As we’ve stated before, the Mariners have many decisions to make this off-season. One more choice that still must be made is: who will start at first base on a regular basis? The M’s have a few possible options in house, but it appears that the young, recently called-up stud, Dan Vogelbach, wants to be the guy.
The Mariners are in a interesting position when it comes to choosing who should be the starter at first base. They can choose from a seasoned MLB veteran in Adam Lind, a Korean veteran and folk hero in Dae-ho Lee or a recently called-up rookie that didn’t play his first full MLB game until mid-September in Dan Vogelbach. And that’s not even mentioning the free agent market.
Lind has been a reliable left-handed power bat over the years, but this season his batting average has dropped too low. Lind’s .239 average was his third worst in his career, his second lowest when batting in at least one hundred games.
His fifty-eight RBI are his lowest when playing at least one hundred games. Thankfully, his twenty home runs are good enough to make those other numbers not look so bad.
On the whole, his declining numbers may lead to being ignored by the Mariners in the off-season. Especially since there is so much competition that he’s facing.
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Dae-Ho Lee became a folk hero over the year, but had a poor second half that raised many concerns. Over forty games Lee powered just two home runs and twelve RBI. To make matters worse, he batted a lowly .200.
He did have a much better introduction to the league including a dramatic walk-off in the first half, but it looks good for Lee being re-signed because he is right-handed.
Lind is a lefty, Vogelbach is a lefty, and half of the available free agent first basemen are lefties. So, the odds for a righty like Lee who gained millions of fans with his contagious personality and timely home runs to be useful to the Mariners going forward.
With all the negatives and few positives surrounding Lee and Lind, Vogelbach sees a great opportunity to sneak into that top first base spot. He told MLB.com reporter, Greg Johns, “…all you can ask for is a chance.” He went onto say:
"“Then it’s up to you to do what you will with that chance. I’m going to take full advantage of it, bust my butt in the offseason and when I come to Spring Training, I’m going to know I’ve done everything I can to put myself in the best situation to be where I want to be.”"
He later added:
"“I’ll come back in shape and ready to compete.”"
If the Mariners see that Vogelbach’s words are backed up by his actions, that will help his case to be the starting first baseman at the beginning of the year.
Only time will tell what the Mariners decide to do. With free agents like Mike Napoli, Mitch Moreland and former Mariners, Logan Morrison and Brendan Ryan, it’ll be interesting to watch if the organization goes outside of their operation to upgrade at the first base position.
At the moment it seems like Vogelbach is the only one who is particularly interested in being with the Mariners. That is, at least publicly.