This past Thursday, the Mariners played the Chicago Cubs. Jason Bay started in centerfield, the hardest outfield position on the defensive spectrum. Bay, who has spent his entire career languishing in defensive mediocrity, hadn't played centerfield in Major League Baseball since the 2005 season. I was anxious, anticipating a defensive showcase rivaled only by Chone Figgins.
Annoyingly, the Cubs refused to hit the ball in Bay's direction. The Mariners gave him a second opportunity the following day against the San Diego Padres. Jason Bay lead off two consecutive games for the Mariners this spring; Jason Bay started two consecutive games in centerfield for the Mariners this spring. At one point, he made a nice running catch towards the gap in left-center. The Padres announcer commented that it was a nice running catch by "Gutierrez." A few innings later in the game, Kyle Blanks drove a pitch deep to right center.
Congratulations Jason Bay. You are not quite Chone Figgins! It seems a lot of Mariners fans interpret Jason Bay playing centerfield as an indication that he will make the Mariners opening day roster. If Bay makes the team, it means Casper Wells will almost certainly not. If Wells does not make the team, it means he will almost certainly no longer be a Mariner. I'm a fan of Casper Wells, and I'm generally more optimistic that the team will make the right choice in a younger, better player. Just three days ago, people were convinced that Jon Garland would make the team and look what happened! Optimism will prevail! Hopefully the Mariners know the importance of having competent defenders.