Mariners' Iwakuma readies to throw against the Tigers during the first inning of their American League MLB baseball game in Detroit

Spending money doesn’t guarantee you anything. Spending alllllll your money on one single player only guarantees you have one guy who gets to carry the hopes and dreams of an entire franchise.

The Mariners added more than Robinson Cano this offseason and, considering the ongoing existence of Felix Hernandez, have more than just one excellent ballplayer in their fold.

When news of Hisashi Iwakuma‘s injury broke yesterday, it didn’t really change any of those facts much. The broken finger that will sideline the M’s number two starter simply underlined the importance of depth (they don’t have any) and how many pieces they remain from true contention (a few.)

It’s only a broken finger and it’s only four to six weeks (maybe less!) beginning in the middle of February. But one quick scan down the Mariners depth chart makes you realize that, should the above doomsday scenario present itself, the Mariners off-season shopping spree might end up falling short.

The Mariners are still very much active on the free agent market, peering ever so closely at each nook and cranny on Nelson Cruz. They’re rumored to be “in” on Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez, too. Each of those options is much more palatable for Mariners fans than the current “pray on the kids” philosophy, as a lack of rotation depth can easily submarine even the most potent offense.

There is young talent that carries the “unproven” tag like a weight around its collective neck. Taijuan Walker sure looks the part but does he have the secondary stuff to last deep into games on his second trip through the league? The same holds true for James Paxton, who impressed in a September cameo but remains very much a question mark.

It doesn’t take much more than a delay to the start of the season for a pitcher like Iwakuma before the Hector Noesi conversation begins, which is pretty much the end of the “can the Mariners make the playoffs?” discussion. To say nothing of the recent Randy Wolf minor league free agent flyer.

Perhaps this is an overreaction, as the injury to Iwakuma is not considered too serious. And Robinson Cano’s contract is for ten years (lol), not one. The plan Seattle put into place, however flawed it might be, doesn’t expire at the end of the season. The team and their goals are built to last beyond one injured finger during the first week of camp.

Speaking of plans, it might be time to admit Jesus Montero is not really part of Seattle’s plans moving forward. The slugging catcher who no longer slugs or catches made sure to put his best foot forward after a 50 game suspension as part of the Biogenesis mess. Rather than come to camp out of shape and undermotivated…no, wait. That’s exactly what Montero did, as the Tacoma Rainiers designated hitter begins Spring Training on a weight-loss program, as per Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune.

“I gained a lot of weight in my country,” he admitted. “So, now, I’m on a program to lose weight. I’m working really hard to get my weight back. I wasn’t doing nothing (after finishing winter ball), just eating.”

That’s what I’m sayin’, Jesus. You do you.

Sitting around after Winter League, waiting to fly to Arizona. Heck yes, you better believe I’m going to eat all my feelings. The man lost his job to Corey Hart, of all people. Corey Hart and Logan Morrison sign and suddenly you’re out of work. That’s rough.

It is much easier to replace a barely-functional designated hitter than a pitcher who posted more than 7 WAR in 2013, as the Mariners learn in early April. There is work left to do for Jack Z. It is time to buy a little insurance for his huge investment, insurance that takes a more reliable form than Randy Wolf and three kids with fewer than 10 big league starts between them.

Comments (2)

  1. In 20 years someone should write an oral history of the “shocking” Montero/Pineda trade. It would be hilarious.

    “We had big dreams that Montero would be the next Piazza…”

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