Kyle Seager is coming to the majors. To make room, Jose Yepez was designated for assignment. Despite being with the ballclub for nearly a week, Yepez did his best Jeff Gray and Chris Ray impressions. He didn't get in a ballgame.
The move is interesting on a couple levels. It is certainly an ominous development for Chone Figgins, who really might be the worst player in the majors right now. A guy batting under .200 with no power, limited patience, and a mediocre glove should see his playing time diminish. Presumably, Seager came up to play some, and there aren't that many more innings to go around with Dustin Ackley at second base, and Adam Kennedy also playing some third.
Whether Figgins is about to be cut loose or traded is a discussion for another day, but I'm certain the Mariners have been willing to listen to any offers for some time now. They aren't going to come. In the meantime, Figgins might still provide some bona fide value on the bench as a pinch-runner, and versatile defensive replacement. Given how substantial his contract is, my guess is that he will get a chance on the bench. He could be cut loose any minute now too. Who knows.
The other interesting thing about this move is that Seager only played 12 games in AAA before the call-up. Granted, in those dozen contests, he hit .455 with a pair of home runs, but 12 games is still 12 games. It's not much.
Oddly enough, I do not think this promotion was rushed though. I tend to prefer a methodical, plodding approach with prospects (probably a consequence of rooting for this team during the Bavasi days), but Seager is ready. Even in his brief stint at Tacoma, I got to watch him twice, and felt he was one of the most polished hitters on the team. He has a level stroke, and takes advantage of that. I saw Seager hit line drives to all fields, even in just two games. More than that, I couldn't pinpoint anything he would really get out of facing more AAA pitching. He seemed to show up in Tacoma as ready as he could be for the majors.
While Seager brings some defensive versatility (and might even be a better defender at second base than Ackley right now), his home should be at third with this team. He only started playing it recently in Tacoma, but that was due to a sore shoulder that the Mariners wanted to protect. In the games I saw Seager at third, his shoulder did not seem to be an issue. The throws were perfectly fine, and Seager has prior experience at third base before this year. Time will tell how good he is defensively, but he should not be a liability.
In the end, Kyle Seager is going to expose just how awful the Mariners offense is. He will likely feel like a significant upgrade to the offense, and the statistics have a good chance to back up that feeling. However, the reality is that Seager is a glorified slap hitter, with perhaps some more power and patience than what usually gets associated with slap hitting. I imagine him being somewhere between Craig Counsell (in his prime) and Bill Mueller, which probably is enough to anoint him as the latest, greatest hope for runs.