Fann: What a full-strength Mariners roster could look like for a playoff push

It’s superb how rapidly vibes can change throughout a baseball season, each for the higher and worse. Last Saturday felt like the underside was about to fall out of the Mariners season.

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Julio Rodríguez received hit on the wrist, and the rapid worry was a damaged bone that will maintain the rookie phenom out for months. On high of that, Seattle appeared poised to lose a sixth straight recreation to the Astros because the All-Star break. The Mariners ended up profitable that recreation because of Abraham Toro’s ninth inning heroics, and fortunately Rodríguez may be able to return instantly from the 10-day injured record subsequent week.

Despite dropping to Houston on Sunday, Seattle stole a 2-1 sequence win in opposition to the Yankees to salvage a 3-4 highway journey. It was the sort of good-not-great seven-game run the Mariners wanted so as to maintain the established order within the American League wild card race. They’re 57-49 and in possession of the No. 2 wild card spots, two video games away from the fourth-place Guardians.

With 56 video games to play and the league’s best remaining schedule, there’s zero excuse for Seattle to overlook the postseason at this level. The roster is lastly beginning to get wholesome (knock on wooden) and with the commerce deadline within the rearview mirror, it is a good time to survey the Mariners’ optimum lineup and pitching employees down the stretch.

Lineup

The Mariners could have some robust selections to make with Mitch Haniger and Rodríguez getting back from harm and Jake Lamb becoming a member of the membership as a commerce deadline acquisition. That’s three roster spots, not counting catcher Curt Casali, who will certainly take Luis Torrens’ place after coming over from the Giants in one other commerce on Tuesday. Casali is at the moment on the IL however nearing a return.

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MLB’s 26-man rosters now restrict groups to not more than 13 pitchers, so we will count on a good cut up of 13 place gamers and 13 pitchers. The two almost certainly of the three bats that shall be despatched all the way down to Triple-A or designated for project could be Toro and new outfielder Travis Jankowski, a waiver declare from the Mets this week. That leaves yet one more, and doubtlessly two relying on what the Mariners wish to do with Dylan Moore upon his return from the IL.

The odd man out would almost certainly be between Sam Haggerty and Jarred Kelenic. Given that Haggerty has posted a .303 common with three residence runs, 19 runs scored, 9 RBIs, 5 steals and a 0.8 fWAR in 38 video games, it is arduous to justify eradicating him from the roster. That’s very true when you think about he is the quickest participant on the staff with the defensive versatility to play within the infield and outfield.

That would depart the Mariners with two catchers (Cal Raleigh and Casali), 5 infielders (JP Crawford, Eugenio Suárez, Adam Frazier, Carlos Santana and Ty France), 4 outfielders (Haniger, Rodríguez, Jesse Winker and Kyle Lewis) and two utilitymen (Haggerty and Lamb).

While we’re at it, we could as properly take a stab at what Seattle’s A-1 lineup would look like.

1. Julio Rodríguez, CF
2. Ty France, 1B
3. Mitch Haniger, RF
4. Eugenio Suarez, 3B
5. Jesse Winker, LF
6. Cal Raleigh, C
7. Adam Frazier, 2B
8. Kyle Lewis, DH
9. JP Crawford, SS

We could debate the order or who must be at DH, however that rundown nonetheless supplies a sturdy visible for who the Mariners are hoping will carry them to the playoffs. There’s additionally high quality depth behind these 9 names that ought to enable for everybody, particularly Lewis and Haniger, to get common days off if wanted.

Pitching employees

Seattle’s bullpen is about to get crowded with the approaching returns of Diego Castillo and Ken Giles from harm. Nobody deserves to get despatched down as the whole group has largely been lights out for the Mariners. Ryan Borucki is out of choices, that means he’d need to be DFA’d. That could be an unlikely transfer given he is been a revelation this season (2.65 ERA in 18 video games for the Mariners). Erik Swanson can be unlikely to be optioned as he is been a breakout arm this yr (1.14 ERA in 33 video games).

That leaves Matt Festa, Matt Brash and Penn Murfee because the odd males out. Of course, as baseball goes, the probability of everybody staying wholesome is slim. But this train nonetheless illustrates how deep Seattle’s bullpen may be. These types of choices are champagne issues for a normal supervisor, however they’re brutally robust selections nonetheless.

As for the rotation, Seattle at the moment has six starters in Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, Logan Gilbert, Chris Flexen, Marco Gonzales and George Kirby. Put merely, you do not pay a king’s ransom for Castillo to not have him pitch each fifth day.

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My answer? Take Gonzales out of the rotation and mix him with Kirby in a piggyback scenario. That choice actually would not please the veteran lefty, however the actuality is that he is been much less dependable than Flexen. Gonzales has been a minus-0.2 fWAR pitcher this season with Flexen at 0.7. Getting seven-plus innings out of Kirby and Gonzales each fifth day could be a big profit to the bullpen.

September call-ups

Again, assuming Seattle retains the roster at a 50-50 cut up between bats and arms, Kelenic and one of many aforementioned reduction pitchers would rejoin the roster when it expands to twenty-eight gamers on Sept. 1.

Deadline acquisition Matthew Boyd is a wildcard as a lengthy reliever. The veteran lefty is but to pitch in 2022 on account of harm however stories say he must be prepared for a rehab project this month.

The Mariners’ outlook

While not being a World Series favourite (though their odds have dipped over the previous few weeks), it is honest to say that the Mariners must be a troublesome out within the postseason in the event that they get in.

The lineup is not as top-heavy as others across the league, however there’s sufficient depth to make a pitcher need to work from 1-9 within the order. The rotation has sufficient front-line starters to get video games to a bullpen that is without doubt one of the finest in all of baseball.

I do know a lot of you’ll learn this and say, “Welp, you simply jinxed it!” And that is superb. But it is OK to have expectations. The desk is ready for the Mariners to finish their infamous playoff drought and something lower than that will be a large disappointment.

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