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So, Yeah

As you've all seen by now, the back of the roster is finally beginning to take shape, and it's pretty weird. A month ago I didn't think there was much room for fringe ST invites to force their way onto what looked like a set roster, but apparently I was mistaken. Whether or not I should be mistaken about this is another matter entirely, but clearly, this is an organization that believes in the value of showing up in March and earning a job.

On a day of surprises, the biggest news has to be that Rene Rivera is gone, and that it looks like Jamie Burke will take his place. Now, Burke's sum value to the team can be summed up as "isn't Rene Rivera," as he's not really much of a player, but given that Rivera was probably the worst backup catcher in baseball last year, this is one of those rare situations where there really isn't anywhere to go but up. So color me ecstatic. Mind you, my problem is with Rene Rivera the player, not Rene Rivera the person - hating him would be like hating a chair that fell apart when you sat down at a restaurant because the frame was broken and three screws were loose. It's not the chair's fault someone put it somewhere important. Rene Rivera did everything he could to show the organization how bad he sucks, but no one paid attention, and it's hard to blame the player when, at the heart of the issue, he's not the one responsible. Expect Burke to come in, hit .260/.310/.370 over 100 at bats, and go somewhere else in the fall. That's how it's supposed to be with backup catchers. Enough with this loyalty stuff.

After that, there's been a flurry of other moves and still more that appear on the verge of becoming official. Rather than acting as the #4 outfielder, Jeremy Reed's going to Tacoma, which is probably for the best - getting him regular at bats'll let us find out if he still has any of the ability we thought he had when he came over. The backup OF duties will instead be shared by Willie Ballgame (center) and Ben Broussard (corners), which is, um, well, it's something, that's what it is. Also, Brandon Morrow, Arthur Rhodes, and Sean White look like locks, with Jake Woods taking his Mystic Tan to Cheney. Keeping White instead of Woods is another surprise, but Woods has options and White doesn't, and besides, the team must really see something in White's improved velocity. Serving to temper the initial shock even further is the fact that both of them suck, so who cares?

The last move that looks as good as done is sending Mike Morse to Tacoma and keeping Rey Ordonez with the big league squad. Rey Ordonez, the guy who posted a career .599 OPS in the Majors, .640 OPS in the minors, and +3 average UZR in his prime before taking three years away from baseball and turning 36. He's basically what you'd get if you had Willie Ballgame and took away the discipline, versatility, footspeed, youthful enthusiasm, and savage raw power. By the middle of the season, Ordonez stands an outside shot at being one of the worst players to ever appear in 1000 career ML games. So that's something to watch for.

All in all, it's been a peculiar day. Some of these decisions are okay and some of them are retarded, but in the end these aren't the guys who'll determine where the Mariners finish, so while it seems appropriate to laugh at ourselves over the whole Rey Ordonez thing, it really doesn't make any difference. The bench sucks, but this isn't the NL, so ideally it won't get much use beyond whatever Broussard can offer against right-handed relievers. And the bullpen shouldn't be an unmitigated disaster, even if the long guys are Julio Mateo and a Rule 5 pick with a lousy track record. (As an aside: I don't know why this didn't occur to me before, but how did Morrow get so much consideration for being pushed into a bullpen spot with Austin Bibens-Dirkx hanging around?) This can be salvaged.

The point is, most of these guys are just minor role players who'll get skipped in the event of an injury. You might not agree with keeping all of them around (or any of them around, for that matter), but considering how many problems this organization has demonstrated when it comes to talent evaluation, making a big deal out of questionable back-of-the-roster management seems like a waste. This team's going to win or lose because of its most important players, not its most insignificant. So enjoy your little victory, Ordonez. At the end of the day, though, no one's going to buy you any drinks. Your three-year sabbatical may be over, but your half-decade of irrelevance isn't.