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Roster in Flux

Mike CarpAs it has become apparent that the M's offense could use a boost, I have been thinking about possible solutions. So, a post about the roster has been in the back of my head for a while. However, as I was about ready to write something, the roster looks much different right now than it will next week, making a post somewhat silly until things settle down a little bit. It is hard to figure out where to even start. Here are the losses as of right now:

  • Russell Branyan is gone today to attend a funeral
  • Erik Bedard was placed on the DL yesterday, but retroactive to June 8. He may be out only a week, but he is seeing a doctor today.
  • As of a couple hours ago, Jose Lopez is now on the bereavement list. His sister is dying. This comes about a couple years after his brother was killed in a crash. No matter what you think about his aggressive approach at the plate, your heart has to go out to him. He is probably gone for around a week now, though I hope he takes as long as is needed, even though the M's middle infield looks really bad without him.
Aside from the personnel losses, this is a clubhouse that probably is a little gloomy right now. The Lopez story has to hit hard, especially as it comes the day that Branyan is going to a funeral, and a day after Bedard goes on the DL, and not long after Rob Johnson lost his mother-in-law tragically in a car crash. I will say that I am glad this kind of situation did not happen last year, with that less-than-perfect clubhouse to say the least. Hopefully the team can rally around the losses, and play some inspired ball for their grieving teammates.

In conjunction with the losses, additions and changes are on the horizon:
  • Mike Carp was called up to take Bedard's spot on the roster. He walked in his major league debut last night, and will start in place of Russell Branyan tonight
  • Chris Woodward has taken Jose Lopez's spot for the time being. To make room on the 40-man roster, Carlos Silva was transferred to the 60-day DL.
  • Rob Johnson will come off the bereavement list soon
  • Kenji Johjima is close to coming off the DL, though he likely will have a rehab assignment
  • Brandon Morrow gets the start tonight, as he transitions at the major league level into being a starter
  • Ryan Rowland-Smith started again for Tacoma last night, and though his line was not all that great, he pitched deeper into the ballgame and his velocity was up, both signs that he is getting closer to ready
  • Shawn Kelley is should be ready to come off the DL relatively soon as well
It is all a little overwhelming right now. A middle infielder had to be brought up, and Woodward was the most logical choice. He can play anywhere in the infield, and he has quite a bit of major league experience. He is what he is, though this could be a big break for him. Shortstop has been a black hole for the Mariners this year, and though Woodward is not all that great, he may prove to be a significant upgrade. His .674 OPS should make him a backup, but that's significantly better than both Yuniesky Betancourt and Ronny Cedeno's production thus far. Now that Woodward is on the 40-man roster, he may stick around a while. If I were the Mariners, I would strongly consider sending Betancourt down to AAA, and keep Woodward once Jose Lopez comes back.

Mike Carp is another interesting move. He has played a little left field in Tacoma, and perhaps he could get some regular playing time out there since he is up right now. That has been another spot where offensive production has been pretty bad. A couple good games from Carp could make things a little interesting, though I believe Jack Z when he says that Carp will only be up for a little bit, and I agree that he is not an answer for this team right now (for the record, I think Endy Chavez needs to play every day in left field and bat ninth).

So much is in the air with this roster right now, thanks to injuries and some unfortunate circumstances for key players. It is all compounded by Morrow's switch from the bullpen to the rotation. A few guys now have opportunities for the next couple days at least to show what they can do, and maybe stick a little while longer. This is still a team in transition from the old regime to new, but the team happens to be in a bit of a pennant race as the franchise reinvents its identity. It is interesting to watch, but also scary. After watching M's rosters that seemed to be stagnant at this point in the recent past, this certainly is a new day, a new way.