The ever-great Mike Curto, voice of the Rainiers (What? You don’t follow him on twitter? Shame on you!), reported this morning that Miguel Olivo is not with the Rainiers this morning and that catcher Ralph Hernandez is on his way to Tacoma from Double-A Jackson.
You don’t require a crystal ball to figure this one out. Miguel Olivo is on his way back to Seattle. Now, after you’ve finished your fist pumps and whoo-hoo out your car window, let’s discuss what this could mean for the big league 25-man roster. Someone has to go when Olivo comes back, after all.
Scenario 1 – Say Goodbye to Chone Figgins
This is probably the clubhouse leader for the move favored amongst most fans. Figgins is in Wedge’s doghouse and there isn’t a scenario remaining where he comes back out to get significant playing time.
Alex Liddi has seized his opportunity as far as Wedge is concerned and has likely captured the left field starts when a left-hander is on the bump. There’s Mike Carp and Casper Wells around, too, so left field is no longer an option. Liddi also blocks Figgins at third base, playing there when Kyle Seager slides over to second when Dustin Ackley gets a day off from the field.
Right now, Figgins is basically a pinch-runner and third string infielder making $8 million. The Mariners won’t even lose anything there should they part ways with him as they have Munenori Kawasaki on the roster.
While eating the rest of his contract has been avoided thus far — and still not something management would like to do — there’s simply no trade partner out there. Though most of us feel like we’ll be forced to look at his stupid smirk after making a mistake for the next year-plus, I think this could finally be the time we see Figgins punted.
Carsoncalc odds of this scenario: 70%
Scenario 2 – Hisashi Iwakuma Goes
Eric Wedge doesn’t seem too inclined to use Hisashi Iwakuma, so he’s the most likely option should Wedge feel comfortable with a smaller bullpen and can convince Jack Zduriencik that this is the right call.
There’s Steve Delabar, too. He’s been bad, but his xFIP is 3.33 so there’s reason to believe he’s had some bad luck in a small sample. Wedge continues to use him, so this option doesn’t seem likely unless Jack overrules.
The rest of the bullpen seems safe.
Carsoncalc odds of this scenario: 18%
Scenario 3 – Casper Wells or Mike Carp Go Down
Some people have thrown this out as an option but I just don’t see it happening. There is nothing for either of these guys to prove in Tacoma and they have useful skills that can be applied in the big leagues.
Carsoncalc odds of this scenario: 10%
Scenario 4 – Some Sort of Trade is Cooking
I really shouldn’t even list this because I can’t figure anything in my head that makes sense. No team is taking Figgins. Why would anyone trade for Iwakuma or Kawasaki? Is the team willing to part with any of the young bullpen arms with a shaky rotation in place? What team is going to come calling for League in May when his performance hasn’t screamed shut-down closer?
There are certainly GMs in the game still that will bake bad decisions. That’s the only thing keeping this scenario on the radar. However, unless Zduriencik’s socks are knocked off or he’s left with no choice but to pull the trigger before the guy on the other end realizes how dumb of a proposal he made, this scenario doesn’t really have legs.
Carsoncalc odds of this scenario: 2%
Honestly, the first scenario should probably have odds closer to 80-95% at this point. But if that were the case, I’d have no reason to write these 619 words.