Mariners offseason thoughts: The Good with Jarred Kelenic

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MAY 06: Jarred Kelenic #10 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates with Julio Rodriguez #44 after hitting a two-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays to take a 6-5 lead during the eighth inning at T-Mobile Park on May 06, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MAY 06: Jarred Kelenic #10 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates with Julio Rodriguez #44 after hitting a two-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays to take a 6-5 lead during the eighth inning at T-Mobile Park on May 06, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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When the Seattle Mariners made the blockbuster trade sending Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano to the New York Mets for then-prospect Jarred Kelenic, it felt like the Mariners had pulled a fleece job and were destined to have Kelenic be a franchise piece for the long haul.

But nearly four years later, the Mariners certainly must have a different feeling about the trade.

Kelenic has been pretty underwhelming so far in his 152-game career, including the post-season, but he still has so much potential, and giving up on him at 23 years old feels way too premature.

Giving up on Jarred Kelenic at 23 doesn’t seem like the right thing to do

Just three seasons ago, he was in the Mariners minor league system playing for the Double-A Arkansas Travelers. One worldwide pandemic, causing him to miss playing baseball in 2020, and six games in Triple-A later and Kelenic was on the 2021 Mariners roster by mid-May.

That’s just not enough time for him to come up and immediately be expected to make a significant impact. He was sent back down after a month and then called back up on his 22nd birthday, just after the All-Star break. He wasn’t overly impressive for most of the year but showed during that September and October, as the Mariners made a playoff push, signs of what he is capable of.

He had seven multi-hit games and seven home runs in September slashing .242/.321/.537 and hit .300 in three October games.

His two-run double against the A’s was about at electric of a moment as the Mariners have had in recent memory. Even this season, it felt as if Kelenic figured it out in September. He hit .267 with a 1.000 OPS in eight games.

He had an ok playoff performance. He had an RBI in his only at-bat in the Mariners miracle comeback against Toronto, went 2-4 in Game One of the ALDS, and was millimeters away from hitting a two-run go-ahead homer in the eighth inning of Game Two of the ALDS.

Defensively he has improved from his rookie year and is probably still the Mariners second-best defensive outfielder.

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Less than 2 years ago, Prospect Insider had Kelenic as the Mariners best prospect, directly trailed by Julio Rodriguez. You can’t give up on his potential. These things take time, and the best is yet to come from Jarred Kelenic.

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