May 18, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Michael Saunders (55) high fives team mates after scoring in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners: Internal Improvements

The Seattle Mariners are looking to find themselves in a playoff race for the first time in a while. If they continue to keep pace with others in the wildcard they will be looking to improve their roster. The team has several needs, getting better production from the short stop position would be nice, but the key will be improving before any trades are even made.

Michael Saunders who hasn’t played since June 10, the start of that 5-game slide, has started his rehab assignment for Tacoma. He isn’t eligible to return until June 26 but his presence at the top of the lineup has been missed. Endy Chavez has taken over leadoff duties with usual leadoff man James Jones batting in the second spot most games.

Jones has continued his good play but Chavez has not been impressive in his little less than a month of play. While riding a 5-game hit streak right now, Chavez has only managed a .276 OBP for the month of June. Not the kind of numbers you want out of your leadoff hitter.

The top of the order will be better once Saunders is hitting behind Jones and in front of Cano once more. But, going further down the lineup more help is on the way. Corey Hart will be beginning his rehab assignment today. He will likely be taking more time at Triple-A given the severity of his injury. Hart had a rough start to the season but knowing his power potential he could provide a threat to the middle of the order.

Given how good the pitching has been it is hard to argue as to how much they will be improving. Taijuan Walker returned from the DL but has been a little off and will continue to work with Triple-A and James Paxton is still pretty far from returning. Each will provide the staff with more flexibility.

These players will help the Mariners who have been able to keep up with the competition without them. Add some other pieces outside of the organization and we could be looking at a real playoff team.

Tags: Corey Hart James Paxton Michael Saunders Seattle Mariners Taijuan Walker

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