I don't even want to talk about the series the M's just completed with the Rangers. Any sort of competent offense at all, and Seattle gets two out of three. The extra inning games were baseball played at its most futile levels. I'm thankful for an off day to recover. This team really needs one to do some soul-searching.
It is also a perfect opportunity to ditch Eric Byrnes. It's time for him to leave. It isn't fair to pin the team's offensive woes on him, given the limited at-bats he has received, but he clearly is not an answer in any sort of capacity.
To start with, Byrnes is batting under .100, again, in limited opportunities. However, watching him, he is completely lost. The failed suicide squeeze is of course the crowned jewel of Eric's epic failures, but his approach at the plate in general is horrible. He routinely watches fastballs go down the middle, and opts to swing at garbage. Shockingly, his approach has yielded an unfathomable number of strikeouts and pop-ups.
Defensively, Byrnes isn't that bad. He looks somewhere between adventurous and awful, but it all adds up to something I would take out there. To his credit, he grades out well in his limited opportunities thus far.
However, that is not enough, especially with the way Byrnes has been flailing at the plate. The Mariners have Ryan Langerhans in AAA, who nobody doubts is the superior defender, and I have a strong belief that he can pull a bat back on a suicide squeeze every bit as well as Eric Byrnes too.
It's far from a secret that the M's offense must get better. Furthermore, I'm not certain that Eric Byrnes can be called the problem, or Ryan Langerhans the solution. However, sliding Milton Bradley into more of the regular DH role, and giving Langerhans a chance to play every day in left field makes sense right now. It would be a defensive upgrade, and Langerhans would essentially be taking Ken Griffey Jr.'s spot in the lineup. Griffey would become the primary pinch-hitter off the bench, and I think that's a role he could succeed in.
Langerhans at least marginally improves the offense (over what we have seen), and certainly improves the defense, so he makes the team better. I think the message sent would be important too. It's time to put up or shut up. The guys on the field are clearly trying, but this is the major leagues. Production is needed, and healthy competition is good. Guys that aren't pulling their weight need to see their playing time go away.
For me, the changes start with Eric Byrnes, and they start tomorrow.