Three statements, two choices, and one team. I present to you Seattle Mariners' Fact or Fiction:
With JJ Putz gone, putting Brandon Morrow into the closer's role is the smart move to make.
Brandon Morrow is a superb closer. He is above average and is lights out when in the closer's role. Just look at these numbers, prior to July 10th he had 40 strikeouts in 36.2 innings pitched with an ERA of 1.76. He constantly hit the upper 90s and sometimes triple digits.
However, later on in the season, Morrow made his season debut as a starting pitcher, almost no-hitting the New York Yankees.
In his five starts, he went for a moderate 2-2 record holding hitters to a .212 batting average. However he also had an ERA of 5.79 and gave up five home runs. Sure his numbers looked a lot prettier in the closers' role, but his future in the Majors is one as a starting pitcher. Once he develops and perfects his other pitches besides his fastball, he will be a turn into a solid pitcher.
Raul Ibanez was more of a loss than Franklin Gutierrez was a gain
I like Raul Ibanez, he's a great ball player, but he was one of the main reasons the Mariners' season went downhill last season. No, it was not his hitting. It was his defense.
He's faced criticism from everyone concerning his defense and has tried his best to defend himself (no pun intended), but game after game, he has consistently shown he could not play left field without being a defensive liability to the team.
Franklin Gutierrez on the other hand, is the exact opposite. He's freaking awesome at defense. I'm sure you've heard this, but he's one of the top 10 defensive outfielders in the major leagues.
It is obvious what Zduriencik and his front office are trying to accomplish. They realize that defense is just as important as offense. It looks like they are trying to create a defensive lineup that will help a solid pitching staff in a pitching ballpark (Safeco).
The 2009 Mariners are going to better than the 2008 Mariners.
There are a lot of ifs, but if Zduriencik keeps on making the right moves, he has a chance to put a solid team out on the field come April. Some concerns I have going into next season are our: infield defense, bullpen, and offensive output.
Some moves that should be made to address those issues: sign Randy Johnson and move Miguel Batista to closer, sign either Omar Vizquel or Jerry Hairston Jr, work on a long-term contract with Adrian Beltre.
Disagree? Post your thoughts in the comment section.