The Outfield

Jun 21, 2012, 2:24 PM

By Gary Hill

The outfield situation for the Seattle Mariners should be watched very closely from now until the beginning of next season. The M’s are currently spending time sorting through a number of options in the OF. Here they are in no particular order:

1- Michael Saunders- .264/.327/.435. Saunders is currently in the midst of a nice run. He is hitting .326 with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs in the last month. After struggling through parts of three seasons in the Big Leagues the M’s are hoping he is paying off on his high potential. He should continue to get the chance to play everyday as the M’s look to see if he is an answer for LF or CF going into next year and beyond.

2- Franklin Gutierrez- He has played in 7 games this year. Gutierrez has struggled to stay on the field the last two years (99 games) after playing 152 and 153 in the previous two. He is a plus defensive CF, but questions swirl regarding his health and offense. He is now three full years removed from his breakout 2009 campaign- .283 18HR 70RBIs. He obviously has had difficulty staying away from injuries the last couple of seasons and the M’s will have to answer the question for themselves whether he can be one to count on moving forward.

3- Ichiro- .264/.288/.375. The long-time Mariners right-fielder is clearly slowing down at age 38. He is in the final year of a 5 year/$90 million deal. As long as he is healthy he will continue to play on an everyday basis. What will happen next year? Will he be extended? Who knows?

4- Mike Carp- He has only managed to play in 32 games this year because of a bad shoulder. Carp was expected to be a middle of the order bat coming into this year, but the injuries have slowed him. The Mariners need to find out if the breakout last year was real (.276/ .326/ .466). The trick is will be getting him enough AB’s if all OF bodies are healthy.

5- Casper Wells- Check out the full Wells piece here:

The OF options in the minors are thin:

6- Carlos Peguero- .277 12HR 29RBIs in Tacoma this year. He has shown a tremendous power potential, but the hole in his swing has been exploited in his time in the Majors. It will be interesting to see what he could do with another shot. Perhaps we will see him in September.

7- Trayvon Robinson- .258 7HR 35RBIs in Tacoma this year. It does not look like he will be a major contributor in the near future.

Here are some interesting Free-Agent options:

1- Michael Bourn- Age 29- ATL- .310 6 HR 22 RBIs 18 SB
2- Melky Cabrera- 27- SFG- .363 6 HR 35 RBIs 10 SB
3- Josh Hamilton- 31- TX- .331 22 HR 64 RBIs 6 SB
4- Angel Pagan- 30- SFG- .300 5 HR 25 RBIs 12 SB
5- Carlos Quentin- 29- SDP- .367 6 HR 13 RBIs
6- B.J. Upton- 27- TB- .273 5 HR 25 RBIs 12 SB
7- Delmon Young- 26- .265 5 HR 24 RBIs

There are obvious plusses and minuses with each guy, but it is a little early to go in-depth on the upcoming class. However, the names listed above are ones to keep in mind as the M’s try and sort things out this year. The outfield will be a place where the M’s can improve the offense going into next season and they will try and find out the rest of this season of some of the answers come internally.

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The Outfield