Tough Break for Chris Taylor and the Mariners


Hey M’s fans, how has the spring training season been treating you?

I have to admit, I’ve been a little busy with my college semester in full swing, so I haven’t caught too many full games, but I’ve been catching up via articles and Twitter (and following @SodoMojoFS on Twitter helps out…*winks twice*), while catching a few innings here and there.

One of the more recent big updates is of course, Chris Taylor breaking his wrist.

This seals the deal on the shortstop battle with Brad Miller for now, and our fellow Sodo Mojoer Galen excellently covered a straight up Taylor-Miller comparison (here), which shows how truly neck and neck they were at the time of the injury.

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It is truly an unfortunate break (so to speak) that Taylor was dealt.

These kind of injuries that free up an embattled position can really have long term consequences— here I’m thinking of former Yankees first basemen Wally Pipp.

Oh, that name doesn’t ring a bell?

Pipp sat out a game because of a severe headache and was spelled by the backup first basemen…Lou Gehrig. 2,130 games later I bet Pipp was wishing he’d stuck it out.

I digress slightly. But you see my point?

Miller could run with this and leave Taylor without a spot.

But, if we recall last year, Miller seemed to have won the job over Nick Franklin in spring training, only to struggle mightily once the games that actually counted started out. To be fair, he did have a solid finish, but for the most part, this was coming straight off the bench after the second half.

But Miller’s first half struggles, and Taylor’s second half success are the reason why we’re even talking about Chris Taylor right now.

Taylor fought his way into the starting lineup, and here we are the very next season— Miller being handed the job he has never consistently showed he can handle.

Franklin was used as trade bait to real in current Mariners center fielder- by- default Austin Jackson, who didn’t exactly set the Emerald City on fire with a .229 BA and a .267 OBP after the trade.

Miller is obviously favored because he potentially is seen as having a higher ceiling with the bat, but thus far things have played pretty even, and Chris Taylor has proven a scrappy competitor, as I mentioned.

But it seems the Mariners haven’t had much luck with can’t miss prospects (see: Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero) and the best position prospect that the Mariners farm system have produced is definitely Kyle Seager…a 3rd round pick.

Ackley was a number two guy in the draft—overall. If I must remind you.

Of course I wish Miller the best, and hope he’s the exception (along with the Big Three: Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, and James Paxton) that proves the rule, but the Mariners recent history with prospects doesn’t give us a whole lot of reassurance, does it?

And Taylor seems to have this (forgive me for what I’m about to do) “Taylor-made” underdog story waiting in the wings. Just like our pal Seager. Seager of the recently inked $100 million dollar deal—$120 mill if his option year is picked up.

I’m not saying he will be the next Seager.

I’m just hoping.

I can’t help it…I like underdogs.

Ultimately the best player wins—or the one that can stay healthiest.

As I said, Miller seems to be slightly favored so, all other things being equal, Miller would have likely earned the nod anyway, unless he really slumped or Taylor put up some insane numbers.

Whoever wins the Mariners should have another previous question mark spot pinned down.

Here’s hoping Taylor makes his best case scenario and is back in action by mid-April, and we’ll get to see if the Mariners future shortstop will be decided by performance and not by default.

May the best player win.

You guys know who I’m rooting for.

 But, this being the 20th anniversary of the “Refuse to Lose” season, the M’s first playoff berth, and the season that potentially kept the Mariners in Seattle—I really do just want the player that will be the biggest difference maker, and help us get to the promised land.

When I lay down the cards, that’s the guy I want on the team.

Here’s to this season, and finding that out, I think it’ll be a fun one.

Next: Kershaw, Dodgers Top Mariners 5-2

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