New Look In The Outfield
Headline: No final word from Jack Z, but outfield adjustment-and a change in the Mariners culture is coming.
Since Spring Training started, Mariners fans have wondered where the change would come from. A 25-man roster does not trim itself without some pain.
It all came down to one question, due to the large amount of outfielders in Mariner’s camp.
Would the first base position open up and allow Michael Morse to move to the infield?
If not, that means that Justin Smoak solidified his spot at first base both defensively and at the plate.
Smoak in Spring Training: 17 Games, .434 BA, 4 HR and 14 RBI
Smoak has done more than enough, and has even generated excitement from Peoria, AZ to Seattle.
Therefore, an outfielder has to go. Morse and Michael Saunders were not going anywhere. Franklin Gutierrez has done nothing but struggle with injuries for the last two seasons, but so far has stayed healthy and produced offensively and defensively.
That leaves Casper Wells as the unfortunate 26th man with nowhere to go.
On Monday, the Mariners signed OF Endy Chavez to a minor league deal, a competent to good defensive outfielder that could step in for emergencies if injuries occurred. Also, OF Eric Thames, who was sent to AAA, could step in as well.
It seems premature to give up on a 28-year-old outfielder with power potential, but this might be a good sign of things to come in Seattle.
In recent years, this program has been built on potential, and fans have been told to wait. Wait for Smoak to really get going. Wait for Dustin Ackley to take over the league.
The waiting is over. It is time to put up numbers, or get out of town.
Brandon Maurer won a spot in the rotation this spring because of the work put in during the offseason and the execution he displayed during Spring Training.
Wells played more games in LF than anyone else for Seattle a year ago, but his numbers lacked confidence. 10 HR and 36 RBI in 93 games does not guarantee a spot on the roster.
This competition should inspire fans, and light a fire under every player in the organization.
If you deserve to be here, like Maurer does, you’ll be on the team. If a player isn’t competing at the same level as everyone else at his position and has no where to get better, expect to be gone Chone Figgins.
Expect Wells to be traded/waived before the season begins, it will be difficult to expect anything in return beyond a minor leaguer, but maybe an OF-short team will bite.