We’re about a week and a half from Opening Day 2021 at T-Mobile Park when the Seattle Mariners host the San Francisco Giants.
There remain just a few spots on the Mariners roster unsettled, at least from our perspective (the club may already know all 26).
Let’s go through this for the second time this spring.
I went with Dunn in the rotation over Margevicius because I think Seattle is seeing enough in the right-hander this spring to go back to the well and try to build on the improved stuff.
What that specific decision also does is balance the rotation against the four lefties, and sends Margevicius to the bullpen to serve as its lone southpaw.
I think Vest, the Rule 5 pick, has done enough to make the club and essentially earn a longer look. How long that lasts should be performance-driven.
At this point Yohan Ramirez has made one appearance in an “A” game in Arizona, hitting two batters and walking another. He needs to start the year in Triple-A Tacoma and work on the delivery. His raw stuff is legit, but he doesn’t fill the zone much.
Middleton has struggled a bit, serving up five homers, but he does have a 6-1 K/BB ratio in five frames, and the stuff belongs. He also has a bit of a track record a few others in contention don’t.
Aaron Fletcher has flashed big-league stuff but more consistent command of the fastball is necessary before he can be viewed as a reliable arm.
Sadler has looked very good and is a strike-thrower to boot, something the club needs in the middle innings.
Matt Magill has just three appearances, making it more difficult to project him to the ODR. Joey Gerber has looked better this month than most of his appearances last summer, including more velocity, recouped deception, and a better, sharper-breaking slider.
Roenis Elias may have been on his way to making the team until his injury.
JT Chargois still has a shot, but he hasn’t been used much yet, suggesting the Mariners already know he’s not part of the ODR, but Swanson’s spot is far from sewn up and could go in a lot of directions, including Chargois or Matt Magill.
One potential hint on who the club may be viewing as a legitimate option is who is getting the innings this late in Cactus League play. Not just because they want those arms worked into form, but because those not part of the 26-man roster to start the season have another 33 days until their first game, and overworking them in big-league camp is a real problem.
Honestly, with Shed Long Jr. being held out of “A” games thus far, it’s a bit more difficult to find the right mix with the infield-outfield groups.
I’d choose Jack Reinheimer or Braden Bishop for the final roster spot because the former can play shortstop some, offers a bit more offense right now than does Donovan Walton, and the latter is a 70 glove. Both bat right-handed, balancing the bench. But Reinheimer is not on the 40-man, the Mariners seem to think Jose Marmolejos is something he’s not — an outfielder and a major-league hitter — and Fraley has been given a longer look (so, that’s where I actually lean in projecting the ODR).
Once Long is ready, it’s an easier projection, but as of March 21 we don’t have good info on when that might be.
There’s no reasonable explanation for a Mariners outfield without Trammell and/or Jarred Kelenic, and at this point, I lean Trammell between the two because of the time Kelenic missed with the knee injury and the lack of overall experience he has versus professional pitching.
The truth is, both players are worthy, and if the Mariners were taking the best roster possible north with them to face the San Francisco Giants April 1, Kelenic would be on it.
Haggerty’s ability to switch hit and handle second base gives him a great chance to make the club, and he’s actually found the barrel some this spring, worked counts and found the gap a few times.
If the club needs a 40-man spot to make room for Kelenic, they’ve yet to officially place Ken Giles on the 60-day IL, per the team site. If they also need one for Reinheimer, Chargois, or Magill, I think the weakest holds on 40-man roster spots are right-hander Domingo Tapia, Walton, an additional 60-day IL case (Long?), or perhaps a minor trade involving a player that didn’t make the ODR, including Bishop and Fraley.
Jason A. Churchill
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