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Seattle Mariners Claim Scott Cousins As Their Own

unwanted Scott Cousins
unwanted Scott Cousins

The Seattle Mariners have, on their 40-man roster, a number of flawed could-be or would-be outfielders. Mike Carp is still listed as an outfielder, with some power, limited contact skills, and limited defensive skills. Eric Thames is basically the same player. Carlos Peguero isn't the same player, because there aren't players like Carlos Peguero, but he's similar-ish. Travyon Robinson is similar-ish. Casper Wells is similar-ish. All of these guys could have futures as starters, but more likely is that they don't. The Mariners had outfielders, but they needed to consolidate. They needed to find a legitimate everyday player.

So to cut a long story short, on Tuesday the Mariners claimed outfielder Scott Cousins off waivers. Cousins is left-handed, he's not too old and not too young, he's not too good and not too bad, and he's now Mariners property. He's just another maybe-outfielder, on a roster that already seemed to have enough of those before today.

So it's a weird move, if a relatively insignificant one. When you see a move like this, you want to know what it means. Are the Mariners particularly high on Cousins? Is this an indication that they're going to make another, bigger move in the near future? Maybe, maybe. Or, there's the fact that the Blue Jays claimed Cousins off waivers from the Marlins in the middle of October. At the end of October, Cousins was designated for assignment, and he just got claimed by the Mariners today. Cousins could be here for a while, or he could be here for no time at all. He could mean something big, or he could mean something very small. All we can really say about the Mariners' plans for Scott Cousins is that they must exist. There's a reason the Mariners did this. We just don't know what it is.

A handy thing about Cousins is that he seems capable of covering center field in a pinch. Of course, the same already goes for Michael Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez, Wells, and maybe Robinson if you're being generous. A less handy thing about Cousins is that he's been terrible in the bigs, although in his defense he hasn't even batted 200 times over three seasons. Still, he has an .802 triple-A OPS. He has a .792 minor-league OPS. He's never dominated a level and he hasn't hit .300 above single-A. Last year, with New Orleans, he was fine, and 27.

Maybe it's not a coincidence that we get Cousins news right when we find out that Darren Ford has signed a minor-league contract with the Pirates. Ford spent a lot of time covering center field in Tacoma last season. But then, a difference between Ford and Cousins is that Ford didn't occupy a 40-man roster spot. Even when some people thought that he ought to. Not that the Mariners wouldn't be able to make space on the 40-man roster if they had to, but it's weird to just give spots away. One of the first people I'd want the Mariners to drop from the 40-man roster is also the Mariners' latest addition to the 40-man roster.

Cousins was drafted in 2006 in the same round in which the Mariners drafted Tony Butler. Cousins is one of six players out of the University of San Francisco to make it to the major leagues, and the best of them so far has been Joe Nelson, who you've heard of now. Cousins is best known for unnecessarily destroying Buster Posey at home plate, and it says something that Cousins is best known for something that doesn't have anything to do with his baseball talent. Cousins didn't even reach base in a competent way. He pinch-hit to bunt with a man on first, and his bunt was sufficiently bad that the Giants threw out the lead runner. Cousins reached base by fucking up and then he proceeded to piss off the city he once called home for several years. San Francisco and the Giants will never forget the name Scott Cousins, so if after the World Series you thought the Mariners should be more like the Giants, this is sort of the opposite of that. Unless the whole purpose of the waiver claim is so the Mariners can lock Cousins in a dark room and beat him with sticks until they need the 40-man spot. "Scott Cousins placed on 60-day disabled list for broken everything/strained oblique."

Cousins can run a bit and hit a bit, and it's entirely possible there's something scouty about him that I'm missing. Seeing as how I'm not a scout and I don't watch Scott Cousins play baseball, that's a good probability. But while he doesn't seem like a catastrophe, he does seem like something like a replacement-level player, who just happens to be turning 28 in January. Replacement-level players probably shouldn't be occupying spots on the 40-man roster. Especially when they look to be redundant. I'll let the Mariners do whatever the Mariners are going to do, here, but there has to be something about this move that I'm not getting. Or Cousins will just get waived again in a matter of days or weeks.

Zduriencik: We did what?
Kingston: Claimed Cousins.
Zduriencik: When?
Kingston: Couple weeks ago.
Kingston: Haven't the foggiest.
Zduriencik: Huh.
Welp, okay, off he goes.
Kingston: Yeah.
Zduriencik: Weird.
Kingston: Yeah.

Cousins does have an option year left. So there's that, for those of you who were going to just scroll down and ask in the comments. You've probably already scrolled down and asked in the comments.