M’s call Trumbo aboard floundering ship
You gotta give me a little credit. Even though I’m tempted to use the moss-backed line about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic a dozen or so times every season, I’m able to resist the urge except for maybe once every year or two.
So I shall resist the urge today. Which is easier because the Seattle Mariners are not the Titanic. Not quite yet.
Monday night, the Mariners’ Hall of Fame starting pitcher took a beating from the Yankees. Tuesday morning, Ken Rosenthal detailed the Mariners’ many problems this season. Tuesday night, the Mariners blew a ninth-inning lead – among their problems: their closer’s now sporting a 6.85 ERA – on their way to an 11-inning loss. Wednesday afternoon, the M’s lost to the Yankees again. Which left them nine games behind the first-place Astros.
Now’s when I remind you that the Mariners were, at least in some quarters, considered the best team in the American League West just a couple of months ago.
But a nine-game gap between the Mariners and first place isn’t a season-sinking iceberg. Not on the 3rd of June, not quite.
Which is why it’s not exactly pointless for the Mariners to make a deal for Mark Trumbo.
Granted, Trumbo’s best positions are probably Designated Hitter and Right Field, which happen to be well-covered by Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith. Logan Morrison’s been disappointing at first base, but a) Trumbo’s not much of a first baseman, and b) Morrison’s not terrible, especially against right-handed pitching; in fact, he’s almost certainly better against right-handed pitching than Trumbo.
The Mariners do have one huge, gaping hole in the lineup, though: Left Field, where Dustin Ackley and a host of others have combined for a 580 OPS this season, fourth-worst in the league. They’d be worse, except Smith’s seen some action out there.
Still, there’s not an obvious place for Trumbo in the Mariners’ lineup, especially when they’re facing a right-handed starting pitcher (which is most of the time). But because this is the deal they’re making now, probably the only deal for a while, Lloyd McClendon will probably feel compelled to get Trumbo into the lineup every day, which will hurt the defense some and won’t help the offense much against righties.
The Mariners were lefty-heavy, though, and a powerful right-handed bat used judiciously can make a difference at the margins.
Let’s make no mistake, though; this isn’t a season-changer. The M’s haven’t added radar to the pilot house, or adamantium to the hull.
Which is okay, because these Mariners aren’t sailing aboard the Titanic. Not yet.