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How Mariners’ trade of Bruce could create opportunity for Kyle Seager

Kyle Seager is suddenly one of the older Mariners veterans in the clubhouse. (Getty)

Jay Bruce wasn’t with the Seattle Mariners for very long, appearing in just 47 games for the M’s in between being acquired in the offseason from the Mets and being traded back to the National East in a deal Sunday with the Phillies. But in that short time, the 32-year-old veteran slugger had a big impact in the clubhouse, something manager Scott Servais noted just a few days prior to Bruce’s trade.

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“Jay Bruce carries a lot of weight in our clubhouse because Jay’s been around a long time, he’s been in situations where teams have struggled,” Servais told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk. “… I got a lot of respect for Jay. He’s done a great job with Daniel Vogelbach keeping Vogey in a good spot, and Jay’s not afraid to speak his voice.”

Now that Bruce is gone, who will fill that role of being a vocal leader for Seattle? Angie Mentink of ROOT Sports told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom it opens up a chance for a veteran who wasn’t around as much earlier this year due to injury.

“I have this hope that it provides an opportunity for someone else to sort of step into that role,” Mentink said of the Bruce trade, “and they say don’t name names but I’m going to name names. I kinda hope now that Kyle Seager is back (from injury) he can assume more of a leadership role because I don’t think he’s ever been able to.”

Seager, 31, is the Mariners’ longest tenured player other than Félix Hernández, but as Mentink pointed out, he’s always been in clubhouses where there were older veterans to lead the way.

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“He’s always had Robbie (Robinson Canó) or Nelson (Cruz) or somebody (else) here versus when he was coming up. Now it’s like, ‘Hey, Kyle, no one else is here. It’s kinda you and a whole bunch of young dudes,'” Mentink said.

One thing is for sure: The Mariners have big shoes to fill as a result of Bruce’s trade.

“Such a good guy,” Mentink said when asked about Bruce. “You were sort of hoping that he was going to be the last one to leave (in a trade this season) instead of the first one.”

Mentink had much more to talk about with Bob, Groz and Tom, whether it was other Mariners topics, the recent run in the Women’s College World Series by the same UW Huskies program she once starred for, or the Al “Moose” Clausen Community Service Award she will be presented on June 21 by the Seattle Mariners RBI Club. You can listen to the full interview in the player embedded in this post or download a podcast of it here.

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