mariners

Logan Morrison- Leadoff Hitter and Mariners First Baseman

LoMo Delivering, Can M’s Keep Him Beyond 2015?

The biggest surprise offensively for the 2015 Seattle Mariners the past few weeks has to be the breakout of their first baseman, Logan Morrison.  LoMo has really stepped things up the past two weeks and has been steady for the M’s all season long defensively.

Morrison has essentially told the job was his to lose right from day one of spring training this year.  The M’s had finally thrown the towel in on Justin Smoak and decided to give LoMo a shot at the position outright and without the worry of playing in the outfield.

Morrison has been on a tear for six weeks now.

Morrison has been on a tear for six weeks now.

I think the decision to let Logan concentrate on first base and only first base this year has really allowed him to settle into the position defensively.  Morrison has just one error on the season and has saved his fellow infielders countless errors by picking low throws out of the dirt.

Offensively, Morrison started the year a bit slow.  At the end of April LoMo was batting a woeful .197.  May and the first half of June have been a different story.  By the end of May Morrison had driven his batting average up to .240 after hitting .273 with five homers, three doubles, and a pair of triples in the month.

June has seen Morrison continue to swing a red hot, Nelson Cruz owned, bat.  Having just snapped a 16 game hitting streak thanks to the wind, LoMo is hitting a .353 in June with a couple more doubles.

Assuming Morrison continues his offensive prowess, it does create somewhat of a dilemma for the Mariners come the end of the 2015 season.   Morrison will enter his final arbitration year next season.  He’s currently signed for an affordable $2.75 million for the 2015 season.  There’s no question he’ll make more than that next year someplace, a lot more than that in fact.

With the Mariners committing so much payroll to Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Felix Hernandez will there be enough left in the coffers to pay Morrison, say $6-8 million for the 2016 season?

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Would the M’s have the guts to push DJ Peterson to the bigs early? (Photo: eastvalleytribune.com)

Don’t forget that waiting in the wings is the M’s first baseman of the future, DJ Peterson, down in the minor leagues.  While the M’s still think highly of their prized prospect, Peterson, it’s entirely possible that Peterson is not quite ready to be a starting player for the M’s just yet.

Peterson is batting just .212 at AA ball this year although he fared much better at that same level last year hitting .261 with 13 homers.  I’m sure the Mariners’ original plan was to see Peterson continue his success at AA in the first half of the season and then promote him up to AAA for the later portion of the season.

Peterson’s performance doesn’t allow for that now.  The M’s might need a major league ready first baseman for another year if they can’t afford to keep Morrison.  Recently acquired Mark Trumbo is certainly a possibility for the M’s at the position in 2016.

Trumbo also has one year of arbitration left.  He’s playing this season for $6.9 million and is also likely to get a raise for the 2016 season so he could be even more expensive for the M’s to retain than Morrison.  That leaves the M’s with a couple of options at first base–  Pay either Morrison or Trumbo, rush Peterson up too early, or find a less expensive free agent to play first.

It’s too early to start speculating on free agents the M’s could sign to fill the hole although there is at least one very interesting name in Chris Davis on the free agent list.  In the mean time, enjoy what Morrison is doing. 

He’s not the best choice the M’s could have for a leadoff guy but right now Lloyd is going with the hot hand.   It’s fun to watch too.

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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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