The Mariners won’t be playing baseball against another team for at least 4 weeks. But their evaluation doesn’t just stop.
The Mariners made a surprising move a few days ago, DFA’ing high-upside prospect Jose Siri. The move cleared a spot on the 40-man roster, which led many to assume that Seattle was clearing roster space for veteran outfielder, Carlos Gonzalez. But according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, that isn’t the case.
Divish writes(You can read Divish’s full column by clicking here), “… at the time of the signing, sources indicated that Gonzalez was added as a courtesy, an audition for a player trying to get into a major-league camp. Even after the recent roster moves removed outfielders from camp, the expectation is that Gonzalez won’t make the team.”
Gonzalez has posted decent numbers in the spring, slashing .273/.360/.318 in 25 PAs, but hasn’t looked good against above-average velocity. A slow bat plagued his 2019 season and isn’t uncommon for an aging player. But in an era where the value on fastball velocity is at an all-time high, Gonzalez doesn’t have much of a case to make.
It appears that Seattle is pushing for the starting outfield to include Mallex Smith, Jake Fraley, and Kyle Lewis in some fashion, leaving Gonzalez fighting for the 4th outfield spot. Seattle has sent down Braden Bishop in addition to their DFA’ing of Siri, but it appears the Mariners are willing to go without a traditional 4th outfielder.
This spring, the Mariners have been using Jose Marmolejos is left field and the 27-year-old career minor leaguer is turning heads this camp. Tim Lopes also got a significant run in the outfield last season and appears to be a lock to make the Opening Day roster (whenever that happens).
Dylan Moore also has experience in the outfield. Moore was hit by a pitch earlier this week and diagnosed with a bone bruise, but with 4 weeks to recover, he is another option. Finally, both Dee Gordon and Evan White could handle the outfield in a pinch, if the situation ever called for it.
With Gonzalez unlikely to make the big league team, Seattle may carry just 3 “true outfielders” on their roster for the foreseeable future. They have the youth and athleticism to manage for the short-term, but a quick turnaround from Bishop would be ideal.