Now that the Mariners have a leadoff hitter, will they play more small ball?
Jordan Cordano – I think Seattle attempted to play small ball last year as Jerry Dipoto noted before the season started. Adding Dee Gordon who was inserted into the leadoff and the saying goes the plan was to “get on, get him over, get him in”.
The Mariners were not a heavy home run hitting club last year either. Adding Malex Smith into the top of the lineup allows Dee Gordon to stay in the ninth spot. Speed and contact at both the first and ninth spots in the order could become big especially in close ball games like the Mariners are so accustomed to playing.
Jaymin Bernhardt – I believe that the only way that they would veer away from being a small ball team would be more to do with what happens with Dee Gordon in the offseason than anything else. Losing Gordon would take a lot out of the lineup when it comes to speed so those decisions to send runners wouldn’t be as frequent.
Matt Barry – I think the Mariners will have to play small ball and manufacture runs. Other than Mitch Haniger, I don’t see much power in this lineup consistently. They essentially have two leadoff hitters in Mallex Smith and Dee Gordon. Jean Segura can handle the bat and hit and run. Unless the team finds a run-producing bat or two, look for a lot of small ball and manufactured runs.
Ed Stein – The M’s have the parts in place to do so, why not. If you have gap hitters and speed, use them. Also, if the M’s can get players into scoring position, guys with some pop like Cano and Seager will see more fastballs. The holdup is that I’m not sure if Scott Servais likes to manage that way.
Herb Nightingale – If Nelson Cruz doesn’t return and the Mariners don’t pick up another power hitting outfielder, they have to play small ball with Mallex Smith, Jean Segura, and Dee Gordon because they don’t really have much of a choice. The only power hitters they have returning are Mitch Haniger, Kyle Seager and Ryon Healy at this time anyway.
Haniger can work in with the small ball as well. I hope Seager will change his style to fit in more with what the Mariners have now instead of pulling the ball. Healy is what he is. Not sure whether the first baseman will be around when spring training starts. He could be gone by the end of the week.