During an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle, Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed some long-expected roster decisions in regards to the start of the 2019 season.
The least surprising news we learned from Dipoto’s interview is that Dan Vogelbach will be on the Mariners Opening Day roster and should expect plenty of opportunities in 2019. Of Vogelbach, Dipoto said:
"“Daniel Vogelbach will be on our roster when we break camp and we are going to commit to finding out if he can transition to the big leagues… He’s got a great idea what he wants to do at the plate, he knows his skill-set. Vogey may have a better understanding of who he is as a hitter than 90 percent of the guys that are in the big leagues.”"
Vogelbach is without any minor league options. If the Mariners didn’t carry Vogelbach on their 25 man roster, he would be subject to waivers before he could be sent back to AAA Tacoma. Vogelbach has hit at every level and would almost certainly find a home elsewhere.
"“We’re going to transition him at the right pace, and we need to balance his at-bats with the other veteran guys around him. But we made a commitment when we traded for him (in a 2016 midseason deal with the Cubs) and he’s done nothing to dissuade us from the fact that the upside still exists. And he’s just 25 years old.”"
In addition to the news about Vogelbach, Dipoto also hinted that Spring Training stars Jake Fraley and Braden Bishop have opened a lot of eyes. So much so that Dipoto suggest that one or both of them could conceivably make the trip to Japan and be on the Opening Day 28-man roster.
It would be rare for either player to make the trip, as Fraley has never played above High A ball and Bishop hasn’t seen a full season at AA ball. But the Mariners starting centerfielder, Mallex Smith, will not be ready to join the team in Japan, leaving Mitch Haniger as the only potential CF on the roster.
For a full breakdown of the Dipoto interview, or to listen to it in its entirety, click the link to head over to 710 ESPN Seattle.
The Mariners will depart for Japan in 5 days and there are still a few roster spots up for grabs. As we get closer to the day of the game, the roster will continue to crystallize even further.