Brandon Bantz was just officially added to the Mariners, with Carlos Triunfel going to Class AAA to free a major league roster spot and Franklin Gutierrez added to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot. Gutierrez has already been on the DL since April, so this won’t add very much time to what he was already going to miss in any event.
As for the backup third baseman, that will be Alex Liddi. Nick Franklin is the backup shortstop.
As for Bantz, he’s strictly insurance. In other words, he isn’t going to play unless something happens to Kelly Shoppach. As I reported earlier today, the medical reports from this morning on Jesus Sucre found no bone breaks in his hand and he’s only going to miss about three or four days.
For Bantz, this isn’t a bad promotion for a guy with barely any AAA experience. He got the call about 11:30 p.m. last night telling him to be prepared.
“It’s a real surreal experience still,” he said. “It still feels kind of surreal at the moment. I’m real excited. It’s my lifelong dream.”
I know many people wanted to see Mike Zunino up here, but as I wrote last night, that was never going to happen if this was a short-term thing. There are Super 2 arbitration considerations, the fact the Mariners would have been burning a minor league option on him for just a few days of use and also the disruption in his development.
Now again, there is only so much development damage you can do in three or four days, so really, the real considerations here are the options and Super 2. The whole Super 2 thing could have been mitigated if he was sent back down and held back in AAA further into the summer — but then again, that would also force the Mariners to alter their catching plans and stick with Shoppach and Sucre much longer into the season than they probably want from that tandem.
As for the options, that’s also a very real concern. We saw with Casper Wells how running out of options forces teams to make calls on guys before they really want to. If Zunino were ever to struggle like Dustin Ackley or Jesus Montero or Justin Smoak, you’d like to have options as an insurance policy.