Michael Saunders celebrated his return from his rehab assignment by hitting a home run in the first inning against Baltimore Monday night. His bat and defense will help Seattle, but one must question why Carlos Peguero was send back to Tacoma.
The outfield is Michael Morse, Endy Chavez, and Saunders. When Gutierrez is healthy again, Chavez will either return to Tacoma or head to the bench. Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay are the reserves. The latter two, provide the Mariners with the magic ‘veteran leadership.’ But if the Mariners want the young guys to come through, then Peguero should be in Seattle as the fourth or fifth outfielder.
Peguero was 2 for 6 with a home run in his two games with Seattle. I don’t know what he could do if he played more often with Seattle, but he is sure to hit more than .161, which is what Raul Ibanez is hitting. I know Raul is a fan favorite, is good in the clubhouse, but he is 40 years old and is playing the outfield like a 40-year old. Age has caught up with Raul. He may have a flash or two, but over the long haul Peguero would help Seattle more than Ibanez.
In 2012 Peguero had 56 at bats with Seattle, hitting .179 with 2 homers. Even worse he struck out 50% of the time. In 2011 in 143 at bats, Carlos had 6 homers and hit .196. Not good numbers and the strikeouts are alarming. Still he hit over .161, has more power than Ibanez, and is slightly better defensively.
The sad thing is the choice is between a 40 year old on his last legs who can’t hit and a younger player who strikes out a lot. If Morse or Saunders go down for any length of time, the depth chart for outfielders is scary. At the moment Ibanez and Peguero are bodies, not players. Perhaps the Mariners need to send out an S.O.S.