So much for Jesus Montero being a dark horse to make the roster. Despite his great performance at the plate this spring, Montero has been sent to AAA, along with Xavier Avery.
It's no surprise for Avery as he offers nothing but speed. He'll operate as fourth outfielder insurance in AAA this year, but it probably won't get to that. With Endy Chavez still in major league camp and not on the 40-man roster, Avery is the next probable candidate to be DFA'd if the Mariners have to add somebody else. Avery came over in the late Mike Morse trade.
As for Montero, while his bat could possibly play right now against lefties, his defense at first base has been nothing short of a joke so far, as expected. Those who had the fortune of watching him play first base on Wednesday saw his progress there first hand -- he looks as lost at first as he did at catcher. He simply needs more time to play anywhere on the field, but who knows if it will ever turn around. As always, talent has never been the issue for Montero, work ethic and motivation have been. Maybe this year is the wake-up call. Maybe.
Chris Taylor was also sent down to AA, though I expect he'll make his way up to AAA sooner than later this season. James Jones rounds out this set of cuts, and he'll most likely handle CF and RF in AAA.
It's notable that Stefen Romero is still here as a fallback right-handed bat of sorts. There's actually a pretty decent chance that Romero could crack the opening day roster as a 5th outfielder, playing in RF against left-handed pitching instead of Michael Saunders or Dustin Ackley, making everyone shift over. If he did, Hart would most likely move to DH, while Smoak stayes at first. Almonte (or Saunders) plays center, and Ackley/Saunders plays left. The defense wouldn't take much of a hit with a Hart/Romero wash, and it'd help keep Hart's knees healthy. At this point, it may actually be a probable scenario if the Mariners don't go out and get another bat. 5 outfielders with Bloomquist backing up both short and third base seems fairly plausible, and then there's still room for Logan Morrison. Considering the inflexible current roster, it's not a terrible platoon alignment, even though it's incredibly complicated against righties.
|vs LHP||vs RHP|
What a mess.
Maybe the Mariners continue their search for a right-handed bat (Kendrys Morales, sort of), but Montero will now have to earn his way back up whether it's via his offense, injury, or some other unforeseen set of circumstances. Logan's possible 1B/DH scenarios may still come to fruition later on in the season, especially if Justin Smoak falls flat yet again.