No last minute trades for the Mariners, but moves were made. Milton Bradley went on the DL with tendonitis on his kneecap and Justin Smoak, obtained from Texas in the Cliff Lee trade, was sent to AAA Tacoma.
Bradley had not been hitting so it can not be said his bat will be missed. The same is true of Smoak who only played in sixteen games. But for the Mariners it is not unusual to send down young players to Tacoma, if not trade them, as they only show patience for veterans, not rookies. In those sixteen games he hit .159 with two homers and 5 rbi.
Though I did not hear or read why, I am sure the Mariners used the ‘he needs to work on some things’ line. For some reason you can not work on things at the major league level. It could also be that he simply was not ready, as he was barely hitting over .200 for the Rangers, and even with a September call up, we may not know what we have in Smoak until next season.
Replacing them is Sean White, a relief pitcher, who was sent down in July to ‘work on some things’ and infielder-outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo.
Matt made the team out of spring training in each of the last two seasons. He did not perform well in limited action it is true, but a young player needs to make the most out of his opportunities. The Mariners said he was young and needed to play every day. But why then did they keep him on the roster, why not just sent him down to begin with?
In 24 games with Seattle Matt hit .167 with a home run. At 24 he is still young, but a play I saw him make-or rather not make-earlier in the season was quite telling. He was playing second base and a line drive was hit straight at him. He had no need to jump. Just raise his glove and catch the ball, but when he raised the glove the ball went off the webbing past him into the outfield. Normally a player would then turn to find the ball and run it down. But not Matt. He stood his ground, raising his glove to eye level to see if it had a hole in it. He looked like a little leaguer asking, “What happened?”
With Smoak gone Kotchman and Branyan get to play more, but with the Mariners continuing to lose it does not matter. I would rather see Smoak work on his hitting with the Mariners, not the Rainiers. I am, however, looking forward to see if Matt has found the hole in his glove.