On April 22nd, Seattle closer JJ Putz returned to action and recorded his second save of the season. This is welcome news to Mariner fans everywhere, as they have had to witness some pretty impressive implosions since Putz was placed on the Disabled List.
In other welcome news, Erik Bedard is slated to come of the DL and pitch as soon as this Saturday (4/26). When this happens, the Mariners will be at full strength for the first time since the second game of the season.
While the team has managed to stay afloat and hover around .500 ball, this team faced much bigger expectations to start the season.
As a fan of the Seattle Mariners, I would not like to see the club sit and see how they stack up against the other teams in the AL West. I want them to make some moves, and I want these moves to be made now.
First off, I think we can all agree that the Brad Wilkerson experiment has been a complete and utter disaster. He is hitting .178 on the year, and slugging an outright embarrassing .244. What he amounts to is a spot in the lineup where innings go to die. Plus, he is not exactly playing Gold Glove defense out in right field either.
The solution to this is simple. Call up Wladimir Balentien. He has started the season fairly slow, batting only .245 this year in AAA, but he is without a doubt the Right Fielder of the future for the ball club. There is no point in sending a struggling Wilkerson out there everyday when they could be sending Balentien and letting him develop.
Next order of business, Jose Vidro needs to go. Vidro his whole career has been a singles hitter. Which is fine, until you consider that he is now struggling to hit singles. He is hitting .211 so far this year. While he did bat .314 last year, much of this was due to fact that he had a relatively large BABIP (Batting average per balls hit in play). This stat has been proven to not hold up over time, and to naturally return to the league average of about .300.
Again, the solution is simple. Call up Jeff Clement. The Mariners obviously believe in Jeff Clement, as they used the 3rd pick in the 2004 MLB draft. Passing up such players as Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki. He is tearing the cover off the ball this year in AAA, hitting .367 with four home runs. As a bonus, he can also play Catcher, and give Kenji Johjima a break every once in a while. While Jamie Burke is a decent backup Catcher, his career is coming to an end, and it would benefit the organization much more if they would develop Clement.
Finally, I would like to see the Mariners find a way to get RA Dickey back on their 25 man roster. Yes, the kuckleballer struggled in his only start of the year, but he would be a huge asset to the team as a long reliever. The knuckleball causes very little strain to the shoulder, and he would be able to play much more frequently than a conventional pitcher. In addition, he would be a serviceable starter when one of the starters gets injured. Which unfortunately has been proven already this year as a possibility.
As their roster sits now, the Seattle Mariners have a good team. Good teams do not win pennants, great ones do. If General Manager Bill Bavasi does not take action soon to improve the team, the other teams in the AL West could build an insurmountable cushion.