It seems pretty clear that the Seattle Mariners are in a waiting game in terms of Prince Fielder. While there is a lot of debate as to whether or not signing him is a good idea, it is clear that the Mariners are interested. It is also clear that many other teams are interested, so I actually highly doubt that Fielder comes to Seattle.
So instead, I thought I’d look at other Free Agents that are left on the market that the M’s might look to as a backup plan. The M’s still need some offensive help, and luckily there’s still some help out there on the market.
If you assume that Jesus Montero is going to spend most of his time at catcher, then the possibilities of adding a DH are definitely out there.
The first option in my mind would be Wilson Betemit. The 30 year old would hopefully come to Seattle as a DH, though he can man the hot corner on occasion. Betemit is an above average bat who could hit in the center of the Mariner’s lineup. The problem with him is that he’s one of the worst defenders at third in all of baseball, but having him play DH would eliminate that issue in Seattle.
Other options for DH would be Johnny Damon and Derrek Lee. Both were above average offensively, last seasona nd should be able to contribute in 2012 as well. Hideki Matsui and Vlad Guerrero are out there as well, but both were below average hitters in 2011, and appear to be at the end of the line. And before you ask, I wouldn’t touch Manny Ramirez with a 10 ft pole.
The M’s could also look to outfielders like Cody Ross or Kosuke Fukudome. Both can be part time outfielders and spend time at DH. Both also offer just slightly above average offense, but don’t offer more than Casper Wells should bring to the table.
The problem the Mariners run into is what to do if Montero doesn’t stick at catcher. If Montero eats up all the DH at-bats, it really limits their options. In that scenario, Mike Carp would be moved back out to left field, which means that both the outfield and DH spots would be filled already. The only place the M’s would have open would be third base, and there just aren’t a lot of options out there at third.
I already mentioned Betemit, but he’s so awful defensively that he wouldn’t be a good idea. Carlos Guillen is available, but is only an average hitter at this point in his career. The best option might be Miguel Tejada, and he hasn’t been good since 2009. Nope, If the Mariners need someone at 3B, they wont be finding any help via free agency.