Mariners Insider

Build the all-new Mariners infield for 2010

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Nov. 3, 2009 at 10:49 am with 21 Comments »
November 9, 2009 5:26 pm
Mike Carp
Mike Carp

By the time the Seattle Mariners get to camp in three months, the infield they begin working with could be without a single starter from Opening Day 2009.

Already, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt is gone. Third baseman Adrian Beltre is headed toward free agency and a National League team. That leaves second baseman Jose Lopez and first baseman Russell Branyan.

When GM Jack Zduriencik begins the serious off-season work of adding pieces to an 85-win team, Lopez is going to be one of the few tradeable players the Mariners are open to moving. He’s not a gifted middle infielder, he does have value.

And Branyan? He’s not signed yet, but more important, once he is he could become the team’s designated hitter. There are better defensive first baseman on the roster – Mike Carp, for instance.

What kind of infield might Seattle field?

Carp at first. Josh Wilson, Matt Tuiasosopo or Bill Hall at second. Jack Hannahan or Tui or Hall at third. Jack Wilson – or Josh – at shortstop.

Jack Wilson is due $8.2 million next season, which seems a lot for the player the Mariners saw the final two months last year.

From what the Mariners have on-hand – no fair signing free agents just yet – what infield alignment would you like to see?

Wager that manager Don Wakamatsu and his staff are mulling the same question.

Leave a comment Comments → 21
  1. el_gato_furioso says:

    Not sure where Carp started being accused of being a good 1B glove.

    And it’s a good thing that jack Wilson has this whole Major League career thing to look at as opposed to two unfortunate injury plagued months with Seattle.

    3B Hannahan/Hall
    SS Jack Wilson (on an extension that’s something like 10 mil over 2 years)
    2B Tui (until we upgrade through free agency)
    1B Branyan (he’ll sign before free agency begins during the 15 day exclusive negotiating period)

  2. I’d agree with the furious cat above.

    Not 100% sure if Lopez is traded, but Tui at 2B wouldn’t be a horrible option, nor would letting Hannahan/Hall play there as well.

    If no other DH is found I’d rather have Branyan at DH and Carp at 1B to save the wear and tear on Branyan’s body.

    Josh Wilson should not be a starter, and if Hannahan/Hall isn’t a starter, I’d much rather have them on the bench over Wilson.

    Ideally we add some guys and have a bench containing Hall, Hannahan, Langerhans, and Rob Johnson….and possibly a 5th guy depending on the bullpen situation.

  3. el_gato_furioso says:

    I agree that Josh Wilson has no place. He’s just not a ML player. People that like him are the same ones that dislike Jack. They revel in small sample sizes.

    I’m hoping they throw Hannahan in at SS in ST. if he could play the MIF he’d really become an asset. As much so as hall learning how to make contact again.

    And I think if you end up going with a Hall/Hannahan platoon at 3rd you have another bench spot open for a hitter/ designated tickler.

  4. 1b branyan 2b tui 3b lopez ss josh wilson backup hanrahan not the best option for defense but need to drop jach wilson to free up more cash to sign felix.

  5. hellomouthbreathers says:

    1B – Someone that can hit
    2B – Someone that can hit
    3B – Someone that can hit
    SS – Someone that can hit

  6. eastcoastmariner says:

    Any option that involves josh wilson, hall/hanahan, tui, and carp all starting in the same infield also involves a Mariner team that will struggle to win 70 games. Branyan will be back. Lopez will either be traded, with someone being brought in, or he’ll remain at Second Base. Jack Wilson will probably be retained on a deal that doesnt see him making any figure close to $8 million per year. Third base is either Tui or someone that is brought in. I dont see Hall/Hanahan providing any starting value to the Mariners.

  7. el_gato_furioso says:

    You’d be hard pressed to find a solution at 3B that’s going to be better than Hall/Hannahan. Beltre is not resigning and there is a dearth of high value 3rd basemen in all of baseball. Even more scarce, high value 3rd basemen that are even remotely available.
    You could make the argument that Aramis Rameriz might be available. But what he’d cost in terms of talent and salary would far outweigh the upgrade over Hall/Hannahan.

  8. el_gato_furioso says:

    And we don’t need to let anyone go to free up room to resign Felix. That is, we don’t need to jettison anymore contracts. Batista/Washburn/Beltre/Johjima/Bedard/Betancourt to name the big ones in case you were away in 09

  9. fountaindale says:

    What do they say… build strength up the middle. We need to get our shortstop, second basemen, and catcher of the future in place. Even if it they are too green to win with they need to play together, build together and Gutierrez isn’t getting any younger in center. Pay or trade… just do what it takes to get those pieces in place. The middle infield revolving door just doesn’t cut it.

  10. IF Lopez is traded:

    1b Carp
    2b trade for someone
    SS trade for someone Wilson is NOT worth 10 mil.
    3b Tui
    DH Branyan

    If Lopez isn’t traded he either needs to go to 1b or DH if at all possible, though I really would like to see Carp as an everyday player.

    Let’s take the 1st couple months of 2010 to see if Carp & Tui are major future pieces of the puzzle. I’m also hoping Johnson gets healthy sooner rather then later. Now that Joh is gone, it would suck to have another 3 catcher problem. It would also be helpful to find out just how good of an mlb hitter a HEALTHY RJ is.

    My opinion continues to be resign Burke if possible if RJ isn’t ready. He’s a steady player who can mentor Moore & won’t be eal upset when RJ comes back.

  11. I heard today that Washburn has again gone on record as wanting to return. If the price is right, i say go for it. We need a couple more SOLID starters.

  12. eastcoastmariner says:

    Moving Lopez to 1B/DH permanently is a bad idea because it negates any value he has to a ball club. His bat checks in around average for a 2B and would clearly be less than average for a 1B/DH

    Rob Johnson is not, nor ever will be, a good MLB hitter. I like the guy but his destiny as a career backup us now in place with Moore ready to take the reigns as the full time catcher from here on forward.

    Washburn is not returning. Why would you overpay for him when their are currently at least 4 other options on the roster(Vargas,Fister,French,Olson) that could produce similar value at a much cheaper cost

  13. wabubba67 says:

    C Moore (Johnson as back-up)
    1B Branyan (Sweeney as back-up; Carp in AAA for one more year)
    2B Hall (excellent defense and some power; Lopez will be traded in the winter; could also be filled by whatever young middle infielder we get in return with Lopez)
    SS Jack Wilson (until the trade deadline)
    3B Tuiasosopo (look at him! He is the prototype for what a 3B should be…not a 2B)

    I would trade Branyan as soon as he looks healthy and productive again (late May or June); trade Jack Wilson to a playoff contending team in the NL that values an experienced gold glove type SS and has suffered an injury–there will likely be one at some point.

    This is still going to be another rebuilding year…find out if Hall can hit or if he is just done, find out if Saunders can play at this level, and get younger by trading off older pieces that will not be productive by the time the Mariners are truly competitive again. (Though Hernandez does not fit that profile and I would LOVE it if he resigned with the team, I would also trust Z if he decided to trade him.)

  14. wabubba67 says:

    Btw, Jack Wilson strikes me as being a Tony LaRussa type SS…I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up in St. Louis via trade.

  15. el_gato_furioso says:

    What?! Trade Felix because we should be trading off older pieces? The guy is 23 years old. You know, 23 like Tui.
    he may need to be traded but this is this first I’ve heard anyone say it’s because of his ripening age.

  16. wabubba67 says:

    Please read el gato,

    I said that “Hernandez does not fit that profile (aging players)”

  17. I agree that we need to extend or trade Felix, but i strongly hope it’s extend.

    I also stick to my opinion that I believe a HEALTHY RJ may very well be a reasonably strong MLB hitter. Don’t know if Moore is ready to start yet.

  18. pgrahlfs says:

    “…a HEALTHY RJ may very weel be a reasonably strong MLB hitter.”

    Based on what? He is currently a below average Major League hitter, there is nothing to indicate that he can even be a average Major Leage hitter.

    I’m not sure I would call hall a excellent defensive 2B either.

  19. Seahawks2620 says:

    If they plan on fielding that kind of infield this year then that is not building off of a 85 win team to me. That is like building off of a AAA infield that hopes to win 60 games.

  20. bigmike04 says:

    Hey Larry
    Do you know if their plans to resign anyone from Tacoma and give them shot at ST?
    Jerry Owens? Brad Nelson? Mike Koplove? Pratice Redman?

  21. pgrahlfs says:
    November 4, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    “…a HEALTHY RJ may very well be a reasonably strong MLB hitter.”

    Based on what? He is currently a below average Major League hitter, there is nothing to indicate that he can even be a average Major Leage hitter.

    Based on RJ hitting .305 at aaa Tacoma in 2008. He is a career .270 minor league hitter, has hit over .300 in 2 seasons, has only played in 90 games at the mlb level, & as we now know was injured for much of 2009.

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