Mike Sweeney

=== Devil's Advocate Column ===

About 18 media outlets have reported Jack Zduriencik's warning to Mike Sweeney that Sweeney faces long odds in making the club in the spring.

M's fans, generally horrified at the traffic jam around the 1B coach's box and DH bench seat most proximate, have interpreted this to mean that Sweeney is coming in, in March, only to showcase for another job that Zduriencik will find him.

Bear in mind that Sweeney will have asked this question.  And Zduriencik will have told him that yes, there are scenarios in which Sweeney is a 2010 Mariner.


Mike Sweeney hit .311/.372/.511 in the second half of 2009. 

He was, early in his career, a reasonable approximation of Edgar Martinez before his back threw him off, and now he's 36 years of age.  It's entirely feasible that Sweeney will riffle through the March 2010 games as the Mariners' best power hitter.


=== Rubik's Cube Dept. ===

Granted, Ryan Garko is a platoon 1B already; you have the DH in Griffey; you need a backup SS(OF) and a backup C.  Eric Byrnes is the guy you're figuring on as the backup OF, if Bradley and Griffey are starters.

Rob Neyer was on 710-AM a few weeks ago, and Drayer asked him what he thought of the M's offseason, obviously expecting him to repeat the mantra that the M's have had the #1 offseason of the winter.

Neyer balked.  He started off talking about the M's unwieldy roster, and he finished talking about the M's unwieldy roster, and in the middle he talked about how the M's had a collection of players that couldn't possibly be molded into a real ballclub. 


=== Sweeney-Griffey Clubhouse Redux ===

But Eric Byrnes is competing for a job.  As interesting as a .300/.350/.500 platoon LHP center fielder is, Byrnes hasn't made the 2010 Mariners.  Hey, great.  .300/.350/.500 vs left hand pitching, from a 3-position outfielder, that's useful.  Are we not used to the idea of useful?  Beautiful women make men stupid.  :- )  Useful players throw us on tilt?  Byrnes might not be here in 2010.

11 pitchers is a viable option, and a bench of (say) Byrnes-Sweeney-Garko-Hannahan-Johnson is no less reasonable than the one the Mariners ran last year. 

The downside would be that Byrnes, Garko, Sweeney and Bradley couldn't play simultaneously.  The upside would be that a subset of them could bat 3-4-5 every time you faced an LHP. 

More realistically, it might be Sweeney -or- Byrnes; a Sweeney bench might mean that Ryan Langerhans becomes the 4th OF.  You've got Garko-Bradley-Sweeney as your bats vs LHP's.


=== Caveat Emptor Dept. ===

Of course there will be more flexible ways to run the bench.  Sweeney probably won't be on the team.  But the fan in me will be rooting for Sweeney to make the M's roster in the spring.

Sweeney is an MVP-candidate bat on the downslope, aged 36.  You could argue that he's our Vlad Guerrero.

I recommend treating Sweeney as having an uphill fight to make the 2010 Mariners, and not as having an impossible task to do so.  If that were the case, Zduriencik would have informed him of that fact.



glmuskie's picture

My thought with Sweeney was, what are the chance that any of the M's spaghetti 1B - DH options has the the kind of year that Sweeney regularly posted in his age 27-32 or so years?
Sweeney's been there, done that; and at his age may very well have another excellent season to offer.  And, if he's neck and neck in ST with player X, I think it's a fairly safe bet that Sweeney's clubhouse presence would tip things in his favor.


Maybe Garko is the back up catcher (Moore or Johnson in AAA)?
Bench: Langerhans, Byrnes, Garko, Sweeney, Hanahan
Or maybe we are planning on including Moore in some package?

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