The Mariners had to part ways with former first round draft pick converted second basemen Michael Garciaparra when he was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies. Garciaparra had his best overall season in 2006, batting .311 in 70 games in Triple-A and Double-A. Many Mariners in the Front Office suspected that he might be gone either before or during the season because he was put on the 40-man to avoid the Rule 5, but if he were to be sent down to make room for a non roster invitee, he would have to clear waivers for three days. Furthermore, the Mariners decided that Betancourt would be the future shortstop for the Mariners, while Jose Lopez put a good year together at second and they had a lot of depth there already. "I'm excited for him because he gets to stay on a 40-man roster," said Greg Hunter, the Mariners' Minor League director. "We're disappointed to lose him, but we needed roster spots..."