The Seattle Mariners have a lot of options in the corners of their outfield and at first base. They retain the services of once-promising prospect Justin Smoak, of course, in addition to newly signed players like Corey Hart and Logan Morrison.
Problem is, none of those guys strike fear into opposing pitchers like free agent Nelson Cruz would. So the Mariners remain interested in the right-handed slugger, with reports that seem to indicate a deal is inevitable.
If that’s the case, does it create an overcrowded situation? Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times seems to think so, writing the following:
When it comes to the Mariners, it seems that Cruz signing with the team is a foregone conclusion by many around baseball. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me. And if that happens, it would be just a muddled mess. And general manager Jack Zduriencik will be very busy in the next week or two trying to trade one of his 1B/DH types.”
So what would motivate the Mariners to create such a mess? Think of it terms of the banners outside the stadium. Next to Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano, do you really want to have a huge picture of Hart or Morrison (no disrespect, dudes) to generate excitement? The answer is no, not in terms of the buzz a team is surely intent on creating when they do something like mortgage their future on a second baseman.
Cruz isn’t exactly a megastar, but his career production justifies his signing as a significant follow-up move. It’s one the Mariners will likely end up making, muddled mess or otherwise.