Mariners Notebook: How Luis Torrens will find his way into lineup

Mar 17, 2022, 12:41 PM

Mariners Luis Torrens...

Mariners catcher Luis Torrens before a game against the Diamondbacks in 2021. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

PEORIA, Ariz. – Count Mariners manager Scott Servais among those who are not thrilled with MLB’s new rule for 2022 limiting teams to just 13 pitchers on the 26-man active roster.

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“I think it’s brutal,” said Servais. “You should not tell teams how to make up their roster. I understand why they are thinking of doing it but especially where we are with the shortened spring training, I don’t think it’s a good plan.”

The Mariners for the most part have always gone with the extra arm in the bullpen over a four-man bench. Servais cited keeping pitchers healthy as a big reason why he preferred going with the extra arm. It has yet to be determined if teams will be allowed to carry an extra few pitchers to start the year due to the shortened spring training.

The extra bench spot could come in handy for the Mariners, however, as they will utilize a lineup with heavy left/right splits at some positions. While not committing to any full platoons, Servais will play the matchup game.

One player who should figure prominently into this is Luis Torrens, who slashed .275/.311/.542 (.854 OPS) against left-handed pitching last season. While both Servais and general manager/president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto had insisted from late last season that they saw Torrens as a catcher, those words were met with skepticism because Torrens did not get behind the plate after July 9 last year, taking most of his at-bats as the designated hitter. He’s back behind the plate this spring, though, and it appears he will fit into the catcher mix in 2022.

“He can catch,” said Servais. “He’s got plenty of arm, he likes catching, he’s committed to it. He has just got to tighten up a couple of things with the receiving and working with the pitchers. He’s willing to put in the work, there’s no question about it. We will see how it plays out in games.”

Torrens, who was originally signed as a Yankees infield prospect, will also see some time at first base during the spring.

With infielders in the outfield and catchers at first base, the Mariners have enough positional flexibility to not need the additional position player on the bench, but that decision is out of Servais’ hands.

“To be hard 13 (pitchers) and 13 (position players) I don’t think is a good thing for baseball,” he said. “I agree most of the time what’s best for the game, but here you have to give the team some freedom to make the roster up. I think it’s a bad rule.”

Mariners notes

• Baseball America No. 12 overall prospect George Kirby is set to make his first Cactus League start Monday. Kirby told Seattle Sports’ Mike Salk Show on Thursday morning that he would throw three innings in the Mariners’ game against the Diamondbacks. Needless to say there is a lot of interest to see how he reacts to facing big league hitters in a game for the first time.

• Hard-throwing young reliever Andrés Muñoz arrived in camp Thursday morning after missing the first few days with visa issues.

• Servais declined to name the candidates for the currently open fifth spot in the starting rotation, telling the media group they could probably come up with the names. Servais didn’t want to leave anyone out such as potential camp surprises. Then, of course, there is also the possibility that player has yet to arrive in camp. Could Jerry Dipoto bring in another starter?

“That’s where we are most focused right now,” the GM said Thursday to Salk on The Jerry Dipoto Show. “If we go out and do something again, we want to focus on adding someone who pitches closer to the top of our rotation than the back. And that’s more trade talk than free agent. We don’t necessarily feel like that player is currently on the free agent market but we are active in discussing options with other clubs.”

Jerry Dipoto Show: Focus is a starter via trade

• To answer a Twitter question, if the Mariners were looking for someone who could take over at shortstop should J.P. Crawford miss a week or two, it appears that player would be the player it was last year: Dylan Moore.

“I’m very comfortable with D-Mo at short,” said Servais. “Then we have got this guy (Noelvi) Marte who’s going to be fun to watch this spring. He’s not ready, but you are going to see him a lot this spring. We are going to play Noelvi a lot.”

Marte is the No. 18 overall prospect per Baseball America but the 20-year-old has yet to play above High-A.

Servais mentioned that Moore would play quite a bit of center field this spring as well as they look to find out if we could be a viable defensive replacement there. Abraham Toro will also get corner outfield reps though Servais pointed out that he is not as advanced in the outfield as Moore.

Previous M’s Notebook: Updates on Marco Gonzales, Julio Rodríguez and more

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Mariners Notebook: How Luis Torrens will find his way into lineup