Thursday, March 31, 2005

Mariners Claim Abraham Nunez 

In what appears to be a very curious move, the Mariners today claimed Abraham Nunez off the waiver wire from the Kansas City Royals.

Nunez used to be a highly touted prospect with the Marlins a few years back, and then age-gate added three years onto his age, and suddenly his lack of plate discipline wasn't so cute anymore. He hit for power in the minors, but it never translated into major league power (though last Spring he had serious buzz going for the Marlins by hitting 9 Spring Training home runs).

He is an average fielder with a strong arm, slightly above-average speed, and little command of the strike zone. At 28, he is in his peak years, but seems to provide very little upside as a #5 outfielder.

That the move may result in Greg Dobbs AND Ramon Santiago going to the minors and leaving Willie Bloomquist as our Opening Day shortstop further makes me scratch my head.

I don't see a logical reason for this move. Maybe the M's want to take advantage of their #3 waiver wire position to grab a player they think they can move in a trade?

Perhaps the thinking is that if they put Pokey on the 15-day DL, they can give Nunez a roster spot for that week, and then try to slip him through waivers to Tacoma, because a week into the season, most teams won't be wanting to claim a player. Its not like Nunez would be a huge downgrade over Greg Dobbs for last bat on the bench. If that's what happens, then no harm done, really.

If Pokey does start the season on the DL, and Ramon Santiago is not on the 25-man roster, that would leave us with Willie Bloomquist starting at SS and either Adrian Beltre or Scott Spiezio backing him up. That doesn't make much sense to me. Maybe Jose Lopez makes a triumphant return as the Opening Day shortstop?

The Mariners also announced that Bucky Jacobsen will start the season on the 60 Day DL. Essentially, this is retroactive to the beginning of Spring Training games and means that Bucky will not be eligible to appear in Seattle until mid May.

Two other moves included sending Dan Reichert to minor league camp, and George Sherrill to Tacoma. The Sherrill move is disappointing as George was the team's best reliever a year ago. But his lackluster Spring and the fact that he had options which fellow lefty Matt Thornton did not have spelled his doom.

The addition of Nunez was countered on the 40 man roster was countered by the move of Bucky to the 60 day DL. This means the Mariners will still have to move two players off the 40 man roster to make room for Aaron Sele and Jeff Nelson, who have made the team. My guess is that Rafael Soriano finds himself on the 60-day DL for one of the spots. Perhaps Scott Atchison goes to the 60-day DL for the other. If not Atchison, then I'm thinking a deal (Franklin?) has to be in the works, otherwise, it would have been Thornton losing his job.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the M's do next, as no one would have guessed this one.

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