SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners Insider: How M’s will use Víctor Robles; change for Kirby

Jun 5, 2024, 10:04 AM

Seattle Mariners Víctor Robles...

Washington's Víctor Robles celebrates scoring a run against the Seattle Mariners on May 25, 2024. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

New Seattle Mariners outfielder Víctor Robles joined the team in Oakland on Tuesday and was all smiles when he met with the media. On his decision to sign with the Mariners, Robles said he liked what he saw on the other side when the M’s visited the Washington Nationals on their last road trip.

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“They’re having fun,” Robles said through interpreter Freddy Llanos. “That’s what it’s all about. They’re out there competing, and that’s what I want to be a part of. I think the way they’ve been playing, the vibes they have.”

Robles, who became a free agent Saturday after being designated for assignment by Washington on May 27, said the fact the Mariners are in first place also played into his decision to sign with them. There also is familiarity as he knows a number of players, including Julio Rodríguez, Luis Castillo and Austin Voth, the latter being a teammate of his in D.C. Still, Mariners manager Scott Servais believes coming to a new team after spending his entire career with another will be an adjustment.

“Hopefully we can get him going offensively a little bit,” Servais said. “It’s always hard anytime you go to a new organization, he’s always been with the Nationals, so this will be his second club and this is going to take him a little time to settle in.”

The 27-year-old Robles appeared in 14 games with the Nationals this year, hitting 3 for 25 (.120) with five walks and four stolen bases. In 36 games last season, Robles hit .299 with five doubles, a triple and 11 walks for a .385 on-base percentage and .750 OPS.

Servais said the Mariners will mainly play Robles against lefties.

“What Víctor brings us, it’s a right-handed bat. This guy does have experience in the league. I’m anxious to see him play and be around him,” he said.

Pitching to Mitch

Mitch Garver made his second appearance behind the plate this season on Tuesday. Once again it was catching George Kirby, who is doing things a little differently with Garver behind the plate.

“One thing that I really enjoy is we have been talking a lot through innings when I am on the bench. I like that a lot,” Kirby said.

While Kirby said he has had those conversations with Cal Raleigh and Seby Zavala, being on the bench is a change. Kirby in the past two years has preferred go down the tunnel to collect his thoughts by himself in the Mariners’ half of the innings.

“I do, but that’s on me,” he said. “As much as I like to relax, whatever, it’s important to game plan for the next inning – who we have got coming up, what they saw in the previous at bats, mixing it up. That’s been huge the last couple of starts for me.”

The 33-year-old Garver has been the Mariners designated hitter in 48 games this year compared to his two appearances behind the plate, but he caught 42 combined games over the past two years with Texas and was a full-time catcher as recently as 2021 with Minnesota.

More on the Seattle Mariners

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Resetting MLB division races: Who poses biggest threat to Mariners?
Mariners Moves: Robles officially signed, another ‘pen option added
A Seattle Mariners trade fit to watch: reunion with Paul Sewald

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