Justin Ruggiano and the Mariners lineup


After missing basically all of the Winter Meetings (and in the process passing up on Melky Cabrera), the Seattle Mariners have finally decided to make a little splash and pick up Justin Ruggiano, an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs, trading him for AA pitcher Matt Brazis.

After seeing who we traded to pick up Ruggiano, I have to say that I’m impressed with Trader Jack, even though the M’s found someone that basically nobody knew about outside the city of Chicago.

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I’m hoping that Ruggiano turns into some Billy Beane-type player that produces above expectation out of nowhere. At the age of 32, Ruggiano isn’t likely to show a huge uptick in production over next year, but one can always hope.

If you aren’t already aware, I’ve made it a point in several articles that I liked Michael Saunders and thought that trading him away would be a mistake. However, now that Ruggiano is on the roster, it feels to me like they picked up a near carbon copy of Saunders, except one that bats from the right side.

Here are some of their important stats from last season:

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Yeah, I know, eerily similar, right?

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I thought that Saunders was going to produce big numbers if he managed to stay healthy.

Turns out that Ruggiano had the same problem of staying healthy last year. He suffered an ankle injury that put him out for the season, hence only 81 games started.

If anything, Ruggiano will be an average player, probably bat in the six- or seven-spot in the lineup, and show some decent run production for the Mariners for next season.

In the end, they traded a player that might never see time in the majors for a cheap right fielder that isn’t absolutely horrible. Yeah, starting for the Cubs isn’t saying a whole lot, but hey, it’s a dirty job, somebody’s got to do it.

And while I am certainly disappointed that they didn’t offer Melky Cabrera the contract he wanted to lure him into Seattle, the acquisition of Ruggiano in his place doesn’t irk me as much as it probably does to others.

If the M’s were going to trade for almost any other right fielder that would be considered “Melky-status” at the plate, they would have had to offer up a lot more than Matt Brazis. I get the sense from Jack Z that this offseason is all about spending money, not players that serve a key role on the roster today.

Ruggiano is most certainly a good plug for the right field spot until somebody better shows up.

I mean, who else were the M’s going to start in right? Franklin Gutierrez?