If you’re a young player, too good for AAA, but not quite good enough to be a Major League starter, there’s no better situation than what the Mariners have had to offer the last couple seasons. Neither here nor there: if you’re a washed-up veteran clinging to your final seasons, there’s ALSO no better situation than the Mariners right now.
The proof is right there on the field. Justin Smoak has been handed the keys to the First Base job as well as batting smack dab in the middle of the order. Michael Saunders has had an extended tryout with the big club last year on into this one. Fister and Vargas took advantage of a wide-open starting rotation (after Felix) last year, to become established starters this year. Michael Pineda won himself a spot in this season’s rotation and is so far making the most of his opportunity. Lueke and Wilhelmsen won spots in a wide open bullpen this year; and even though they’ve struggled thus far, they’re still getting valuable Major League experience. And everyone believes Dustin Ackley will be up with the big ballclub by June, taking over at least a platoon at second base in hopes of winning it outright going into next season.
These are the guys! These are the guys right here, gaining experience, learning the ins and outs of the American League, learning how to be Major Leaguers. Our core. Our future. A solid rotation, a first and second baseman, an outfielder and a couple of relievers, all at varying stages of progress. Maybe some of them are as good as they’re ever going to be, but hopefully some of them are still scratching the surface and will eventually turn out to be All stars.
At the very least, we hope they become pieces that lead us to a World Series championship; but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
You know who’s a young player, too good for AAA, but not quite good enough to be a Major League starter? Adam Moore. He should BE here! This is TOTALLY the perfect situation for him! He can come along slowly, play once or twice a week, and ultimately relax. Without the pressure of being the Number 1 catcher, Adam Moore can just focus on those couple of starts every week, and hopefully improve.
Well, he COULD do that, if he could stay healthy. Unfortunately, he can’t, as it’s been learned this week that he has an extensive meniscus tear and will miss the rest of the season.
This is bad news. Bad for him, obviously, because he’s missing a golden opportunity, and bad for the team because that’s another season’s worth of being set back in his progress. We all know it takes catchers longer to realize their full potential; well, it’s going to take a million times longer if he keeps giving away seasons like these due to freak injuries.
Ultimately, I can only expect the worst. Adam Moore is done. Oh, he’s not LITERALLY done. I’m sure he’ll get over this surgery, rehab the knee, and fight like a rabid dog to get back to playing baseball again next year. But, this is two knee surgeries in two years (on two different knees) for one man. A catcher at that! He’s going to be 28 next May, with the aforementioned two knee surgeries and having missed the last season and a half. That spells D-O-N-E in my book. Call me a hater, call me a Doubting Thomas, but in the end you’ll call me Correct.
Of course, if he proves me wrong and goes on to be a major star with the Mariners, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
At some point, though, this team is going to have to move on. We’re lacking in catching prospects in the upper minors, so that MIGHT mean we have to look at the Number 2 pick in this year’s amateur draft towards the catching position. If we find a guy we know we can fast-track in a couple years, don’t say I didn’t warn you, Adam Moore.
It really is too bad, though. With Olivo playing like cancer this past series, I would’ve been gladly atop my soapbox, pounding the table in the name of More Playing Time For Moore! That would’ve been a great title for a post too! Ehh, maybe next year. Or maybe NEVER.