Bonus Mariner Squalls 06/28/14: Bad Blash

1024px-Ebenezer_Colls_-_Sailboats_in_a_squall

== More news, not all good ==

Well, just yesterday I did a news-y post with good stuff about D.J. Peterson, Alex Jackson & Gareth Morgan, Isaiah Yates and others.

And, as soon as I posted it, there was already more news.  So: bonus coverage.

===

The big news for prospect watchers, of course, was the 50-game suspension of Jabari Blash (currently with Tacoma) and his former Jackson teammate Jamal Austin.

Austin isn’t really a guy with huge MLB potential, and is well down the list of possible outfielders, but Blash was — to say the least — making an impression with his power bat.  And a healthy RH power bat being something the Mariners could use.

But they won’t be using Blash’s for awhile.

The suspension — and I guess this could be good or bad news, depending on your point of view — was for a “drug of abuse” and not for performance-enhancing drugs.  That means marijuana or cocaine or the like.

Meaning:

  • We don’t necessarily have to question Blash’s prodigious power output (as in: not juiced — or at least not suspended for being juiced).
  • We do have to continue to question Blash’s maturity.

He’s a huge talent, but, besides raw baseball skills, he had been suspended from his junior college team when the M’s drafted him.  The reports I’ve found indicate he was suspended for academic reasons, but academic problems can also result from drug problems.

Anyway, no “Blash Splash” reports for a couple of months, and clearly he won’t be any help to the Big Club any time soon.  I thought they might give him a shot late in the summer, but that’s pretty unlikely now.

===

No surprise that Michael Saunders got recalled to the Mariners on the first day he was eligible to come off the disabled list.  The issue was who would get sent down, and it was Jesus Montero.

Montero wasn’t getting much playing time, and there will be a 1b/DH logjam once Corey Hart and/or Justin Smoak return, so Tacoma is where he should be.

===

Then came quite a surprise.  With Blash out and Montero returning, who showed up in the Tacoma outfield but our man Ji-Man Choi.  His first game in left field as a pro.  He had played some third base in Korea, and was going to be given a shot at catcher before a major back injury ended that experiment, but I’d never seen him mentioned as an outfield candidate.

Of course, half our post yesterday was about how they’ll have to be creative to get everyone into the lineup in Tacoma and Jackson, so there it is.  But, of course again, having Blash and Austin out of the picture eases that crunch a bit.

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