Mariners Notebook: Rodríguez’s Winter Ball progress, M’s add to baseball ops
While there have been bits of Mariners news emerging throughout the week, all was mostly quiet as the 40-man roster, which was at 39 Sunday night, remains at 39 as of Friday.
The trio of arbitration eligible players were tendered contracts as expected and no other moves were made. At some point, players will need to be added and with the free-agent picture now complete with the addition of the non-tendered players and the Winter Meetings, which will be conducted virtually this year, set to kick off Monday, we should see the pace start to pick up around baseball.
In total, there were 59 players non-tendered – three signed MLB contracts shortly after the deadline – a significant increase from the 40 non-tenders in 2019. Among the non-tenders, 23 relievers adding to an already robust relief pitcher free agent pool, the area the Mariners are expected to be most active in as Jerry Dipoto looks to build a bullpen for 2021 with more answers than question marks.
There are a number of arms that could be of interest, including Archie Bradley, Alex Colome, Hansel Robles, Matt Wisler, Ryne Stanek and Kirby Yates just to name a few. One challenge in putting together a bullpen is we still don’t know what the roster size for MLB clubs will be in 2021. With the Mariners planning to go with a 6-man rotation next year more will be needed from individuals in the pen particularly if rosters are trimmed back to 26. We will get a little bit more into names and possible fits in a podcast with a special guest next week.
• The Mariners have announced the following promotions and one new hire in the baseball operations department:
Brendan Domaracki – Director, Player Personnel
David Hesslink – Assistant Director, Baseball Projects
Frankie Piliere – Assistant Director, Amateur Scouting
Sam Reinertsen – Coordinator, Advance Scouting (new hire)
Skylar Shibayama – Manager, Data Strategy
Emanuel Sifuentes – Assistant Director, Player Development
Jesse Smith – Senior Director, Analytics
Sam Reinertsen, who graduated from Davidson College where he played four years of baseball, joins the Mariners after spending the last two seasons as an intern with the Tampa Bay Rays in the video and scouting departments. With the Mariners, he will travel with the team, while being responsible for day-to-day game preparation and strategic planning.
• Earlier this week, news broke that possible two-way player Oscar Luis Colás had been declared a free agent by the SoftBank Hawks of the NPB. The 22-year-old OF/1B/LHP, who has played mainly in the minors in Japan, can now apply for MLB free agency. Once accepted, he will be eligible to be signed by any club when the international signing window opens January 15.
Beyond Shohei Ohtani, Jerry Dipoto has shown intrigue for two-way players in the past. It will be interesting to see what the market for Colás is with most teams having already committed large portions of their international pool dollars at this late of a date and teams not being permitted to trade international slot money for the next two years as part of the COVID agreement.
• Julio Rodríguez has had a rather eventful week in Winter Ball. He lost a teammate in Wander Franco after the Rays put an end to his season following an injury scare and is now looking forward to gaining a new teammate with the Jays granting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. permission to play for Escogido.
Then there was this.
J-Rod hits a line drive off the elbow of former Mariners pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. pic.twitter.com/NEd3UhG3qt
— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) December 2, 2020
The unfortunate pitcher on the receiving end of the rocket off Julio’s bat? Former Mariner Néstor Cortés, whose club thankfully has reported is OK.
As for Julio, he’s hit .209/.306/.233/.539 with four walks and 13 strikeouts in 49 plate appearances. Maybe not the numbers you would expect, but important to remember he is very young for the league and just missed a full minor league season. As always, he does appear to be hitting the ball hard.