It's time to blow it up people.
Obviously what the Mariners have built is a sham. Their supposed championship caliber team is a lie.
I'll admit, not everyone is tanking. Ichiro is sliding back up the ranks of the batting average elite, and is on pace to steal more bases than he ever has. Raul Ibanez is delivering what you'd expect from him, and Lopez and Betancourt are not only coming on offensively but may be the best SS-2B combo in the league. Johjima is starting to return to form, and he's always a good catcher. The starters are doing their job, for the most part, and with JJ back the bullpen is starting to recover.
But let's examine the glaring holes in their lineup. Richie Sexson is a bust, if he wasn't the first two season of this contract, he sure is now. He's struggling to keep his batting average above .200 now, and barely ever hitting home runs. Beltre, supposedly the 3rd baseman to break the string of crappy 3rd basemen in Mariners history, is batting a whopping .240 right now, and seems totally incapable, or unwilling, to return to his near-MVP form with the Dodgers.
Vidro was a bad signing, not who you want as a DH, a .300 hitter with no speed and no pop. Who knows if Balentien is the regular right fielder they need, and just about every position outside of 2B and SS are over thirty and fading.
So what's the solution: Fire sale. Get what you can from what you got.
Keep Ichiro, he'll be at least an effective lead-off hitter, center fielder and base stealer until the end of his current deal, he takes care of himself too well not too.
Keep your good double-play combo. Those two guys will be great for years. Keep your two ace pitchers, because there ain't nothing wrong there. Keep Morrow and Putz, no problems on that end. Johjima is untradeable because of that contract he just signed, but I feel he'll recover and give the team what they need at that spot.
Everyone else can go.
You're two most valuable assets are Ibanez and Washburn. Left-handed hitter with a good average and decent pop who can play for a contender and help them win. You can get two good prospects for him. Washburn is in demand because he's a lefty starter who keeps his team in games. You can get a couple of prospects for him.
The rest of the dross should be sold for as much as you can get. Sexson is in a walk year, so it may be prudent just to dump him for cash or high-ceiling, high-risk prospects. Vidro can be an asset to the right team, so a prospect may be gotten for him. Batista is tradeable, but you probably couldn't get much for him. And Silva is stuck, because he just signed a contract.
Ship Beltre and Batista back to the NL, they were more effective there, so a better return could be expected from an NL team. Ship Sexson to whoever will take him, for whatever you can get. Bring up the prospects and let them get experience.
Being as far out of first, chasing the Angels, as the Mariners are, there is no alternative. Fire Bavasi, hire new scouts, and get rid of the old, dead, weight.
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