mariners

It’s Back To Square 1 For The Mariners At Shortstop

Struggling SS Equals Understatement

How in the world did the Seattle Mariners wind up with this problem?  If you had asked me after spring training what the position to worry about on the Seattle Mariners roster I’m pretty sure I would not have said shortstop.

Who would have?

Less we forget that the M’s had an open competition at shortstop this spring between Nick Franklin and Brad Miller and both players made a strong case by having strong numbers during camp.  It wasn’t until the final week or so of spring training that Miller started to separate himself from Franklin with his numbers.

Let’s take a quick look back at those numbers.

AB          R             H             2b           3b           HR          RBI            BA          OB%      SLG

Miller                    57          14           22           5              4              3              9              .386        .462        .772

Franklin               40           7             10           3              0              1              8              .250        .375        .400

It’s easy to see how Miller wound up winning the job even though Franklin did not play that bad.  Miller was just on fire, right from the start of spring training and never looked back.  Franklin kept up with him for a while but then came back to earth with a week or so to go in the spring.

After it was clear that Franklin wasn’t going to be the guy for the M’s, the trade rumors really started to swirl around him.  Tampa Bay, the Mets, and even the mighty Detroit Tigers were all rumored to be interested in Franklin’s services.

The trade never happened though.

Franklin was sent to AAA where his numbers were incredible through the first 6 weeks of the regular season.

AB          R             H            2b           3b           HR          RBI           BA          OB%      SLG

Franklin (Tac)   109         21           41           7              0              7              26           .376        .481        .633

While those numbers were most impressive and led the PCL they were not enough to facilitate a trade to another team.

Unlike in the spring, Miller struggled right out of the gate during the regular season.  Eventually his numbers were poor enough that the M’s opted to call up Franklin where he too simply could not find his swing in a stadium with more than one level.

Here’s a look at what Miller and Franklin have done for the Mariners during the regular season when playing shortstop.

AB          R             H             2b           3b           HR          RBI             BA          OB%      SLG

Miller                  155         16           25             5              0              4             12            .161        .235        .458

Franklin              16           0              0              0              0              0              0              .000        .111        .111

Franklin doesn’t have a single hit while playing shortstop for the M’s this season.  Miller has 25 hits which is just 3 more than he had in spring training in over 100 fewer at-bats.

YIKES!

Before you cry foul on Franklin’s goose egg there he does have 6 hits on the season while playing positions other than short.  His overall batting average on the season is a whopping .128 (6 for 47).

So if you are Lloyd McClendon what do you do?  Run the guy out there batting .161 or the guy batting .128 for the year?

I’m pretty sure even Lloyd is saying, “please, somebody give me a third option.”

Fortunately for the Mariners there might be one, just not an easy one.

The option would be to call up Chris Taylor from Tacoma.  Here is what he has been doing lately down there.

AB          R             H             2b           3b           HR          RBI         BA          OB%      SLG

Taylor                 145         29           54           13            5              3              21          .372        .414        .593

There is certainly nothing in that line to not like or be worried about but as I mentioned before, this is not an easy move to make for the M’s.

First of all, Taylor is not on the Mariners 40 man roster.

Franklin doesn’t have a single hit while playing shortstop. (Photo: J. Meric/Getty Images)

That means you can’t just call him up unless you add him to that roster first.  Adding someone to the roster is simple enough as long as you prepared to take someone off of it too.

Who would the M’s designate for assignment (DFA) to make room for Taylor?  Keep in mind you can’t do that to someone who is on the DL either.

That makes a hard decision even harder as the M’s have plenty of names on the disabled list.

Second of all Taylor was hurt here a couple of weeks ago and hasn’t played since May 13th.  While sliding into 2nd he injured his pinky finger.

My understanding at the time was the injury was not serious but it has been enough to put him on the minor league DL and keep him out of action for the past couple of weeks.

A less attractive option might be to give the job to Willie Bloomquist.

He is batting .292 this year for the M’s while playing shortstop in limited action (7-24).

The problem you have with Bloomquist is that at his age his range is not what it needs to be to play at short every day and his durability would likely come into play if you ran him out there every day.

Whatever the M’s come up with they need to do it soon.

No team can live the idea of a spot on their lineup that’s not going to hit even .200 on a day to day basis.

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About Brian Scott

Husband, Philosopher, Animal Rights Advocate, and Author Brian is a Spokane native and Gonzaga University grad. Seahawks, Mariners, GU Hoops and Cougar football are the teams that drive his passion for sports. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Brian today!
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