The Seattle Mariners are going to make moves. Even if the team was as healthy as could be, any Jerry Dipoto led team is going to make moves. But with needed roster moves on the horizon, here are 3 they should make now.
The first of these many moves is cause for both celebration and a headache. Kyle Seager will be activated from the 60-Day IL today. This means the Mariners will have to make a move on their 25-man roster, as well as the 40-man roster.
This is where we find our first move, as Seager should be activated today, May 25th. There are a few options, but one stands above all others. The first move the team should make is one we wrote about this week:
Add Kyle Seager, DFA Jay Bruce
The roster spot needed on the 25-man and 40-man roster that is the most worthless is Jay Bruce. Bruce, who has basically a one trick pony (and who’s one trick is the most abundant in the game), provides no defense or base-running abilities off the bench.
He doesn’t get on base enough to be a good fourth OF or platoon mate. He has no trade value and has hardly played the past week. The money should not and cannot be the reason for keeping Bruce, who is all but worthless for the rebuilding Mariners on the field.
Bruce does provide some value in the clubhouse, but with Dee Gordon and Seager coming back, the need for a “veteran presence” is less than it was a week ago (if you believe it has value at all). More than likely, Seattle will DFA a reliever and keep Bruce on the roster for a while longer. But the right move is addition by subtraction, as cruel as it may seem.
Option Mallex Smith to AAA, Recall Braden Bishop
So this comes with a major caveat. If the Mariners are going to call up Braden Bishop he needs to play every day. I’ll say it again for people in the back: YOU CANNOT CALL UP BISHOP, SIT HIM ON THE BENCH 5 TIMES A WEEK AND EXPECT HIM TO HIT RIGHT AWAY.
The Mariners did nothing to set Bishop up for success. But since he was sent back down to recall Mallex Smith, Bishop has continued to hit. Calling up Bishop and using him appropriately, greatly improves the outfield defense and may be an upgrade offensively as well.
As for Mallex, it is time for an extended stay in the minor leagues, not just 10 days. Since his return, he hasn’t looked much better at the plate and the numbers back it up.
Giving Braden a real shot at the big league level while giving Mallex a real shot to fix something in the minors is a win-win scenario. It is still too early to give up on Smith, but he needs serious tweaks to his swing and learning to do so on the job is not a recipe for success.
Connor Sadzeck to the IL, Chasen Bradford Recalled
This one is purely speculation. Connor Sadzeck left Friday’s game against the Oakland A’s with what appeared to be a finger injury. If he is going to miss more than a few days, a trip to the IL as an extended rest for the young reliever wouldn’t hurt. Bradford is the safest reliever in the system and Sam Tuivailala and Gerson Bautista may not be quite ready yet.
One other move to consider is to DFA a reliever like Bradford or Alaniz and add and call up OF Ian Miller. The 27-year-old Miller is dominating the PCL, slashing .292/.343/.503 with 4 home runs and 18 doubles.
If Bruce is DFA’d, the Mariners would be left with just 3 true OF’s plus Shed Long and Dylan Moore, neither of whom are really outfielders. Miller would give the team plus speed off the bench, as well as solid corner defense later in games.
At 27, it is unlikely Miller is an everyday player, but he has put in a lot of hard work and rewarding a guy like Miller while also upgrading your late inning defense and base-running is a win-win. The Mariners are currently carrying 13 pitchers, as they have much of the season. In all likelihood, if Sadzeck heads to the IL, the team will add a pitcher.
But if the team thinks it can survive a few days with just 7 relievers, giving Miller a cup of coffee at the big league level isn’t the worst idea for the Mariners and the 27-year-old.