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It's strange, but in hindsight most of the moves that Jack Zduriencik made this past winter are working to some degree. Players that at first glance would be hard to give the benefit of the doubt to are making real contributions.
On the surface that should be seen as a positive, but what's frustrating is that players like Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay were originally intended to serve in complementary roles, not become key everyday fixtures.
Yet with the likes of Jesus Montero, Dustin Ackley, and Justin Smoak out of the picture for the foreseeable future, not to mention the struggles of pitching prospects Danny Hultzen and James Paxton, the Mariners are left with little to no choice but to play the veterans added over the winter.
To their credit, most have stepped up their game in the time following the demotions of Montero and Ackley, but over the next few weeks and months it's hard to say what will happen.
Will the vets manage to keep the ship afloat by staying healthy and productive enough to play .500 baseball for the next four months?
Sadly, does it really matter?
At this point I'm curious to see what can be salvaged from the situation for next year and beyond. Unfortunately other than Kendrys Morales, I don't believe that anyone else in this group is capable or reliable enough to consider worthy of keeping and even Morales comes with a few question marks.
When looking at the big picture I feel that the M's haven't so much hit bottom, so much as they seem to be stuck in limbo.
They are neither the best or worst team in baseball, but unlike years past, the promise of the future is looking all the more cloudy. Beyond Felix Hernandez, Kyle Seager and for the sake of not being a complete wet-blanket Nick Franklin and Carter Capps, who else on the current roster would you wager will still be around in 2015?
Perhaps Michael Saunders hangs on; maybe Dustin Ackley gets his swing back, but beyond them you still have close to 20 roster spots open.
Ideally likes of Mike Zunino, Brad Miller and Danny Hultzen grab a few of those spots, yet even if you take half a dozen of those top prospects and throw them in the mix you still have half your roster left to fill.
Rather than go on playing guessing games, I'd prefer to drive home the point that the past, present, and maybe even the once promising future may leave us disappointed as we remain stuck watching a team that can never seem to turn the corner.
Instead we are once again left to hope that the return of an aging outfielder can keep us entertained for the better part of the summer. Unlike Ken Griffey Jr. in 2009, Raul Ibanez may have more in the tank than I originally expected, but the fact that the front office is trying to sell us an equally punchless lineup four seasons later leaves me to wonder if it's once again time for a change.
I suppose until that time comes simply try to enjoy Ibanez along with his fellow fossils before they turn to dust, while keeping hope that the likes of Kyle Seager and Nick Franklin form some sort of nucleus in which either the current administration or perhaps a future one can build with.