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Mariners could use Carlos Peguero big time in left field

The best way to make room for someone with power on the Seattle Mariners' roster would be to release Chone Figgins.
Carlos Peguero

Carlos Peguero Seattle Mariners

Know what the Mariners need as they pass the quarter pole of another woeful season? They need another left fielder.

Yeah, you answer, but they already have about 12 guys who can play left-field, a couple of them even competently.

Right, so you're thinking the team needs a baker's-dozen left fielders the way, say, Wiley Coyote needs another run-in with the Roadrunner.

The thing is, it wouldn't just be any left fielder. This one would be Carlos Peguero, who, during just 11 games with the triple-A Rainiers this year, has 15 hits, including four doubles, a triple and four home runs.

Friday, as the M's were shutting down Colorado 4-0 during their, well, woeful four-city, 3-6 road trip (as of Saturday), Peguero had a solo dinger for Tacoma to go with a base hit, raising his batting average to .375.

Granted: His mere 40 Coast League at-bats this year scarcely qualify as an adequate sampling for projecting big-league production. Nor was he exactly a Rookie of the Year candidate last year, when the then 24-year-old played 46 games for Seattle and hit .196. But among his 28 hits in 2011 were six long balls.

Home runs haven't been a large part of the M's repertoire for the better part of a decade. Entering the Saturday game with Colorado in which they picked up one more homer during a 10-3 win, the Mariners' 34 round-trippers left them 11th in the 14-team American League.

This season, Jesus Montero leads the team with five long balls (one more than Ranger Josh Hamilton had May 8 in a single outing) but sat for the Thursday and Friday games after lunging for a number of bad pitches he apparently imagined putting over the fences. At least the 22-year-old has shown something like aggressiveness at the plate, unlike teammates who have conspicuously left an abundance of runners in scoring position on the way to an 18-24, last-place record in the division.

How to make room for Peguero? At some point management is going to have to swallow the Chone Figgins contract: bad debt to rival certain documents from the housing crisis. In the absence of a Figgins decision, there are others who could benefit from taking swings in triple-A.

And there are two other reasons for bringing back Peguero. One: At 6-feet-5 and 245 pounds he's a Big Get in size alone.

Another would be the nostalgia factor. Unless you were the Angels' Torii Hunter, one of the — literally — warmest, fuzziest moments of the 2011 season occurred precisely a year and ago at Safeco Field. From the deathless memories cluttering the Crosscut.com archives, it's recounted below in the written drivel of your own humble correspondent:

The sun won a game in Seattle? Seattle . . . Washington?

Yes, and the phrase “seeing is believing” isn’t quite appropriate. “Not seeing” makes more sense in this context.

In the bottom of the ninth Thursday (May 19) [2011], with the game knotted at one and the Mariners with two outs and a runner on third, recent call-up Carlos Peguero lofted a routine fly to center, precisely the play that had almost resulted in a dropped ball by M’s center-fielder Michael Saunders half an inning earlier.

This time the Los Angeles Angels’ Torii Hunter lost the ball in the cloud-less afternoon glare. Jack Cust walked home with the winning run to the delight of 18,374, none, from what I could see, wearing a parka.

For his part in that game alone, Carlos Peguero is a Mariners immortal and belongs — even if just in some mascot role — with the big-league team.

Since 1994 Senior Lecturer Mike Henderson, a veteran writer and editor for The Times, Post-Intelligencer, (Everett) Herald, Seattle Weekly and Crosscut, has been a member of the faculty of the University of Washington Department of Communication. He considers himself to be the only journalist ever to interview actor Gene Hackman inside San Quentin prison while wearing a pair of Hackman's pants. He can be reached at mikh48@hotmail.com.


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Comments:

Posted Sat, May 19, 11:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Ted, I don't think he's a great choice in the left. He's not a natural outfielder, doesn't have a lot of range, and he's huge if he inadvertently runs down a teammate.

If he shows he can come back from his injury and continue to hit consistently, the M's can certainly use his bat at DH, but his ability to cover Safeco's left field cow pasture really troubles me.

KgSmyth

Posted Sun, May 20, 1:56 p.m. Inappropriate

Mike, I think Peguero failed his audition last year. A handful of home runs in a once-around-the-league context doesn't comes to close offsetting an insanely high strikeout rate (versus just about no walks). He's a Quad-A player at best, a Greg Pirkl, a Dave Hengel, a Wladimir Balentien. Not even a Justin Leone or a Bucky Jacobsen. The M's need run-producers, not outmaking machines. There's no evidence that he's made strides this season in increasing his contact rate (46 plate appearances, 15 strikeouts). Peguero is no kind of answer. He's waiver bait.

Posted Mon, May 21, 9:35 a.m. Inappropriate

I disagree Jim. Peguero is better in the outfield than you say, he has a strong arm, he's pretty fast, and even with the strikeouts, when he gets the bat on the ball, which is often, he hits rockets. He's only 25. To condemn him to 4-A status with so little opportunity in the big leagues is to perhaps see him be traded away for prospects and watch him become another former M turning up the heat with some other team.

Look at box scores -- from David Arias (now David Ortiz) to Asdrubal Cabrera to Adam Jones to Raul Ibanez to Shin Soo Choo to Omar Vizquel, even pinch hitter extraordinaire Greg Dobbs and, who can forget Alex Rodriguez. There are others. The point is, it's a little too early to give up on Peguero.

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