If you think Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement are going to
save the Mariners, then I’ve got some swampland in Illahee to sell
Like most of you, I like the moves. They should help the offensively challenged Mariners. But there’s still something missing from the team that’ supposed to challenge for the AL West title. It’s hard to put a finger on IT, but it’s like the team doesn’t really get after it. They hustle, but it’s like they go through the motions at times. That’s probably unfair, and it’s difficult to explain, but it’s what I see.
Oakland came into Safeco, young and energetic, and just looked
hungier. Same thing with Baltimore, a team that wasn’t expected to
anything. They have a new manager and a new attitude. There play
loose and seem to be having fun. The M’s don’t have that same
The M’s have been running the same position players out on the field day after day and the results are predictable day after day. This is a team in dire need of a Jay Buhner-like personality.
Maybe the M’s will strike gold with Balentien. It likely won’t happen this year, but he could be a .300/30HR/100RBI/Gold Glove kind of outfielder down the road. Other than Richie Sexson, nobody on the current team will come close to hitting 30 home runs. Clement’s left-handed stroke is made for Safeco Field. They say he’s not a very good receiver behind the plate, but that was also the knock on Mike Piazza and he had a pretty decent career.
What do you think? Should they move Raul Ibanez from left field to first base? if so, who do they put in left?
Glad you asked. Jeremy Reed. Yeah, the forgotten man. He’s hitting .375 at Tacoma and was playing better than Balentien. He’s only 27. It’s time to give him another shot. When I talked to him this spring in Arizona, he was frustrated because he knew he wasn’t given a shot to make the big club, not with the team commiting to justt-released Brad Wilkerson.
At the same time, Reed said he’s ready to be an everyday player again. He said he was playing the best baseball of his career, and he’s carried it over to the start of the Triple-A season. This is a guy who’s not afraid to get dirty. It’s time the M’s went with Reed, Ichiro and Balentien in the outfield.
Ibanez becomes your starting first baseman and part-time DH. Sorry Jose Vidro. As much as I like you — ask my collegues, I always go to bat for you — it’ s time to go in a different direction.
And Richie Sexson? His average isn’t what it should be, but he’s playing a lot better. Maybe he splits time at first base with Raul, does a little DHing and pinch-hitting. Maybe you simply say, ‘Sayonara Richie, it’s been good to know ya.’
There are other questions to ponder?
Do you think rewarding catcher Kenji Johjima with a $24 million contract was smart, especially when yo consider that he was (and still is) mired in a Jeff Cirillo-like hitting slump? Some think Japanese ownership mandated that move.
Did GM Bill Bavasi give up too much for pitcher Erik Bedard? It’s still too early to say, but Adam Jones could be the AL rookie of the year and lefty George Sherrill is having an All-Star season to date for the Orioles?
Face it, this team has more questions than answers right now. Balentien and Clement might help fix some of the offensive problems. Calling Reed up should be the next move.
There’s an old line we used to use on umpires: “Hey, shake your head, your eyes are stuck.”
The M’s need to shake things up, too, because they’re stuck in a rut and going nowhere.