Expansion is looking more and more like an option. Well, it kind of has to be unless you want to count on Sacramento’s arena folding by 2017, in which case the NBA can arrange a sale to a new ownership group who would move the team out of California’s capitol. Meaning that unless another city comes along, not completely out of left field, but close, Seattle would be looked at as a front runner.
So there is that option, or Seattle could twiddle its collective thumbs until Franchise X in City Y runs into a brick wall out of nowhere.
I like expansion better.
Expansion probably isn’t going to happen this offseason, unless Hansen and friends have been in a huddle with Stern and his many cronies discussing it recently. Even then, there is the issue of the draft. Or drafts. The expansion draft would have to happen, and the normal NBA draft. Which, if Seattle got a team this year, their front office would go into the draft completely blind, not having done a whole lot of homework.
So, maybe the Sonics come back next year. I can wait. At least it’s not 2017.
A quick pan over the Mariners’ depth chart shows Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino in the starting nine. This wouldn’t be too far-fetched if it were, say next year’s depth chart, but this is where the world is presently; the Mariners future is also their present.
The M’s probably would have liked to have had Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero each put a respective stranglehold on second base and catcher so that the team could ease Franklin and Zunino into their roles for the next decade. Ackley hit .205 with five extra base hits in 45 games, while Montero struggled to fit in defensively and was a smidgen better batting than Ackley with a .208 clip. The two obviously didn’t execute said strangleholds, and here we are.
This might be a good thing for the Mariners, all of course pending the youngsters perform well.
Zunino is obviously the future at catcher. He’s proved that with his own body of work. Not to mention having Montero prove the fact for him with his defensive shortcomings. This lets him get a head-start on being the M’s everyday catcher while continuing his learning process. Everyone knew he was going to take over for Montero at some point between the start of this season and the end of next. This just accelerates the process and lets Montero transition to more of an everyday utility player, one who might catch a day or two a week and play the other games at first base or as the DH.
The Franklin transition seems to be working out for all parties involved. Mariners, Franklin and Ackley. Franklin is currently preforming well for Seattle with a .299 clip at the plate while providing plus defense. Ackley is ripping the cover off the ball at AAA Tacoma, a good sign after his iffy stint with Seattle to start the year, with a .383 batting average.
This could all work out well for Seattle. Zunino could establish himself as the catcher sooner than expected. Franklin could integrate himself into the core of the team, also sooner than expected. Ackley could come back firing from a hitting spree in Tacoma, and Montero could figure things out after he returns from injury.