You can't help but feel like the Seattle Mariners are having a hard time building a consistent roster in 2013. Some areas have obviously been more challenging than others, but the shuttle from Tacoma to Seattle seems to be staying quite busy.
Will this squad eventually find stability?
When you look at the opening day roster, you can't help but notice that a lot of the names on that list are no longer in Seattle. Reasons vary, as some players have gotten hurt while a couple are no longer with the organization.
If you run down the list, I count nine players from opening day no longer with the current group of 25. These players include:
Dustin Ackley (AAA)
Robert Andino (Designated for assignment)
Blake Beaven (AAA)
Franklin Gutierrez (DL)
Kameron Loe (Designated for assignment)
Lucas Luetge (AAA)
Brandon Maurer (AAA)
Jesus Montero (AAA)
Stephen Pryor (DL)
Obviously, you can't fault players that get hurt, though fans are probably frustrated by the fact that Franklin Gutierrez is hurt on a regular basis. In addition, one can assume that some of these players will eventually return.
However, so many roster changes is cause for concern. Every team goes through roster shifts throughout the season, but when over a third of the roster is switched out by the end of May, you know there are some issues.
Just don't blame sabermetrics:
The challenges with the starting rotation are arguably the biggest concern, as the back end has been an ongoing experiment. Unfortunately, it hasn't been one of those fun experiments where people are excited and amazed.
What can the Mariners do about the starting rotation? Will they throw another youngster into the fray and hope they are able to adapt? Or will Seattle go the veteran journeyman route and eventually add a free agent?
Perhaps Jeremy Bonderman will finally get a chance to prove himself. If so, the Mariners will need to move quickly, since Bonderman can become a free agent if he isn't added to the roster by June 1st.
There are other frustrating issues as well. The struggles of Dustin Ackley are unsettling, particularly since he was a high draft pick that started his career in Seattle with so much promise. Maybe a stint in Tacoma will help him figure a few things out.
Fans are hoping that players like Nick Franklin will be able to provide some excitement and stability for a team that is in danger of quickly falling far behind in the American League West. Other than Franklin, there are not a lot of players that will come in and rescue this team.
Perhaps Danny Hultzen will get healthy and eventually make his way to Safeco Field. Or maybe there will be a Mike Zunino sighting in the future. Other than that, the Mariners are faced with promoting more youngsters that may or may not be ready for the rigors of the big club.
Of course, those players would represent still more roster changes. At the moment, the Mariners may need to give the shuttle bus a rest.