Mariners Notebook: Spring training invites, Dipoto’s free agency update
Jan 28, 2021, 2:08 PM | Updated: 2:32 pm
The Mariners announced their spring training non-roster invitees Thursday morning, bringing the total number of players expected at big league camp in February to 66.
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Along with the 40-man roster, the Mariners have invited the following players:
Of the 26 invitees, 16 were in the Mariners organization last season, with one more – Elías – having been in the organization prior to 2020.
“This year’s group of non-roster invitees features existing talent from our own system, including what we believe to be some of the best prospects in the game,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a press release. “In addition, we have an intriguing group of experienced players who have the skills to make an immediate contribution.”
Of note, the camp roster includes seven Mariners ranked in Baseball America’s top 10 (Rodríguez, Kelenic, Raleigh, Gilbert, Taylor Trammell, Juan Then and Andrés Muñoz), and just one player, catcher Carter Bins, who will be participating in his first big league spring training.
• For those who like to connect the dots: On Dipoto’s weekly show on 710 ESPN Seattle, he told Danny and Gallant that he is still very active in trying to add players.
“We are still engaged with free agents,” he said. “Our primary objective is to not block our young players. We are focused on guys who can come into the room and have that makeup, that veteran presence that can really help lift the young club and point them in the right direction.
“Even here recently, in the last seven to 10 days we have made some progress on a few and come up short on others and actually lost a couple of free agents that we felt like we had a decent chance of landing. We would like to add a left-handed bat, ideally someone who is versatile enough to play left field or second base. We are in a unique spot and can always use pitching depth.”
Things remain quiet when it comes to the Mariners and free-agency reports, though MLB Network’s Jon Morosi said Tuesday that the Mariners were one of six teams to “check in” on Kolten Wong, the National League’s two-time reigning Gold Glove winner at second base. The 30-year-old, lefty-hitting free agent has spent his entire eight-year career to this point with St. Louis.
The Jerry Dipoto Show can be heard Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle.
• Mariners pitching coach Pete Woodworth and hitting coach Tim Laker took their turns meeting the media Thursday morning as part of the Mariners Virtual Baseball Blast. An item jumped out from each.
Woodworth was asked who he was most excited to see in spring training, and while admitting that he missed all of his players and that picking one was a tough question, his answer came from the bullpen.
“I have to say Kendall Graveman. Not just a pleasure to be around, but dude’s on a mission,” Woodworth said.
Woodworth pointed to Graveman’s leadership from Day 1, how he came back from last year’s COVID-19 shutdown with “a lot of new toys and added velo,” and working through the adversity he faced with a tumor in his neck forcing him into a new role as things that add to what he could bring in 2021.
“It was a tough presence to lose (from the rotation in 2020 due to the tumor). I’m anxious to see him come in as a reliever for the first time and really taking hold of this role and taking hold of the bullpen,” Woodworth said. “For what he did with the rotation with Dunny (Justin Dunn( and Shef (Justus Sheffield) and Marg (Nick Magevicius), him and Marco (Gonzales) and Taijuan (Walker) were huge parts of their development. I’m anxious to see what his leadership and character can do for the young guys in the bullpen.”
Related: Kendall Graveman embraces relief role, Mariners’ direction
Laker, who is set to return to the Mariners after coaching remotely in 2020, is excited to get eyes on Jarred Kelenic once again.
“His mindset is, ‘How great can I be? How many All-Star Games can I make? Can I make the Hall of Fame?’ It’s ridiculous when you think about it, most guys are happy to be there, that’s not him at all,” Laker said. “He’s got his sights set higher and I think that helps him in a way, he’s not intimidated by guys that have been in the big leagues, been successful in the big leagues. It’s a different mentality. Something I have never been around in a young guy, that kind of self confidence, it’s really kind of refreshing to be honest with you.”
• MLB Pipeline is due to come out with their Top 100 prospect list before the weekend, but they perhaps tipped their hand a little bit Thursday morning when they announced their top 10 outfield prospects, which featured the Mariners’ top two prospects in the top two spots.
Our final Top 10 list before we reveal #MLB's Top 100 …
Here are baseball's Top 10 outfield prospects: https://t.co/eWRSgk6jwR pic.twitter.com/IXM8yqq0nZ
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) January 28, 2021
With Kelenic just ahead of Rodríguez, it appears MLB Pipeline will be going in a bit of a different direction than Baseball America, which ranks Rodríguez and Kelenic the No. 3 and No. 4 prospects in all of baseball, respectively.
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