The Mariners have set their roster for the 2022 season. Sure, some of the guys who made it were no-brainers. Obvious choices and no doubters. The team isn’t full of those, and there are some surprising additions to the roster.
Amongst two of the bigger ones were Steven Souza Jr and Billy Hamilton. Both have track records in the majors and had some impressive moments with the Mariners during spring training. The one that stands out above nearly any other Mariners play from this offseason is the incredible Spider-Man catch that Hamilton made in center field.
It does make sense with Hamilton though. All he can do is run and play defense. There is no bat there, whatsoever. Souza is just an odd man out on a team with too many outfielders already, especially with Julio on the roster. Those two were surprising to some as guys who didn’t make it.
Really, there were only a few spots and conversations that were going to be had about how to structure the roster. The fact that it is expanded until the end of April/beginning of May makes things a lot easier with having 28 spots instead of 26. There are going to be a couple of tough calls to make when the time comes, and the Mariners still have Giles and Lewis likely set to return by the end of May at the latest.
Let’s take a look at the five surprises that did end up making the Mariners roster.
#1: Julio Rodriguez/Matt Brash
I’m kind of cheating here. I don’t care. I’m so excited for these two. The surprise was how well they did all spring, and how if you would’ve told fans about 4-6 weeks ago that both of these guys would not only be on the roster but would be your starting center fielder and our #5 guy in the rotation, you would’ve been ecstatic and likely met with skepticism. Here we are though, and it’s incredible.
#2: Matt Festa
This is the biggest surprise. It makes sense though. The team is carrying two extra players, and they don’t have to worry about options being used up during this expanded roster window. It could’ve been someone like Devin Sweet instead, whose nasty change could be devastating in the pen for the Mariners. Also, I fully expect to see him up this month at some point.
With Festa though, you are getting a guy who figured it out in 2021 with a 2.95 era in 21.1 innings at AAA alongside a 13.1 K rate and 0.938 WHIP. He continued that success in spring training, giving up just 1 run in 5 games (4.2 innings) while striking out 7.
#3: Justus Sheffield
Sheffield sort of falls into the same boat as Festa does. He’s an extra backup in the pen and can be used as a type of insurance in case Brash (or one of the other starters) has to leave their start earlier than planned. I’m excited to see how Sheffield does in a bullpen role. His stuff could play a lot more when he only has to throw an inning or two and could make for a very nice piece in the pen.
#4: Dylan Moore
This goes in line with what I mentioned earlier on the guys who didn’t make the team. Moore is the guy people know, and the one who already meshes with the clubhouse. Plus, I’m one of those who believes, still, that he can figure it out. I really wanna go out on a limb and predict a .245 season with 25/25 HR/SB. He definitely can put up the HR/SB combo, it’s just the average.
Screw it. Going for it. Dylan Moore, .245 this year. 27 HR and 26 SB. 4.9 WAR and an all-star worth player. BOOK IT.
#5: Luis Torrens/Cal Raleigh
There is a lot of concern out there that the Mariners are carrying three catchers. I think when you word it that way, many people were wary of the decision, preferring that the Mariners go with another outfielder instead.
Personally, I think it’s the right call. Torrens has the potential for an awesome bat. You need that there. He can DH, play a tiny bit of first as well as catcher, all while (hopefully) raking at the plate.
Raleigh deserves a full season back there, while splitting time with Murphy. Enough of the bust talk with a guy who was a rookie and only amassed 139 AB in 2021. I like what the Mariners did here, and I think it was the right call.
What do you think? Is there someone else that is a bigger surprise on the roster this year? Let us know what you think, and go Mariners!