FanPost

How to keep Casper Wells on the roster

So, Michael Morse is going to happen, whether or not we're happy about it. It appears Eric Wedge is going to be making Morse the everyday left fielder, which sounds to me like an iffy idea at best (at least defensively), but that's not my call. However, this has raised questions about how to manage the outfield roster, since it appears we have more than eight players who are historically capable of playing the outfield: Mike Morse, Michael Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez, Casper Wells, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, Eric Thames, and Mike Carp. I suspect Thames will start the season in AAA, and I'm willing to bet Carp will never see time in the outfield this season (partially due to the injury and partially because I'm pretty sure the Mariners will either dump him or trade him before the season starts), so that leaves us with six players.

Some were thinking that perhaps Casper Wells should start. Others have theorized that finding Wells a platoon partner was the way to go. Personally, I think the right platoon could have worked well here, but now that Morse is on the roster, that's not likely to happen. The good news, however, is that the Mariners have enough depth in the right places so that Casper Wells can still find a home on the club - assuming Eric Wedge is willing to play him against LHPs.

I'm assuming that the default lineup against RHPs is as follows (not in batting order):

Jesus Montero C
Justin Smoak/Kendrys Morales 1B
Dustin Ackley 2B
Brendan Ryan SS
Kyle Seager 3B
Michael Morse LF
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Michael Saunders RF
Kendrys Morales/Raul Ibanez DH

For the sake of argument, let's assume Jason Bay doesn't make the team out of spring training and instead Justin Smoak makes the team instead of starting in Tacoma. This would also work if Alex Liddi were on the roster in place of Justin Smoak (and frankly, that probably makes more sense in terms of position flexibility).

So, alright. Casper Wells mashes LHPs and doesn't do so well against RHPs, so you probably don't want to start him every day against RHPs (with a .163 split in career OPS). But the Mariners would presumably still want Morse's bat in the lineup against LHPs. Wells could certainly spell Gutierrez (with Saunders sliding to CF), except Gutierrez seems to do better in ABs vs LHPs too. So what do you do?

Well, what player currently on the M's 2013 roster has platoon splits that are opposite those of Casper Wells?

Kendrys Morales.

Sure, he's a switch hitter, but his career OPS (per Fangraphs) vs RHPs is .858; vs LHPs, it's .701, which is not exactly a tiny split.

So against LHPs, why not:

Jesus Montero C
Justin Smoak 1B
Dustin Ackley 2B
Brendan Ryan SS
Kyle Seager 3B
Michael Saunders LF
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Casper Wells RF
Michael Morse DH

If Smoak needs a day off, or if Montero needs a spell from catching, you slide Morse to 1B, put Montero in as the DH, and put the TBA backup catcher in. Even with a seven-man bullpen, you'd still have Ibanez, Morales, Andino, and the #2 catcher on the bench. This seems like a win-win situation, considering the roster as it's currently constructed. The only problem, of course, would be lack of alliteration in the 3-4-5 spots in the order.

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