It’s been a relatively routine spring with very few surprises for the Mariners. But as the team continues to cut down to its eventual 26-man roster over the next two weeks, some tough decisions will have to be made.
And it seems we’ve seen the first of those tough decisions this afternoon, as the Mariners have reassigned left-handed pitcher Nick Margevicius and outfielder Braden Bishop to Triple-A Tacoma, bringing the number of bodies in their major league camp down to 51. Both players had a realistic path to break camp with the team, so this comes as a bit of a surprise given how fairly early on in the process Seattle still is.
Margevicius isn’t as much of a surprise as his hopes of making the MLB roster dwindled when the Mariners signed Taijuan Walker. There was some thought that he could work out of the bullpen initially, but now it’s confirmed the 23-year-old will start the 2020 season in Tacoma, as a starter, and may be neck-and-neck with Justin Dunn to be first in line to enter Seattle’s rotation in the event of an injury.
Bishop, on the other hand, will provoke some double takes from those who felt he was very much in line to be one of the Mariners’ four or five outfielders come Opening Day. It’s been a weird spring for Bishop, who’s seen just 13 plate appearances in Cactus League play with only one hit to show for it. His road back from spleen removal surgery was going to be a tough one and it doesn’t seem like he’s reached the point of full recovery in his rehab just yet, which seems to have played a part in Seattle reassigning him this early.
This move all but confirms that minor league contract signee Carlos González has made the team and will join Jake Fraley, Kyle Lewis, and Mallex Smith as the Mariners’ outfielders to start the year. The 34-year-old González has had himself a decent spring, notching five hits in 19 at-bats against an opponent quality of 8.6.
There’s also the other possibility that Jerry Dipoto has gotten a bit bored and an outside addition of an outfielder is soon to follow. But more likely, this is the outfield Seattle plans to roll into 2020 with, solving one of the biggest roster mysteries of the spring for this team.