Mariners DH/1B/C: John Jaso, Jesus Montero, Kendrys Morales, Justin Smoak.
The current Mariners depth chart has Montero behind the dish with Morales at DH and Smoak at first. This leaves Jaso on the bench. This plan has a major issue: Jesus Montero’s defense. The problem with Jesus Montero’s defense is that it is awful, as bad as it gets. I was watching an Orioles-Mariners game with my mother. She turned to me and asked why the Seattle catcher looked so silly. It’s that bad. The late Gary Carter rolls over in his grave whenever Montero gets into his crouch. His name might be Jesus, but his defensive ability is sinful.
The Mariners cannot play Montero at catcher for 100 games and expect positive results. Montero’s position is hitter and the Mariners will probably come to grips with this at some point this year. They must platoon Montero with Jaso at least half the time as to not be completely killed by Montero’s defense. Putting Jaso at catcher moves Jesus to DH because Montero’s bat needs to be in the lineup. This is where the real problem comes to life. Morales or Smoak?
If the Mariners are ready to declare Smoak a bust, this makes everything easier. This doesn’t seem to be the case though, but trading for Morales was a warning to Smoak, that if he doesn’t start fulfilling the potential he had when the Mariners got him in the Cliff Lee deal, he won’t continue to play on a regular basis. Morales and Smoak should split at bats at the start of the season, but if Smoak doesn’t pick it up as the season wears on expect the M’s to play Morales more regularly.
This logjam doesn’t even take into account Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez, both signed this offseason, both old, both incapable of playing defense. The Mariners could be a suprise contender if they play their hand right, but if not they end up giving too much playing time to defensively inept guys like Montero, Bay, and Ibanez.