The Seattle Mariners’ good start at the plate will make manager Eric Wedge’s job more difficult with outfielders Mike Carp and Franklin Guiterrez scheduled to return from the disabled list in the next week or two.
The two players filling in for them, Chone Figgins and Michael Saunders, have been a pleasant surprise so far at the plate and will stay with the team once Carp and Guiterrez return to the Mariners.
Figgins, who has been playing left field and batting leadoff, will force Wedge to be creative with his daily lineup. Figgins will most likely play multiple positions so he can play everyday.
Third baseman Kyle Seager is leading the team in RBIs, and will continue getting regular starts at third base, as long as he keeps hitting consistently. Seager’s backup Alex Liddi will be the first player sent down. Liddi surprised everybody when he made the team out of spring training. He has started one game this season and would benefit by more consistent playing time down in Tacoma.
The second roster move will prove to be more difficult for the skipper. Centerfielder Michael Saunders is taking advantage of his golden opportunity to play in Guiterrez’s absence. Saunders has been solid with the bat and patrolling centerfield with an impressive glove. He’ll likely split time when Guiterrez returns.
That leaves Casper Wells as the second roster move. Wells plays both corner outfield positions and hasn’t seen much action this season. With Figgins demanding consistent playing time, he will be the primary backup to Mike Carp in leftfield. Wells will also benefit from more playing time down in Tacoma.
With the probability of Figgins starting everyday without a regular position, it will be up to Carp to get things rolling early at the plate. The Mariners only have three homeruns to start the season and would benefit from Carp’s left handed bat. If Carp slumps early he could lose his starting spot in leftfield and would be relegated to utility backup at first base, leftfield and DH.
Guiterrez will be given more rope to get things going. He is a gold glove centerfield who was poised to have a comeback season after being injured for much of the last two seasons.
Overall, it will be interesting see how the lineup evolves during the season. Manager Eric Wedge will have more options, as competition will increase around the diamond.
These problems are welcome to Mariner fans. For young players who are part of the Mariners’ future, fighting for more playing time is a good thing. It’s a welcome relief compared to last year, when Milton Bradley, Jack Cust and Jack Wilson were getting regular playing time and the future was down in Tacoma.