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February 3, 2015 at 5:31 PM

A quick look at the Mariners’ spring training roster by position

Super Bowl XLIX is now over and we can all get back to baseball. I have no more football or Marshawn Lynch commitments. So Mariners coverage will be my primary focus. Over the next week or so, we will break down each position and what to expect going into spring training.

Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 20. Position players report on Feb. 24. I will report on Feb. 18.

Quickly here’s the players will be attending Major League spring training and an attempt at a depth chart

Starting pitchers:

Mariners24_14

Seattle Times photo/Dean Rutz

  1. Felix Hernandez, RHP
  2. James Paxton, LHP
  3. Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP
  4. J.A. Happ, LHP
  5. Taijuan Walker RHP/Roenis Elias, LHP

Notes: Manager Lloyd McClendon said that there is one open spot for the rotation, while he wouldn’t say who the four pitchers were that have locked up spots, it’s easy to surmise that is Hernandez, Paxton, Iwakuma and Happ. That leaves Elias and Walker battling it out for the fifth spot. McClendon mentioned Erasmo Ramirez as a possible candidate, but that seems unlikely. Ramirez is out of minor league options. So if he doesn’t make the big league club out of spring, the Mariners will have to designate him for assignment. It seems unlikely that he would clear waivers if that happens.

***

  • Erasmo Ramirez, RHP
  • Sam Gaviglio, RHP
  • Justin Germano, RHP
  • Jordan Pries, RHP
  • Stephen Landazuri, RHP
  • Danny Hultzen, LHP
  • Tyler Olson, LHP
  • Mike Kickham, LHP

Notes: There is much better depth to fill out the Class AAA rotation. Germano and Kickham are veterans. Pries was the Mariners’ minor league starting pitcher of the year. Obviously all eyes will be on Hultzen this spring. But there should be few if any expectations for him, other than to stay healthy.

Relief pitchers

Seattle Times file photo/Dean Rutz

Seattle Times file photo/Dean Rutz

  1. Fernando Rodney, RHP
  2. Danny Farquhar, RHP
  3. Tom Wilhelmsen, RHP
  4. Yoervis Medina, RHP
  5. Dominic Leone, RHP
  6. Carson Smith, RHP (above)
  7. Charlie Furbush, LHP

Notes: The Mariners had an eight-man bullpen for much of last season with the additional lefty. McClendon had said he’d prefer to have that again if possible. But he’d also like to bring back free agent Joe Beimel to fill that role. Carson Smith was brilliant at the end of last season. He seems like a logical candidate to fill Brandon Maurer’s spot.

***

  • Mayckol Guaipe, RHP
  • Mark Lowe, RHP
  • Forrest Snow, RHP
  • Lucas Luetge, LHP
  • Edgar Olmos, LHP
  • David Rollins, LHP

Notes: Rollins is the Mariners’ Rule 5 pick. So he must make the 25-man roster out of spring or the M’s would have to send him back to Houston, or work out a trade for him. Luetge has big league experience, but lacks an out pitch as a left on left guy. Olmos is a long shot to fill that role. It will be tough for Lowe to make the team barring an injury to one of the other hard-throwing right-handers.

 

***

Catchers

Seattle Times photo/Dean Rutz

Seattle Times photo/Dean Rutz

  1. Mike Zunino
  2. Jesus Sucre/John Baker

Notes: The Mariners love Jesus Sucre’s defense and handling of pitchers as a back-up, but his bat is basically non-existent. They brought in veteran John Baker to push Sucre and also provide some depth at the position. Regardless of what happens with that backup spot, John Hicks will likely still be the every day catcher in Tacoma.

***

  • John Hicks
  • Tyler Marlette
  • Mike Dowd
  • Steven Baron

Notes: Interesting group of young catchers. Marlette can really hit, but has to get a little stronger with his defense.

First basemen

Mariners25_37

Seattle Times file photo/Dean Rutz

  1. Logan Morrison

Notes: It looks as though the M’s will carry one first baseman on the roster. And that one first baseman – Morrison – has played more than 100 games in a season just once in his career. Another question who plays first base late in games as a defensive replacement or if Morrison needs a day off? Right now, that would be Dustin Ackley, Willie Bloomquist or Brad Miller.

***

  • Jesus Montero
  • Ji-Man Choi
  • Jordy Lara (listed as an outfielder on Mariners roster)

Notes: I think we are all curious to see what Montero is like this spring. Will the lost weight make a huge difference? Something that hasn’t been addressed: Will he keep it off over the course of the season? Lara is listed as an outfielder on the roster, but Chris Gwynn, Mariners’ director of player development, said that Lara’s best position is first base so we’ll list him there.

***

Middle infielders

Seattle Times File photo/Dean Rutz

Seattle Times File photo/Dean Rutz

 

  1. Robinson Cano
  2. Brad Miller/Chris Taylor
  3. Willie Bloomquist

Notes: The battle for the shortstop position will be watched closely this spring. But I’m also curious to see how healthy Bloomquist’s surgically repaired knee is and whether he can be a viable contributor. If it isn’t, could the Mariners carry both Taylor and Miller on the roster again?

***

  • Shawn O’Malley
  • Ketel Marte

Notes: Marte had a few moments of brilliance during a few Cactus League games last season. O’Malley is a utility guy, who can play anywhere.

***

Third baseman

Seattle Times file photo/Dean Rutz

Seattle Times file photo/Dean Rutz

  1. Kyle Seager

Notes: Seager is Seager. I doubt he will be any different after signing the big extension.

***

  • D.J. Peterson
  • Carlos Rivero

Notes: Peterson is thought to be the Mariners’ first baseman of the future. But because of the way rosters set up in the minor leagues, he will play third base more. But we will likely see him at first base in some Cactus League games. Rivero is also a utility guy that may make the team if Bloomquist isn’t ready.

***

Outfielders

Mariners23_21

Seattle Times file photo/Dean Rutz

  1. Nelson Cruz (primarily designated hitter)
  2. Austin Jackson
  3. Dustin Ackley
  4. Seth Smith/Justin Ruggiano
  5. James Jones

Notes: Obviously, Cruz will be the DH more than 80 percent of the time. The outfield situation is slightly different than last spring where there were no locked up starters. Now it’s basically locked in. It will be interesting to see how much Dustin Ackley plays this spring. McClendon has promised to play him a lot to try and avoid a slow start in the regular season.  Jones could be the fifth outfielder, so could Stefen Romero. There might not be that spot depending on how many pitchers McClendon decides to carry.

***

  • Stefen Romero
  • Julio Morban
  • Patrick Kivlehan
  • Endy Chavez
  • Franklin Gutierrez

Notes: This is an interesting group of players. Kivlehan has received plenty of attention as a prospect. He will get his chance to show what he can do. Romero has shown he can hit at the Class AAA level, and it appears he will start the season there again with the roster shaping up as it is. Endy Chavez could win that extra outfield spot. McClendon trusts him and he’s shown that he’s capable of contributing. Can Franklin Gutierrez stay healthy enough to contribute even as a part-time outfielder? Are there such things as unicorns? I don’t think we have an answer to either.

 

 

 

 

 

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