Time for another battle of the position sort. Today we will be taking a look at the battle for the bench roles this season.
Willie Bloomquist is one of the most versitile players in the MLB today, or ever. By playing all of the infield and outfield positions for the past five years or so, he is a lock for a bench role. Something that the Port Orchard native is accustomed to.
In sort of a question mark move, the Mariners brought in Miguel Cairo. Yes Cairo is a solid option as an infield backup, but Willie is better. He'd also brings some leadership to the clubhouse, but that's about it. If this guy was brought in on a minor league contract, than this guy wouldn't look so bad. But why give him a garunteed contract? I guess Bavasi figured that he must keep up with his signings that look good but turn out bad, and Miguel Cairo must be the equivalent of Carl Everett.
Another lock on the bench is veteran catcher Jamie Burke, who with his .301 average last season worked well with the pitchers, lowering their ERA's. Burke was the backup last season, and if RA Dickey makes the team this season, than he will be even more of a lock, if that's possible, because of his ability to handle the knuckleball, and well, Jojhima's ability to not handle it.
With those three in, it looks like their will only be a battle for the final spot. Their will be many candidates for this gig. Someone getting a good look, or should be getting a good look, is Wladimir Balentien. There is talk that if Wlad has a good Spring, than he could find himself in a platoon role with Brad Wilkerson. Balentien has been stick behind the prospect wall of Adam Jones these past few seasons, will finally get a good, or better look this Spring. I don't know if I want to see this guy as a bench player because he has a ton of potential. I would rather see him back at AAA to start the season, and see where things go.
Another candidate would be Mike Morse. Morse's felxability is what makes him a good candidate for this spot. Not to mention the fact that he is out of options. Morse has been one of those guys that everyone, well maybe not everyone, has been pushing for to be with the big club, and this may be the year that he does that.
Jeremy Reed is another one who could be with the big club. I told you to watch him, as he was a starter with this club a couple years ago. This final bench job is turning into the fourth outfielder role. Reed can play all of the outfield positions, and is a left handed bat. I'd say that that could work out into his favor.
One last name that I want to mention, is Charlton Jimerson. I'm not too firmilier with this guy, but he looks like he knows what he is doing. My pick: I'd say Wlad as a platoon partner for Wilkerson, but if the Mariners decide not to go that way, than I'd say that Morse makes it.