With both Cliff Lee and Jack Hannahan slated to be activated in the next week or so, there are obviously going to be some changes with the roster. This means that any way you slice it, at least two players that are currently on the 25-man roster will be either sent down or DFA’d. So, here are a few scenarios.
I think we can start with the obvious, and safely assume that Jesus Colome will no longer be a Seattle Mariner after April 30th. He looked okay while he was here, but he’s clearly the odd man out in the current bullpen. So that’s one cut. As for the second player to be given the boot, I think there are a couple of possibilities.
This one is probably what the team is going to end up doing. While Tui is a pretty good hitter and a solid prospect, the fact that he’s so bad defensively makes him a pretty bad fit for the backup infielder role. If he can continue to work on his defense down in Tacoma, he’s got a shot at a solid career in a role other than DH, but for now, Jack Hannahan is just a much better option.
Ian Snell or Jason Vargas
With Don Wakamatsu having stated that RRS is safe and with Doug Fister looking so good, it pretty much comes down to Snell and Vargas as potential rotation cuts. In this scenario, we go back to a six man bullpen. Now, if you can remember a couple weeks back, we actually started the year with a six man pen, and it didn’t work out so well. Our starters weren’t getting deep enough in ballgames, and as a result we were going to the bullpen for a lot of innings and our relievers were getting worn out. But now, with Cliff Lee just about ready to join the rotation, and with guys like Vargas and Fister (at least for now) pitching better and getting deeper into games, it may be time to revisit the idea.
At this point, Vargas is probably safe, so one way or another, Snell almost certainly isn’t going to be in the rotation anymore. In all likelihood, this means he ends up in the bullpen, which should be interesting as he really isn’t the type of pitcher that would make a good reliever. But if the team does decide they want to cut him in favor of Matt Tuiasosopo and go back to the six man pen, there’s a pretty good chance they’d be able to pass him through waivers without any problems (assuming he’s out of options, as I’m not sure). Keep in mind, this is easily the less likely of the two scenarios, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Lastly, I just want to go over one more potential roster move that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with Cliff Lee or Jack Hannahan being activated. Please, Jack Zduriencik, DFA Mike Sweeney. It was an interesting idea (although one that we already tried, unsuccessfully in 2009), but this DH platoon attempt has clearly run it’s course. Thank him for the last year and a half, send him packing, and give Ryan Langerhans the roster spot that he so clearly deserves. Our only two left field options being the injury prone Milton Bradley and Eric Byrnes just doesn’t cut it. Byrnes can’t hit righties, and starting him against them hurts this team. Ryan Langerhans is left handed, and a good defensive outfielder, and he gives us some much needed flexibility off of the bench.