You may have heard that the Red Sox designated Mike Cameron for assignment this morning. The obvious question, then, is whether he'd be a fit for the Mariners, and I am not above tackling obvious questions. So here I am, to tackle an obvious question.
The Argument For Mike Cameron
The Mariners, as we know, could use a right-handed hitter. Ryan Ludwick's name has come up a few times, but Cameron would probably come cheaper, both in terms of players and salary. Even though he's 38, one imagines he can still move around all right in the field, and he was a good hitter before running into injury problems with Boston that he should be just about over. Yeah, there's the whole Safeco thing, but Safeco is different for hitters now than it was during Cameron's earlier stint, so it's slightly less of a factor. Were he to succeed, he'd help, and were he to struggle, he could be easily dropped. From a more emotional standpoint, I know a lot of people would be thrilled to see Cammy back in a Mariners uniform.
The Argument Against Mike Cameron
There's the fact that the Red Sox just DFA'd him, for one. The Red Sox signed Cameron for a good amount of money, presumably because they knew what he could bring to the table, so that the Red Sox removed him from the roster is a bad sign. Cameron played hurt last season and this season it's an open question as to whether he's recovered from double hernia surgery. No matter how good a shape he keeps himself in, he is 38, and few players are still productive at his age, at the plate or in the field. His small sample 2011 numbers are bad despite hitting primarily against lefties. The Mariners don't really have time to let a rental player get untracked, as the Red Sox were waiting for Cameron to do until today.
My eyebrows, like yours, were raised when I read the Cameron headlines, and it was only natural to wonder what it would be like if he came back. And to be sure, there is a little bit of upside in the idea. But then, Cammy is many moons from being productive and many more moons from being what he was originally with Seattle, so it's not like this is a no-brainer. I'd be open to it provided it didn't cost a good prospect and the Red Sox ate most of the salary, but I will happily grant that I'm also a biased Mike Cameron fanboy who just wants to spend as much time with him as possible, and there is a very convincing baseball case to be made that the M's should stay away and look for help elsewhere.