In steroid suspension terms, that makes "two steps forward, one step back." But on the same day the Mariners missed out on Kevin Orie, which made me a little upset (but only a little), they went out and signed a guy who's probably going to be their best bench bat since Mark McLemore. The fact that he's left-handed also makes it a little more likely that we won't see Greg Dobbs on the Opening Day roster, which only makes things better.
It's a good move. Lawton is miscast as an everyday player - his defense in the corners is legitimately bad, and he's not real productive against lefties - but he can still get on base and hit the occasional mistake, and there's probably a 50/50 chance that he'd make a better DH than Carl Everett, who signed for considerably more than a $400k base salary. As more of a spray hitter, he won't get the kind of Safeco boost that a guy like Raul Ibanez does, but he should still help this team win games. Lawton's only posted an OBP below .340 one time in his 11-year career - .339, for Minnesota in 1996. He walks, he makes contact, he runs a little, and he hits for a bit of power, a total package which pretty much makes him an ideal fourth outfielder. He also provides some much-needed depth, because although his defense is pretty weak, he can still cover for an Ibanez/Reed/Ichiro DL stint, something Willie Bloomquist can't really claim to be true. Throw in his incredibly low salary, and yeah, there's really no downside here.
Matt Lawton as an everyday player? Hells no, and I'm holding out hope that the team knows that. Matt Lawton as a bench bat? Thumbs up. Another few dozen little moves like this one and maybe I'll be able to forgive Bavasi for that whole Washburn thing.