Mariners star outfielder Jarred Kelenic is out indefinitely with a fracture in his foot. Kelenic suffered the injury after his lengthy at-bat against Twins closer Jhoan Duran, an at-bat that ended in a strikeout during the bottom of the ninth inning of Wednesday Night's game. Jarred, understandably frustrated, kicked a water cooler in the clubhouse, which resulted in his fractured foot.
While the way he got the injury was boneheaded, you have to give props to Kelenic for coming out to face the media. He was obviously emotional, and he struggled to find the words to answer their questions. While it is too early to talk about his return, the injury comes at a weird time for the team. The Trade deadline is August 1st, so that gives the Mariners just under 2 weeks to find a replacement. Below, i will list off a few potential replacements for Kelenic for the rest of the season.
Cade Marlowe, called up from Tacoma
Cade Marlowe is the initial replacement for Kelenic so far. Marlowe was called up and made his Major League debut going 0-3 with a walk. Marlowe, 26, has been raking so far in AAA. He was riding a 17 game hit streak before the promotion, and his 2023 slash line is .255/.332/.461/.793, clubbing 11 home runs and stealing 25 bases. He bats from the left side, and will be the strong side of a platoon with AJ Pollock going forward.
The only real issue i se with Marlowe moving forward is the strikeouts. In Tacoma so far this year, he is striking out at a 25% clip. That may seem normal if it were the majors, but that could translate to a 30% or more K-Rate. The last thing the Mariners lineup needs, is another bat striking out at that clip.
Mark Canha, OF from the New York Mets
On Thursday morning, before the news of Kelenic's injury broke, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted how the Mariners could be interested in Canha's services. Mariners fans should remember Canha well, as he spent 7 seasons with the Oakland Athletics. As of July 20th, the New York Mets are 6 games under .500 and not contending for a playoff spot. While I think the Mets are not going to be complete sellers, moving on form a guy like Canha makes total sense.
According to Spotrac, Canha is making $10,500,000 in 2023. He has a club option for 2024, worth $11,500,000. If the Mariners were to trade for Canha and did not want to exercise his option, they would owe him $2,000,000 to buy out the contract.
Mark Canha would be an immediate upgrade over AJ Pollock. Canha has just a 17.5% strikeout rate. He is hitting .242 this year, with a .342 on base percentage. He could fit in a platoon at DH as well. Even with Mike Ford's performance so far, the Mariners are last in the league in the DH spot in OPS (.596). Canha would bring that number up quickly.
Other In-House Replacements
Taylor Trammell is the obvious name here. He is raking in Tacoma, hitting .282 with a .393 OBP. He has also hit 12 homeruns, all of this coming in just 44 games. The downside for calling up Trammell, is that he will be out of options. If it were to not work out for him at the Major League level, the Mariners would have to release him.
Adam Engel is a veteran option playing in Tacoma. For the Rainiers, he is hitting .279 with 5 home runs in 34 games. Engle is 31 years old, and has played at the Major League level for the Chicago White Sox and the San Diego Padres.
One last name that could get called up is Zach DeLoach. Zach is in AAA Tacoma, hitting .291 with a .395 OBP. The 24 year-old prospect is striking out at a near 33% clip, which will not translate well to the Majors.
There are countless possibilities that the mariners could do moving forward. If it were up to me, i would love the idea of trading for Mark Canha. Veteran leadership, at a position of need, that will not break the prospect bank. If he fits in well, you pick up the club option on him for 2024. If it does not work out, you let him walk for a cool $2,000,000.
Long term, I want to wish Jarred Kelenic a speedy recovery. I will miss watching him compete every day, and i know he will come back stronger. As always, Go Mariners!