With everything falling into place as the season starts, let’s take a look at some of the moves the Mariners made. The final cuts were made for the roster going into the season and we saw some predictable moves as well as some surprises.
Roenis Elias, who has never pitched above Double-ball, has earned himself a roster spot. This may be a red flag as making the jump from Double-A to the bigs is a large leap. We saw Brandon Maurer in that position last year and he had a rough go in his first major league stint.
The team did pick up Chris Young to help out in the time being but I see this move, as well as the move with Elias, as a temporary fix. Whenever Iwakuma is ready action he will take one of their rotation spots.
Walker’s situation is different. It wasn’t a given that he would earn a spot in the rotation right out of camp. While most fans can agree that they can’t wait to see him with the team there is no need to rush him. If he needs some more time in Tacoma he will take it.
Even if Elias and Young are just stop-gaps between the return of Iwakuma and Walker I agree with both moves. It is very unlikely that a team goes an entire season with the same starting five they started with. Players can struggle or get hurt and changes need to be made. We have seen inconsistency with Erasmo Ramirez and we only had a small sample size of James Paxton last year.
If they begin to struggle they might need some time in Tacoma to work things out. Giving Elias experience and signing Young gives the rotation more flexibility. It also can inspire some competition so no feels too complacent. The team will be able to manage without Iwakuma and Walker for now and will be in a better situation later when they return.
Another move that created some buzz was Brad Miller winning the SS job and Nick Franklin being sent to Triple-A. Many could have called this one but it was played out until the end of camp. Franklin didn’t play bad in camp, Miller was just that good. And now trade talks will continue.
The Mariners could get good value in return for Franklin. He is a young player who showed he can play in the first half last year. He slowed in the second half but overall it was a solid rookie campaign.
It would be wise not to rush the process. With a long season ahead of them, there is no telling what position they will find themselves in the middle of the season. Whether they compete with Texas and Oakland or they find themselves in the cellar with Houston will affect who they target.
Keep in mind that they are not required to trade Franklin. He is a good ball player who can help this team. Right now there is a lack of room for him but who knows if he would be needed down the road and after having him in the outfield during a spring game perhaps the team wants him in their outfield.
Regardless of what happens many will keep an eye on Franklin this year.
Tags: Seattle Mariners