With all due respect to Dusty Baker, he can’t fix the Seattle Mariners. He may not even be a consideration for the open manager position in Seattle, but that is irrelevant at the moment.
The Mariners do need a manager after Eric Wedge abruptly departed, and perhaps the right personality could have a positive impact on this team. However, the fact remains that Seattle is missing something else that is little more important in baseball.
You don’t want to suggest that managers are overrated, but baseball is still a pretty simple sport. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball. Seattle is missing the hitting part.
The pitching remains a very positive part of this team. Seattle has Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma at the top of the rotation. If James Paxton and Taijuan Walker can make the team out of spring training, the Mariners could have a deadly starting five. There is enough pitching in this franchise to contend.
Still missing the hitters.
The Mariners finished with a .237 team batting average in 2013, which was good for 28th in the league. I suppose this could be seen as progress after Seattle finished dead last in team average the previous three years. However, at this pace the Mariners will get into the top half of the league around 2020.
Can an upbeat new manager inspire anyone besides Kendrys Morales to hit over .270 for the season, assuming Morales even returns?
There is some promise in the lineup, though the progress continues to be slow. Players like Kyle Seager, Abraham Almonte and Brad Miller could all hit in the .270-.280 range in 2014. Perhaps Dustin Ackley regains his 2011 form and actually flirts with .300 during the season.
Perhaps. Don’t hold your breath.
Unfortunately, players like Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders give the appearance of guys that are not going to progress much further. The jury is still out on Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino.
As I noted in another article, the Mariners did see a spike in their power numbers after moving the Safeco Field fences in prior to the 2013 season. Unfortunately, those extra home runs did not translate into more wins. In fact, the Mariners mustered four fewer wins in 2013 than they did the prior season.
How will this be addressed by general manager Jack Zduriencik? In a recent interview, Jack Z suggested that the Mariners may need to get “creative.” Why do I have the feeling that in this context the word “creative” means “cheap.”
Seattle needs a manager, but more importantly they need contact hitters. Give the job to Joey Cora and go find some players that know how to get on base.