Why spring training is not about competion for roster spots

The Mariners need a right handed bat and outfielder Cole Gillespie, 29, hit .391 in 23 at bats, driving in seven runs. He has major league experience having played with the D-backs, Cubs, and Giants. But despite his performance and despite providing a need he was sent to the Mariners triple AAA affiliate Tacoma. If he were a Seahawk he might make the team because the Seahawks about competing and winning the job.

Baseball is different. Gillespie was a non-roster invitee. If he made the team, somebody must be released from the 40 man roster. Of course they took into account his major league average of .225 in 169 at bats with 3 homers. As we all know spring training is an illusion. He may have gotten many hits off triple A pitchers. His .225 average is a more accurate measurement of what Seattle would get.

The Mariners plan to carry five outfielders. Dustin Ackley seems to have won the left field job; Abraham Almonte has been playing a lot of centerfield; and Michael Saunders and Corey Hart make four. That leaves the last spot between Logan Morrison, who can also play first and DH; left handed bat Endy Chavez, 36; and rookie Stefan Romero, another right handed bat. Romero has 9 hits, but his 2 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 homers indicate he has extra base power. Despite being a left handed bat Morrison has versatility to stay and Romero is on the 40 man roster, as is Morrison. That leaves Chavez as odd man out, at least by logic. As the Mariners have some good young players on the 40 man roster, they are unlikely to part with any to make room for a 36 year old veteran. 

So baseball, as we see with the Mariners, is not about competition. It is more a numbers game, getting the right balance of left and right bats, left and right pitching, preserving the 40 man roster as much as possible. Of course if the Mariners keep Chavez and send down Romero, there will be much head scratching. But with the Mariners, who knows.

My website:http://terrynelson.net/


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