4 things to know about Mariners: Trade needs, injuries, Castillo, Kelenic

Aug 1, 2022, 11:07 AM | Updated: 12:23 pm
Mariners OFs Sam Haggerty, Dylan Moore and Julio Rodríguez run off the field after a July 27 win over Texas. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

This is going to be a big week for the 2022 Seattle Mariners season.

Can Castillo help Mariners shake long postseason drought?

First, the trade deadline will hit at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Then, the day after that, two-time All-Star pitcher Luis Castillo will make his debut for the M’s. And as if that’s not enough, the roster is about as banged up as its been this year going into a series at Yankee Stadium against the team with the best record in the American League.

Yeah, things are about to get interesting.

On Monday morning’s edition of The Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports, Mariners insider Shannon Drayer provided her insight on a number of key topics. Here’s a look at what she had to say.

Latest on the Mariners’ two All-Star hitters

Seattle wrapped up its four-game series in Houston on Sunday without its two best hitters in the lineup. Julio Rodríguez landed on the 10-day injured list after taking a fastball from Astros reliever Rafael Montero off his right wrist on a swing Saturday, while Ty France sat out with his own ongoing wrist issue that stems from an injury he suffered last season.

Drayer provided the latest that she had learned on both of those injuries.

When it comes to France, Drayer said he will probably sit out the next two games with the hope that he will be able to play in the finale of the series against the Yankees on Wednesday.

“I think he’s got to give it enough time to settle down,” Drayer said. “We did see when that happened last year, when he did give it the proper rest, he came back and was Ty France again. When he tried to play through it, he was hitting about .200, which obviously is not Ty France. So I think they’re going to be careful about that.”

As for Rodríguez, Drayer shared an exchange she had with him Sunday night.

“Yesterday when we talked to him early on, he said kind of in a throwaway comment, ‘It’s just a bruise.’ And then I did actually run into him when we were traveling last night and he kind of showed (the injured wrist) to me and said, ‘I can feel my fingers.’ Now that’s good. When you get a really bad bruise, sometimes that happens, so I think that is progressing. So I feel a little bit better about that, but I do want to hear if there’s an MRI (and) that that is all clean.”

Mariners manager Scott Servais said before Sunday’s game that Rodríguez was placed on the injured list because he likely wouldn’t be able to have a bat in his hands for five days, so this may be a good sign he could return once his required 10 days on the IL are up.

What about Jarred?

Without Rodríguez and utility player Dylan Moore (10-day IL for back spasms), who has been Seattle’s next option up in center field when Rodríguez is out of the lineup, the Mariners have brought back former top prospect Jarred Kelenic from Triple-A. He arrived in Seattle’s dugout after Sunday’s game started and was immediately sent out to center. He went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts at the plate in the game, his first in the big leagues since May 11.

What should fans expect this time around from Kelenic?

“I don’t know. I have a lot of hope for Kelenic,” Drayer said. “I had heard that, (and) a lot of us were thinking, that he was going to be down there (in Triple-A) for some time. And to me, I thought the only way you see him is if Julio hits the IL, and lo and behold, Julio hit the IL. In talking to some who have watched him over the last month, there are still holes in that swing, but it does sound like there has also been a lot of progress in different areas. So I’m hoping that some of those holes you see closed, I’m hoping you see a little bit more of a two-strike approach.”

Drayer said she didn’t put too much stock into Kelenic’s rough showing offensively Sunday because of the hectic travel situation it took to get him to Houston, which included a 6 a.m. flight out of Seattle, and she added that this presents an opportunity similar to catcher Cal Raleigh, who found his footing after a brief Triple-A stint earlier this year when starting Mariners catcher Tom Murphy suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

“You hope that now that he’s going to have this little runway, he does play every game so… maybe you do catch a little bit of lightning in a bottle. Maybe it is a Cal Raleigh situation where ‘We’re throwing you in there, we’re depending on you right now,’ and you see the step up.”

The excitement about Castillo

Shannon provided a look at the Mariners’ reaction to the Castillo trade in her latest piece for on Saturday, but she added one extra nugget worth knowing while talking to Salk.

This comes from Jesse Winker, Seattle’s left fielder who played alongside Castillo (as did third baseman Eugenio Suárez) with the Reds from 2017 until this year.

“There was definitely a good amount of excitement in that move,” Drayer said. “The thing that jumped out to me that Jesse Winker said that I really liked, he said every year this guy came back from the offseason, he was even better. He just keeps improving.”

That helped get the message across to the Mariners’ clubhouse just how serious the front office is about helping the team make the playoffs this season.

“This is something we’ve waited for for so long. I mean, how many trade deadlines has that clubhouse been waiting for that big move? And whether or not it was appropriate at the time, they didn’t see it. Well, they saw it this time, and I think that there definitely was appreciation.”

What can the Mariners still trade for?

OK, so the M’s made one big move before the trade deadline. Will they have any more before Tuesday afternoon?

Salk asked Drayer if a bat or a reliever could be in the cards. Her response:

“Well, I hope that we see both. I’m not as concerned about the handedness of the reliever but I do think in the last few days, and even coming out of the (All-Star) break, you’ve seen that as strong as they look in an area like the bullpen, it didn’t take too much (to not look as strong). You lose (Diego) Castillo (to the IL) and now look what happens. And you look out at the outfield, and, well, ‘Where are they gonna put everybody?’ And you find out, well, you’re not going to see Kyle Lewis out there very much. And when do you see Mitch Haniger, and how much can he play out there? And Jesse Winker has not been the Jesse Winker that we saw a month ago, he has kind of fallen back to what we saw early (in the season).”

At what position could Seattle use a bat?

“I would really like to see another outfielder,” Drayer said. “I know there’s been a lot of talk about you could do something at second base, but Adam Frazier has really picked it up over the last month and is showing some consistency. I think the bigger need right now is to get that bat possibly in the outfield.”

Offense isn’t the only concern when it comes to outfielders, either.

“I think another thing that you really have to take into consideration is the defense that you’re going to see out there, too. When you’re coming down the stretch when you get into critical games, if you are in the postseason, who’s your defensive replacement out there? Because defensively there are going to be limitations in that outfield, and how do you cover that? And (the trade deadline) is the last chance to (add players) from the outside, so I would like to see them be aggressive both in the in the relief market and in bringing in a bat. And to me, I think that almost needs to be outfield.”

A closer look: What the Mariners get in All-Star starter Luis Castillo

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4 things to know about Mariners: Trade needs, injuries, Castillo, Kelenic