Mariners ‘went as far as they could’ with Jarred Kelenic before demotion

Jun 8, 2021, 10:37 AM | Updated: 10:38 am
Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic...
Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic was hitting just .096 before his demotion to Triple-A. (Getty)

The highly anticipated start to Jarred Kelenic’s MLB career didn’t go like the outfielder or the Mariners planned, and after 23 games in the majors, he’s been demoted to Triple-A Tacoma.

Mariners send rookie OF Jarred Kelenic down, reinstate Shed Long Jr.

In those 23 games, Kelenic put together a slash line of just .096/.185/.193 with two home runs. He tallied eight hits, with three of them coming in his second MLB game. Kelenic also had 26 strikeouts in 92 plate appearances and had no hits in his last 39 at-bats prior to his demotion.

While Kelenic’s talent is unquestionable, it was apparent that he was having issues handling MLB pitching over the last few weeks. Shannon Drayer, Mariners insider for 710 ESPN Seattle, discussed Kelenic’s struggles and demotion with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob shortly after the news broke Monday.

“I think they gave him every opportunity,” she said. “And we know this organization is obviously not all about the batting average and all of the raw numbers. It’s about how they look at the plate, the contact that they make, and they very much recognize that batting average is reliant on luck, so that’s not reflective necessarily of where a player (is).”

But even when taking batting average out of the picture, it was clear that Kelenic was struggling at the plate, especially in some of the Mariners’ most recent series. That wasn’t always the case, though.

“I do think early on Kelenic was having good plate appearances, making good contact and making good swing decisions, as well,” Drayer said. “But I think we saw as time went on and as the games started stacking up as he was going hitless, I think you did start to see the plate appearances where he did look a little lost, and you did see plate appearances where he was not making adjustments to big league pitching, which he is seeing for the first time.”

The issue, Drayer said, wasn’t about the “stuff” that MLB pitchers were hurling at Kelenic, but rather how they were pitching to him. Kelenic at one point mentioned to the media that pitchers were really working the edges of the plate against him.

“That’s how pitchers pitch in the big leagues,” Drayer said. “They don’t throw it down the middle. You don’t get as many mistakes (to hit). And I think he was having a hard time adjusting to that in particular.”

As far as if the Mariners waited too long to demote him or if they should have had a longer leash, Drayer seems to think the timing made sense.

“I think they took it as far as they could with him,” she said. “I think you probably also got a little bit concerned. He’s intense and they like that, but you saw how hard he took every strikeout. And I think there comes a point where you look at it and you say, ‘This isn’t getting any better, it’s not helping the situation, you need to take a break.’ And now he’s gotten the opportunity, he’s seen it, there’s nowhere else where he was going to get that experience, and now he has a chance to go and take what he has learned and get to work on it. And I have little doubt he’ll be ready the next time he gets called up.”

Something that is abundantly clear with Kelenic is that the young man does not lack confidence. One instance of that is that he told USA Today earlier this year that he felt he should have been on the MLB roster last year to help the Mariners push for a playoff spot. Bob Stelton, co-host of Wyman and Bob, said he saw fans who felt Kelenic was too cocky or overconfident in his abilities and thought Kelenic needed to be humbled. Drayer doesn’t think that was necessary.

“Did he need to be humbled? I don’t think so,” she said. “I think he needed to see what he saw right now to realize that he didn’t have all the answers for what was going on at the big league level. But that’s not a huge sin right there; it is very different up here.”

As for that level of confidence that Kelenic carries, Drayer thinks the Mariners still want him to be wired that way.

“I don’t think you want him losing that confidence. I don’t think you want him really losing that bravado, either,” she said. “There will be a time and a place for it and I think he just got a little bit of a lesson that, no, you don’t know everything about what it looks like up here.”

Listen to the full interview with Drayer, which includes her thoughts on Logan Gilbert and injury updates for Evan White and Dylan Moore, at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

Drayer: What Mariners’ Jarred Kelenic can get out of return to minors

Wyman & Bob

Wyman and Bob

Seahawks Bryce Young...
Brandon Gustafson

Seahawks Draft: The top QBs, how deep the edge rusher class is, more

Ourlads.com's Jon Cooper joined Wyman & Bob to discuss the Seahawks and the 2023 NFL Draft, including insight into this year's top QBs.
2 days ago
Mariners dugout general...
Brent Stecker

Aaron Goldsmith shares the story of his decision to stay with Mariners

Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith isn't going anywhere. He told Wyman and Bob the story behind in him deciding to pull out of consideration for a job with the Cardinals.
5 days ago
Mariners Matt Brash...
Brent Stecker

2 Mariners who MLB Network’s Morosi says could make big jumps

The Mariners made the playoffs in 2022 thanks to some young players making big leaps. Who could do that this year? MLB Network's Jon Morosi has two players in mind.
7 days ago
Mariners Julio Rodríguez...
Brent Stecker

MLB Network’s Morosi: 3 ways new MLB rules may help Mariners

The Mariners may be as well-equipped as any team for the new rules around baseball in 2023, says MLB Network's Jon Morosi.
8 days ago
Seahawks Tariq Woolen...
Brandon Gustafson

Seahawks’ John Schneider: Approach with 5th pick, team’s 2022 success

During a Thursday appearance on Wyman and Bob, Seahawks GM John Schneider discussed the philosophy of picking at No. 5 and much more.
10 days ago
Seahawks Derek Carr...
Brandon Gustafson

Salary expert: Why Derek Carr may not be a fallback option for Seahawks

The Seahawks will be addressing the QB spot this offseason, but Spotrac's Michael Ginnitti doesn't think Derek Carr will be in the picture.
10 days ago
Mariners ‘went as far as they could’ with Jarred Kelenic before demotion