There are now just 22 days until Mariners Opening Day! So, today we preview the season of the current Mariners number 22, catcher Luis Torrens.
Luis Torrens just came over last season from the San Diego Padres in the Austin Nola deal as the lowest value player in the trade, as he was behind the likes of Taylor Trammell, Ty France, and Andres Muñoz. However, he has a real chance to be the backup catcher for the Mariners for 5-6 years.
If he can avoid injury he is also pretty much guaranteed to be in a platoon role with Tom Murphy to start the 2021 season, as Jerry Dipto recently said. The reason that he is “pretty much guaranteed” to be on the roster and given a chance is that he has no minor league options left. That means that if the Mariners want to send Torrens down to the minors for poor performance or to bring up top-catching prospect Cal Raleigh, he will have to clear waivers.
So, Luis Torrens is heading into a real make-or-break season
He performed well last year for a 24-year-old catcher who is expected to be a backup with a .696 OPS which was a 96 OPS+ (Just slightly below average). But, if he stumbles this year the switch-hitting Cal Raleigh is waiting in the wings to take over his spot and Torrens will be somewhere else after being claimed off waivers.
If Murphy performs as he did in 2019, and Cal Raleigh stays on his current course of looking good behind, and on both sides of the plate, then that leaves Torrens in a situation where he needs to force the Mariners front office into a tough spot of deciding what to do with himself and Murphy.
Maybe this could force Seattle to trade Murphy, who also has no minor league options, in favor of the youth movement. Or, maybe Seattle opts to keep Murphy, trade Torrens, and bring up Raliegh.
Most likely what will happen is one of either Torrens or Murphy will get hurt and be put on one of the IL’s which will force the Mariners to bring up Raleigh. Then if Cal earns his spot in those weeks/months while one of the other catchers is hurt, someone will of course have to be the odd man out.