Dave Cameron of the USSMariner blog has been writing about this for weeks now. It’s time to let Mike Sweeney go. With a seven-man bullpen and TWO designated hitters, the Mariners are strapped for pinch hitting and pinch running options in late game situations.
Both Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Sweeney are beyond being able to fill in defensively, and neither is hitting particularly well. In fact, if you add their OPSs together, you get 0.968. The White Sox’s Paul Konerko has an OPS of 1.116 alone, and in fact, 9 other individuals in the American League have an OPS higher than Griffey and Sweeney combined. If you want to make the small sample size argument, then I need not look further than their last-year’s OPSs and DOBs.
Since the Mariners can’t possibly let my all-time favorite player go, the odd one out is Sweeney. There are much better options down in Tacoma, where Michael Saunders and Jack Hannahan are licking their chops.
Saunders, a left fielder, put up an OPS of 0.922 in AAA Tacoma last season before being called up, and Hannahan can play multiple infield positions. Between Oakland and Seattle, Hannahan has posted an Adrian Beltre-like UZR defensive rating at third base, and has the flexibility to play any of the infield positions (minus the battery). Saunders got off to a good start in his second game of the season on Sunday, cranking one out in his second at bat.
According to USSMariner, when Milton Bradley rolls doubles and gets out of jail, in all likelihood one of the DHs will go, and Saunders will stay. This is exciting news for the offense. Not that Saunders is going to take this team from the worst hitting team in the AL to the best, but anything would be an improvement over the current DH situation.