With Opening Day a week from tomorrow it's the time of year for very difficult conversations. I've been rooting for Shawn O'Malley, fairly unabashedly. I have nothing against Luis Sardinas or Chris Taylor, but as both are younger and generally thought of higher in baseball circles this spring felt like the one chance O'Malley may get to spend Opening Day on a major league roster. Now, that is not to be:
Shawn O'Malley and Joe Wieland have been optioned to Class AAA Tacoma. Casey Coleman re-assigned to minor league camp— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) March 27, 2016
It's a completely defensible, and probably correct decision. Sardinas has played well this spring, and a versatile, fast, slick fielding former top 100 prospect is a much better utility/bench player than the Mariners have broken camp with in years. For all intents and purposes he appears to be a fine acquisition, and another example of Jerry Dipoto's desire to raise the talent level of the bottom half of the roster bearing fruit.
But, I'll confess I'm still a bit sad. Luis Sardinas could go on to have a fabulous season and career. He could be a beautiful, gap-hitting Swiss Army Knife the kind this team hasn't had since Mark McLemore. That could happen, and I certainly hope it does. Of the O'Malley/Sardinas/Taylor troika there is little question in my mind that Luis Sardinas has the highest ceiling.
Yet, I still ache a bit for Shawn O'Malley. His career isn't over, not by a long shot. He's 27, and he's survived way worse in baseball than this. But there is something special about a home opener, and every year when the Mariners run in from right center on that red carpet I pay special attention to those making their major league debut. From Tyler Olsen, Dave Rollins, Mike Zunino, Munenori Kawasaki, Jesus Sucre and many others, there is a special look, a special spring to their gait. I wanted, perhaps selfishly, that experience for Shawn O'Malley, who is a local boy and a fun story. But this isn't about me, or O'Malley. It's about what is best for the Mariners, and it's probably the right call.
As for other moves Dae-Ho Lee is playing first base today, which seems a good indication he and the Mariners plan to continue to hang around each other for at least the first part of the year. Jesus Montero remains in limbo, with manager Scott Servais saying Montero is "spending the day with his family", which is a wonderfully sweet and baseball-y way to describe something so morbid as impending release.
Stefen Romero survives, at least for a day. Joe Wieland is stashed as a fill in reliever/emergency starter, and the team's improved overall depth requires difficult choices as we begin the final week before the season.
Charlie Furbush will undergo a medical procedure for his shoulder. Dipoto said it isn't a surgery.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) March 27, 2016
Ho ho this bullpen is such a mess right now.