Thursday, March 24, 2005

Opening Day Roster 

For those of you who haven't read Grandpa Mariner at ST thread, here's an update. Grandpa has surveyed a collecion of knowledgeable Mariner insiders, and for the first time there appears to be consensus on what the M's Opening Day Roster will look like.

Franklin (until Joel comes back)

Franklin probably won't get any starts unless there is an injury or Joel suffers a setback.

The pen looks to be:


Reese looks to start at SS. This is the first day that I have asked that there has been universal agreement among those I corralled for an answer.


The disappointments/surprises are:
1) Aaron Sele over Felix Hernandez. My head says this is probably the best move. My heart can't wait for the Felix Era to begin.
2) Pokey Reese over Jose Lopez. The defensive specialist get his shot, and hopefully Jose Lopez gets motivated to crush AAA pitching and force his way back to Seattle. I'm guessing he is the starting second baseman in Tacoma.
3) Ryan Franklin over Jorge Campillo. Campillo's changeup is a thing of beauty. Ryan Franklin throws eight different pitches, none of which inspire poetry.
4) Jeff Nelson over Mateo/Thornton loser.

In all four cases, the Mariners took the safe, known veteran over the higher upside, but unknown youngster. This may disappoint some Mariner fans, but I look at this as the smart move for several reasons.

First, and foremost, all four players (except Thornton) can be sent to Tacoma and still be an asset to the team. Pokey, Sele, Nelson, or Franklin would be looking elsewhere for work.

Second, is that none of these "losers" with the exception of Mateo, have ever proved themselves against AAA competition. Just because we can see their upside is high, there is no proof that they are ready to reach their potential this year. Many young players have been hurt mentally by being called up to early. Let them prove it in AAA, at least for a month or two.

Third, is the BUZZ factor. The Mariners already have serious buzz working for them, in the forms of Ichiro, Beltre, and Sexson. Fans are going to be there for the month of April. If the Mariners struggle out of the gate like they did in 2004, there are 3 or 4 serious pick me ups ready to be called up over the course of the season. King Felix, Jose Lopez, Jorge Campillo, Rafael Soriano, and of course, Bucky Jacobsen. If these players were already in Seattle, and the M's got off to a terrible start, from where would the hope and just as importantly, the BUZZ come?

The M's are playing to win in 2005. We can turn around this team on the basis of returning to the norm, much improved defense, two big bats, and Ichiro being a .400+ hitter right out of the gate. And if one of these veterans falters, his replacement will likely be waiting in the wings. If these veterans excel, and the rookie is still tearing it up in AAA, then you've got a veteran available for trade. When you are managing a roster, flexibility is very important.

The Mariners ARE making the safe moves. They also happen to be the right moves, for the individual players, for the franchise, and yes, for the 2005 season. Opening Day is just 10 days away!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?