Seattle Mariners Thoughts #1
I am glad the Mariners are auditioning some of their kids from their minor-league system. They need to give their prospects a chance, so they will know who to keep and who to trade (or forget about) during the offseason. I am hoping they will trade Ron Villone, Shigetoshi Hasegawa (Shittegassi Hogatowa), Mike Myers, Randy Winn, Scott "Sandfrog, Son Of Ed" Speizio, and maybe even "Everyday Eddie" Guardado, Bret Boone, Gil Meche and Jamie Moyer. Meche is supposedly being offered to the Padres for a good outfield prospect, Xavier Nady.
The Mariners already acquired one good outfielder, Jeremy Reed, in the deal that sent Freddy Garcia to the Chicago White Sux. There would be some growing pains at the plate, but I wouldn't mind a 2005 outfield of Ichiro, Nady and Reed next year with Jamal Strong (now on Seattle's AAA-level Tacoma club) in the picture somewhere. Rookie Justin Leone looks like he should be at third base every day, and I hope they go ahead and just bring Jose Lopez up from Tacoma to play shortstop. Left fielder Raul Ibanez can move to 1B, and Bucky Jacobsen can DH. Speizio and Jolbert Cabrera could stick around as Mark McLemore-style "super-subs". Both guys can play a bunch of positions. If Boone is gone, I suppose Wee Willie Bloomquist could be a light-hitting bottom-of-the-order second baseman... or maybe Cabrera could have that job. Miguel Olivo, also acquired in the Garcia trade, will undoubtedly be the primary guy behind the plate; I wouldn't count on veteran Dan Wilson being around (if so, he would probably function more as a player-coach).
The rotation could be Pineiro, two or three from AAA guys Travis Blackley/Clint Nageotte/Matt Thornton/Bobby Madritsch and one or two from Meche/Moyer/Ryan Franklin (whoever is still around). In the pen, Rafael Soriano would be the closer. J.J. Putz and George Sherrill would be the set-up men, and the long guys could be Julio Mateo and whoever else.
This is what it could be like if they didn't make any more trades or any free-agent signings during the winter, before next season. I like the idea of a wholesale change with the roster... it would be nice to keep a couple of the vets around if they can, and maybe sign a couple of decent free agents. If the young pitchers work out o.k. the rebuild might not take more than two or three seasons. Having a young team like last year's Florida Marlins would be really cool!
I invite comments. My asbestos suit is on.