Outfield Options For Seattle Are Almost Gone, What Now?
Outfielders have flown off the board and the Mariners are left with few options of real value left to improve their outfield this offseason. They were after impact right handed power bats to bolster the middle of their lineup which they were able to get with Nelson Cruz.
Cruz will provide an upgrade to the lineup but I don’t believe playing him in the field is the best choice for the Mariners, so the search continued. There were talks of several moves: Melky Cabrera, Matt Kemp, Yoenis Cespedes, and Justin Upton just to name a few.
They were unable to get any of them. An offer was reported to have been made to Cabrera which he turned down to test more of the free agent waters and he eventually signed with the White Sox.
They had been tied to Upton for a long time but he was just acquired by the Padres in a recent trade. They keep missing their mark and now are left with two holes in their corner outfield positions. This free agency game is not going in the teams favor. Even the Cruz signing is one I dislike given the length and dollar amount.
Now that it’s getting harder and harder to find another power to complement Cruz, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager I like his deal even less. I understand the faith lost in Michael Saunders and think the J.A. Happ trade was quite nice, however; if we end up with our current outfield situation and Saunders stays healthy next season I think we can chalk this offseason up to a failure.
One move I haven’t seen explored which I think should be considered at this point is Reds’ outfielder Jay Bruce. I don’t think he would come necessarily as a buy low after an off year but he’s a player with big time power.
The issue with this acquisition of course would be that he hits from the left side. Another lefty batter would only further unbalance the already lefty heavy order. While I understand the argument there, an upgrade is an upgrade. If Bruce is the player he was the years before getting hurt this year he will provide most of what the Mariners are looking for: impact power bat.
They could wait until the trade deadline to see what players become available but that could be a risky play. There’s a lot of season to be played before then and they don’t want to dig themselves into a hole too deep too early. The goal at this point is to make the playoffs this year and hopefully a few after that. I believe Bruce will help the team regardless of his handedness.