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Tuesday, July 21, 2009
M's need hitters ... and have them

Are the Mariners for real? Should they be buyers right now, or sellers? After running through the Mariners' weaknesses (left field, shortstop, third base, catchers) and their strengths (just about everything else), Larry Stone gets to the meat of the thing: All that seems reasonable enough -- Larry Stone is habitually reasonable -- but I think a couple of key facts are missing from the analysis.

One, the Mariners have been outscored this season. They're 49-43 but they've got the run differential of a 45-47 team, and if they were 45-47 they would be seven games behind the Angels rather than four. Which seems pretty important ... until you notice that the Angels have been exceptionally lucky, too. The Angels are 52-38 but have the run differential of a 48-42 team. The Rangers are the only one team among the contenders that's hitting its expected record. Essentially, none of them have been world-beaters and all of them can realistically think about first place.

Two -- and here's the real point to my little essay, and it's a point I've made before -- the Mariners don't need to look far for "a little more offense." They've got a little more offense wasting away in the Pacific Coast League.

Mike Carp, who got a little five-game tryout last month, has a .273/.387/.466 line with Tacoma (he's slumped a bit since the M's sent him down) and might give the M's a little from the DH slot than they're getting from Ken Griffey Jr.

You can't bench Griffey because the fans love him? OK. But do the fans love Ryan Langerhans, too? If not, why is Langerhans playing left field when top prospect Michael Saunders has a .312/.381/.541 line with Tacoma this season?

The Mariners have a chance to win, and if I were a Mariners fan I would want them to try. But winning would require a fair amount of luck and getting all the organization's talent on the field for as many games as possible. And right now that's not happening.