First, let me say that the Seattle Mariners screwed up my idea for an article to bring Edgar Martinez in as a hitting coach.
Reason why I am so late in writing this article is because I needed to check my home, my car and all of my clothes for any listening devices or hidden cameras because surely someone is tapping me for all the great ideas I have!
All kidding aside, I really did have an article in mind about having Edgar come in as a hitting coach. My wife and I went to the game Friday night between the Mariners and Astros and as we were watching the game, witnessing some of the futility the Mariners have at the plate is just painful.
Granted, they did win the game…but the margin of victory should have been much greater than the final score of 5-2. Especially when, in the first inning, they had the bases loaded with no outs and can only manage to score 2 runs. And even those were gifts by the Astros…Logan Morrison hit a pop-fly to left that should have been caught to start the game and Nelson Cruz drew a bases loaded walk to drive in the first.
After Kyle Seager struck out on 3 straight pitches, Mark Trumbo grounded out to the right side to drive in the second…Seth Smith struck out with men on second and third for the second out and Brad Miller flew out to the end the inning, perhaps the hardest hit ball of the inning.
But what really got me thinking about Edgar as the hitting coach was watching the futility of Mike Zunino. If it wasn’t for his outstanding defensive abilities, Zunino would be toiling somewhere in Double-A ball.
Zunino, who’s averaged dropped to .160 after yet another 0-4 night, was pitiful with 3 strike-outs. And what’s frustrating is you can see he has the tools to be at least a .240 to .260 hitter. He also has enough power to hit at least 18-22 home runs a year and the capability to drive in 70-80 runs a year.
But right now, he is a black hole at the bottom of the Mariners line-up. That’s not to say that Zunino is the problem to all of the Mariner offensive woes…our highest paid player, Robinson Cano, prior to this year, was a perennial .300+ hitter with some good pop in his bat.
Prior to this year, Cano had a .310 career batting average along with averaging 184 hits, 90 RBI, 22 home runs and an OPB of .357. This year, he is woefully below all of those averages and yet McClendon still has him in the three hole hoping he will battle his way out of it.
And let’s not even get into the mental errors he’s had on the base paths. I can remember at least 3 times he’s been picked-off or caught in a rundown that has ended an inning that could have been big.
Will the hiring of Edgar Martinez fix any of the Mariner woes? Perhaps not right away…but I was encouraged by the fact that Edgar didn’t waste anytime yesterday getting with Zunino to work with him. I don’t expect immediate results but I’m guessing if Zunino really pays attention, we’ll see his average start to rise by the end of the year.
But in the end, hiring Edgar isn’t going to resolve the hitting woes…unless the hitters put in the work. Edgar isn’t the one batting anymore but I would dare say that even at 52, he could still hit for better average than any of the current Mariners.
Welcome back Papi!