Monday, February 1, 2010
Mariners still stocking up, but why?
Shouldn't the Mariners be running out of spots on their 40-man roster? Their latest acquisition:
Ryan Garko and the Mariners have agreed to a $550,000, one-year contract, as Seattle tries to address its need for a right-handed hitter.
Terms of the contract obtained Monday by The Associated Press show the 29-year-old first baseman and designated hitter could nearly double his salary, to $1,075,000, if he becomes a regular for Seattle with 600 plate appearances.
First off, Ryan Garko's not going to finish with 600 plate appearances unless someone gets hurt in April. Two someones, probably. Essentially the M's will spend just slightly over the MLB minimum salary for a guy with a .279/.351/.441 line, who seems to have peaked early but probably still have another solid season or two in the tank.
Second, I'm wondering if maybe it's time for Jack Zduriencik to call of his little off-season shopping spree.
Sure, he's picked up Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins and Eric Byrnes and now Ryan Garko on the cheap. But for the life of me I can't figure out where everyone's going to play. I mean, I think I wrote about the Mariners' roster logjam before Byrnes and Garko came aboard. But with the new guys, here's how the easy end of the defensive spectrum looks:
DH: Ken Griffey, Jr. (L), Ryan Garko (R), Milton Bradley (B)
1B: Casey Kotchman (L), Ryan Garko (R)
LF: Milton Bradley (B), Ryan Langerhans (L), Michael Saunders (L), Eric Byrnes (R)
Granted, only three of those guys -- Griffey, Kotchman, and Bradley -- are essentially guaranteed roster spots if they're healthy. The other four have varying claims based on their performance, but none of them are slam dunks and all are cheap enough to be traded or sent to Tacoma without making much of a ripple.
I don't know ... Maybe this is a good problem to have. I just keeping thinking that a better problem would be explaining to the fans why the club just couldn't justify bringing Junior back for one more season, what with all the younger, potentially better players available. And I'll keep thinking that until Milton Bradley doesn't lose significant playing time because Griffey's still hanging around.