The Mariners’ season is 15 games in and they are now owners of a 6-9 record, it is time for us as fans to keep an eye on who is on the downslide. Some of the hometown nine may make comeback, but there are those who appear to be spiraling out of control. There are four Mariners, whom I am concerned about and am placing on notice!
With the exception of 1 1/2 months with the Mariners, Logan Morrison(LoMo) has been mediocre. At first base and in the outfield, Morrison offers little as a defender. Offensively, LoMo has 9 hits in 51 at bats for a miserable .176 batting average. LoMo has zero extra base hits, zero RBI, and zero walks so far this year.
In 2014, LoMo was buoyed by hitting .321 with six homers and an .878 OPS over his last 51 games. But, the alarms rang out during spring training when LoMo hit for a measly .250. We continue to see his decent further into what his career numbers look like.
As a lifetime .250 hitter with an average of 10 homeruns, 20 RBI, and what seems to be at least one injury, per year, LoMo fails to impress. If something dramatic doesn’t manifest, the Mariners will need to take a look at dropping LoMo and trading for a 1st baseman or recalling Jesus Montero or Stefan Romero.
Rickie has 5 hits in 29 at bats (.172 average), in ten games. Weeks has been unable to garner much at the plate as an overaggressive style and advanced aging (33 years old) has seemed to make him incapable of getting on base. In addition to the poor batting average, Weeks has failed to put the ball in play enough or work a count to get on base (11 strikeouts to 1 walk).
Rickie has been placed in an unenviable position of learning a new position (left field) after having been a 2nd baseman for 14 years with the Milwaukee Brewers. Defensively, he appears slow but competent; however his playing time has severely reduced the role of Dustin Ackley who by far is the better defender and 7 years younger.
It is telling that manager Lloyd McClendon has been played him sparingly in the last two series against Texas and Houston. The correct move here is to see what Ackley can provide over the next couple months; Dustin is at the crossroads of his career, it is now put up or shut up time. Weeks should be kept as a backup to teach the younger players and pinch hit as needed.
I have failed to be critical of one of my favorite players, Hisashi Iwakuma (Kuma); however, now is the time to be concerned. In 3 starts this year, Kuma has given up 12 runs, 5 of which were homeruns. His 6.61 ERA is concerning as are the 20 hits that he has given up in 16 innings.
Kuma was a concern last year as well; September 2014 was a house of horrors as he gave up 20 runs on 28 hits in the final 5 games. We will have to see what the future holds these next couple weeks, but for a 34 year old pitcher, it is rare to see a resounding comeback.
Optimally, he works through his issues. But options are thin at the minor league level; Roenis Elias, is one option.
Rodney lives on the precipice of disaster seemly every time he pitches. In 2014, Rodney lead the American League in saves (48), additionally, he had a very good ERA (2.85) and a healthy strike out to walk ratio (7:2). What was masked by these fantastic numbers were the way he went about achieving the saves.
Rodney’s saves often comprised giving up baserunners and initiating heart attacks in the Seattle Side Up faithful with a constant flirt with danger. Fundamentally, the closer position is an overrated position and talent exists on the team to replace Rodney. With the exception of a Dennis Eckersley or Mariano Rivera, a closer gathers stats based on circumstance rather than talent. Currently, Yoervis Medina and Dominic Leone are more than capable of taking this position from Rodney.