Playoffs Push: Who Gets The Call From Minors To Help Mariners?
By Dan Hughes
The calendar turns to September, the Seattle Mariners are in the middle of a playoff race. Now that the seasons for the Mariners minor league affiliates are winding down, who among the players will be called up and who will actually help the Mariners in their playoffs push?
Michael Saunders and Corey Hart
These guys are most certainly going to rejoin the club, as long as they are healthy. Both players have missed significant amounts of time this season with various injuries.
Of the two, I’m sure Mariners fans are more excited to see Saunders back. Saunders is batting .276 with 6 HR and 31 runs scored in 65 games this season. Can you imagine the kind of pop that would add in the six hole after Kyle Seager?
As for Hart, M’s fans are about done with him, I’m sure. He’s batting .203 with 5 HR and 20 RBI in 58 games. He is batting .288 with 4 HR in his 18 games in Tacoma. Perhaps if he has found his swing again, he can challenge Kendrys Morales for playing time at DH. But with the way Logan Morrison has been playing of late – despite a mini slump – no one should be taking his spot.
Speaking of taking spots, Smoak lost his job as the everyday 1B to Morrison. While he will be called back up for the expanded roster, Smoak will more than likely not see significant playing time, especially if the M’s stay in the hunt for the wild-card.
Smoak did bat .337 for Tacoma in 55 games – compared to .208 in 69 games for Seattle. And I’m sure Lloyd McClendon will use Smoak sporadically, and will use him as motivation for Morrison to keep his job.
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Taijuan Walker and James Paxton
No more musical pitching rotation! It’s time to set up the rotation for the stretch run. Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma should be 1-2. Chris Young should be in the 3rd spot. After that, Paxton should have the 4th and the 5th should either be Roenis Elias or Walker.
Elias, being a rookie, has not thrown as many innings as he’s thrown so far this year, with a month to go. It won’t surprise me to see Walker get the majority of the 5th starter spots from here on out, with Elias coming out for long relief.
Erasmo Ramirez will probably be called up, but I sure hope it isn’t to start a game.
Another arm likely to be added to the bullpen is Lucas Luetge. Luetge struggled at times in his short stint with Seattle earlier this year, but he worked well in Tacoma and may get the call to help relieve the relievers.
Finally, the Mariners don’t have to call up everyone they can, just because they can, but I believe the M’s will recall Stefen Romero and may very well call up Ji-Man Choi.
Some may not see the benefits in calling up the young first baseman, but it could serve as additional motivation for LoMo and Smoak. Plus, it couldn’t hurt to have more options off the bench late in games.
Those are the players I believe will get the call in the coming days. Who are you looking forward to seeing on the roster? Who did I miss? Who will actually contribute in the Mariners push to the playoffs?