Who could join Mariners when rosters expand for September

Aug 31, 2022, 12:14 AM
Mariners Matthew Boyd...
Matthew Boyd pitches for the Tigers against the Mariners on July 28, 2019. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

MLB rosters expand to 28 players on Thursday, and while teams can’t add as many September call-ups as they used to, the two extra spots will be valuable for the Mariners. At least one of the spots could make for a pretty meaningful addition, as well.

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Matthew Boyd, who grew up in Mercer Island and was a trade deadline pickup by Seattle from the San Francisco Giants, could join the M’s for the finale of their three-game series in Detroit. Making that possibility even more special is the fact that Boyd hasn’t pitched in the majors since leaving the Tigers after last season. Boyd has made 147 of his 149 total MLB appearances for Detroit.

Asked Tuesday by Seattle Sports’ Stacy Rost if Mariners fans could see Boyd on Thursday, Mariners manager Scott Servais replied: “There’s a good possibility that you could when we expand rosters here on Sept. 1. We’ll be adding one pitcher and one position player at that point.”

Boyd was already with the team in Detroit on Tuesday, even taking part in an interview for the pregame show with Seattle Sports’ Shannon Drayer, so his addition seems all but certain.

Servais went on to share what he thinks putting on the Mariners uniform will mean to Boyd, who starred at Sammamish’s Eastside Catholic in high school.

“He’s really excited to get out there and pitch for the hometown team. He’s been a huge Mariners fan… and certainly having played here in Detroit for almost all of his career, I know he’d love to get out there and then pitch against his old team, but we’ll see what lies ahead of us here.”

A 31-year-old left-hander, Boyd had some good years as a starter with Detroit, even posting a 3.89 ERA over 15 starts in 2021. A flexor tendon injury that required surgery ended his 2021 campaign early, though, and he’s spent this year trying to work his way back to full health. He signed with the Giants in March and landed with the M’s earlier this month, and he’s been building up as a reliever on his current rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma.

In six appearances thus far with the Rainiers, Boyd has allowed two earned runs on four hits, no walks and a hit batter, striking out 14 over eight innings. Those numbers add up to a 2.25 ERA, 0.50 WHIP and .143 average against.

While Boyd is the likeliest pitcher to join the Mariners when rosters expand, who the position player is more of a question.

Outfielder Taylor Trammell seemed like the best choice until utility player Dylan Moore landed on the injured list Tuesday, leaving Seattle thin at shortstop as J.P. Crawford also missed a second straight game Tuesday with a sore pectoral muscle.

Notably, 27-year-old infielder Mason McCoy was scratched from the Rainiers’ lineup on Tuesday with signs pointing to him joining the Mariners for his first trip to the bigs. A sixth-round pick by Baltimore in the 2017 MLB Draft, McCoy has a slash line of .246/.319/.440 (.759 OPS) with 15 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 101 games with Tacoma this year. It’s not clear if he would join the M’s roster Wednesday or be one of the September call-ups Thursday.

Veteran 31-year-old infielder Jonathan Villar is another name to keep an eye on, as he is a natural shortstop but has experience playing all over the field. He has decent numbers in 17 games with the Rainers, owning a a slash line of .269/.310/.448 for a .758 OPS with a homer, five doubles, two triples and four stolen bases in five attempts.

Other hitters in Tacoma who could find their way back onto the M’s roster in September depending on the team’s positional needs are first baseman Evan White, outfielders Jarred Kelenic and Kyle Lewis, and catcher Luis Torrens.

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