Five Moves the M’s Should Make (Soon)
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on May 9, 2006
These are the 10 moves I'd make today – trade details aside. [coming soon]
1. Make room in the rotation for Bobby Livingston or send him back to Triple-A
Until Joel Pineiro or Gil Meche is traded, Bobby Livingston should be in Tacoma. He's wasting away in the M's bullpen and while I'm sure he's loving that big-league pay check, pitching just 4 2/3 innings since April 19 is preposterous and detrimental to his development.
Livingston has the potential to lock down a rotation spot for 2007, and he is being grossly misused by Mike Hargrove and the Mariners right now.
This club has very few young assets, and it's about time they stop abusing the ones they do have.
2. Start clearing space in the bullpen for Emiliano Fruto
This means you, Eddie Guardado. It's time to start thinking about 2007 in the bullpen. Not because the M's have no chance at 2006 yet, because in this division they are still in the race, but because thinking ahead actually helps this year's club.
Calling up Fruto today isn't what I am suggesting. He's not quite ready. But come August, he's going to be ready to get a taste and I don't want there to be an excuse such as "there's no room, we have Bobby and Eddie."
Get Eddie some favorable situations to pitch in, perhaps enough to give him back his closer role and trade him off on July 31 to a contender needing a lefty setup man and insurance at the closer spot.
No haggling, just do it.
3. Re-insert Jeremy Reed into the starting lineup – including 1/2 of the games versus left-handed pitching
Anything Reed does for the Mariners will depend on his on-field performance. Whether he's included in a trade or simply earns a starting role, it will all depend on his bat coming around.
Sooo, he needs to play.
Get him 350 ABs the rest of the season, including a fair amount versus lefties, and see what value he can give the club, either in performance or as part of a trade – deadline or winter.
He's far too talented to stay this bad for so long. Bat him 8th, every day.
4. Trade away Carl Everett and Matt Lawton to make room for Shin-soo Choo and eventually Chris Snelling
I've been asked on the air every week of the season whether there is help on the farm for the struggling M's offense. Every week I have answered the same way.
"No. Choo is the most ML-ready bat but he's not going to give you more than Everett or Ibanez is giving you right now."
I still believe that but… Choo is also not going to hurt you much more than Everett is these days and while I don't think Everett is killing the M's, he doesn't have a future with the club beyond 2006 – and Choo may – so why wait?
And Lawton deserves to play and if he's not going to start three days a week, he should go, too. Besides, Snelling will be big-league ready by June and he's just as good at the plate as either Everett or Lawton.
Three players for two spots. Considering Choo's development curve, Snelling's injury risk and Ibanez's age and defensive shortcoming's (range), rotating the three players at two positions, left field and DH, is a pretty good idea.
And if the M's were smart enough to slide Ichiro over to center field, well, we'd have a different discussion altogether.
Choo in left, Snelling in right and Ichiro in center. Speed, defense and cannon arms abound. Not to mention that with the DH spot, it's a better offensive foursome then they have right now and it's also conducive to the future of the club.
5. Take advantage of the resurgence of Joel Pineiro and Gil Meche
Again, I don't mean trade them right away. Their value is still building after hideous seasons in 2004 and 2005. The longer they pitch well the more value they build.
There will be plenty of clubs interested in 27-year-old starting pitchers in July.
If Bavasi is willing to include young players such as Reed or Rene Rivera in a deal for Meche or Pineiro, the M's could snag a few solid young, ML-ready prospects or a combination of prospects and young major leaguers at positions of need.
[Suggestions for trades, in detail, coming later tonight.]
Right now, there are 20 teams that are either in first place or within five games of first place. That's incredible, and though it's just 30-35 games into the schedule, some of that parity is going to remain.
There could be 12-14 teams in the market for pitching this summer.
It's a good year for the M's to have a few young pitchers turn their careers around. If indeed that is what Meche and Pineiro are doing.
It sure appears that way.
Let's just hope Bavasi proves he can make the big trade as well as he makes the small one.
Photo Credits –
Jeremy Reed: Out of the Park Images