Earlier Thursday, Mike Curto tweeted that Miguel Olivo was not present with the rest of the Tacoma Rainiers. Olivo was with Tacoma on a short rehab assignment, and his absence meant that he was rejoining the .
Later Thursday, Geoff Baker tweeted that Casper Wells was being optioned to Tacoma to make roster room. Shortly thereafter, Larry Stone said he was hearing the same thing, and shortly thereafter, it was confirmed. Miguel Olivo is back with the Mariners from his DL stint, and Wells is becoming a Rainier for the first time in his life.
Olivo is not a better hitter than John Jaso or Jesus Montero, and if you put any stock in these things Olivo presently has the worst catcher-ERA and catcher-OPS of the trio, but now Olivo's presumably going to go back to playing almost all the time, as Eric Wedge forgets that the Mariners survived without him. As long as we prepare for that, it won't make us as annoyed. With luck, Wedge has seen enough good things from Jaso that he'll play more now than he used to, because unlike Olivo Jaso is enjoyable to watch and unlike Olivo Jaso could and should be a part of the future, but I'm going to assume that Olivo will play like he played. I needn't continue to air old grievances. They're all the same grievances. The fair thing to do would be to wait to be annoyed until I'm annoyed, but I'm trying to stay a step ahead.
Now, the other part of this people are talking about is Casper Wells going away instead of Chone Figgins. I'm personally fond of Casper Wells, because he's a good and versatile defender, and he has a power bat that's shown the ability to hit balls out of Safeco. I'm less personally fond of Chone Figgins, whose skillset has been reduced to I literally don't know what. He's struck out a lot. He hasn't walked enough. I don't know about his running game. For someone who's versatile he sure doesn't seem to play very good defense. I don't know what it is that Chone Figgins provides, aside from a guy who laughs a lot in the dugout. Chone Figgins didn't have options, and Casper Wells did.
So moving Wells is the easiest thing. And while Wells might not have much to learn in triple-A, he should be playing more than he has been. If Eric Wedge thinks that Alex Liddi is a capable outfielder, then Wells is a little redundant in Seattle.
But...but. Chone Figgins has started twice since May 4th, once because Mike Carp was a late scratch from the lineup. Wells might not have had much of a role, but Figgins doesn't seem to have any role at all. Munenori Kawasaki has started as many games since May 4th as Chone Figgins has and Munenori Kawasaki is a five-year-old child mascot. There have been days that it's been easy to forget that Figgins is still on the team, because once he got demoted, he really got demoted.
There's an impatience aspect at play here - people just want Figgins to be gone, because they're over him, and they want that finality. The reality is that, if neither Wells nor Figgins projected to play very much, it doesn't really matter which gets bumped. In fact, by bumping Wells, you get to keep two players, where by bumping Figgins, you'd have to lose one player. That one player would be Chone Figgins, but, yeah.
The problem is that the reasons for keeping Chone Figgins are unclear. We want to know what the Mariners' plan is. Presumably the Mariners would love to dump Figgins and some of his salary on somebody else, but if they're keeping him on the team to build his value, how is he going to build his value if he doesn't play? It's not like he's going to play. He's going to continue just sitting on the bench.
Maybe the Mariners think Figgins will be more movable when more time has passed, and less of his salary remains. And, of course, that isn't not true. But the Mariners will have to keep paying Figgins' salary until he's allegedly more movable so I don't know what that matters. The Figgins money is gone. It's either already been given to Figgins, or it's already guaranteed to be given to Figgins in the future. This cannot be salvaged. There is no saving this.
But Casper Wells' options gave the Mariners an out, where they didn't have to make a tough decision. Not that I think dropping Chone Figgins should be a tough decision - I think it should be a very easy decision. Even though it's hard to stomach eating that much money, they're already eating that much money as is. My instinct is to be frustrated, and I am a little frustrated because Casper Wells is a better baseball player than Chone Figgins is. But if neither was going to play, then the Mariners' decision makes some sense. Just some. But not none.
I'm waiting for Chone Figgins to be gone. For all I know, Chone Figgins is waiting for Chone Figgins to be gone. It would've been emotionally satisfying to see Figgins dropped today, but it wouldn't change the actual team very much, and at least he's not regularly batting leadoff. The Mariners already made the decision to not force us to watch Chone Figgins very often, and at least for that one I'm thankful. They'll make the other decision eventually. Today just wasn't the day.