Manager Eric Wedge has made it pretty obvious that he is desperate to find someone to play shortstop for the Seattle Mariners. Wedge recently named Robert Andino as the team’s starting shortstop, replacing Brendan Ryan, who has been the Mariners’ opening day starter for the last three seasons.
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, no player in baseball has saved more runs than Ryan, who has 70, but it is his miserable hitting line of .149/.237/.149 that has him on the bench. The Mariners’ front office has not given up on Ryan, but they have shown that they are open to finding different options.
Andino is not a suitable replacement for Ryan. He is only a .233 hitter for his career, and his defense isn’t much better with only one run saved at shortstop in his nine-year MLB career. At 29, Andino has only been a regular once in his career, when he played second base for the Baltimore Orioles last season.
The Mariners have some options in the minor leagues that could play shortstop. Carlos Triunfel saw some time in September last season, but he does not offer much of an upgrade offensively or defensively.
Another possibility is Brad Miller, a career .332 hitter in three minor league seasons. The only problem is Miller has not played any games above double-A and GM Jack Zduriencik is always slow to bring prospects up to the major leagues.
Nick Franklin, who is rated as the No. 79 prospect in baseball by Baseball America, is currently tearing the cover off of the baseball. The 22-year-old is currently hitting .400 in the first 18 games of the season in triple-A Tacoma
Franklin would not be a liability defensively and his bat would be a great addition to Wedge’s lineup, which could definitely use some extra production.
Wedge needs to realize that if he doesn’t want Ryan to start, Andino is not a suitable replacement to play shortstop. His best option would to call up Nick Franklin to fill the team’s offensive void at shortstop.