So Mike Hargrove bowed out Sunday, leaving the reason up to everyone's imagination, because as Miguel Batista said, "Why leave? That doesn't make any sense to me." But I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Thanks to a clubhouse full of smoke and mirrors, the Mariners aren't 20 games out. However it happened***, Hargrove's quiting was the first of a number of needed moves if the Mariners want to contend. Here's a few more:
1. DFA Jose Vidro and his .230/.333/.270 w/RISP and 13 GIDP to 12 XBH.
2. DH Ben Broussard or call up Adam Jones to play left and move Raul Ibanez to DH. Jones is better defensively, plus Broussard gives the team a good bat off the bench who can (sort of) play corner OF and first.
3. Send Brandon Morrow to Triple-A. He has control issues, relies on his fastball too much and needs to become a starter anyway. Maybe he can come back in September when Jeff Weaver implodes.
4. Use Chris Reitsma as the right-handed set-up guy until Mark Lowe (.193 ERA, .190 BAA in 2006) is ready to return from the DL at the All-Star break.
5. Trade for a pitcher (Mark Buehrle?). The M's have a prospect catcher to spare (Jeff Clement or Rob Johnson) and can add lower-level prospect and either Ryan Feierabend or Chae Seung Baek. (Although that's not as much as the White Sox (Jeremy Reed, Miguel Olivo, Mike Morse) gave the Mariners for Freddy Garcia a few years back, so maybe they'd have to throw in more.)
6. DFA Horacio Ramirez. (Hard to believe anyone would trade for him.)
7. Give Ichiro a contract extension.
(***Funny thing is, Hargrove seemed like a different manager this season. Maybe it was desperation after getting the "Hot Seat" warning from ownership, or maybe it was the presence of bench coach/new manager John McLaren, but Hargrove noticeably played against type, using the bullpen more efficiently, calling suicide squeezes, turning a 180 from last year's emphasis on running that just ran the team into outs, mixing up the lineup more than his usual set-in-stone order, etc. etc.)