Change is good in this case, but the Mariners’ on-field product isn’t likely to be improved by the decision Monday to cut Milton Bradley and Ryan Langerhans and add Carlos Peguero and Michael Wilson.
The 24-year-old Peguero is big, strong and surprisingly fast, but he also struck out more than 170 times in high-A ball in 2009 and again in Double-A last year. He had a 34/9 K/BB ratio to go along with his .282 average and four homers in 103 at-bats for Triple-A Tacoma this season. During his brief major league stint last month, he went 2-for-11 with five strikeouts.
And while Peguero has the speed to play center, he’d be quite a downgrade from Michael Saunders defensively either there or in left after Franklin Gutierrez returns. He’s also a very poor basestealer, having gotten thrown out on 13 of his 28 attempts since the beginning of 2009.
Wilson has a knack for hitting homers in bunches, as he showed by clobbering eight in the Cactus League for the Mariners in 2009, but he’s 28 and he’s another player with contact issues. While it’s nice to see him getting rewarded with a callup in his 10th season in the Mariners’ minor league system, his only chance of sticking for the long haul is as a platoon starter against lefties. In three seasons in the PCL, he’s hit a modest .255/.341/.463 with 26 homers and a 133/58 K/BB ratio in 566 at-bats.
My guess is that Peguero returns to Triple-A when Gutierrez comes off the DL, with Wilson staying and forming a platoon with Saunders in left field. Peguero isn’t completely hopeless as a possible long-term regular, but he’s not ready to take on major league breaking balls right now.