Sunday, June 9, 2013

Newcomers Morales, Morse and Ibanez Leading the Charge

by Jackson Safon

It is no secret that the offense of the Mariners is and has been struggling this year. However, these struggles can’t be attributed to the three main newcomers of the team Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez. The Mariners are second to last in the American League in runs scored, third to last in hits, third to last in on-base percentage and third to last in slugging percentage, which are obvious causes for their 22-29 record. After going on a little bit of a streak a few weeks ago, peaking at 20-21 and second in the division, they have lost eight of ten and are now fourth in the division. Inconsistent pitching has plagued the team, but when it comes to hitting, they have been consistently below par. Six Mariners hitters have batted less than .200 over the past 30 days, including starting center fielder Michael Saunders, but there are some bright spots.

If Michael Morse can stay healthy, he should prove to be a huge asset for the Mariners.
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Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse, and Raul Ibanez have really come on over the last month or so, and are leading the team in all offensive categories. Over the past 30 days, Morales and Ibanez are one and two in average, as well as tied for the team lead in RBI. Ibanez and Morse are first and second in home runs over the past month, and Ibanez has been particularly hot, with seven home runs and eighteen RBI in just fifteen games. These guys are obviously the key to the Mariners offense as of late and with all three of them being new to the team this year (even if Ibanez and Morse have had previous stints with the team), it is a testament to Jack Z. and Mariners management to have gone out and acquired guys that we need. The Mariners front offense has been trashed as of late for drafting poorly, making poor moves in the free agent market, as well as not going out to get the kind of guys this team really needs, hitters.

Even though I am not truly happy with the job Jack Zduriencik has done so far, I do think he deserves credit at least for trying to get hitters that can help bolster the offense. The team as a whole has not performed at an extremely high level offensively, but three new additions have performed at a very high level recently, which should not go overlooked. The question is however, what is the next move Zduriencik will make, as all three of these guys are going to be free agents at the end of the season. Will we resign one, two, or all three of them? Will we trade Kendrys Morales, as is of popular opinion?

Should the Mariners re-sign, trade or let Kendrys Morales go at the end of the season?
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With the recent surge by Kendrys Morales, I think he should be the top priority for Mariners management to re-sign, but I sadly don’t think this will happen. I believe he will be traded for some assets and a middle of the pack hitter before the trade deadline, which would really make no one happy, but it isn’t really up to us. Morales’ agent is the notorious Scott Boras, who as you may or may not know, is the most brutal agent in pro sports. I believe that this is the reason that the Mariners will not be able to re-sign Morales. A four year, $43 million contract sounds perfectly natural for a player of Morales’ caliber, but because Scott Boras is his agent, this will just be the floor for the negotiations. Time will tell what happens with Morales and the other two free agents, but it is thanks to them that the Mariners offense is even staying afloat at this point in the season.

Note: Statistics taken from a week an a half ago.

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