Drayer: Mariners’ 30 players for Japan trip come into focus with cuts
PEORIA, Ariz. – The Mariners’ final 28-man roster for their season-opening trip to Japan will not be announced until before Game 1 against Oakland on March 20, but with a number of moves being made Wednesday we know who will be the 30 players going to Japan.
Optioned to Triple-A Tacoma – J.P. Crawford
Outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma – Kristopher Negrón
Re-assigned to minor league camp – David McKay, Jake Fraley, Austin Nola
RHP Dan Altavilla
RHP Shawn Armstrong
RHP Gerson Bautista
RHP Chasen Bradford
RHP Brandon Brennan
RHP Matt Festa
RHP Cory Gearrin
RHP Félix Hernández
RHP Mike Leake
RHP Nick Rumbelow
RHP Hunter Strickland
RHP Antony Swarzak
RHP Sam Tuivailala
LHP Roenis Elías
LHP Marco Gonzales
LHP Yusei Kikuchi
LHP Wade LeBlanc
LHP Tommy Milone*
LHP Zac Rosscup
SS Tim Beckham
1B Edwin Encarnación
2B Dee Gordon
1B/3B Ryon Healy
UT Dylan Moore
3B Kyle Seager
1B Daniel Vogelbach
* Indicates not on the 40-man roster
As you may have noticed, there are 35 players still listed on the spring roster. Five of them are injured and will not be making the trip. The Mariners will take 30 to Japan, 28 of which will be on the series roster, the other two serving as extras (most likely a pitcher and catcher) should something happen and a need arise. While the roster is 28 for the series, managers must declare 25 active players that can be used before each game.
More on the Mariners’ roster
• Negrón was removed from the 40-man and cleared waivers before being outrighted to the minors. The 40-man roster is currently at 39.
• Ichiro and needs to be placed on the roster. How he is to be used has yet to be announced but it has been made clear that he will play in at least one of the games against the A’s.
• While Jose Lobaton is not on the 40-man roster, he is still very much in contention for the backup catcher position.
• Mallex Smith will not travel to Japan with the team but for now it appears they will not place him on the 10-day injured list.
• Dylan Moore has made the team as the utility player and he is going to play. Moore has yet to make his Major League debut but the Mariners were impressed with the camp he had, particularly how he handled the bat while playing multiple positions. “We are going to give the regulars days off as we get going because I want to make sure we continue to develop Dylan Moore,” manager Scott Servais said. “He’s a relatively young player, we are going to be very cognizant giving guys days off and making sure he gets at-bats.”
• Fraley, who is most likely ticketed for Double-A, also opened eyes during his time in big league camp. “He had an awesome camp, really showed well,” Servais said. “First impression on him – very, very positive. He’s got an advanced approach, he’s got all the tools. We certainly saw the power this spring, his ability to hit different pitches in different parts of the strike zone. He can play all three positions (in the outfield), can steal a base. It’s a really interesting package. He showed very well.”
• As expected, Crawford will start the season in Tacoma. Service time no doubt plays into this decision, but coming off a rough first full season in the big leagues with the Phillies, the Mariners want him to be ready and clicking on all cylinders the next time he plays in the big leagues. That’s a philosophy the Mariners hold with many of the younger prospects in the organization. “I think he made some good strides defensively, there are still some things in his game offensively,” Servais said of Crawford. “I know he didn’t swing the bat maybe as he is capable of. We will get him going at Triple-A and when he gets going good he will be back with us.”
-With Smith not making the trip, the door has opened for Braden Bishop perhaps a little sooner than expected. “I’m really excited for him,” Servais said. “He continues to progress, he’s had a great camp. How much he’ll play over there I’m not sure. He understands that. He’s excited to get on the plane for us.”