This year we have one more day than the normal 3 day All-Star break, this will be a much needed rest for some players on the Mariners 25 man roster. Four days to unwind, relax and hopefully get a fresh start in the second half of the season. Some currently on the 25 man roster will not be there by the end of day Thursday.
Jesus Montero has been battling a mild concussion for the past few days and is expected to be well by the time the break is over. The problem is, he's been struggling even more with his ability to hit the baseball. Montero was a surefire hitter, a bat with tremendous upside that the Mariners risked trading Michael Pineda for this past off-season. He started off strong, but has found himself in a slump that you can see in his body language. Normally it would just be the stats that would tell the story, but for Montero, it's his horrible approach, his swing and the look of being utterly lost at the plate.
I don't think that Montero is a bust, but I do believe that he needs some time to readjust. Take some hacks at the minor league level, remember what it feels like and then try again in a few weeks.
The same goes for Justin Smoak. The switch hitter has been nothing short of awful at the plate and seems as though he is discouraged with every fly ball he hits. Especially after the recent run ins with the warning track at Safeco Field on shots that he thought were round trippers.
Smoak has been around too long and has already seen a lot of Major League pitching. So, the question is; Why isn't he hitting the ball? Well, there seems to be a mechanical issue in his swing. Some say that his swing is too long and that he needs to shorten up. In my mind, that means he is swinging with his arms too much and not enough with his wrists. In turn, that would mean that he is losing a lot of bat speed and that would also result in a loss of power. If that is the whole problem, then fix it. Easy to say as a fan, but not something that happens overnight for a guy that has swung the bat the same way for 15 years.
Smoak needs to go down and have the same long, hard look that Casper Wells had. He needs to work on the mechanics and restructure his swing and do it all without the pressure of a game or any stat. He needs to be better so the Seattle Mariners can move forward as a team.
The Mariners have most of their stock on the 25 man roster right now. At least as far as position players go. If these guys can't get something going and start turning this ship around, we are in a whole heap of trouble. On a positive note, if they start doing the things that they were projected to do, we're not too far from being a playoff caliber team in the very near future.
Smoak and Montero are my suggestions for demotion on Thursday. Some may agree and some may not, but I definitely don't think that it would hurt.