Since it’s pretty certain that Jack Hannahan is going to have to start the season on the DL, the Mariners are going to need to look elsewhere for their backup middle infielder – at least temporarily. Hannahan was a lock for this job before the injury, and I don’t think anyone currently on this roster is going to excel so much in a temporary role that they’ll be able to snatch it from him permanently. Hannahan is a more than adequate backup when healthy, and at the moment there’s no reason to think he’s going to miss all that much time, which is why I’m leaning towards going with an in-house option. This has already been discussed here, here, and here, but I wanted to go over the pros and cons for each of the realistic in house options (I really needed something to write about).
Of all the options, I would imagine that taking the Tui route is probably the most attractive one for the Mariners. He’s one of the better prospects in this system, he’s nearly major league ready, and he can hit. There’s no question that you’re going to get better offensive production out of Matt Tuiasosopo than you would from any of the other options on this list, or even from Jack Hannahan. It isn’t any secret that this team is going to have a little bit of trouble scoring runs, and it might be nice to have an infielder on the bench that will actually provide you with some offensive production. The biggest problem with Matt Tuiasosopo, though, is his defense. He absolutely is not a shortstop. His body type doesn’t profile as a shortstop, and he certainly doesn’t have the range to be even adequate there. This is something that could become a serious problem, as Jack Wilson is the most injury prone of all the Mariners infielders. Whoever lands the backup infielder job on this team is going to see some time at short, and I’m not so sure I want to see Matt Tuiasosopo out there.
Josh Wilson developed somewhat of a Mike Morse-esque cult following here in Seattle last year during his brief MLB stint, but the fact is, he just isn’t very good. His defense is acceptable, but nothing more, and his offense is abysmal. He’s basically the reverse version of someone like Tui, and to be honest, the two would probably be just about equal in value at this point. Tui loses value because of his defense, Wilson loses value because of his offense. Some might make the claim that this team can afford to take a defensive hit because they’re already so strong there, but could really use the offensive value. That’s just wrong – we must remember that it doesn’t matter where you’re getting value from – when evaluating your options, you need to ignore which side of the diamond your team is presently getting the majority of it’s value from. That just doesn’t matter, and it’s no way to make a decision.
I guess those are the only two realistic options – when I started writing this I had convinced myself that there were at least three of four. Oh well. So, yeah, if the Mariners decide to go with an in-house option, it really doesn’t matter which one they go with in terms of 2010 performance. If I had to choose one, I’d go with Tui, simply because of the fact that he’s a prospect – Josh Wilson isn’t. Tui would benefit more from a major league stint in the long run.
It’s important to remember that Hannahan’s injury is fairly minor, and that it’s a groin injury, which tend to heal up fairly quickly (although to my recollection they also have a tendency to be kind of naggy). Whoever the Mariners go with to take his role – whether it be via trade, or one of Tui and Wilson, it’s probably going to be for a pretty short time, and it’s probably going to be rather insignificant in terms of the team’s overall 2010 success. In other words, unless Hannahan is laid up a lot longer than we expect, it just doesn’t matter. However, I did get 700 words out of it.