Mariners Tidbit 8: The Short Stop Battle Has Been Decided

It wasn’t supposed to end in the second week of March, but that’s what happens when Chris Taylor gets hit by a pitch and fractures a bone in his wrist.

The Weatherman Is Dead!!!

The Weatherman Is Dead!!!

Word around the Internet makes it sound like Chris Taylor will be out until mid-to-late May, so that kinda sucks I guess.  My initial reaction is twofold:

  1. Pretty happy we didn’t trade away Brad Miller in our offseason moves
  2. Pretty happy we didn’t waive Willie Bloomquist to make room for a Miller/Taylor platoon

The first point is pretty obvious.  I think most of us were happy the team kept Miller (even when fans were gnashing their teeth about the Michael Saunders trade), because no one in his right mind believes either Miller or Taylor automatically DESERVES to be handed the starting short stop job.  This was always going to be a battle to be decided in Spring Training, and that’s the way it should’ve been.

It doesn’t even matter that we all believed Miller had the edge all along; it’s always better to have competition and to have someone driving you to be a better player.  I have no doubt Brad Miller is a better baseball player thanks to all the competition we’ve put on his plate the last year and change.  Now, whether that means he’s Major League-ready, day-in and day-out, is another thing.

The second point is probably a point of contention among the Willie Must Go crowd.  I think we’re all in agreement that a 2-year guaranteed deal was too much to give Willie before last season, but that’s what it took to land him, we did it, and it’s done.  2015 is the final year of that 2-year deal.  The only question about whether or not he’d have a spot on this 25-man roster saved for him boiled down to whether or not he recovered from his surgery.  It looks like he’s recovered, and so here he is.  To stay.

A good chunk of the fanbase thought we should waive Willie.  Makes sense, when you think about it.  Both Brad Miller and Chris Taylor are better at baseball than Willie is right now.  This team would be better off in 2015 keeping Miller & Taylor on the 25-man and cutting Willie in the process.  Miller & Taylor could play all the infield spots, Weeks is already slotted in as a backup first baseman, and we’ve got about six guys who can play in the outfield.

Well, now with Taylor going down, I guess a good chunk of the fanbase is going to have to walk back some of those Willie comments.  Look who’s all of a sudden very crucial to our Major League depth!  Look who’s now the only healthy Major League-ready backup short stop in the organization!  Willie Fucking Bloomquist doesn’t sound so bad now, does he???

Obviously, I’m not Willie’s biggest supporter or anything.  But, I always thought it was a longshot to kick him off the roster.  It’s not that I think his leadership presence is all that important.  I just think I’d rather have the loser of the Miller/Taylor battle get his work in as an everyday starter down in Tacoma until we need him.  Why keep the loser in the Majors, getting 1-2 days of work per week?  I’m no expert, but that feels like a good way to stunt a player’s growth.

So now, here we are.

Short Stop Battle Winner:  Brad Miller (a.k.a. Default)

In other news, Roenis Elias got the start yesterday and looked like his usual okay self.

Fifth Starter Battle Advantage:  Taijuan Walker

Tomorrow, or sometime soon, I’m going to get into this whole second lefty in the bullpen idea.  Here’s a sneak peek:  why is Charlie Furbush automatically guaranteed to be the FIRST lefty in the bullpen when he’s arguably the third or fourth best?

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