I’d imagine that shifting Dustin Ackley back to the outfield will probably come up in conversation within the front office.

On the one hand, there’s no question that second base is the spot where Ackley will have the most long term value, as it’s just far more difficult to find a good left-handed hitting second baseman than it is to find a good left-handed hitting outfielder. When the subject of moving Ackley to the outfield to make room for Kyle Seager at second base has been raised, I’ve been adamantly against it. However, part of why I’ve been against that kind of shift is that the organization doesn’t have anyone else to play third base, and Seager is just fine there, so turning two infielders into one infielder and one outfielder wouldn’t have actually helped anything.

Now, though, the Mariners are getting close to facing a situation where they just won’t have room for everyone. Between Seattle and Tacoma, there are four regular middle infield jobs. Neither Franklin nor Miller are ready to take over at shortstop yet, and Brendan Ryan‘s glove is worth keeping around, so he’s probably the team’s starting shortstop for one more year at least. That leaves 2B in Seattle and SS/2B in Tacoma, and Ackley, Franklin, Miller, and Romero all deserve one of those three spots. Someone has to move.

The easy answer is probably to move Romero. He was a third baseman in college who most scouts thought wasn’t athletic enough to stick at the position, much less move to a middle infield spot, and he’s basically a bat-first guy who will never be a big asset with the glove no matter where he plays. Physically, he looks like a left fielder, and the fact that the position is wide open right now should give him a chance to make the team next year, or at least be in line for an early promotion if he goes to Tacoma and keeps killing it. That would allow Miller and Franklin to share SS/2B in Tacoma and Ackley to keep working at hitting big league pitching without another position change.

But, that might just be putting off the decision for another year. If Franklin and/or Miller both hit well in Tacoma next year, but either one proves that they probably can’t hack it at as a Major League shortstop, there’s nothing else to do with them while Ackley’s at second base. Miller might not be more than a good utility infielder anyway, so it’s not the end of the world if he’s the new Mark McLemore, but Franklin’s a kid with some legitimate offensive potential who can also swing the stick from the left side. And, unlike Ackley, he probably doesn’t have the speed to be an above average Major League outfielder.

In an ideal world, Romero moves to left, Franklin sticks at short, Ackley cuts down on the strikeouts and entrenches himself at second base, and Miller turns into a fantastic play everywhere guy. But the ideal is unlikely, and it’s quite possible that Franklin is more of a second baseman than a shortstop, and if you want both on the big league team, then someone’s leaving the infield. And, based on their physical skills, it probably makes more sense to move Ackley than Franklin.

And, again, if you’re talking about potentially moving two second baseman to the outfield, both of whom you think could be valuable pieces on the 2013 roster, you probably need to be aware of that before you go making big moves to acquire multiple outfielders this winter. If the organization trades for Justin Upton and then signs Melky Cabrera in an effort to jumpstart the offense, and then you realize that Romero’s a left fielder and you might need to move Ackley to make room for Nick Franklin, all of the sudden there just isn’t room for everyone.

This isn’t an argument for the Mariners to do nothing to fix their outfield problems this winter, nor is it an appeal to move Ackley because we’re all excited about the shiny new kids hitting well in the minors. Romero could pull a Catricala. Franklin could stick at short. Ackley could remember how to hit and become the player he looked like last year. But, for planning purposes, the Mariners need to at least think about what they’re going to do with all these middle infielders they’ve got knocking on the door to the big leagues. How they plan on approaching this potential logjam affects other positions, and should influence the thought process that goes into making upgrades this off-season.

You don’t skip out on trading for Justin Upton (or whatever other good big league outfielder becomes available in trade – he’s just being used as a representation of a type of acquisition) because you have Stefen Romero or Nick Franklin coming up through the system. Heck, Romero or Franklin might even be a guy that would have to be included to get that kind of deal done, which would obviously render most of this conversation moot. But, it’s not something the front office can afford to just wait to have it “work itself out”, as is usually the case in most of these deals. Unless someone gets traded, the Mariners are going to have four young players for three middle infield jobs, so a decision on someone’s future is going to have be made before the 2013 season opens. They can’t just wait and see how it all plays out. Pretty soon, the organization is going to have to decide who their second baseman of the future actually is.


46 Responses to “The Mariners Upcoming Second Base Problem”

  1. Klatz on August 12th, 2012 9:45 pm

    It’s not a bad problem to have. My guess would be that one or more of the Franklin/Miller/Romero trio gets moved in a trade.

    Barring that as you suggest moving Ackley would be likely, since there was talk that he could handle center, more or less. But I’m guessing his arm isn’t strong enough for RF? And if Saunders/Wells/Gutierrez?? are in center where does that leave Ackley, LF?

    I still have hope the Ackley makes the right adjustments at 2b, his defense appears to be above average, at least for this season and by eye. Whether that defensive ability continues we’ll see. His contact ability and batting eye just don’t fit a 20% strikeout rate.

  2. 9inningknowitall on August 12th, 2012 9:50 pm

    You also can’t forget about Chris Taylor who is showing that he has more than just a glove at short. The kid seems like he can hit as well. He is the farthest away but in two stops this season he has hit over .300 at both spots and shown okay speed on the base paths.

  3. NRFully on August 12th, 2012 9:52 pm

    Ackley: OF/2b/1b.. Carp: 1b/OF.. Smoak: 1b.. Seager: 3b/2b.. Ryan: SS.. Kawasaki: SS/2b.. Nick Franklin: SS/2b.. Vinny Catricala: OF/3b.. Brad Miller: SS/2b..

    Rotate/Customize/Trade Players as you wish but this is what I think our near future/now infield depth is

  4. bookbook on August 12th, 2012 10:48 pm

    I love to wish cast Romero, Miller, and even Marder more than the next guy. But I guess I’m expecting one or two of those guys to have Catricala type problems in the year ahead. Heck, even if they have Ackley-type problems this all goes from an interesting dilemma to a pretty depressing sludge of fractured dreams. Meanwhile, the Tacoma Rainiers can have a mighty slick fielding DH for 2013.

  5. Westside guy on August 12th, 2012 11:10 pm

    Dave, I just have to say this – it’s good, for once, to be talking about an organizational problem where overabundance is the issue!

    Thank you for the interesting read and for providing some food for thought. I’ll be curious to see what Jack Z does about this…

  6. wilchiro on August 12th, 2012 11:26 pm

    Jaso’s been the best bat on the club this season, and that’s why I believe he should start at catcher going into next season. Give Montero some reps at first base in Spring Training and see how he does.

    But if the organization doesn’t believe that that is the right move, then they may have to consider moving either Ackley or Romero to first base. I know that that would be destructive to Ackley’s value, but he does have experience there from the college level. The leftover guy could shift to left field.

    Depth is a good thing to have. I wonder if they could package one of these guys along with one of our big pitching prospects not named Walker for a cost controlled outfielder this offseason.

  7. bookbook on August 12th, 2012 11:35 pm

    It’s difficult to imagine the scenario where the optimal choice would be taking a guy to 1B who is a roughly average 2B, and would be a solid OF, possibly even capable of covering CF.

    How much would Ackley be worth in trade, I wonder?

  8. wilchiro on August 12th, 2012 11:39 pm

    I wouldn’t trade Ackley out of the bunch – he has the highest skill set out of all of them, but his value is at an all time low.

    I have confidence that he can return to the level he was at in 2011, if he can just iron out his strikeout issues.

  9. wilchiro on August 12th, 2012 11:42 pm

    In other news, Mike Zunino was just promoted to AA Jackson.

  10. DarkKnight1680 on August 13th, 2012 12:12 am

    So in June, on this very site, I said:

    “I think what people are looking at is that Seager, Franklin, Miller, Liddi, Catricala, and Martinez all seem to have some semblance of value, with Seager, Franklin, and Miller all showing plus potential as MLB infielders. If those 3 and Ackley are all going to be in the lineup in, say, mid-2014, then the one most qualified in the OF (and really, least qualified in the IF) is Ackley.”

    And I got very roundly disagreed with, even by Dave:

    “You don’t move Dustin Ackley off of second base because of any of these guys. It’s a bad idea and needs to die.”

    What a difference 2 months makes!

  11. Snuffy on August 13th, 2012 12:26 am

    Unless Ackley develops as a hitter there is little reason to move him to 1b or OF. As it is, he doesn’t hit well enough, even as a middle infielder. Leave him alone defensively and move him to the 8 hole in the lineup. Leadoff with Saunders (although he has sure slumped recently).

  12. Westside guy on August 13th, 2012 12:50 am

    I think this idea that a particular profile of hitter has to be placed as a particular type of fielder is mystifying to say the least. Remember Bret Boone? He was a second baseman who could really mash. Why would you move a guy like that to first or to left just because he could hit like a first baseman? Answer: You wouldn’t.

    The only reason Dave’s talking about this at all is simply because of this potential surfeit of talented second basemen, and if they all continue to develop (along with Ackley) you may want to get several of them onto the 25-man roster in the reasonably near future. If Ackley starts to really hit, you still don’t move a decent second baseman to first base just because “first basemen are the hitters”. First basemen are usually first basemen because they are good hitters but crap defenders, and that’s the easiest position for them to not embarrass themselves defensively while still getting their bat into the lineup. Putting Dustin at 1B is a waste of half his talent.

    You wouldn’t move Ackley anywhere unless you felt either a) this other good hitter would be a better defender than Dustin at 2B; or b) you feel they are a wash defensively, and Ackley is more likely to successfully make the transition to the OF. But, in isolation, Ackley is more valuable as a second baseman than he would be as a left fielder.

  13. Westside guy on August 13th, 2012 1:05 am

    Not to mention that we may be having a similar conversation about first base sometime soon, unless Montero suddenly develops mad catching skillz.

  14. bookbook on August 13th, 2012 1:16 am

    Montero may be the first player in history too slow to play 1b.

  15. henryv on August 13th, 2012 1:22 am

    All the more reason to release Figgins in the offseason.

    Seagar, Ryan, Ackley, Carp, Jaso, Montero, Saunders, Wells, Franklin, Smoak, Thames, +RH 1 year catcher, +1 FA OF (good one, please).

    vs. Righties (in positional order)

    Thames (if he gets it figured out, if not Wells)
    Good OF

    Vs. Lefties

    Jaso/short-term catcher
    Smoak (for god’s sake, stop sucking now. You have like 2 months of 2013, then we’re trading you to KC)
    Franklin (or Ackley, depending on Franklin’s performance)
    Good OF

    The outfield can be moved around, depending on the skill set of the free agent outfielder.

    Also, the interesting thing about the line-up is that it already has a lot of flexibility in it, in that a lot of those players can slide to other positions.

    Hell, you could keep Figgins and move to a 6 man bullpen so that Figgins could still be a backup utility player. Or just keep Franklin down and keep Figgy until Franklin is clearly ready. Or you can get rid of Carp, and have Montero try 1B.

    This gives Ryan a year to play SS, in the hopes that Miller takes over in 2014.

    I think that Ackley’s strike out issues could be solved with the statement “They are going to throw you an outside off-speed pitch when you have 2 strikes on you. Don’t swing at it.” (If only it were that easy.)

    This will allow you to have a pretty clear picture of what you have by the end of 2013, so that in 2014, you have a young core, and can spend enough to keep Felix and bring in Zunino, Miller, and another OF to make Thames irrelevant, and push wells to the 4th OF, where he belongs.

    Melky Cabrera scares me a little bit, given that his track record is short, and before 2011 he was basically a replacement-level player. That and his BABIP sits at .380 right now. With 52% GBs that seems unsustainable, to say the least.

  16. ripperlv on August 13th, 2012 4:43 am

    May the best man win. I want to see the prospects playing so good that they force decisions. I also noticed that Triunfel is not in the discussion. He’s still young enough to find his way.

  17. vetted_coach on August 13th, 2012 4:52 am

    If the team can pick up outfielders like Upton and Cabrera, they should do it. No one would really suggest that an Ackley or any number of minor league infielders would trump that kind of improvement.

    That would be sort of like suggesting that a healthy Gutierrez might be an improvement over adding someone like, say, Adam Jones. In other words, ridiculous.

  18. UVAfan on August 13th, 2012 4:55 am

    In talking about middle infield prospects, Taylor definitely deserves mention, but with regard specifically to 2b prospects not so much. Taylor is the one guy that has shown a glove and range that is close to the level of Ryan and if he continues to hit as he moves up the chain, he may be next in line at SS. As for being far away, coming out of a top level college program, he may be a lot closer than your typical A-level prospect.

    It is interesting that Miller (generally considered by most to be a step below Franklin defensively) has played exclusively at SS while Franklin has split time between SS and 2b. Do the Mariners have a different opinion of their defensive abilities or are they indeed grooming Franklin to be Ackley’s replacement if they can’t get his bat to come around?

  19. ivan on August 13th, 2012 5:26 am

    Interesting that we have to go almost to the bottom of the comment thread before we see Carlos Triunfel’s name mentioned. Wasn’t it only yesterday that we just couldn’t wait till he arrived? Now he’s a non-person, and he’s two years younger than both Ackley and Romero. And although the organization appears to have decided that he’s a better SS than Franklin, he has played 14 games at 2B.

  20. dnc on August 13th, 2012 6:11 am

    UVAfan, it’s simply a function of who Franklin and Miller have been around. The Mariners prefer to have their SS/2B prospects play both positions, but in Romero’s case he clearly can’t handle short. And since his bat demands to play everyday, Miller’s played everyday at short. Franklin, OTOH, has been paired first with Gabriel Noriega who is the best defensive SS in the system, and then with Carlos Triunfel, who is probably at least Franklin’s equal at short and something of a prospect in his own right. Hence, Franklin has spent more time at second.

    If Miller and Franklin were at the same level I’m sure they’d have equal time at short, if not a slight lean towards Franklin. They’re just in different situations.

    As far as Taylor is concerned, it’s a small sample but he only has a .677 OPS at Clinton and scouts don’t like his bat, so I disagree with 9inningknowitall’s assessment that he is showing he can hit. Taylor will have to continue to prove himself at every level, and isn’t likely to move quickly. I don’t think he’s really part of the consideration at this point.

  21. stevemotivateir on August 13th, 2012 7:12 am

    It’s nice to talk about a strength within the system other than pitching!

    I smiled at the mention of aquiring Upton and signing Cabrera. That had been on my mind the last few days. I’d imagine we’d have to surrender one of the big three pitching prospects, along with at least one of those middle infielders mentioned (and then some), but I’d be on-board with that.

    The big question is, when will these young guys really start forcing the issue? The jam seems to be more between AA and AAA right now. I can’t see Franklin being ready next year and he’s probably the most advanced. Everyone else seems to be a step or half-step behind, with exception to maybe Romero. But he hasn’t even made it Tacoma yet. It will be interesting to see how things play-out this off-season.

  22. stevemotivateir on August 13th, 2012 7:34 am


    Truinfel is hitting .251 with a team-leading 26 errors in Tacoma. He has a lot of k’s as well. He’s still young, but he really hasn’t forced his way into the discussion. He might end up being one of the trade-chips to help complete a deal, or moved to simply clear a space for Romero or Miller.

  23. Adam S on August 13th, 2012 7:37 am

    As said, a nice problem to have.

    Dave, you sort of glossed over Seager and third base. What can we realistically expect from Seager over the next few years? Does he have a lock in the starting lineup?

    I think of him as a non-elite prospect who’d make a good utility infielder, perhaps a McLemore type getting 300 PA playing 3 or 4 positions. And those guys are useful when they make the league minimum. But he’s on his way to putting up a 4 win season* at age 24. And while that’s not Mike Trout, that’s a valuable asset not just a supporting piece. Safeco Field is so messed up for hitters this year that I can’t tell if Seager is that bench guy who had a hot month on an above average 3B.

    * Seager is 2+ WAR in 2/3 of a season. But I suspect that ballpark adjustments don’t really account for the extreme Safeco impact this year, thus undervaluing all Mariners hitters.

  24. Alec on August 13th, 2012 7:45 am

    Park effects are scaled yearly, so they specifically do account for 2012 Safeco (IIRC). On Triunful, I’m definitely of the mind that he belongs as a pot sweetener in a deal for Upton or (here’s hoping) David Wright. Also, we have to be realistic. There’s no chance we swing a trade for a guy like Upton while keeping Cerebrus without giving up some of that MI depth.

  25. Mariners35 on August 13th, 2012 7:53 am

    The most encouraging part of this piece for me is that for the first time in quite some time, I feel like the Mariners actually have the trade chits to be able to realistically do an Upton-level trade, without necessarily having to back up the truck of relief prospects and/or break up Cerberus.

    Get a healthy, high-quality OFer in here, give up on Guti and Figgins, decline Olivo (though you just know the M’s will re-up him because they don’t want to rush Zunino 🙁 ), find a good innings-eater SP on one-year deal, and call 2013 good.

  26. stevemotivateir on August 13th, 2012 8:01 am


    Don’t be so sure about Zunino! Jay just posted news of his promotion to Jackson.

  27. make_dave_proud on August 13th, 2012 8:28 am

    I’m not sure I buy the logjam argument.

    So we have some kids in Jackson and Tacoma playing shortstop that don’t project there, so that moves them to second base? OK, but is second base something that can be learned in short order, i.e. by 2013? It sounds like second base is this hand-me-down position for guys who can’t cut it at shortstop and third. What looks like a minor league abundance at 2nd base sounds a lot like a lack of options at 3rd base and shortstop.

    If we’re talking about another year out (2014), I can agree. 2013 sounds a little fast, though.

  28. deadball on August 13th, 2012 8:57 am

    Wait, what?
    ” Miller was a shortstop at Clemson and has played the position exclusively since joining the Mariners.”
    “One reason Miller hasn’t played a single game at shortstop this year…..”

  29. MrZDevotee on August 13th, 2012 9:40 am

    Left out of the INF/OF equation is that Michael Saunders is playing like Michael Saunders again… Our outfield is getting more complicated, instead of less, as the season goes… Carp has been “reassigned” from out there, Saunders is hitting 2 for 37 currently (scarily off the pace of “someone who’s starting to figure it out”, Guty still can’t find the magic mushroom to get healthy… Currently we have three 4th outfielders as our starters (Wells, Thames, Saunders). We need to acquire THREE outfielders if we’re serious about winning (where either Wells or Saunders could figure in some sort of platoon).

    Just for piece of mind, for a SINGLE year, wouldn’t it be fun to see the M’s spend the money necessary to rent three 2-3-ish WAR outfielders (for $10-15 million). Trade Guty to someone who thinks they can get him healthy (there has to be some value to “guy who was the best outfielder in the game a few years ago”) and put that recurring migraine to rest…

    And maybe Ackley is one of those new outfielders… I could see him as a left fielder in the majors.

    If we speak in relative terms, meaning “as pertains to the Mariners”, he has higher value as an outfielder than a 2nd basemen in Dave’s scenario. In the global picture, sure, he’s more valuable as a left handed 2nd basemen, but if we have people to replace him there in Seattle, and are weak in the OF, the case could be different for the Mariners.

    We’re a bit gunshy in this organization about moving guys around too much, but if a Willie Bloomquist, Mike Morse and Chone Figgins can handle it, I’m pretty sure an Ackley can (and not least because, he’s ALREADY SHOWN the versatility to change positions, and this would be simply moving him back to his original position).

    So, yeah, in an organization where all the pieces are there already, he has great value as a left handed hitting 2B, but… Is it time, to do the thing lots of folks think should be done? (“Time” meaning next spring naturally)

  30. msfanmike on August 13th, 2012 9:52 am

    I know this does not paint the entire picture of Ackley’s ’12 season in comparison to 2011, but his walk and strikeout rates between the two years are virtually identical. Obviously, 2012 has lower ISO, BABIP and SLG than 2011, but here are the numbers in regard to BB and SO:

    2011: BB: 10.6%; SO 21%
    2012: BB: 9.6%; SO 20.9%

    Ackley definitely needs to improve his strikeout totals, but he had the same issue with it last year, too – albeit in a smaller sample size.

    As Dave mentioned, if there was a compelling reason to move Seager off of 3B, then 2B is the logical place for him to go. An Ackley move to the OF would make sense under that scenario. IMO, he best profiles as a CF than any of the other OF positions, but if he ended up in LF and was productive at the plate, nobody would complain. There is a big difference between the quality of a MLB CF and a College CF, so I do not know if Ackley could even handle CF, actually.

    The best move forward would be to upgrade the OF externally (as has been mentioned above) because moving mediocre bats around the field in order to bring in uproven bats is probabaly just going to perpetuate the teams churn rate.

    I am encouraged to hear Romero’s name being brought into the discussion. By all accounts he has good footwork – and he is a big guy (6’2, 235). If he has the footwork to play 2B, he would seem to be able to convert to 1B or 3B (assuming he has good hands). He sounds like a better candidate for 1B than Ackley. Then we would end up with a 1B jam of sorts and a need to find playing time for Jaso, Montero, maybe Carp, maybe Smoak, maybe Catricala, maybe Liddi.

    I have faith that someone is eventually going to merge from the somewhat meh pile of candidates, win a job and be productive. That has to happen eventually … right?

  31. bongo on August 13th, 2012 10:10 am

    The Mariners do indeed have a 2nd base problem. But they also have a first base problem, a shortstop problem and an outfield problem.

    Since Minenori Kawasaki and Chone Figgins are not the solution to any of those problems, the first step toward a solution is probably to clear some roster space by DFA’ing one or more of them. Then we could give some of their playing time to more deserving candidates (including Nick Franklin and Luis Rodriguez). While we’re at it, why not send down Trayvon Robinson and DFA Olivo, while bringing up Darren Ford, Luis Jimenez and Guillermo Quiroz?

    Is it worth noting that Asdrubral Cabrera is only under Indians control through 2013?

  32. ivan on August 13th, 2012 10:23 am

    It’s my opinion that Luis Rodriguez does not have the range to be a successful major league shortstop.

  33. stevemotivateir on August 13th, 2012 10:57 am


    The Guti situation is kind of tricky. Right now, he has no value. Who could we really get in return, for an injury/sickness prone outfielder, with limited playing time over the last few years? I think we’d be selling low. Probably best to assume he won’t be holding a roster spot and hope to be pleasantly surprised. If he is able to rebound, then a discussion about keeping or dealing him would make more sense, in my opinion. I’m not ready to close the book on him. He’s just too talented! But it would probably be wise to plan for things without him.

  34. djw on August 13th, 2012 11:11 am

    Interesting that we have to go almost to the bottom of the comment thread before we see Carlos Triunfel’s name mentioned. Wasn’t it only yesterday that we just couldn’t wait till he arrived? Now he’s a non-person, and he’s two years younger than both Ackley and Romero.

    No, it wasn’t “just yesterday”. He’s failed to perform in a way that would signify “prospect” for 4 years. He’s young enough to keep around and hope for the best, but anything from him at the major league level at this point would be a pretty big surprise.

  35. Rainiers_fan on August 13th, 2012 11:32 am


    Totally agree on Triunfel. I don’t like to use errors to measure defensive performance so let me put it this way: My season tickets are close to first base and I bring a mitt for two reasons, one is in case of foul balls and the other is if a ball is hit within Carlos’ limited range. Triunfel has a cannon for an arm but it’s a loose cannon. Carp and now Smoak would often need a manlift to reach his throws. Nick looks decent at both SS and 2nd. He’s striking out but his power looks pretty good for size. He is nowhere near his listed 180. It’s comical to see him stand next to Jimenez or the defensive tackles we have playing the corner OF positions in Wilson and Peguero. Both Franklin and Triunfel are still very young (very early twenties) despite how long Triunfel has been around. I think Franklin looks like the better prospect at this point. Franklin is hands down better than Triunfel on defense while they are closer in performance offensively. But IMO neither is ready yet.

  36. terryoftacoma on August 13th, 2012 12:18 pm

    If having too much talent at one or two positions is a problem. I wish we had more problems.

    I hate to admit it but I’m getting to the show-me stage when it comes to acquiring established talent. We’ve acquired a lot of 4th outfielders and bullpen pitchers over the last few years. One has played out has a regular(for two years) and can’t seem to stay healthy. Our FA’s have been a bust. Don’t get me wrong I think the team is much better than it was before Jack came on board. I want the organization to surprise me this winter and go out and grab an established talent to fill the holes on this team that we all see. I just not sure they will.

  37. bongo on August 13th, 2012 12:31 pm

    “Triunfel has a cannon for an arm but it’s a loose canon.”

    Amen. Last Rainiers game I went to Triunfel threw the ball over the first baseman’s head twice. Even Shaq probably couldn’t have caught those throws. Triunfel plays shortstop like Jimenez plays first base — badly enough to make it look like an exercise in futility with almost no chance of ultimate success. Assuming that he remains in the system, it’s time to find him a new position (outfield?).

  38. Mariners35 on August 13th, 2012 1:59 pm

    Don’t be so sure about Zunino! Jay just posted news of his promotion to Jackson.

    So? Like he’s going to go directly from AA this year to making the 25-man next year? A sept callup next year, maybe. But that still means the need for a 3rd catcher for March through August of next year, which probably unfortunately means more Olivo. 🙁

  39. stevemotivateir on August 13th, 2012 4:40 pm

    ^You said the M’s won’t wanna rush Zunino. I was simply pointing out that may not be the case. Of course he isn’t going straight to Seattle! But I don’t think there’s any reason to worry about Olivo’s option getting picked-up. Why would they pay him 3+ million to be a 3rd string catcher? I seriously doubt they see him as a part-time DH for next year. Don’t sweat it man! We’ll be Olivo-free before too long 😉

  40. terryoftacoma on August 13th, 2012 5:22 pm

    I hope that’s the case Steve but sadly I can see where might want Olivo around for next year. I not convinced they think of Jaso as the primary catcher against right handers. If they plan on giving Montaro a first baseman’s glove in spring training then I’ll bet Olivo comes back. It won’t be by popular demand but short term need.

  41. Westside guy on August 13th, 2012 5:28 pm

    There HAVE to be better options than Miguel Olivo in that case, Terry. There just HAVE to be.

    In any case I expect Monty will still be catching next year, at least a couple games a week – even if they expect him to end up at first base. Of course that opinion, combined with a buck, will buy you a cup of coffee at McDonalds. 😀

  42. stevemotivateir on August 13th, 2012 5:42 pm

    Regardless of whether Montero catches next year, I think they look elsewhere for a platoon at catcher. Totally agree, Westy. There’s gotta be better options. How could they justify paying him that much given his performance this year?! Then again, they could decline the option, re-sign him to a new contract for less. Doh! Seriously though, I’m not worried about it.

  43. terryoftacoma on August 13th, 2012 6:03 pm

    I won’t defend a gut feeling.

  44. stevemotivateir on August 13th, 2012 6:23 pm

    With 2012 being an election year, maybe we can start a campaign for an Olivo & Figgins-free roster?

  45. Westside guy on August 14th, 2012 12:06 am

    Well, Terry, in the battle of the guts… I hope mine’s right this time, since it had the “Olivo free” vision. Although it gets easily distracted by food, so you never know.

  46. Route 21 on August 14th, 2012 7:50 am

    “If the organization trades for Justin Upton and then signs Melky Cabrera in an effort to jumpstart the offense”

    Rosterbation: what if the M’s staged an Upton family reunion in the 2013 outfield? Word is that the Rays aren’t going to extend BJ because he sucks this year. Could he be a buy-low(er) opportunity on the FA market that might reignite here? He’s only 28.

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