Mariners News: Kivlehan, Powell Protected; Hultzen DFA’d


The Seattle Mariners made a flurry of roster moves on Friday. Not only did they acquire Luis Sardinas from the Milwaukee Brewers, but they also made some adjustments to their 40-man roster. Jerry Dipoto and company have decided to protect Patrick Kivlehan and Boog Powell from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. The Mariners also designated Danny Hultzen for assignment.

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Patrick Kivlehan spent the entire 2015 season with the M’s Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma. The 25-year-old had a solid season with the Rainiers, hitting .256 with 22 home runs, 73 RBI and 14 stolen bases across 123 games. Kivlehan posted a .313 on base percentage and slugged .453 through 518 plate appearances. He also made the successful transition from third base to left field.

The Rutgers alum has been a consistent force at the plate throughout his minor league career. Kivlehan was named the M’s co-Minor League Player of the Year in 2014. He sports a .288 batting average with 70 home runs, 318 RBI and 54 steals across 461 games in the minors.

The Mariners drafted Kivlehan in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, and adding him to the 40-man roster indicates Dipoto believes he is ready to contribute. The Montvale, NJ product is listed as the M’s fifth best prospect by Look for Kivlehan to begin next season in Tacoma before earning a mid-season promotion to the Emerald City.

Boog Powell started the 2015 season with the Rays’ double-A affiliate in Montgomery before earning a promotion to Durham. Boog was brilliant with the Biscuits of Montgomery, posting a .328 batting average with 1 home run, 22 RBI and 11 steals. His .408 on base percentage and .416 slugging percentage were both very impressive.

The Orange Coast College alum made his debut with the Durham Bulls on June 27th. Powell slashed .257/.360/.364 across the final two months of the Bulls’ season. He clubbed 2 home runs, drove in 19 runs and swiped 7 bags. Boog’s 41:32 strikeout to walk ratio was ideal.

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Overall, Powell hit .295 with 3 home runs, 40 RBI and 18 stolen bases across 117 games in 2015. He registered a .385 on base percentage and slugged .392 through 522 plate appearances.

Adding Powell to the Mariners’ 40-man roster makes perfect sense. Seattle recently acquired the speedy center fielder from the Tampa Bay Rays, and Dipoto is reportedly very high on him. Powell is currently listed as the Mariners 7th best prospect by Look for Powell to compete for a backup job with the Mariners next spring.

Feb 26, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Danny Hultzen poses for a portrait during photo day at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It is hard to classify Danny Hultzen’s career as another other than a failure. Originally selected second overall by the Mariners in the 2011 draft, Hultzen was designated for assignment on Friday without ever appearing in a Major League game. The 25-year-old southpaw made just 3 starts this past season with the Jackson Generals of the Southern League. Hultzen went 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA through 8 innings of work.

The most disappointing thing is that Hultzen showed enormous promise during the 2013 season with the Tacoma Rainiers. The University of Virginia alum tore up the Pacific Coast League, going 4-1 and posting a stingy 2.05 ERA through 30.2 innings. However, he suffered a shoulder injury, and proceeded to miss the entire next season recovering.

As is the case with Dustin Ackley, many people will point to players the Mariners should have selected with the second pick. Hindsight is 20/20, and ironically, the only criticism of the Hultzen pick at the time was that it was too safe. Sadly, his scoreless inning against the Colorado Rockies las spring is likely the closest he will ever be to appearing in a game for Seattle.

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The Mariners will now attempt to find a team interested in trading for Hultzen. He is still young, and the M’s could potentially find a dance partner. However, if they fail to trade Danny, he will then be put on waivers. If he clears, he will be outrighted to Tacoma and stay in the organization. Based on his perceived upside, there’s a good chance Hultzen will get another shot with a new team.