The Mariners were leading Boston 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Jed Lowrie of the Red Sox hit a fly ball down the left field line. Not a routine fly to be sure. It was windy and the stands are close to the foul line, but Ryan Langerhans got to the ball, he just didn’t catch it.
The ball went softly into his glove for one brief, fleeting moment; then it plopped out, bounced off the ground, ricocheted off the fence back towards Langerhans, caromed off his body and into the stands. That is a tilt Mr. Pinball Wizard.
One can forgive him. It was only his seventh career error, five of which were made playing first base, so as an outfielder it is rare for him to make a miscue. The Mariners traded Mike Morse to Washington last season to obtain Langerhans, who is noted for his defense. They also wanted a left handed pinch hitter.
A career .230 hitter, Langerhans hit .218 for Seattle last season and is hitting .211 this year. He is a bench player who does not hit well and despite being 6’3″ and 220 pounds, has little power.
Meanwhile Morse, two years younger than Langerhans, plays primarily against left handed pitchers for Washington and is hitting .270 in 161 at bats with 9 homers runs and 23 rbis. Like Langerhans, he can also play first base and has made three errors this year at the position.
The Mariners actually designated Langerhans for assignment the first week of the season. He cleared waivers, which meant no team was interested in him, at least not that early in the season. Then the Mariners said goodbye to Eric Byrnes who was 3 for 32 and brought Langerhans back.
Nothing against Langerhans, but in looking at how much value he adds to a team, I don’t see that keeping a defensive outfielder who can’t hit and has no power helps the team. The Mariners need to make some changes next season and a better left handed hitting outfielder with some pop in his bat is the way to go.
Ryan’s contract is up at the end of the season and the Mariners should move on and find a player who is a better fit.