I’m Going to Have To Ask You To Wrap Things Up, Cactus League: Mariners at Cubs

marc w · March 28, 2013 at 11:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Carlos Villanueva, 12:05pm

Note the 12pm start time!

The rotation’s set, the team’s looking forward to the game in Salt Lake and gearing up for opening day on Monday, but there’s still this game to play. There’s one final roster decision to come: who’ll be the 25th man/5th OF? Will it be Jason Bay, local boy made good, then bad, then maybe, hopefully, decent again? Or Casper Wells, the jack of all trades except consistent contact, who offers plus defense and power but whom the team is clearly down on. This is an interesting decision, but it’s not a critical one. We’re not talking about a starter, and while Franklin Gutierrez is as injury-prone as anyone in baseball, Michael Saunders is available to play CF, and now that Endy Chavez is only 30 miles away, Wells’ ability to play CF isn’t critically necessary. That said, casting him aside would mean crumpling up and discarding something of value, and the M’s still aren’t in a position to do things like that.

The M’s look like they’re going to take their time on this one, as Greg Johns reports that they won’t decide today and may not until Sunday, but it definitely looks like Bay’s their choice. This isn’t a shock, but with Wells staying in Peoria to play minor league games while Bay travels with the M’s to Mesa and then Salt Lake, well, if it walks like a decision and talks like a decision….

Carlos Villanueva appeared in Dave’s off-season plan post, but the M’s front office went a different direction by snagging Joe Saunders for less money than Villanueva ended up getting. Chicago looked past persistent home run problems and durability concerns and signed the righty to a two-year, $10m contract. Villanueva’s change-up is a legitimate swing-and-miss weapon, and he posted excellent strike-out rates last year, but was burned by the long-ball – he gave up 23 in 125 innings last year with Toronto. Because of his change-up, he doesn’t really have platoon splits. They’re normal to a little smaller than normal over his career, so he represents a very different type of pitcher than Joe Saunders, and how you view the importance of splits may inform how you value Villanueva and Saunedrs. I’m still stunned Saunders was available for less money/years than Villanueva, but so many of the AL West’s best hitters are righties at the moment.

Anyway, here’s today’s line-up:
1: Saunders, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Morales, DH
4: Morse, RF
5: Ibanez, LF
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Montero, C
8: Andino, 2B
9: Ryan, SS
SP: Iwakuma

Comments

30 Responses to “I’m Going to Have To Ask You To Wrap Things Up, Cactus League: Mariners at Cubs”

  1. Scott5000 on March 28th, 2013 11:06 am

    Opening Day Lineup?

  2. Scott5000 on March 28th, 2013 11:07 am

    So close!

  3. jordan on March 28th, 2013 11:31 am

    Add Guti and take out Ibanez and that’s our team ladies and gentleman.

  4. DarkKnight1680 on March 28th, 2013 11:51 am

    Um…I gotta believe Ackley is the OD starter and not Andino (in addition to the Guti/Ibanez switch).

    Saunders RF
    Seager 3B
    Morales DH
    Morse LF
    Smoak 1B
    Montero C
    Gutierrez CF
    Ackley 2B
    Ryan SS

    Or something like that. I have a hard time with the batting order now because I actually feel like guys 1-8 actually have a chance to hit. Maybe Ackley goes to #1/#2 if he looks like hes hitting again. Maybe Guti moves up. Maybe Smoak moves down. I dunno.

  5. GhostofMarinersPast on March 28th, 2013 11:54 am

    Don’t forget our guy! Shack with Ack!

  6. DarkKnight1680 on March 28th, 2013 12:03 pm

    If the MS go with my slineup above, I wonder when the S&M jokes will start. (S-S-M-M-S-M names in the first 6 slots).

  7. Westside guy on March 28th, 2013 12:03 pm

    I’m wondering if, during the regular season, we’re going to see the team sit Guti a fair bit just to play it safe with him.

    I wouldn’t agree with it… but I’m sort of expecting to see that.

  8. DarkKnight1680 on March 28th, 2013 12:08 pm

    I don’t really have an issue with Guti getting a few extra off days. If he can play 135 games at full speed, I’ll take it. Ibanez and Wells/Bay can play a bit, Saunders can cover center, and maybe by July/August Morban will have destroyed so many pitches in the minors they’ll look at bringing him up.

  9. Westside guy on March 28th, 2013 12:15 pm

    Jeff Sullivan linked to this story:

    Red Sox interested in Casper Wells.

    It sounds like, if they picked him up, the likely bump would be Mike Carp (who’s not exactly setting spring training on fire).

  10. DarkKnight1680 on March 28th, 2013 12:21 pm

    Morse has somehow developed insane power. The ball just explodes off his bat. That was a ball just off the outside corner and he just crushes it out the other way.

    I like Jaso, but I certainly won’t complain about a team that may actually hit the ball out once in a while. If he’s healthy he could hit 40.

  11. Westside guy on March 28th, 2013 12:22 pm

    I won’t complain if Morse keeps doing that during the regular season!

  12. Westside guy on March 28th, 2013 12:24 pm

    I wasn’t happy with the move, but given the team obviously didn’t believe in Jaso…

    Morse I don’t mind. If we see a lot of Raul I’ll be upset though.

  13. DarkKnight1680 on March 28th, 2013 12:25 pm

    The Raul move wasn’t really connected though. I agree, there was 0 reason to brin in Ibanez.

  14. Westside guy on March 28th, 2013 12:26 pm

    To be clear… I didn’t mind picking up Morse – I just wish it had been another way.

    And the only connection between Morse and Ibañez was we seemed to pick up too many outfielders for some odd reason. :-D

  15. Westside guy on March 28th, 2013 12:38 pm

    I would just blow off that bunt attempt as a spring training thing, but we all know Wedge would do exactly the same thing during the regular season.

    No one out, and the guy is already on second – what is a bunt going to accomplish, exactly?

  16. stevemotivateir on March 28th, 2013 12:54 pm

    The answer, Westy: An out.

  17. jordan on March 28th, 2013 1:15 pm

    If Morse can keep this up in the regular season he could be huge here in Seattle.

  18. stevemotivateir on March 28th, 2013 1:23 pm

    He has 9 HR’s in 19 games. That’s what, 76-77 HR’s over a season?

    Sure, he should be able to keep that up. But 70 HR’s has been done before. I don’t think fans will care.

  19. Westside guy on March 28th, 2013 1:42 pm

    Hey it’s our defensive outfield – Bay in for Morse, Endy in for Raul! hehehe

  20. stevemotivateir on March 28th, 2013 1:47 pm

    Montero’s looking more and more like Rob Johnson.

  21. stevemotivateir on March 28th, 2013 1:48 pm

    Wouldn’t it be funny if Bay and Wells went away, and Endy took the job?!

    I’m sure he’ll start in Tacoma, but I really wonder how long he’ll stay there.

  22. Westside guy on March 28th, 2013 1:52 pm

    That would be kind of funny, actually.

  23. stevemotivateir on March 28th, 2013 1:55 pm

    So, Bay is apparently a center fielder AND a base stealing threat now. What can’t he do?!

  24. Westside guy on March 28th, 2013 2:52 pm

    Good thing Joe Saunders isn’t pitching, or this play by play would be even more confusing…

  25. stevemotivateir on March 28th, 2013 3:05 pm

    Olivo to the Marlins. Really don’t get why Marlin fans have been so angry. Even on the cusp the season, they’re making moves to improve their club.

  26. Westside guy on March 28th, 2013 3:08 pm

    They must like washed-up ex-Mariners.

  27. stevemotivateir on March 28th, 2013 3:21 pm

    I wonder if they’d be interested in unwashed Mariners?

  28. Paul B on March 28th, 2013 7:07 pm

    they’re making moves to improve their club.

    Yeah, they did release Figgins, didn’t they?

  29. stevemotivateir on March 28th, 2013 8:17 pm

    That was the one mistake they made. Never let go of a versatile veteran.

  30. MrZDevotee on March 29th, 2013 2:57 pm

    Hey, alongside the Carp/Wells Red Sox saga, the Yankees just designated David Aardsma for assignment to make room for Shawn Kelley on the roster.

    So Carp to make way for Wells?

    Aardsma to make way for Kelley?

    And Figgins already cleared room for Olivo.

    That’s today’s episode of “As the Former Mariners’ World Turns”…

    I’m guessing Figgins dies and comes back as his unknown twin brother at the All-Star break.

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