The Return of Miguel Olivo

The Mariners have just signed catcher Miguel Olivo to a 2 year contract, with $7 mil. guaranteed.  Most Mariner fans might remember Olivo for a brief and disastrous earlier stint with the Mariners, after he was acquired in the Freddy Garcia trade.  He was as bad a hitter in that year plus period as anyone the Mariners have seen recently.

Since then, he’s become a decent catcher.  At the plate, he’s similar to Jose Lopez, with no selectivity, but a little more power and less contact.  He’s going to strike out, and he’s going to hit some homers.  There’s concern that Safeco will completely rob his pull power, which is possible, but it’s one of those things you just have to deal with.  Behind the plate, he gives up some passed balls but has a big arm. 

Olivo’s a legitimate major league starting catcher, and that’s something the Mariners did not have recently.  This isn’t my favorite move, and he might not hit at all, but it could make the Mariners a lot better at a good price, so I’m having a hard time getting worked up about it.

Some other Mariner thoughts, since I rarely have time to post lately (Christmas break is coming!):

  • This move could mean a few things for Adam Moore.  I’ve already seen speculation that he’s automatically a trade chip now.  That would not surprise me a bit, although I have no idea what his value in trade would be.  Not overly high, I would bet.  More likely, I think he’s Olivo’s back-up, catching 50 games or so.  If he progresses and improves, Olivo can be traded.  If he doesn’t, at least they have Olivo.
  • My initial thought on the Jack Cust addition: helpful but unexciting.  He should be a huge improvement to the lineup, but he’s never been one of my favorite players.  A three true outcomes guy with declining power just isn’t my kind of guy.  Still glad to have him over some other options.
  • As everyone knows by now, Jose Lopez is now a Colorado Rockie.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had a solid year this year, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t a bad move even if he hits 30 home runs or something.  He wasn’t going to succeed in Safeco, and sometimes it’s just time to make a change.  You can argue that the Mariners sold way low on him, which is true, but his contract really forced the issue.  I can’t think of another way they could have gone with this.  He was just a bad fit for the park and wore out his welcome on the field.  Best of luck to Jose in the rest of his career, though.  He always seemed like a good guy, and he underwent some horrible personal issues that made it hard not to root for him, even when he was struggling.  I hope he finds some happiness and homers in Colorado or wherever he ends up.

I would expect there’s at least one moderately big trade coming for the Mariners, but we’ll see.  Going out on a limb, I would bet that Zach Greinke is in a Mariner uniform by the start of 2012.  More later when there are some more moves and I’m done with classes for the semester.

-Matthew

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