Injuries have devastated the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets to the point each club is struggling to field a competitive roster. I have a solution to their problem – combine the teams. That’s right. What if we blended the Mariners’ and Mets’ 26-man rosters into one unit?

Yes, my suggestion is pure folly. But what else are fans supposed to do when their team is falling apart in May? Why not have a little fun by doing a “what if drill” as a distraction from reality?

So, what prompted my inane proposal?

I live in the Pacific Northwest and grew up as a Mets fan. I thought it’d be cool to build a super-squad by cherry-picking players from my two favorite teams. It’d be like the time the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy teamed-up in a comic book movie. That turned out okay for most of the characters that didn’t die.

Walking Wounded

Okay, back to the Mariners and Mets. For those of you not fully acquainted with their dilapidated rosters, here are notable names currently on each organization’s injured list. You could build a strong squad from the players lost to injury. The rotation would be particularly formidable.

MetsMariners
Pete Alonso (1B)Evan White (1B)
Jeff McNeil (2B)Dylan Moore (2B)
J.D. Davis (3B)Shed Long Jr. (2B)
Luis Guillorme (INF)Jake Fraley (OF)
Michael Conforto (OF)Nick Margevicius (SP)
Brandon Nimmo (OF)Marco Gonzales (SP)
Kevin Pillar (OF)James Paxton (SP)
Jordan Yamamoto (SP)Ljay Newsome (SP/RP)
Carlos Carrasco (SP)Will Vest (RP)
Taijuan Walker (SP)Casey Sadler (RP)
Noah Syndergaard (SP)Kendall Graveman (RP)
Seth Lugo (RP)Drew Steckenrider (RP)
Dellin Betances (RP)
Tommy Hunter (RP)

Now that we’ve painted the ugly picture Mariners and Mets fans are staring at on a daily basis, let’s begin this endeavor with position player selections. What I quickly discovered is that combining both rosters didn’t yield the power-packed lineup I expected to create.

Lineup

2B
HR
AVG
OBP
SLG
OPS+
1B - Dominic Smith
5
2
.236
.289
.314
71
2B - J.P. Crawford
8
1
.248
.318
.318
86
SS - Francisco Lindor
4
3
.189
.295
.277
63
3B - Kyle Seager
12
9
.229
.301
.463
117
LF - Jarred Kelenic
2
2
.146
.222
.341
60
CF - Kyle Lewis
2
4
.245
.353
.382
114
RF - Mitch Haniger
12
13
.263
.318
.559
148
DH - Ty France
10
3
.230
.331
.370
104
C - Tom Murphy
3
4
.133
.182
.313
40

The Mets are using Dominic Smith in place of the injured Pete Alonso at first base. Honestly, I would’ve gone with Smith even if Alonso was healthy. New York’s first round pick in 2013 is the better athlete and has a 112 OPS+ during his brief career. Smith can also play left field, when needed.

Seattle’s starting shortstop, J.P. Crawford, moves to second base on my squad since the Mets have perennial All-Star Francisco Lindor at shortstop. The Gold Glove defense of Crawford and Lindor would form a impressive double-play combination for my fantasy team.

Third base was a no-brainer with Kyle Seager holding down the position. Defensive metrics don’t care for Seager as much as in the past. But the combination of the North Carolina alum’s bat and glove outclasses anything the Mets can muster at the hot corner.

Jarred Kelenic is my left fielder despite struggling since his MLB debut two weeks ago. Mets fans are constantly pining over the rookie ever since the team dealt him to Seattle in an ill-advised trade. Including the sixth overall pick of the 2018 draft gives New Yorkers the Kelenic-fix they desire.

Filling out the outfield with Kyle Lewis and Mitch Haniger was an easy decision. Lewis, the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year, started this season in the IL. But the Mercer product’s bat has been heating up lately. Haniger missed all of last season and most of 2019 due to multiple injuries. Still, the Californian was an All-Star in 2018 and is among league leaders in home runs this year.

Fun fact: Mitch Haniger was selected by the Mets in the thirty-first round of the 2009 draft. Haniger opted to attend Cal Poly instead and was a first round pick of the Brewers three years later.

Sorry NL baseball fans. I’m going with a designated hitter. Let’s face it. Having pitchers hit doesn’t help a sport desperately needing more action. My choice is Ty France, who just completed an IL stint. The former San Diego State Aztec primarily serves as the Mariners’ DH, although he also has experience at both corner infield spots and second base.

None of the catcher candidates have a history of sustained offensive excellence. Therefore, I went with Tom Murphy as my primary backstop. Murphy is excellent at handling Seattle’s staff and a strong defender behind the plate. Backing up Murphy is Tomás Nido, another skilled glove. Honestly, it wouldn’t have taken much effort to convince me to make Nido the starter.

Reserves

The bench was a bit tricky thanks to the multitude of injuries facing both teams. In my initial draft, Mets outfielder Johneshwy Fargas and Mariners utility-man Sam Haggerty were possibilities. Both are now out of commission with injuries.

2B
HR
AVG
OBP
SLG
OPS+
C - Tomás Nido
2
2
.261
.320
.478
122
IF - Jonathan Villar
3
4
.211
.289
.367
84
OF - Cameron Maybin
0
0
.000
.050
.000
-84
UTL - José Peraza
2
1
.195
.250
.317
59

Jonathan Villar has played third base and both middle-infield spots this season and possesses limited outfield experience in previous campaigns. Serving as utility-man is José Peraza. The seven-year veteran has experienced every position on the diamond with the exception of first base and catcher.

My backup outfielder is former Mariner and current Met Cameron Maybin. The 34-year-old was playing with Class-AAA Iowa a week ago before New York acquired him from the Cubs for one dollar. Yes, that’s right. Both clubs’ outfield depth is so thin that someone not in the majors a week ago made my roster.

Rotation

When first considering this piece, I expected the rotation would be the strongest unit. The injury bug had something to say about that. Picking who’d be the headliner was easy, although I grappled with rounding out the staff.

ERA
WHIP
HR9
BB9
SO9
Jacob deGrom
0.68
0.60
0.5
1.6
14.6
Marcus Stroman
2.75
1.07
1.0
1.9
7.4
Yusei Kikuchi
4.02
1.09
1.6
3.1
9.0
Justus Sheffield
5.11
1.57
1.0
3.7
7.0
Justin Dunn
3.40
1.26
1.1
5.7
8.4

Naturally, two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom is my ace. deGrom returns to the Mets after a short IL stint this evening. There have been questions regarding the Stetson product’s physical readiness this season. That said, the Palm Beach Cardinals believe deGrom is perfectly healthy after he demolished them during a recent rehab start.

The next obvious choice is Marcus Stroman, who’s been excellent this year. Following the former Duke Blue Devil is Yusei Kikuchi. The southpaw fits in nicely behind the 1-2 combination of deGrom and Stroman. After the top-three, it got a bit squishy for me.

The final rotation spots go to a pair of youngsters with New York ties. Justus Sheffield, acquired from the Yankees in 2018 and former Mets first rounder Justin Dunn dealt to the Emerald City with Kelenic in the same offseason. Sheffield and Dunn have struggled at times this season. However, both have also flashed their upside in 2021.

Other candidates included David Peterson and Chris Flexen.

Bullpen

Although Seattle’s relievers helped carry the team earlier this season, my bullpen is mostly Mets relievers. That said, Mariners fans are very familiar with the pitcher topping my list.

SV
WHIP
HR9
BB9
SO9
Edwin Díaz
7
1.15
0.0
2.9
11.3
Trevor May
1
1.24
1.0
2.1
12.7
Jeurys Familia
1
1.71
0.0
4.9
9.8
Miguel Castro
0
1.27
1.1
4.7
13.5
Sean Reid-Foley
0
0.86
0.0
0.8
13.9
Aaron Loup
0
1.33
0.0
1.5
9.8
Rafael Montero
5
1.18
0.9
3.1
7.5
Chris Flexen
0
1.57
1.1
2.0
5.3

I’m a proponent of not giving relievers designated roles and managers using the best available relief arm whenever the game is on the line, regardless of the inning. That said, I’d designate Edwin Díaz as my top choice to close out games. Behind the native of Puerto Rico is a strong group of relievers capable of protecting leads.

Offseason free agent signing Trevor May has been superb. The Washington native is primarily holding down the eighth inning for Mets manager Luis Rojas this season. One-time New York closer Jeurys Familia has also been adept at shutting down late-inning threats. Versatile Miguel Castro has opened games and appeared everywhere from the fifth to the ninth for Rojas.

Veteran Aaron Loup serves as lefty reliever, although it’s worth noting the Tulane alum hasn’t been particularly strong against right-handed bats this year. Still, Loup has been a solid relief arm in recent years and welcome in my bullpen.

A lesser-known name also gets the nod – Sean-Reid Foley. Born in Guam, then right-hander wasn’t particularly effective during his first two seasons with the Blue Jays in 2018-19. But Foley had a breakout season with Toronto last year and is continuing that success in the Big Apple in 2021.

The last two names are the only Mariners – Rafael Montero and Flexen. Seattle fans won’t be ecstatic with Montero making the cut. But he’s been better than fan perception. Besides, the native of La Romana, Dominican Republic won’t be closing games with my squad.

Flexen would serve in a long relief role. Before spending 2021 playing with the Korean Baseball Organization, the right-hander spent parts of three seasons with the Mets as a reliever and spot starter.

Management

Since I’ve gone this far, why not identify who’d run the team concocted for entertainment purposes?

Owner: Steven Cohen
President: Sandy Alderson
GM: Jerry Dipoto
Manager: Scott Servais

Picking an owner was the easiest decision. Steven Cohen is a Long Islander and life-long Mets fan. More importantly, he’s really rich and willing to spend his money. Cohen routinely engages fans on social media and has expressed a desire to build a sustainable contender modeled after the Dodgers. That said, he expects his club to win the World Series within 3-5 years.

On the other hand, the Mariners are owned by a large group led by John Stanton, who rarely makes public statements about the team’s competitive status and future. Whether Seattle’s ownership actually has the appetite to pay for a championship roster is debatable.

My team president is Sandy Alderson. The former U.S. Marine has a distinguished career as an MLB executive and led the Mets to the 2015 World Series. Alderson’s use of statistical analysis as the Athletics’ GM opened the door for the Moneyball era spearheaded by his successor in Oakland – Billy Beane.

For GM, I’m going with Jerry Dipoto, who currently holds the same position with the Mariners. This choice probably roils some Seattle fans. But the legion of frustrated should remember that Dipoto wouldn’t be budget-restricted with Cohen as owner. Plus, he was a Mets fan growing up and pitched for the team in 1995-96.

As far as manager goes, it was a toss-up for me between Mariners skipper Scott Servais and Rojas. I went with Servais since he’s done the job in the majors for a longer time. Again, some Seattle fans will lose their mind over this selection. Fine, go crazy. If I went with Rojas there’d be a contingent of Mets fans screaming about that.

Maybe, just maybe, the manager isn’t as important to the daily outcome of games as some fans believe.

Finally

My squad would be competitive and fun to watch. Still, a lot of Mariners would be pushed aside once Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, Noah Syndergaard, and Seth Lugo were available. This speaks to the state of each team’s current 40-man roster.

The Mariners are in the process of integrating young players and top prospects into their big-league roster. The team’s goal is to evaluate what they have before adding established talent. As a result, Seattle’s season will likely remain turbulent and susceptible to injuries thanks to a lack of major-league depth.

Conversely, the Mets are in win-now mode with an owner committed to becoming World Series champs sooner than later. At some point, New York will turn to the trade market to overcome the loss of injured players. Maybe Alderson calls Dipoto looking for help.

Wouldn’t that be something?

Put it in the books…

My Oh My…

Last Updated on June 1, 2021 by Luke Arkins

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Luke Arkins

Luke is a native New Yorker, who grew up as a Mets fan. After the US Navy moved him to the Pacific Northwest in 2009, he decided to make Seattle his home. In 2014, Luke joined the Prospect Insider team. During baseball season, he can often be found observing the local team at T-Mobile Park. You can follow Luke on Twitter @luke_arkins
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Kurt

So Jason, I’m with you on how bad it looked with the comments about service time manipulation, but I was actually more offended about what was said in regard to Julio Rodriguez. My wife is from Peru and I know how hard it was for me to learn Spanish and for Julio to start doing interviews in English at 17-18 is incredible and he should be praised for making the effort to connect with our fan base, not be criticized for his English (which I think is very good for what it is worth), especially when Kevin Mathers probably doesn’t even speak serviceable Spanish with three times the amount of living experience.
As for the service time manipulation, I get why it looked bad, but I also think that his choice of words compounded the issue. As a Mariner executive, I wouldn’t have said or done that in the first place, but had I said anything about Kelenic and Gilbert, I would have said, “in the context of the Corona virus and the lost minor league season last year, we feel the guys are going to need at least some exposure to AAA before they can make the jump to the majors and had 2020 been a normal year, we could’ve given them a month or two and brought them along in June to Seattle had they progressed as we expected. However, combined with the fact they never faced AAA in 2020 and there has probably been a little regression until they get back into the flow of a season, we definitely want to protect the player from being overly exposed to a level that they are not prepared for, even if that means upsetting him or making him feel like we are doing it for the sake of manipulating their service clock. We value doing things right, even if we may need to convince them of our intentions. Had they missed last year due to injury, they would be expected to rehab in the minors before being added to the major league roster, so even if the reason is different, the expectation is still the same. Also, it is fair to point out that without a minor league season, had Kelenic or Gilbert struggled, there would’ve been no place to send them to work on their mechanics or to build back their confidence. For players we see as cornerstones to what we hope will be our first championship team in Seattle baseball history, we felt they are too important to our fans, our team and our franchise to cavalierly expose them to the majors without proper consideration of how to do this and what would be our alternatives should things not go according to plan.”
I guess this shows what kind of buffoon Mathers was, but it is also worth noting that Kelenic and his yes men also forget that when he was offered a major league contract last year, it was before the pandemic and while there was still an anticipated minor league season. At the time of the negotiations, they had a safety net of demoting Kelenic to AAA and giving him more time to work on things in Tacoma. Had the pandemic hit in December or January, I’m not sure they offer him a long term deal until the spring of 2021.
Kelenic is also stupid for “betting on himself.” Signing an Eloy Jimenez deal probably only leaves $10M+ on the table. Betts was a MVP and he made $60M over his 6+ years of team control, while Jimenez is making $50M over those same 7 years, even if he sucks or gets injured. For the last year of the deal Jimenez makes $15.5M for the 1 year of FA he gave away, while Betts is making $22.5M in his first year of his new contract. So Kelenic would have gambled $17M, but looking at Jimenez being injured and other young players who have lost time to injury, that’s really not too much to lose for the forever security.
Even if he felt they were manipulating his clock, had he started last year with a Jimenez type contract he would be a free agent following the 2027 season (the same as he will now), he would’ve got to the majors sooner to start building his legacy and most importantly he would be looking at earning $65M by the end of 2027, now he’s going to have to be the second coming of MVP Betts to make that money. Is it possible? Sure, but he’s going to have to be the best version of himself for the remainder of his control years without injury or slumps to get paid that well.

Last edited 6 days ago by Kurt
Jason A. Churchill

Hey Kurt,

Re: Kelenic

No. Admitting openly to service time manipulation is laughable and embarrassing, but just committing the act is bad enough.
But I do think it shows people just because a player hits in AA or AAA or because a bunch of people are clamoring for him to be called up doesn’t make it true.
I don’t think any agent would advise their player to take 100 ABs and make a big-picture decision like signing a long-term contract. The player and agent aren’t dumb enough to fall for this.
I wouldn’t trade Kelenic for Abrams. The Mariners should not.
I think both sides say no on your trade.
Re: Kelenic’s struggles. It’s textbook, really, and the same reason Trammell struggled so much earlier. He’s seeing great pitching for the first time in his life. I don’t think most fans understand the difference in quality between AAA and MLB arms. There’s NO break. If the starter isn’t throwing 95+ with two secondaries he can locate, he has 70 command and a changeup like Kelenic has never seen. The lefties out of the pen either throw 98 with deceptions and a breaking ball or they throw from behind their hip — or both. There are no breaks. When struggles like this happen, hitters, even veterans, tend to stray from their mechanics or game plan and it compounds the issue.
Kelenic has fouled off a lot of fastballs he should be putting in play. That’s the main issue right now. He’s very likely to go back to Tacoma very soon so he gather himself, take what he’s seen and make an adjustment without the pressure to perform in the bigs and we’ll see him again in July or August.
I don’t think batting leadoff did anything to hinder his chances, and I don’t think WHEN they send him back really matters as long as they don’t let him rot like Jack & co. did with Ackley. And they won’t. They handled it right with Trammell, they’ll do the same with Kelenic.

Kurt

*So does Kelenic being the worst call-up in a decade get the Mariners anymore rope on the whole holding him back due to service time manipulation?
*If the Mariners offered him the same long term contract, would Kelenic sign today knowing how hard it is to be good in the majors?
*Should the Mariners take advantage of this opportunity to re-open negotiations with Kelenic or should they be scared that he’s Evan White -2.0?
*At this point we know he will be at least average and to take this with a grain-of-salt to some degree, like how Trout even had a rough first year and looked lost and over matched, but if given the chance to trade Kelenic for C.J. Abrams and a couple lottery ticket low A pitchers, would you do that after seeing how hard Kelenic is struggling or does 05/14/21 and his two doubles + 1 HR game give you too much hope still?
*Last hypothetical trade… Kelenic, Gilbert, Crawford to TB for Franco, Honeywell, and McHugh. Who says no first?
*Oh and side note, any chance you guys could write up what is causing Kelenic to suck from your perspective? Shoulder wiggle? Drifting in the box? Too passive on two strike counts? Pull happy? Too much swag early on and not enough now? Should Mariners have started him down the lineup like most prospects that debut? Most important should the Mariners sent him back at the Mendoza line when he looked lost and deflated and has their waiting this long damaged him beyond repair in terms of confidence?

Last edited 7 days ago by Kurt