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Roster Purge Begins

I like to stick with Major League Baseball's etiquette and not talk about anything but the postseason while the postseason is happening, so it's time to talk about the Mariners again!

Honestly, though, we all needed a break from the Mariners after such a disastrous season. There were things I almost wrote about, but then reminded myself how uninteresting those things would be in the midst of meaningful and interesting baseball. Now the postseason is over though, meaning every team is relevant again, even the Seattle Mariners.

Also, the Mariners have been very busy in the few days since baseball's moratorium on news has lifted. Here are some quick-hitters on all the moves:

  • 2011 option on LHP Erik Bedard not exercised - Not a shocker at all here. Guaranteed money to a guy who hasn't pitched in a year and a half is not a smart move. With that said, the Mariners have invested a bunch in Bedard's recovery the past year and a half, so I would not be shocked if they talk to him about a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. My gut says Bedard is probably gone for good, but I also think the door is still open.
  • 2011 option on 1B Russell Branyan not exercised - I am not sure this move can be called surprising, but it at least was not a painfully obvious one. Branyan was an affordable power bat, and he could have regularly filled the DH role with Justin Smoak at first base. I probably would have kept him, because I think the Mariners need affordable power somewhere, and he was as good of an option as I think they will find. However, I'm not up in arms. Letting Branyan go also might be an indication that Milton Bradley is being counted on to DH regularly next year, but it is way too early to speculate on that with confidence.
  • 2011 option on 3B Jose Lopez not exercised - Another no-brainer, though there is a little intrigue with this move. Lopez is still arbitration eligible, meaning the Mariners could offer it to him...meaning he might not be gone, even though the M's just ripped up what remained of his contract. The overwhelming reality is that he will be non-tendered though. Lopez could blossom elsewhere, and almost certainly will bounce back, but it is undeniable that he was one of the biggest holes on the 2010 Mariners. I'm a big proponent of moving Chone Figgins back to third, and letting Dustin Ackley take over at second, and this move gets the Mariners one step closer to that.
  • Outrighted contracts of LHP Ryan Feierabend, LHP Chris Seddon, RHP Sean White, C Guillermo Quiroz, 1B Casey Kotchman, and OF Ryan Langerhans to AAA Tacoma - Or, in other words, the M's booted all of these guys off of the 40-man roster. It is now in all of their courts to decide if they want to stick in the organization, or test free agency. Really, there is no good reason for any of them not to test free agency. In fact, Quiroz, Kotchman, and Langerhans have already said that they will. My guess is that a couple of these guys will be back with the Rainiers. Of the group, I think Langerhans is the best, and he deserves a spot in the majors, but there is no room for him in the M's outfield. Probably the "biggest" name on the list though is Kotchman. He pretty much had to be a goner after the season he had, and with Justin Smoak around. None of these moves are a big deal, and they all make sense.
  • Mariners RHP Brian Sweeney claimed off of waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks - Sweeney won't be remembered as the one that got away. His success was as close to heartwarming as anything the 2010 Mariners did in the second half, but he did it with smoke and mirrors, and an assist from Safeco Field. Sweeney's extreme contact-fly ball approach seems destined for doom in the desert, but I'll still root for him. Again, a pretty inconsequential move from the M's perspective.
  • Mariners name their coaching staff - Click on the link if you are interested in bios on the coaches, and exactly who they are. What is noteworthy is the composition of the staff. Wedge brought in a few of his guys, but there is some continuity. I think it is particularly great that Darren Brown and Alonzo Powell were both willing to go back down to Tacoma, and that the Mariners saw both of them as organizational guys. On the flip side, promoting Jamie Navarro to bullpen coach, along with all the relievers cut loose in the past day, may say something about the direction the bullpen is heading in. There are holes for youngsters like Dan Cortes and Josh Lueke to step into, and now their Tacoma pitching coach is in the M's bullpen. That may not be a coincidence, but we will see.
Also, don't forget that RHP Jamey Wright, C Josh Bard, and INF Chris Woodward are all free agents now, so they are no longer on the roster either. All in all, that means the Mariners 40-man roster is down to 29 players, and one of them is Jose Lopez, who seems destined to get cut loose one way or another. The shelf is extremely bare, but that's a good sign. The M's options were either to re-stock, or go with the same rancid products.

This is an old-fashioned roster purge.

To be fair, many of the players involved in these transactions were not part of the problem. However, they were not likely to be solutions, either. Now the Mariners have 13 roster spots to pursue solutions with. Believe modest?