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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The Suggestion Box Is Full 

1-6 is a pretty miserable start. A lot more teams that start 1-6 eventually win 65 games than 95. Gump and Goat Boy need to right the Mariner ship, and fast. A few polite suggestions:

1) Send Soriano to Tacoma, or to the DL.

Soriano's obviously a shadow of his 2003 self, and clearly because he's still hurting. This team can't afford to allow a key reliever to mend on the fly like this. Once he gets his arm strength back, we can expect the lock-down reliever we once knew. Until then, free up a roster spot.

2) Do whatever it takes to dump Kevin Jarvis.

A trade would be great. For anything at all in return. I'd swap Jarvis for a catcher's mask in a heartbeat, just to get him off the books. If it's necessary to pick up some or even most of his salary, so be it.

3) Rearrange the outfield positions.

As USS Mariner has so eloquently illustrated, the Mariner defense, and particularly the outfield defense, has been killing them so far. While the personnel is not as strong as in years past, it still could be more effective with an easy rearrangement. Could someone tell me why our right fielder has a better arm, is faster, gets a better break on the ball, and is generally much more godlike than our center fielder? Move Ichiro to center, Winn to left, and Ibanez to right. Leave the large left-center gap at Safeco to be covered by the two best outfielders. This move should have been made as soon as Mike Cameron was let go.

4) Shop Ben Davis.

Let's face it. Potential Guy is never going to pan out. His highest career OPS is only 0.717 (2002, in only 228 at-bats). He's 27 already, so his Prime Years are dwindling. Before every team in the league is run by a DePosta or Beane, it's time to start shopping his Potential around the league. Getting a AAA catcher in return would be nice, but not necessary, since Pat Borders could be the interim backup.

5) Call up Luis Ugueto.

Yeah, you heard me. Aurilia's shown a good stick so far, but when the M's get a lead, they can't afford to lose it to a grounder that barely gets through the left side. As a late-game defensive replacement, Ugueto could be very handy. Additionally, he's a fantastic pinch-runner option.

6) Start unleashing Ichiro on the basepaths.

Much of Ichiro's 2001 value, and as a result the team's 2001 success, came via Ichiro's rampant basestealing. Where has that been in 2004? There have been numerous situations when a swiped bag would have changed the complexion of the game, and Ichiro seemed glued to first base. There's an old baseball adage that fits nicely: Speed Never Slumps.

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