Drayer: Mariners add 5 as rosters expand, but who else will get the call?
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Mariners have made their first round of September additions, reinstating relief pitchers Austin Adams, Dan Altavilla and Brandon Brennan from the injured list along with outfielder Braden Bishop. Additionally, outfielder Ryan Court was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma in time to be available for Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers.
All five players have previously been up with the Major League club this year, so their additions won’t bring the Mariners closer to the MLB all-time record for most players used in a season – Seattle is currently just one short of the 2014 Rangers’ record of 64 players.
Adams, Brennan and Altavilla will provide support to a bullpen that has been stretched thin in the past 10 days due to Mariners starters not going deep in games and the club being careful with Sam Tuivailala early in his return from last year’s Achilles injury. The additions of Bishop and Court, meanwhile, will help give manager Scott Servais greater flexibility in how he uses his bench. Servais said Sunday morning that Bishop would get a good look the remainder of the way with the team wanting to get him at-bats to make up for those he missed while out with a lacerated spleen.
For those hoping to see younger players in September – or see the player usage record fall – it will have to wait until the Double-A Arkansas Travelers are done with the Texas League postseason. The Travelers will open a best-of-five Division Finals series against Tulsa on Wednesday (a game that will air on ROOT Sports). If they advance to the championship, they could be in action through Sept. 15. Once eliminated, three to four players – including outfielder Kyle Lewis and pitcher Justin Dunn, both 2016 first-round draft picks – are expected to be added to the big league roster.
Servais said it was possible we could see an additional infielder added as well with shortstop J.P. Crawford being sent back to Seattle on Sunday to have a hamstring strain examined. Arkansas shortstop Donnie Walton, who has hit .298/.389/.422 (.812 OPS) leading off for the Travelers this season, could get a look even if he hasn’t already been tabbed for a call-up. Triple-A second baseman/utility man Shed Long, who just this week returned from a fractured finger, could also be added.
Players must be on the 40-man roster to be eligible for a September call-up. Servais indicated in Texas this week that he preferred to limit the call-ups to players that they can actually find playing time for.
“You can’t play them all,” he said. “It leads to too many guys on vacation and sitting around. That’s not what we want. We’ve got a lot to do over the next five weeks.”
Evan White, the Mariners’ top pick in the 2017 draft, most likely will not get the call despite being rated by Baseball America as being the best defensive first baseman in the minors and slashing .294/.349/.490 (.840 OPS) at Double-A this year. Just two years into his professional career, he is not Rule 5-eligible, so he does not need to be added to the 40-man roster to prevent other teams from taking him in the annual Rule 5 draft this upcoming winter.
With Seattle’s additions Sunday, its active roster is now at 30.