In an odd move the Mariners have cut a deal with Miguel Olivo apparently for 2 years at $7 million. Many of you remember Olivo from 04-05 when he came over from the White Sox as part of the Freddy Garcia trade. Olivo hit just .176 while with the Mariners, but seems to have improved his approach at the plate hitting .269/315/449 with 14 homers in 112 games last year for Colorado.
This move clouds the picture behind the plate as Adam Moore was supposed to be the catcher of the future despite struggling to hit Major league pitching last year. Adam Moore seems to be a guy along with Michael Saunders that everyone kind of knows doesn’t have the right stuff, but we were all getting ready for a year of “Letting the young guys play” anyway.
It appears the Mariners organization has learned to behave in the classic Seattle ” Passive aggressive” style, rather than confront an issue head on and perhaps even admit they have made a mistake and thus are going in a different direction. So now the two catchers will be going to spring training not knowing who is the starter. Now don’t get me wrong I think competition is a good thing and will force either Moore or Olivo to step-up and fight for the starting spot.
What worries me is that it seems we have tried this scenario before with Jojima and Rob Johnson, then last year with the Johnson, Bard, Moore shuffle. This sort of thing is bad for chemistry and leaves a permanent feeling of being unsettled lingering in the air. New manager Eric Wedge indicated in his recent interview that Milton Bradley would be in a similar limbo-like role next year as well. The good teams don’t use the Major Leagues as a place to try guys out. The good teams groom young talent, then bring them up when they are ready and if they have what it takes they stay in the Majors, otherwise they are sent back down or released to go sell Insurance or learn how to coach.
This move is frustrating from a fan perspective and does not seem to make much sense, though I am sure the front office will provide enough spin to keep the average fan pacified for now.
In other new the Mariners picked-up a young pitcher by the name of Jose Flores through the Rule-5 draft and must keep him on the 40 man roster now. Flores apparently can throw strikes and his fast ball reaches 95 on a regular basis. The one concern with him is that he has only pitched at the single A level so far in the Cleveland organization, and thus has a ways to go in his development. Happy Holidays! Tugboat Jeff at http://jeffsmariners.com