Jul 12, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitter Kendrys Morales (8) hits the ball against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Los Angeles 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting the roster in six weeks

With the trade deadline looming just two weeks away, Jack Zdurencik will have some serious personnel decisions. The Mariners roster could look radically different as a result. We decided to try to predict who would be on the 25-man roster on August 31, the day before the rosters expand to allow for more minor league flexibility. Here goes nothing.

Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Starting Rotation

1. Felix Hernandez

2. Hisashi Iwakuma

3. Joe Saunders

4. Erasmo Ramirez

5. Brandon Maurer

Notable omissions: Aaron Harang, Hector Noesi, Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker

The first two are obvious. The next three spots are tough. Joe Saunders could definitely move at the deadline, but his pitching of late will be difficult for the Mariners to replace. Aaron Harang will be much easier to replace, and Brandon Maurer, even with his struggled in Tacoma, seems like the likely replacement. I would tip Hultzen to fill the spot, but you just never know with his health, and the Mariners might shut him down. Taijuan Walker will be a September call up if he’s not shut down. Anything else would be rushing him.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Bullpen

1. Tom Wilhelmsen

2. Oliver Perez

3. Stephen Pryor

4. Yoervis Medina

5. Carter Capps

6. Charlie Furbush

7.  Danny Farquhar

Notable Omissions: Lucas Luetge, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan, Bobby LaFromboise, Logan Bawcom

This bullpen has two changes from the current one, with Pryor, Capps and Bawcom replacing Luetge, Noesi and LaFromboise. Those moves would require one 40-man change. It’s easy. Lucas Luetge is pretty useless, and Charlie Furbush is the only lefty specialist the M’s need. The other option for a DFA might have to be LaFromboise, who is 27 and another situational lefty. How many of those does one team need? The Mariners have three. The other five guys are solidly entrenched in the bullpen. Wilhelmsen or Perez could be interesting as package deals at the deadline, but individually they wouldn’t fetch much. Bawcom has shined in Tacoma allowing one hit in six outings.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Lineup

C: Mike Zunino

1B: Justin Smoak

2B: Nick Franklin

SS: Brad Miller

3B: Kyle Seager

LF: Raul Ibanez

CF: Michael Saunders

RF: Michael Morse

DH: Jesus Montero

This is probably my boldest prediction of the list. I put Jesus Montero instead of Kendrys Morales at DH because not only do I think Montero will be healthy (he was activated from the Tacoma DL today), but I think the M’s will move Morales at the deadline. He’s such a tweener player. You want him around because he’s very valuable, but you also don’t want to give him a major extension because he’s not a superstar and he has durability issues. You especially don’t want to lose him for nothing, so you’re left with trading him. As far as Saunders in center instead of Ackley, you’ve got to be kidding me with Ackley as a full-time center fielder.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Bench

C: Henry Blanco

2B/SS: Carlos Truinfel

OF: Dustin Ackley

OF: Carlos Peguero or other acquired outfielder in deadline trade

Notable omissions: Jason Bay, Brendan Ryan

I can’t believe that Jason Bay and Brendan Ryan will be on the roster much longer. Bay is worthless, and will get the hook when Michael Morse comes back from the DL in about a week. Ryan will probably get moved at the deadline, He deserves to play somewhere and his defense could help a contender. The Mariners have filled his spot with Brad Miller, and they need to give Carlos Truinfel two more months to prove whether he can contribute at the highest level. With all of those proposed trades, the Mariners will likely bring back some sort of major league bench hitter. If not, Carlos Peguero does in fact still exist, and he’s on the 40-man, so he’s easy to promote.

 

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