Seattle started their most brutal month on the schedule as one of the hottest teams in baseball, having won three consecutive series. The tough stretch, however, is yet to come. Nearing the one quarter mark of the season it is time to look at Tacoma for potential replacements should injuries or trades make openings on the Mariners roster? Tacoma is in first place in their division with a 19-11 record going into Sunday’s game, so they have a good team.
It is only a matter of time before Justin Smoak is replaced at first base. Despite raising his average he has five rbi’s and one home run. He is now a singles hitter, not what you want from your first baseman. Rich Poythress is hitting .304 with 2 homers and 11 rbis in 79 at bats, but if the M’s make a change it may be Michael Morse at first. I say this because Stefan Romero, one of the best prospects the Mariners have, was recently called up to Tacoma, and though listed as second baseman, he is now learning left field, the position Morse is holding down. If he does well, at some point he may be manning left field with Morse at first base.
Nick Franklin, considered a top shortstop, prospect is playing second, but with Dustin Ackley raising his average over one hundred points of late, Franklin is stuck. That could mean he is auditioning for a potential trade in July. Carlos Triunfel, whom the Mariners like is playing short. Carlos is batting .319 with 3 homers and 16 rbis. If his defense can get better-he has six errors-Brendan Ryan is expendable. Certainly there will be a change at short, if not this year, then in 2014.
With Jesus Montero sitting more than playing with Seattle, the Mariners are waiting for Mike Zunino, the hottest player in the minors in 2012. He started out at Tacoma like Babe Ruth, but has seen fewer fastballs, getting off speed pitches, curves, sliders, and all sorts of wacky-dos. His average has plummeted to .200 He has to show he can make adjustments when he goes into a funk, and so far has yet to do that. So his spot in Seattle is on hold.
While the Mariners are strategically positioning minor league players should the need arise, the larger question is when does Trader Jack see the need arise. Stay tuned.