Mariners Roster Update: Taylor Trammell wins LF spot, rotation is set
The Mariners finished 26 Cactus League games in 26 days with a flourish Saturday night in Peoria, striking out 20 – nine by starter James Paxton – on their way to a 5-0 win over their opening day opponents, the San Francisco Giants.
As it turned out, that was the secondary story of the day, upstaged by the news broken by manager Scott Servais in an in-game interview on the ROOT Sports broadcast that a number of players who had been locked in position battles this spring had been told they had made the team.
That group includes 23-year-old outfielder Taylor Trammell, who will be making his MLB debut when Seattle opens the season.
“What can you say about Taylor Trammell?” Servais remarked.
What can you say, indeed. Trammell showed no signs of taking his foot off the gas after getting the good news, raising his spring slash line to .302/.388/.628 by going 2 for 2 with four RBIs, including his his third home run of the spring.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) March 28, 2021
“I was filled with joy,” Trammell said in an interview with Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims after coming out of the game. “I was excited. There was a lot of emotions, especially going through the minors, everything that transpired up until this point in my career. The ups and downs. A lot of the hard work that I put in along with the people around me that supported me and believed in me, it’s surreal.”
Trammell was given the news in a meeting that was also attended by general manager Jerry Dipoto and assistant GM Justin Hollander.
“Just raw emotion,” Servais said about Trammell’s reaction, which he was able to see as he told Trammell to go ahead and take his mask off as they were socially distanced. “A huge smile on his face. I just asked him what he would think if he was in our startling lineup opening night. He actually teared up.
“It’s a lot for these young kids thinking about it their whole lives, what they go through, what their families go through. You get to that point where you are in, and he certainly earned it. He’s had a heck of a spring training. I think the sky’s the limit for him and he’s going to get plenty of opportunities to see what he can do going forward.”
Trammell has been the feel-good story of Mariners camp. A former first-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2016, Trammell has had a roller coaster of a go of it in the minors, excelling in two full seasons only to crash at Double-A. Traded twice, on and off top prospect lists, he started to regain his prospect shine in the instructional league last fall, which is where Servais got a brief look at him.
“He’s come quite a ways,” Servais said. “There was a lot to like but the opportunity to be around him in camp and getting to know the person and how genuine he is, (that he’s a) really good teammate – but you can be all those things, you’ve (still) got to be a good player, and he really is. He had an outstanding spring. He showed all the tools. He can run, he can defend, we’ve seen power, the ball jumps of the bat, and there’s still plenty of room to grow with this player.”
In addition to the Trammell news, Servais announced that Justin Dunn had won the sixth spot in the rotation. In a bit of a twist, Servais reversed course on what he had said before about the odd man out staying ready as a starter, saying instead that Nick Margevicius would start the season with the big league club in the bullpen.
“Marge has made a lot of improvement. He’s had a good camp, he really has,” said Servais. “It’s another lefty in the bullpen that can give multiple innings.”
Hollander said on the broadcast that the competition was extremely close between the right-handed Dunn and left-handed Margevicius, both impressing not just during spring training but with how they came into camp. When all was said and done, Margevicius actually put up better numbers than Dunn, pitching 12 2/3 innings, allowing 14 hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Dunn gave up seven earned runs in 11 innings pitched on 10 hits, walking nine and striking out 15, but he perhaps got the edge on stuff and handedness as the Mariners have a lefty-heavy rotation.
Servais also announced on the broadcast that Rule 5 pick Will Vest has made the bullpen, and after the game in his Zoom with the media indicated that a couple of final decisions remain due to health issues. Reliever Domingo Tapia, who has thrown to hitters just once since suffering an oblique strain three weeks ago, will travel with the team to Seattle where a decision will be made, and all eyes are on center fielder Kyle Lewis to see whether he will be able to go after suffering a deep knee bruise last Monday.
“I’m very hopeful (Lewis) can be available for us opening night, but if not we need to play the long game on this,” said Servais. “Just trying to rush back for one night, we’re not going to do that. He’s going to play a lot of baseball for us this year. We just want to make sure he is 100 percent before we fire him out.”
Spring training 2021 is all but over, and with just one Cactus League game remaining, Servais now gets to enjoy the day off Sunday.
“I really like our team,” he said. “We’ve gotten better this spring, we will continue to see our young players grow, and it’s great to be around this next wave of players we have got coming. Having them around in this camp has been great. Great experience for them and really important for me and our coaching staff to get a feel for what’s coming. We’ve had a really good camp and we have got one more game to go, and we are really looking forward to getting in front of fans at T- Mobile Park. We are really excited about it.”