The Haves and Have Nots of Mariners Current Roster

SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 28: From left to right: Macklemore, T-Mobile President and CEO Mike Sievert, Mariners Chairman John Stanton and Rick Rizz cut the ribbon to officially open T-Mobile Park during their Opening Day game at T-Mobile Park on March 28, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 28: From left to right: Macklemore, T-Mobile President and CEO Mike Sievert, Mariners Chairman John Stanton and Rick Rizz cut the ribbon to officially open T-Mobile Park during their Opening Day game at T-Mobile Park on March 28, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

We are nearly two months into 2019, and we can start to draw some conclusions. In this article, I rate Mariners on the active roster and injured list and

Mariners on IL who are Have Nots:

Starting with Felix, his best years are behind him, he’s 33, and his stuff hasn’t shown signs of improvement since he started the All-Star Game five seasons ago. Next injured is Ryon Healy, who has clutch moments along with power but is expendable due to a lack of speed and a .236 career average in his Mariners career.

As our veteran closer, Hunter Strickland would have made better if we had maintained our hot start. Since we don’t look to go too far this year, we should instead try and groom a younger closer from within the franchise. Last, for the injured have nots, is Arodys Vizcaino. As Nick and Pete touched on, he is the Edwin Encarnacion of relievers as in was acquired just so a deal could be done.

Active on IL haves:

Dee Gordon has not been super clutch nor a great second baseman but his speed is a game-changer, he’s a positive clubhouse presence, and he’s dedicated as hell (last year’s tee). Last year Sam Tuivailala posted a sub-2.00 ERA in his five Mariners outings last year. He deserves a chance to prove himself fresh off his Achilles injury.

With Gerson Bautista, don’t panic about his 12.00 ERA in five games with the Mets in ’18. If we traded our All-Star second baseman and closer for him, let’s see what he’s made of. He has youth going for him, unlike Bruce and Swarzak.

Bullpen Have Nots:

Anthony Bass had a rookie ERA of 1.68 but a combined 7.04 the next five seasons. We’re his fifth team since 2013 which is a red flag. Jesse Biddle was recently traded for Swarzak but doesn’t appear much better. He has a10.80 ERA his last seven contests with a 5.25 ERA on the year overall. In terms of our thin amount of southpaws relievers, let’s try someone younger and homegrown.

Roenis Elias has been a decent interim closer but is too unreliable to be one full-time. He is also more prone than Diaz in giving up balls on contact and hits in general. If he stays, he’d do better in middle relief. Though Cory Gearrin‘s ERA has settled down, he can destroy any big lead with his poor control. When off, he barely throws a strike and as a nine-year vet, he can’t play the youth card.

Bullpen Haves:

Austin Adams was good enough to be a September call-up for the 2017 first place Nat. He also posted a .176 average against him with the big club along with 78 strikeouts in just 46 1/3 for AAA Syracuse.

Now, Brandon Brennan has an impressive 2.30 ERA through his first 22 games and 27 1/3 innings.  He has a similar windup to Juan Nicasio but actually gets hitters out. He has shown grit in crunch time, fanning Stephen Piscotty with the bases juiced in the ninth on wicked off-speed.

David McKay is off to a good start with a 0.00 ERA through his first three games. With AA Arkansas, he held hitters to under .200 through 181 at-bats. There’s something attractive about his12.61 K/9 through 35 games with them as well. Wrapping up the pen is Connor Sadzeck with his 2.66 ERA and 23 strikeouts through 20.1 innings. At 6’7 and 240 pounds, this guy could be an intimidating closer a la Jonathan Broxton in LA. And he already crossed off his first ML save.

Rotation Have Nots:

Tommy Milone is a grade-B starter substituting for the injured Felix. We already have a committed-to fifth starter with Wade. We don’t need another past-prime veteran starter similar to Chris Young, Yovani Gallardo, or JA Happ. Mike Leake was the only 2018 starter more hittable than Felix. He occasionally pitches a quality outing but more often than not, he is a home run derby and takes you out of the game early.

Rotation Haves:

Though not as dominant as his 2018 first-half or as good a strikeout pitcher as Paxton, Marco’s worth waiting a couple of years to see if he can handle the role of club ace. Some pitchers don’t pitch like ace material right away. By far the biggest overachieving starter of 2018, Wade has struggled mightily this year.

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But every year is different and Wade needs to get his fastballs under control. A five-spot innings-eater is rare to come by and with Wade continuing as a back-end starter, future hitters will continue to underestimate him.

Yusei Kikuchi will hopefully continue to be an off-speed, healthier version of James Paxton. When on, opposing hitters look foolish and he could be a good back-up ace in case Marco continues to struggle with the role.


We are lucky to have a second-string catcher hit over .280 like Tom Murphy. And unlike David Freitas or Jesus Sucre, he can hit the ball out of the infield. And though Omar is not as good a defensive catcher as Zunino was, how often does your primary backstop flirt with .300, with power? Both backstops are worth keeping.

Infield have nots: 

 I hate to do this to My Guy Tim Beckham but we have to think long term. As many thought, his .400 start came to earth and naturally due to age, JP fits the rebuild better than Beckham. If Beckham hasn’t reached number-one status by now, this may be as good as he gets. Plus JP is a far superior shortstop. The high amount of errors hurt. Shed Long has a below-Mendoza batting average and is a fill-in for Dee due to his injury problems.

Infield haves: 

For the reasons already listed above, JP Crawford belongs here long-term. Now with hot corner Kyle Seager, he has shown past All-Star potential and is always a home run threat. Hopefully, 2018 was an anomaly and he is the only current Mariners player who can play defense.

We end the infield with Daniel Vogelbach. Though Cornelius’s average could be higher, he has time to improve on that. As shown against the Rangers, he doesn’t just hit clutch homers, he bashes them. He by far deserves to win this three-way first base battle being the younger, higher batting average option. And is Vogey not built like Bucky Jacobsen and hitting homers like Russell Branyan?

Outfield Have Nots: 

Jay Bruce‘s 13 homers don’t mean as much with an under .200 average most of the year and countless strikeouts. Clearly the fourth out of four outfielders and getting up there, Jay may never return to his younger numbers where he was the second-in-command star behind Joey Votto in Cincy.

Outfield haves: 

Despite Mitch Haniger‘s slow start, he always knows what he’s doing at the plate and hopefully finds his way this season. With already a home run hat trick under his belt, he’s the new future of the franchise. And he appears to be a better defensive right fielder this year than last.

 Although Domingo’s defense isn’t close to Ben Gamel‘s and he is the outlier for errors among ML left fielders, his hitting is a plus. How is he not Nellie Jr. with his clutch hits, homers, and consistently supplying quality at-bats? Domingo has the size and power of a long-term cleanup man. He is also so strong that his homers rarely look gone.

In center, Mallex Smith has a horrible BA and as good of defense as Domingo.  But he gets a pass, due to the potential he showed flirting around .300 in Tampa last year. Unless he wants to be DFA’d in the next year, he needs to quickly improve his average as well as start to catch routine ML flyballs. It’s just getting old now.

Next. The 3 Mariners Who Could Make All-Star Team. dark

Edwin Encarnacion is the final Mariners have not. When we appeared to be one of the AL elites, I vouched to extend Edwin. But let’s stop teasing fans and trade him already to a contender. The man was one of Toronto’s most clutch playoff hitters and deserves another shot with a better core around him.