Mariners: Tacoma Rainiers Season Opener Preview
The Tacoma Rainiers are opening their season on Tuesday, March 5th, against the Salt Lake Bees at home at Cheney Stadium. The Rainiers are starting the season with a title to defend, after winning the Triple-A West championship in 2021. Last year, the staff was led by then first year manager Kristopher Negron, and now the Rainiers are led by a new first year manager in Tim Federowicz, who recently finished his playing career.
Federowicz most recently was in the Dodgers system as a catcher with their AAA team. The 34-year-old will be tasked with leading a young group of players to develop them and win. He has tabbed Darren McCaughan as his Opening Day starter against the Bees; McCaughan has been with the Rainiers for parts of the last 4 minor league seasons. He had a strong year last year, with 115.1 AAA innings and a 4.53 ERA, and had 99 strikeouts to 27 walks.
For the rest of the Rainiers roster, there are 4 players who are on the Mariners’ 40-man roster: Taylor Trammell, Kevin Padlo, Donovan Walton, and Nick Margevicius. We will see when Marg gets on the mound, as he’s coming back from his arm injuries from last year. The three position players should be ready to go from the start of the season, and will be key pieces to the Tacoma lineup. Trammell will be especially fun to watch to see if he can hit well enough to get back to the big leagues.
There are also three players who I am keeping my eye on. Two of them are catchers: Joe Odom and Josh Morgan. Morgan is newer to the Mariners organization, and he hit pretty well at AA last year, so he could be on track to get to develop more since he is only 26 years old. Odom has been with the Mariners before, and now he is back. He is a great defensive catcher, and could fill a gap in the majors if he needs to. Sam Haggerty is also on the roster, and his athleticism is always intriguing.
There are not any top prospects on the Rainiers roster as of now, but players like Penn Murfee, Trammell, and Morgan could play for the M’s at some point in 2022. There also could be high-quality prospects like George Kirby, Levi Stoudt, Zach DeLoach, and Cade Marlowe come through Tacoma this year, so be ready to go out and see the Rainiers play!