Seattle Mariners Are One Player Away From A Playoff Berth

Sam WoodsCorrespondent IJune 30, 2009

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 13:  Jack Wilson #2 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fields a third inning ground ball while playing the Houston Astros during the Pirates Home Opener at PNC Park April 13, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The player the Mariners need is SS Jack Wilson of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

What? Is that not the overpriced shortstop the Pirates are trying to move?

Yep. I'm talking about that Jack Wilson. Let's break down the numbers between him and Yuni Betancourt.

Wilson has a line of .287/316/421 with a wOBA of .319. ZiPS projects him to regress a little to 280/317/400 and a wOBA of .315.

Betancourt's line is 250/278/330 and a wOBA of 270. ZiPS's end-of-the year prediction for Betancourt is 263/288/352 with a wOBA of 282. Only ZiPS doesn't know that he has the work ethic of a sloth.

Both players draw a walk in 4.3 percent of their at bats, although Wilson strikes out a little bit more.

So, at the plate, Wilson has a slight edge over Betancourt. Wilson could also improve or regress due to a change in scenery; that's a small X-factor.

It's a very small factor, in fact, because when you add defense to the equation-which shouldn't change much at all due to a change in scenery—it's safe to say that Wilson kicks Betancourt's ass.

Wilson's UZR is 8.9 while Betancourt's is -8.5. UZR is the fielder's ultimate zone rating—the number represents how many runs above or below an average fielder is "in both range runs, outfield arm runs, double play runs, and error runs combined (courtesy of FanGraphs Baseball)."

While Betancourt is a terrible fielder, Wilson is extremely good. The added defense not only makes up for Beltre's absence, but it makes the likes of Washburn, Vargas, and Morrow go from serviceable to good and turns Felix and Bedard from good to untouchable.

All of those little dribblers thare are currently going up the middle for hits are now outs. Finally, we'll see defense in the hole. Maybe Jose Lopez will feel guilty and improve a little as well.

Moreover, a trade for Wilson will not cost the Mariners much. The Pirates are looking to dump his contract somewhere and probably expect little in return, as he is having somewhat of a down year.

It's like what we were trying to do with Jarrod Washburn last year. Therefore, an offer like Bryan LaHair and Oswaldo Navarro for Wilson and his contract would most likely work. It might have to be Mike Carp for Wilson, but still, it needs to happen.

We could shuffle our roster and add a big bat like Nick Swisher for Washburn, and then scramble for another starter.

Or we could just take care of problem, keep our golden pitching in tact, and watch Russell Branyan do his thing.

ZiPS predicts an improvement for Ken Griffey Jr., and Franklin Gutierrez will start hitting more and more. He'll be an All-Star next year.

PECOTA has us at a 18.89 percent chance to be in the playoffs, let's quickly make that a good 25 percent.