Why Passan ‘will bet on Kelenic’ over Marlowe and Canzone for Mariners

Sep 6, 2023, 9:42 AM | Updated: 10:35 am

Seattle Mariners Jarred Kelenic...

Jarred Kelenic of the Seattle Mariners during a June 13, 2023 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners will soon have a roster decision on their hands.

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Young outfielder Jarred Kelenic, who was at one point the team’s best hitter this year and is enjoying the most successful season of his three-year career, is in the midst of a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma as he works his way back from a foot injury, which he suffered when kicking a water cooler after a strikeout on July 19. He’s hitting .375 in five games with the Rainiers so far.

When he’s inevitably added back to the MLB roster, what do the Mariners do with him?

“I mean, he plays, doesn’t he?” ESPN’s Jeff Passan said to Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Tuesday.

Both Brock Huard and Mike Salk shared what some fans are thinking when it comes to Kelenic.

“There’s a lot of folks in Seattle who don’t think so … It’s interesting hearing how many folks are saying, nope, they don’t want that, the team wasn’t as good when Jarred was at his best, and that even at times this year, his best wasn’t all that great and that it sort of deteriorated before he got hurt anyway. I’m not necessarily taking that point of view, but there’s quite a few (people who feel that way),” Salk said.

Huard told Passan that some fans argue that the team is full of “good vibes” because of their play of late, which Kelenic hasn’t been part of. Kelenic has struggled at times with his emotions during his MLB career, but up until the water cooler incident in July, he’d been doing a much better job this year of keeping his emotions in check.

“The notion that you’re concerned with somebody’s bad energy affecting the team when he is going to be around the team regardless of whether he’s playing or not is so patently illogical, foolish and beyond the pale dumb, I don’t know why I’m wasting my breath addressing it,” Passan bluntly said.

After Passan said if Kelenic’s around he should play, “period,” Salk shared a different argument that some have made regarding playing two other young outfielders over Kelenic.

“Jarred Kelenic in 90 games this year has a WAR of 1.9. Cade Marlowe in … not even a third as many … has a 1.0 WAR and Dominic Canzone in (27 games has a 0.4 WAR),” Salk said. “The other argument to be made is it has nothing to do with the emotion or whatever people think Jarred Kelenic is as a person. What about just that part of it?”

Passan isn’t impressed enough by what Marlowe and Canzone have done of late at the plate to say they should play over Kelenic.

“If we want to look at productivity recently, over the last two weeks, Cade Marlowe is striking out in 75% of his plate appearances. And if we want to look at productivity, over the last two weeks, Dominic Canzone hasn’t walked,” Passan said.

“All that said, I will bet on Jarred Kelenic before I bet on those guys,” Passan later added. “And that’s because I’ve seen what Kelenic is capable of doing. I know he hasn’t done it as consistently as people would hope for, but I have trouble forgetting the 480-foot home run at Wrigley. I have a really difficult time getting that out of my head and thinking that that guy would be sitting on the bench for one of the others who have very similar issues to him in terms of weaknesses. Marlowe’s weakness is striking out, Canzone’s weakness is patience at the plate, and Canzone’s defense leaves quite a bit to be desired, as well. I think it’s Kelenic 100% all the way until he shows that he does not deserve the job anymore.”

Listen to the full conversation with Passan at this link or in the player near the top of this story. 

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