Tag Archives: Mariners positon battles

Position Battles to Watch

Maybe next year.

With pitchers and catchers due to report Sunday, it’s time to start wondering what the 2012 roster will look like.

Most of the positions have been locked down, but this spring there will be three interesting position battles to keep an eye on: catcher, left field and third base.


With the acquisition of Jesus Montero, the Mariners should have upgraded their offense, but some think they have also created a logjam at catcher. The Mariners are expected to break camp with three catchers: Montero, John Jaso and Miguel Olivo.

Montero has been such a highly rated prospect because he has a C after his name. The reality of the situation though, is the Montero is not ready to catch at the big league level.

Montero should spend most of this season at DH.

Maybe next year.

Montero probably will catch a few games, and probably won’t be a disaster when he does, but he won’t be good, and will probably be more of a defensive liability than Olivo.

Furthermore, catching every day hurts offensive production, and Montero was brought here for his bat, so that is what he should do.

It makes no sense to damage Montero’s health and offensive potential (ask the Twins and Joe Mauer how that worked out).

John Jaso should get the starting job over Montero and Olivo at catcher.

Jaso batted .263/.372/.378 with just over 400 ABs with the Rays in 2010, earning him a nice 2.7 WAR.  His 2011 campaign wasn’t great though after being hampered by injuries, and he ended the season with a slash line of .224/.298/.354. Jaso should bounce back this season,but he won’t hit dingers, but should be offer more help defensively and offensively than Olivo.

Expect Jaso to catch about 90 games this year, with Olivo catching about 45 and the rest will probably go to Montero.

Left Field

Left field should also provide an interesting position battle between Mike Carp and Casper Wells.  Offensively, they are similar players. Look:

















Both Carp and Wells have been basically the same batters.

Defensively though, Wells beats Carp. Wells has a good arm and ability to track down the ball, so he should get the starting job over Carp.

Carp’s ceiling at this point is something like a Raul Ibanez, a good bat, but sub-par glove.

Third Base

Where things get really interesting though is at third base.

Kyle Seager should be the favorite to get the starting job, as he is the youngest and showed flashes of being good last season.

Seager didn’t walk much, but didn’t strike out much. Which is good, but remember in September Seager only hit a mere .210.

Seager has flown through the minors, and only played 23 games in Tacoma last year. Seager is very raw, and has three other players could take his job.

Those three players that could take the starting job at third are Carlos Gullien, Luis Rodriguez and everyone’s favorite Mariner, Chone Figgins.

Gullien could take the starting role, but hasn’t been himself since 2009 due to injuries, thus he hasn’t played over 100 games in a season since then.

If Gullien can come to spring training and show that he is healthy and can play most of the season, it would not be surprising to see him snatch the starting role.  However, at 36 years old, odds are against him.

Now to the fan favorite, Figgins. Since his arrival in 2010, Figgins has done little to nothing for the Mariners, however, this season, he might provide some use.

If Figgins doesn’t wrestle the starting job away from Seager or Gullien, he’ll spend this season playing the role of a poor man’s Mark McLemore.

With Figgin’s ability to play third and left field he provides much needed depth in those positions.  If Franklin Gutierrez faces health issues again, Wells can slide into center, with Carp taking over left while still allowing someone to still get a day off.

Please don't suck like this again.

Luis Rodriguez will probably be in the conversation for the third base/utility role, as he did provide some great moments last year, like the Toronto comeback.

However, the player that will probably have to worry about Rodriguez, is back up shortstop Munenori Kawasaki, who has much to prove after coming here from Japan.

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