The Seattle Mariners are off to an amazing start in 2018. Seattle is in First place in the American League West, with a 0.5 game lead Houston Astros. Their 41-24 record is the third best in all of baseball. With the Suspension of Robinson Cano and the struggles from Felix Hernandez, this team does have holes.
The Seattle Mariners “filled” the hole that Cano left by moving Dee Gordon from Center Field back to second base, his natural position. Replacing Gordon in center has been a combination of Guillermo Heredia and Mitch Hainger. Ben Gamel and newly acquired Denard Span fill in at the corners. With the second base and outfield holes filled, for the time being, the attention has to be turned to starting pitching, a backup catcher, and a new utility man.
One of the biggest holes, in my opinion, is a Utility man. Andrew Romine is the current Utility man. His value is that he can play all of the infield and outfield positions. He has played at every position this season, with the exception of Pitcher and Catcher. Romine has only committed one error this season, and that was while he was playing shortstop.
While Romine can be a valuable asset in the field, he is a definite liability at the plate. He only has 51 at-bats this season, but in that time he has a slash line of .157/.232/.176/.409. Romine has also struck out 17 times out of those 51 at bats. He has zero home runs and zero runs batted in as well.
One utility man who could be available at the July 31st trade deadline is Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman, Josh Harrison. Harrison, a two-time all-star, is signed through 2018. He does have club options for 2019 and 2020. His 2018 salary is $10,250,000, and his club options would be $10,500,00 in ’19 and $11,500,000 in ’20. Harrison’s slash line is as follows: .295/.340/.419/.759. He also has three home runs, 14 runs batted in and two stolen bases in 31 games in 2018.
Josh has played all over the field in his career. In 2017, he played 2nd, 3rd, and both corner outfield spots. Harrison would be able to give Gordon and Kyle Seager days off down the stretch, and the production wouldn’t fall off as much as it would have with Romine in the lineup. He also could platoon with Gamel in left field since he’s a left-handed hitter.
But what happens when Cano comes back in August? That could get messy, even without adding Harrison. Jerry Dipoto will have to cross that bridge as August approaches. With Cano’s suspension, he is not eligible for postseason play in 2018. While it is nice to have him back for the playoff push, the Mariners front office will have to get creative for playing time.
While losing two pitching prospects, the Mariners could get some insurance for players like Dee Gordon and Kyle Seager. Pittsburgh is going nowhere fast, with the Cardinals, Brewers, and Cubs all fighting for that division. There is a lot of baseball to be played between now and July 31, and a lot can change. But the Mariners will need to be aggressive to keep this run going.