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February 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Mariners manager Eric Wedge says playing time will be factor in whether Kyle Seager makes club

The Mariners haven’t played a single game this spring, so, clearly, much of the Kyle Seager conversation is speculative at the moment. But many of you have show interest in the topic today, especially when it comes to whether or not the young infielder will break camp.
In the end, unless Seager rips the cover off the ball with his bat, his fate — at least for the early part of the season — could rest more on the performance of others. As we’ve discussed this morning, if Chone Figgins is the primary third baseman, then Seager needs to beat out Carlos Guillen (or someone else) as the backup third baseman to have any shot at playing in enough games to help his development. Without third base, he’d be a one-or-two-games-per-week guy tops.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge is naturally reluctant to get into “bubble” questions on who could or could not make the squad this early in camp. But part of understanding the Seager issue involves determining whether there is any way Seager could make the club playing only two or three games per week. Because with many young players, teams prefer they play every day in Class AAA rather than riding the bench in the majors.
So, in an effort not to get ahead of ourselves if we don’t have to, I asked Wedge moments ago at his media briefing whether there is a minimal number of games Seager has to be able to realistically play each week in order for him to make the team.
“That’s a good question,” Wedge said. “It’s something we’ll have to take into consideration. I always take that into consderation with young position players and even with young pitchers for that matter — in regards to innings pitched as a starter or appearances as a reliever and obviously, games played and at-bats from a position player standpoint.”

“We’ll take that into consideration,” Wedge added. “Like I said, we’re going to play him at second base, we’re going to play him at third base. We’re going to give him a good look here.
“He gained some invaluable experience, but having said that, he’s come up here in a hurry. He didn’t get a great deal of minor league time. He’s a good hitter, he’s a student of the game. And he’s continuing to work hard to understand the game even that much better at this level.
“When it gets down to making those decisions at the end of camp, I think all of those are things we’re going to have to take into consideration.”
So, there you go. It really has little to do with Seager’s potential, or ability. It has everything to do with whether he’ll get enough playing time now that the Mariners have committed to giving Figgins the bulk of third base playing time.
There are only so many utility guys any one team can carry and generally, you don’t want your best young players being pigeonholed into part-time utility roles if they could one day become starters.
Again, if Seager goes lights-out in camp, you have to find a spot for him, as GM Jack Zduriencik told me today. But Seager was far from lights-out last season and showed he had plenty to learn.
And with Figgins poised to be the third baseman, Seager will likely have to jumpstart his learning curve to a whole new level in a few weeks if — barring injuries — he wants to break camp with the squad.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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