The arrival of Adam Jones – No. 1 in your hearts, No. 10 on the field – is going to be the first major challenge for manager John McLaren.
He’s already survived a seven-game losing streak. Now, he has to deal with getting veteran players their at-bats, giving Jones a reason to be in the majors and keeping clubhouse chemistry from going off-line.
Jones is an outfielder on a team with three regulars, and while he will mix his playing time in left field with Raul Ibanez, his arrival is going to impact Ibanez, DH Jose Vidro and Ben Broussard.
All three are veteran professionals. None is going to enjoy sitting on the bench in a pennant race.
It’s amazing, but for the first four months of the season, not one position player went down with an injury requiring time on the DL – and the team had used the same 13 players all season.
Now, that mix will change. Jason Ellison has been designated for assignment, left field will become a daily matchup against whoever the opposition is pitching. The DH is likely to involve several players.
And Broussard? McLaren isn’t about to fully bench Richie Sexson, and with Jones on hand Broussard isn’t going to get many at-bats as an outfielder.
How it all works out will likely mean the difference between making the post-season and going home with a much-improved record this season. McLaren’s job is to make it all work smoothly.
Something to keep in mind in the weeks to come. Upon Jones arrival, the Mariners were 12 games over .500.