The cost of an outfielder
How many Mariners can you cram into a phone booth?

It might not be a good idea to sign another left handed outfielder.  Here's why:

The five man rotation and the eight man bullpen are a given.  You might argue that Lloyd doesn't need an eight man bullen.  Since McClendon will have two lefties, the eighth man in the Bullpen is Dominic Leone.  He is very useful.  I like that guy.  Plus, any such argument is advocating for changing the makeup of a historically effective bullpen that is returning intact, except maybe without Joe Beimel.  When a machine is running well, it is wise not to take it apart.


That leaves twelve spots for nine positions. 









Edited to add:



are starters, then you need to talk about what is absolutely necessary for your last three bench spots:

Benchie No. 1: The first necessary benchie has to be a backup catcher.  We'll call him Sucre/Hicks.  This is not optional.  The catcher position is too physically demanding for one man, even Mike Zunino.

Benchie No. 2: The second benchie should be a backup shortstop.  We'll call him Brad Miller.  This shouldn't be optional. Shortstop is the second most important position, and is also physically demanding.  Both of these guys should be in there to spot each other.

Benchie No. 3: This leaves one open spot for an experimental benchie. The third Benchie could be a backup infielder.  We'll call him Willie Bloomquist.  It is necessary sometimes to give guys like Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager a day off. But what about Montero/Choi/Kivlehan?  LoMo does not have a great health track record.  He would probably do better, if someone spotted him at first base.  Also, it would be nice if one of the benchies at least, swung a potent bat.  Plus, as a fan, it would be nice to see one of these young guys or a revolving cast of these young guys.  Reading about a minors guy is not the same as watching him on TV.  Its time to graduate somebody.

Any argument for a new guy necessarily leaves out benchie no. 3.  Note that this configuration also leaves out James Jones, the base stealer, fourth outfield guy who was used to good effect at the end of the 2014 season.  


The Mariners already have two platoon ready lefties.  Observe:

Brad Miller

Career v. RHP .248/.311/.413

Career v. LHP .222/.280/.330

That vaunted power that has the scouts and analysts raving about Miller?  Gone against lefties.  Miller has 18 home runs in his brief career, and 16 of them came against right handed pitchers.  While he will develop, all of the stuff that you like about Miller can be had in a platoon role.  Miller should learn the outfield to keep him around.  It would be terrible if he were rotting in AAA because of somebody the Mariners got from the Padres. 

Dustin Ackley

Career v. RHP .249/.315/.377

Career v. LHP .236/.295/.342

Here, the splits are less pronounced, but still there.  Plus, if you platoon Ackley, you could give him Willie Bloomquists' job as Benchie No. 3, since Ackley also plays all positions, but he packs a more potent bat.  This gives you room to put James Jones on the roster for late inning defensive replacement and pinch running.  



benihana's picture

Both Cruz and Ruggiano seem missing from you 12 man line-up.
Right now our 12 man line-up looks like Jackson, Ruggiano, Cano, Cruz, Seager, Lomo, Zunino, Ackley, Taylor, with a bench of Backup C, Willie and B, Miller.
Ruggiano's ability to play Center and Cruz's ability to play some outfield means that a bench of C, Miller and Bloomie essentially cover all positions. We could sign someone like Aoki (one year deal I hope), but that would need a corresponding move. Personally I like to see that last spot as an 'always compete' type of hedge, one final spot to battle out between Jones and Montero, or a surprise guy like Choi, Kivelehan or Peterson.
- Ben.


It's more cramped than I thought! Of course with Cruz on board to hit go ahead home runs there won't be so many 17 inning games to tax the bullpen. Would you option Leone?


First, yes I would subtract one from the bullpen to start the season. That leaves the choice of either Jones or 'someone new' to add. While we scramble to look for the left hand platoon for Ruggiano, I worry at least as much about first base. If LoMo is out ten days for a sprained ankle, what's the answer--Choi? I can't see Willie there full time. So my alternative is to add Gaby Sanchez, who apparently is sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. Unless, of course, they're comfortable with either Cruz or a Seth Smith filling in at first for any period of time.

benihana's picture

Bloomie is your one day injury hedge for pretty much everyone. If you need a move to the DL Tacoma is gonna have a half dozen guys who can play 1b. Montero, Choi, Peterson, Kivelhan, etc...
Personally I love the idea of Jones on the bench. I think the leveraged stolen base, close and late, could be a huge weapon... but is it worth a roster spot?????
Gonna be a fun spring training for sure figuring this all out.
- Ben.

benihana's picture

What I would do and hope the M's do is start the season with an I-5th starter. With Felix, Kuma and Happ, your four and five rotate through Elias, Paxton and Walker. Giving each stints in AAA to limit innings and allow the team an extra bench/bullpen spot.


In the Lloyd category of "pretty darn good" or "tremendous."  But he was in the category of -- when asked why Leone was around -- a :: snort :: and "a hundred miles an hour."
We're more cramped than anybody thought amigo. And the one given is probably Willie Bloomquist, in view of his $$dinero and the reasoning that brought him here in the first place.
Good stuff Mojo :- )


There doesn't seem to be any reason why the young pitchers couldn't ride the Chaney carousel. Particularly during homestands. If we were Orc fans, and the farm club was in Tennessee, this sort of strategy would not be possible. But Tacoma? Just a matter of laundry and option years. Of course at Tacoma, the 40 man paychecks are about 6 times smaller.


If and when LoMo hits the 15 day. Is there a good reason for that? Not really, except I've been waiting to see Choi a lot longer than I've been waiting for Gaby Sanchez. From a dispassionate view, it's probably best not to put a rookie at first base. Good stuff.


Assuming one of the 'shuffle' guys is their #1 starter, what comes after that?
Erasmo is out of options, right? So I presume he has to be in our bullpen.
Germano I guess.
Who else?
Do we need some depth via minor league contracts?


I'd guess that Forest Snow, Jordan Pries are Tacoma Rainiers mainstays.  They will have Dan Hultzen and the Mariners 6th starter, so they are better off than they usually are.  Its already a shame that Carson Smith might not make the Mariners roster to start the year.  I'd rather them trade Erasmo than disturb the bullpen just to keep him.  As a side note, good on Erasmo for being out of options at the ripe old age of 24!  That's a high accomplishment and €rasmo is well on his way to being a journeyman major league starter and swing man.  


Can't be Erasmo (no options, unlikely to slip through waivers, so I expect him to be dumped for a low-a middle infielder with no power or OBP).
Pries is probably the king of the immediate 6th starters we already have on hand.  Hultzen will be there too, as you mentioned, but night need to work back into game shape. Sam Gaviglio will likely be in AAA, as Victor Martinez could be if we have the rotation spot free to bump him up.  We'll also likely add a rehabbing vet on a cheapy contract with an out if he doesn't make the big-league roster after May-Something, much as we've done in the past (assuming Germano doesn't work out).
Not the greatest #6 options, and certainly not as sexy as Walker was supposed to be last year before his shoulder thing.  But we could do worse - and have, in years past, done much worse.
Let's just hope Hultzen roars outta the gate - and the major league rotation does the same.


Isn't 'steady as she goes' the proscribed comeback from his kind of surgery?
Not trying to play semantics here...just trying to tamp down what might be unrealistic expectations if he starts the season with a couple lights-out, 75-pitch outings.


About the 8-man bullpen.  12 arms is more standard.
A 3-man bench, with a back-up catcher, is a 2-man bench.  That's a short bench.
Ruggiano/Sucre-Hicks/Taylor-Miller and ?
Bloomie, unfortunately.....Although I would prefer Romero in that role.  
The critical signing will be our RF'er.  Having a guy that could go to 1B will be important.  I could actually see us signing a 1B/DH to a one year contract and moving Cruz to RF for 120 games.  
A 3-man bench puts a huge amount of stress on the day-to day injury decisions.  If a guy is going to be out 5 days...and your bench is down to 2 (really just 1 if you're talking about keeping a catcher in reserve) then you almost have to 15-Day the 5-day guy.  

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