At the same time, did Jack Zduriencik solve one problem while creating a new one?
While it's nice that the Mariners could help the Angels clear up their logjam, it seems the team has to figure out what to do with the likes of Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak, along with a couple of other players.
Jack Z believes a healthy competition at spring training could help answer a few questions, as reported by the Seattle Times Geoff Baker:
"I think the biggest thing we've seen here recently is you just want to get your guys on the field and let them compete," Zduriencik said. "And I think that's a good thing for everybody, so as long as we create competition and as long as we have these pieces in spring training we'll see what happens. I don't have an exact answer. We certainly have talked about a lot of scenarios. I think we both feel very comfortable that, as I said earlier, there will be enough at-bats to go around for all these guys.
Shannon Drayer took it a little further over at mynorthwest.com by bringing John Jaso and Mike Zunino into the conversation:
Morales goes into the 1B/catcher/DH mix and Zduriencik said there is plenty of room for all. He also somewhat curiously said that he hoped that either Jesus Montero or John Jaso would step up and take the starting catcher job. There is little question Mike Zunino is the catcher of the future but both Zduriencik and Wedge have been clear that they do not want to rush him. I wasn't expecting him to break camp with the Mariners but this makes me wonder if they would like to get him a full year in the minors before bringing him up. He could certainly force the issue but it is clear he will not be rushed.
Finally Dave Cameron at USS Mariner solves the logjam on his own with the following thoughts:
Personally, I don’t see any real problem here. Having four guys for three spots is a good idea when each of those four guys come with some legitimate questions and shouldn’t just be handed everyday jobs. With a lefty, a righty, and two switch-hitters, the pieces fit together pretty nicely. And, of course, with any four players, there’s a pretty good chance that injuries and/or performances solve the problem for you, as someone is likely to either play themselves out of a job or land on the DL and take the decision out of the Mariners hands. By having four guys for three spots, the Mariners simply give themselves a better chance to have three guys for those three spots on any given day, rather than repeating mistakes of the past that led to things like Miguel Cairo, Starting First Baseman.
In some ways it's comforting to think the move for Morales doesn't necessarily push Smoak and Montero out the door, but how the competition unfolds and how everyone handles the aftermath will be critical to the team's future.
In theory, Morales buys everyone a little more time and flexibility to make good on their potential, including Jack Z.