For players such as Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki today was just another day in sunny, dry Arizona. But for those who are on the outside looking in, those who are invited to camp with the slimmest sliver of hope, today is a day of great anxiety. Seven more players had there hopes severed today as the Mariners have announced another round of cuts.
Today’s casualties included Trayvon Robinson, Sean Henn, Oliver Perez, Matt Fox, Aaron Heilman, Josh Kinney, and Jeff Marquez who were re-assigned to minors in some shape or form. That means that Lucas Luetge, Cesar Jimenez, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez, Kevin Millwood, Munenori Kawasaki, Alex Liddi, Vinnie Catricala, Philippe Valiquette, and Luis Rodriguez still hold out hope of claiming a roster spot. None of the cuts are all that surprising except perhaps Robinson who was a possible fill in candidate for the unfortunate Franklin Gutierrez and his partially torn pectoral. Robinson was having more than decent spring you you have to believe that Robinson was going to be hard pressed to earn a spot on this team. Robinson was an extremely frustrating player to watch last season because of some serious contact issues. I was in the same boat last season, but I would caution fans not to give up on this guy just yet. He may have been over-matched last year but the Mariners are letting him have another season in AAA and maybe that is just what he needs.
As for the players that remain; surprises include Catricala and Kawasaki. Munenori is probably a bit less of a surprise considering how well he has played thus far coupled with Brendan Ryan and his inability to stay on the diamond this spring. I will be surprised if Kawasaki isn’t the backup SS come opening day. Catricala, who has looked up and down at 3B this spring, is surprisingly still on the squad which could indicate Wedge is actually considering him as an option at 3B. If such scenario were to come into fruition, it would likely spell the end for Saunders due to the need to move Figgins to CF. Catricala and his bat have certainly warranted am extended look this spring but even so, I have my doubts that he can actually make this team. He has less than 300 AB’s at the AA and zero above that. It is hard enough to make the jump from AAA to the Majors so jumping from AA to the MLB, while no impossible, is awfully difficult. Vinnnie is probably going to start the year in the minors, but that shouldn’t detract from him making us all wonder “Will he…?”.
The cuts only get harder from here. The Mariners will have to choose their back-of-the-rotation starters, backup infielder and backup outfielder(s). The cuts up to this point have been relatively painless and expected, those upcoming will not be as kind…
…and it only gets worse when Guti comes back.