Put on those general manager deep-thinking hats and take care of this Seattle Mariners problem with the designated hitter, shall we?
Ken Griffey Jr. is batting .217, Mike Sweeney .111 and the DH overall has batted .171 in the team’s first 19 games , with no home runs and six RBI. That’s an issue.
GM Jack Zduriencik and manager Don Wakamatsu know all about it, and have talked almost daily about it – but seeing it and resolving it are different propositions. Griffey would be willing to step aside and sit on the bench if a better hitter was on board.
Releasing Sweeney, benching Junior – that’s not the hard part. Finding a better hitter to slide into their place? Not in this organization.
There’s no one on the roster who is a proven better hitter than Griffey – certainly not Eric Brynes or Matt Tuiasosopo, so making Milton Bradley the full-time DH doesn’t improve the offense.
At AAA Tacoma, the leading hitter is infielder Josh Wilson. DH candidate Mike Carp? He’s under .250. The answer doesn’t appear to be in the minor league system.
So how do you get a productive bat?
First, you probably have to wait at least into June to find a team willing to admit it’s given up on 2010 and can trade a hitter for, say, pitching. Then, you have to have something another team wants badly enough to move a bat for.
Do the Mariners have that? Even if they’re starting Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee and Erik Bedard by June 1, other big-league teams aren’t going to be lured into a deal for Doug Fister, Jason Vargas, Ryan Rowland-Smith or Ian Snell.
The Mariners don’t have a package of minor league pitching to bring a bat in return. At least nothing scouts find intriguing.
So here’s the plea: Come up with a more productive bat for this lineup. Be realistic. Be creative. And please, be quick!