SHANNON DRAYER

Drayer: A look at Mariners roster essentially set for opening day

Mar 27, 2023, 12:21 PM

Mariners Teoscar Hernández...

Teoscar Hernández reacts after scoring for the Mariners in a 2023 spring training game. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

And then there were two. With the Mariners optioning relief pitcher Justin Topa to Triple-A Tacoma and re-assigning infielder Mason McCoy to minor league camp Monday, the spring roster now stands at 28. That leaves absolutely no intrigue for the opening day 26-man roster as the final two moves will be to put Dylan Moore (oblique strain) and Taylor Trammell (broken right hamate bone) on the injured list.

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So, your Day 1 2023 Seattle Mariners, barring any last minute transacting by Jerry Dipoto, are as follows:

Starting rotation

Luis Castillo, RHP
Robbie Ray, LHP
Logan Gilbert, RHP
Marco Gonzales, LHP
George Kirby, RHP

Bullpen

Matt Brash, RHP
Diego Castillo, RHP
Matt Festa, RHP
Chris Flexen, RHP
Trevor Gott, RHP
Andrés Muñoz, RHP
Penn Murfee, RHP
Paul Sewald , RHP

Catchers

Cal Raleigh
Tom Murphy
Cooper Hummel (also utility)

Infielders

Ty France, 1B
Kolten Wong, 2B
J.P. Crawford, SS
Eugenio Suárez, 3B
Tommy La Stella, 1B/2B/3B

Outfielders

Teoscar Hernández
Julio Rodríguez
Jarred Kelenic
AJ Pollock

Utility

Sam Haggerty

Heading into camp, there was the possibility there could be a bit of a surprise with the bullpen – perhaps the Mariners would go with a lefty or someone who flashed something different. With the new additions to the organization all having options to the minor leagues remaining, they opted to go with the familiar. The ‘pen you see opening day will have just one change from the ‘pen that ended the season.

Manager Scott Servais highlighted some players who impressed this spring even though they won’t break camp with the team when talking about the shape of the bullpen.

“Justin Topa, Gabe Speier and I would throw Riley O’Brien in there, as well, really stood out to me this spring,” Servais said. “But I do think it is spring training, our bullpen had a really good year last year, (and) all those guys are back except for one, Swanny (Erik Swanson). Those guys have earned the right to continue to do their job down there and we will give them the ball and go from there.”

With Topa, Spier, O’Brien and perhaps a prospect starter such as Prelander Berroa or even Bryce Miller, the Mariners should have very good bullpen depth.

Perhaps the last item of true roster intrigue – because it has been clear for some time that Cooper Hummel would make the team – came with a bench role. The Mariners spent the last two weeks figuring out if they could cover Moore’s absence, then determining what they would need in terms of backup at shortstop with J.P. Crawford fouling a ball off his foot Friday. In the end, they determined Haggerty could cover them well enough to allow them to keep Tommy La Stella, who was acquired to help at third base but has only started one game there this spring due to a shoulder issue. Haggerty will be the backup at short, but Servais noted that should Crawford be out for even a few days, they would need to make a move – likely Mason McCoy, who plays solid defense and made a nice showing in camp.

Servais did give a bit of good news regarding the infield situation. He believes Moore, who is expected to platoon with Kolten Wong at second base and be Crawford’s backup at short, will not be out for long.

“He’s going to be back into our mix relatively early. I would expect him back mid-April at the latest,” Servais said.

In the meantime, Haggerty will get most of his work in the infield largely filling the role they carved out for Moore. The intention is still to platoon the left-handed hitting Wong as much as possible against southpaws.

Servais also gave some insight into how he would manage George Kirby early on. If you remember, Kirby and Logan Gilbert were held back in their work early this spring and haven’t built up to the same pitch count the veteran starters have at this point. Do not look for them to throw 100 pitches in their first outings.

“That’s not going to be the case,” he said. “If you get a good outing out of them it might be five (innings) and 85-ish (pitches), but we will see. You have to trust your eyes and how the game is going. The game dictates a lot of that.”

Gilbert will be a full-go once his pitch count is fully built up. With Kirby, they won’t look to limit his innings, rather they will build him up slowly with an assist from the schedule.

“Starting in the 5-hole (fifth spot in the rotation), he is going to get some extra rest between starts, which will be good for him as we ramp up throughout the season,” Servais said of Kirby.

Kirby will stay back to pitch in a minor league game Tuesday in Arizona before rejoining the team for their workout Wednesday at T-Mobile Park.

GM Justin Hollander breaks down just how good the Mariners’ pitching depth is

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