Jarred Kelenic won’t make Mariners’ opening day roster, but he’s focused on getting call ‘as soon as possible’
The disappointment could be seen on Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic’s face, and perhaps heard a bit in his voice, as he answered questions from the media on a Zoom call hours after his name was among those announced to have been re-assigned from the Mariners’ big league spring training camp.
What wasn’t heard or seen was surprise or anger at the news. Rather, there was acceptance.
“Obviously it’s frustrating,” Kelenic said about the news, which essentially ruled him out for making Seattle’s opening day roster. “I’m a competitor, I want to help this team win as soon as possible, but I understand where they are coming from. All I can do is focus on what I need to focus on and get there as soon as possible.”
It’s worth pointing out that in years past, players would sometimes be given the option to take the rest of the day off after receiving the news that they were being sent down. Most continue on with their work, but more than one dramatic exit has been witnessed on such occasions. In the 21-year-old Kelenic’s case that wouldn’t be expected, and he was indeed right there on the dugout rail with his teammates in the Mariners’ game Friday night.
That doesn’t mean the disappointment was any less. Kelenic was focused forward, however, and that in part may have been helped by the ongoing communication about his status that general manager Jerry Dipoto revealed Thursday on 710 ESPN Seattle.
“We’ve sat with him, we’ve shared what we would like to see and I think we are on the same page,” Dipoto told Danny and Gallant.
“I was in those meetings and I think they were unbelievably productive,” manager Scott Servais said Friday. “He came out of it with a clear understanding and he went right to work getting better at those things, and if you know Jarred at all he’s going to work tirelessly to improve, and when he gets to the big leagues he’s going to be ready to contribute every day and be a big time player.”
The specifics of the to-do list were not revealed by Servais or Dipoto, but Kelenic himself said that his path to the big leagues has been laid out in front of him and the finish line is close.
“It’s not a whole lot,” Kelenic said. “A lot of it was just reps. I’m hoping with me going to minor league camp down here in Arizona, I can hopefully get as many reps as I can and my number gets called as soon as possible.”
With minor league spring training games not scheduled to start until two weeks after the big leaguers break camp, the Mariners and other teams will try to schedule games to get work for players who were on the big league camp roster as the others get up to speed. Kelenic is hoping to get at-bats every day be it in the games that are put together or live batting practices.
“I think we are on the same page in getting as many at-bats as possible,” he said.
Kelenic will get to work in Arizona as many of those he spent the last six weeks with in the Mariners’ clubhouse head north. A bitter pill to swallow regardless of how prepared he may have been for the news. For all of the service time talk surrounding him, making the opening day roster is a special accomplishment, and it would appear this meant quite a bit to Kelenic. It’s not a disappointment he will linger on, however.
“I am excited for all the guys who are going to be there (on opening day),” he said. “I wish that I was going to be able to go with the team to Seattle but that unfortunately is not the case. This is a bump in the road that you have to get past and keep working. Even when I get to the big leagues, whenever that might be, I’m not done working.
“There’s still a lot more that I, Jarred Kelenic, want to do, and there are things that I want to do to help this team win and grow as an individual. And so getting to the big leagues is definitely a huge goal of mine, but the end goal is much more than that.”
Further reading: Unafraid to speak his mind, Kelenic makes no apologies