Before I launch into my first article here at Sodo Mojo, let me introduce myself. My name is Joel Condreay, and I am a 15 year old baseball fan who would like to pursue a career in journalism. I also currently write for thehuskyhaul.com where I cover University of Washington baseball and sometimes football. Ever since I saw my first Mariners game back in the days of the Kingdome, I have been a huge M’s fan and am really excited about this opportunity to write and talk about my favorite team. I even remember the days when we used to say “Sodo Mojo” or “Refuse to Lose.” Please comment or give me feedback, I would love to talk baseball with you.
If you have paid any attention to the Mariners over the last two years, you will have noticed their abysmal offense that has finish last in the MLB in nearly every offensive category. They have been especially lacking in power production, as proven by the fact that not one batter surpassed 20 homeruns last year, and 32 year old catcher, Miguel Olivo, led the team in RBIs with 62.
Mariner fans have been wondering about solutions to this power outage. Earlier this offseason, fans called for the signing of free agent Prince Fielder. But the price, among other issues, wasn’t right for the 275 pound first baseman, and the Seattle faithful are left saying, what now?
Sure, they brought in a great young prospect in Jesus Montero, but that doesn’t solve the short term issue unless he has a phenomenal rookie season.
I thought I would take a look at some possible courses of action to solve the tragedy that they call the middle of the Mariner order.
The first idea would be moving in the fences at Safeco Field. While this would give Mariners, especially righties, some help, I don’t think it makes sense. The Mariners need to play to their strengths; which is pitching. The Mariners have a Cy Young winner, decent young staff, solid bullpen, and a farm system stacked with good young pitchers. Moving in the fences at Safeco would hurt the promising pitching staff more than it would help the below average power hitters.
Next option: trade. In the past off seasons, there have been rumors of the Mariners trading for names like Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, or Justin Upton. However, none of those look like options right now. However, the Angles seem to have a first baseman overload on their hands due to the signing of Pujols. Either Mark Trumbo or Kendry Morales could be on the market. There have been rumors of the Angles moving Trumbo to third, but I can’t imagine that they would be thrilled with putting a 6’4” 220 pound first baseman at the hot corner, although it did work with Troy Glaus. With the right package, I believe that the halos would be willing to part with one of these power hitters. Both of these players have risks however. Morales hasn’t played in a year and a half after hurting himself celebrating a walk off homerun against the M’s. Trumbo hit 29 homeruns in his rookie season last year, but also posted a .291 OBP and only had a .274 BABIP. I don’t think that they can afford another player who can’t get on base. Besides the 2010 and 2011 Mariners, the last team to post an OBP under .300 was the 1989 Atlanta Braves.
Mark Reynolds is another option, but he is in the same boat as Trumbo: lots of homeruns, lots of strikeouts, and a -2.5 dWAR. I don’t think any of those guys are worth giving up a bundle of prospects and probably Brandon League for.
The last option is to stay put and wait for guys to develop. Honestly, barring a series of miracles, the AL west is going to be dominated by the Rangers and Angles for the next couple of seasons. The M’s don’t need to be going out and finding instant impact bats because they probably won’t be competing in September and October. And if the situation arises where the Mariners are in the chase and need a bat at the trade deadline, Seattle has the prospects to get it done.
Despite this seemingly endless lack of power at Safeco field, I believe that there is reason for hope that doesn’t require handing out $200 million or selling the farm. And I’ll tell you why… in my next article.