Mariners Could Need Outside Help If Cano Can’t Go


If the Mariners didn’t have bad luck, they wouldn’t have any luck at all. In this edition of ” What Can Go Wrong”, Mariners star Robinson Cano left Sunday’s Cactus League game with a strained left hamstring.

The extent of the injury is unknown, but hamstring injuries tend to linger. Cano has played through similar issues, so the addition of outside help may be unnecessary. But if the injury will cause Cano to miss time, the Mariners will need to bring somebody in to stem the tide.

Currently, the Mariners would role with Andrew Romine or Taylor Motter at second. Romine has had a nice spring, but has no track record of offensive success in the Majors. Motter helped carry the Mariners in Jean Segura’s absence in April of 2017, and could be asked to do the same in 2018.

The options are limited this late in spring, but there are a couple of veterans who can provide depth early in-season.

Brandon Phillips

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 28: Brandon Phillips
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 28: Brandon Phillips /

The 36-year-old Brandon Phillips is looking for work in 2018, but has found no takers. No longer an All-Star, Phillips still brings value to Seattle. Phillips is no longer a gold glove caliber player, but still plays a decent 2B with good range and a strong-arm.

In 2017, Phillips added 3B to his resume, logging 218 innings for the Braves. Phillips showed elite range, and was solid average at the hot corner.

Phillips has also been consistently okay at the plate, posting batting averages of .294, .291, .285 over the past 3 seasons. In that stretch, he has averaged 144 games played, 12 homers and 16 steals per season.

Phillips is no longer a flashy player, but he is consistently competent. The Mariners may not need much more than that in April, if Cano indeed misses time. Thanks to Romine’s versatility, the Mariners could carry Phillips as the primary second baseman, and allow Romine to act as the 5th outfielder if necessary.

Neil Walker

Neil Walker is sneaky good. You may not know much about him, but he is solidly solid. Unfortunately, that probably eliminates him as a real possibility, as he should be an everyday player for somebody, and is unlikely to take a bench role at this time.

On top of his career .272/.341/.437 slash, Walker provides 20 home run pop, and a sound approach that leads to good walk numbers with excellent contact percentage (17.4% K rate).

Defensively, Walker is mediocre at best, but has had his 2 best defensive years in 2016 and 2017. The 32-year-old does not provide the versatility of Phillips, but is the more offensive threat of the duo.

A deal is unlikely, and if signed, it would almost certainly be a bad omen for Cano in 2018. I wouldn’t file this as a likely marriage, but it is something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

Brad Miller


I swear. Putting Brad Miller on this list is only like 50% because I miss him. But the potential match does make some sense. The Rays are in the midst of shredding salary, and Miller’s $4 million salary could be unloaded in a trade.

Mariners fans should remember Miller, as well as the infamous trade that sent him and Logan Morrison to Tampa for Nate Karns and Boog Powell.

Miller enjoyed a breakout season of sorts in 2016, bashing 30 home runs with a .482 slugging percentage in route to a solid 2.0 fWAR. Miller crashed down to earth in 2017 and is now not seen as a long-term answer for the Rays.

The cost to acquire should be low, and Miller has the upside to be a solid contributor for the Mariners. He has experience in all 4 infield spots, as well as a handful of innings in the outfield. Miller’s defense remains a roller-coaster, but as a short-term fix and part-time player, Miller makes some sense.

Next: Ian Miller Says He is Ready to Help Seattle

The Mariners aren’t likely to jump into this market. Seattle is cautiously optimistic Cano will just need a few days off, and if that’s the case, they won’t need too. But if Cano’s injury is more serious, they cannot stand pat.