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Bugs & Cranks
August 21, 2013 at 12:03 am ET
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Yes, the Mariners are meh. We all know this.

Yes, the Mariners really screwed the proverbial rain-soaked pooch with their roster construction. I don’t need to get into that again.

Yes, Raul Ibanez absolutely shouldn’t be playing the outfield, as his fielding ratings show. Same with Michael Morse.

Of course Jesus Montero’s time at catcher was, um, special.

What’s surprising, at least according to Baseball Reference, is that the rest of the Mariners’ gloves are also wallowing in the squalor.

Michael Saunders, for example – as a CF he’s rated at -9 zone fielding runs above average. To put it mildly, he’s cost the Mariners nine runs because of his defense. Not his errors – the fact that he’s not getting to balls in play and allowing extra bases because of ineptitude. Saunders is much better in RF, but he hasn’t played much RF because the M’s have to shoe horn Ibanez and Morse and Kendrys Morales in the lineup at the same time – or so they say.

Franklin Gutierrez, who must pray to Our Lady of the Perpetual Nagging Injury, has an incredible -5 on the same scale. What’s incredible is that his -5 is only in 17 games. That’s how bad he’s been in the OF.

Ibanez and Morse are -6 as well. That’s a lot of fly balls being played into doubles. What’s more remarkable is that those bad numbers have been accumulated in less than full time play for all of those OFs. Ick.

Montero was bad at catcher (-4 in 26 games), we knew that. But Kyle Seager is a -5 at third base. Alleged gold-glover Brendan Ryan is -1 at short. At least Dustin Ackley and Nick Franklin are holding their own at second.

Then there’s Brad Miller.

I love Miller – I think he’s got a great future. And frankly, if he hits like he can the M’s can deal with some mediocre glove work for him. But his defense is a step shy of mediocre, at a -8 in just 49 games at all three infield positions. His bat will keep him in the lineup every day, but to take that next step as a player he’s got to start fielding his position with some competence.

It would be one thing to eschew (fancy word alert) defense in favor of a gangbusters offense and a staff that misses bats. Plenty of teams have done just that and been quite successful. But the M’s don’t have that offense, and many of their pitchers don’t have the gas to blow hitters away – so they have to pray for their defense to make plays

Defense isn’t the only reason that Joe Saunders and Aaron Harang are giving up hits by the barrel. However, the M’s shoddy defense is definitely a co-conspirator in those hit totals.

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One Response to “Clank”
  1. Scott Kelly says:

    My nominee for headline of the week.

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