Monday, March 10, 2008

Position Battle Updates: 3/10

A few more games have been played and it's time for an update on which players are distancing themselves from the pack in their respective position battles.

Long Relief - On Saturday I wrote that R.A. Dickey was the frontrunner for the long relief spot in the bullpen. Yesterday USS Mariner called his inclusion on the 25-man roster a "done deal," and Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider also gave a convincing argument. I have to say I'm starting to like Dickey more and more, which is saying a lot considering I never really wanted him on the team. I'm still concerned about having the knuckler coming out of the bullpen, but he is certainly looking better than some of the competition. Through Monday he's got a 1.29 ERA in 7 innings pitched, giving up just 4 hits along the way.

Horacio Ramirez couldn't find the strikezone in yesterday's ballgame, raising his Spring Training ERA to 5.40 after giving up 2 hits and 3 walks in his 3 innings of work. He only has pitched 5 innings so far, which is a very small sample size, but it looks awfully bad when the other guys are pitching so well. Dickey's ERA remains at 1.80 (5 innings) and Cha Seung Baek had a good Sunday outing to lower his to 1.50 (6 innings).

Ramirez is going to have to be sharp in order to keep this a three man race. Meanwhile, I'm slowly getting on the R.A. Dickey bandwagon.

Bench - In the aforementioned Prospect Insider post, Churchill thinks Seattle could go with a five man bench and he seems to think that Miguel Cairo will not be part of it. We all know that Miguel Cairo offers very little, but the team gave him a guaranteed contract and seem to like his versatility. He was off to a good start this spring, but seems to be fading. Unless he completely tanks I don't see Seattle dropping him. I may address the five man bench/six man bullpen possibility that Churchill wrote about within the next couple of days.

Mike Morse continues to tear the cover off the ball. He hit his second homer of the spring yesterday, an opposite field shot off of Arizona ace Brandon Webb. His spring average now sits at .500 in 24 at bats. There is no reason for him to not make the bench if he keeps this up.

Jeremy Reed is also making a nice impression, but he's got options left and manager John McLaren is on record as saying that he wants a right handed outfielder on his bench. Reed is currently hitting .462.

Wladimir Balentien continues to impress on offense. He went 4-for-5 today with a pair of doubles, raising his spring average to .357. There have been some questions about his defense, and Brad Wilkerson is also hitting .357, so the platoon possibility isn't likely right out of the gate.

Norton will probably need to show a little more to make the club. He's hitting .227 at the moment, and he may need Seattle to have a five man bench in order to make the team at this point.

Designated Hitter - Jose Vidro is the incumbent and likely choice for the DH spot, but there has been some thoughts that Jeff Clement could steal the job with a solid spring. Not a lot to report here: Jose Vidro is coming off a sore elbow and had a couple of knocks in today's ballgame. He currently has 4 singles in 15 at bats (.267). Clement has just 12 at bats so far, knocking 2 doubles and a single. You have to go with Vidro at this point, but we'll see how it works itself out as Spring Training continues. I get the feeling the coaches are focusing on his defense right now.

Second Base - This is another position where there wasn't a real battle, but there were rumblings during the offseason that prospect Yung Chi Chen could challenge Jose Lopez. Neither have done anything very impressive, as both are hitting just .222.

Bullpen - Rather than talk about who is impressing, it would be much easier to predict the first cuts from camp. Phillipe Aumont, Brodie Downs, Rob Rohrbaugh, Stephen Kahn and Roy Corcoran haven't shown much in their limited playing time, but none of them were really expected to make the 2008 team anyway. This thing is going to come down to the wire, so the updates will be more detailed later on.

To be honest, I skimped a little bit on this post. Anything you guys wanna add?


cjdahl60 said...

I say lose Cairo and Vidro. This strictly from a fan's perspective and obviously not from a payroll perspective.

I'd like to see both Morse, Reed and maybe Balentien make the team. WFB is a lock, right? There's your utility infielder.

What do you think?

Brandon said...

Dump Cairo, dump horam.
I've been clamoring for Morse all along, so now that he's hitting .500, i'd be really mad if he didn't make the squad.
I think we should use Reed as trade bait.
I think the Dickey/Baek decision will be a tough one, i would like to see both guys start up, but that's impractical. If possible, we should try to trade one.

drivindave said...

I would prefer Morse and Dickey at this point.Im impressed with alot of guys this spring and some others...hmmmm.BTW what is up with Bedard? he's having a horrible spring so far , hope he's just working the bugs out.

greyguy3 said...

The reason why Horam isn't doing well is he sucks. It was stupid for them to trade Soriano for him, stupid for them to give him arbitration, and if they let him make the team it will be stupid.

I'd sort of like to see Clement make the team but I kind of hate to see a young guy get shoved into the DH role without them making a serious effort to teach him a position.

Brandon said...

Give Clement a little more time in AAA, there's really not that much of a rush on him right now. Bavasi needs to just be a good GM and cut ties with HoRam...he was obviously a huge mistake, get rid of him now so that we don't have to feel the pain of remembering that horrible trade any longer.
Hopefully lopez gets going soon.