Tyler O'Neill, the Mariners' top prospect, has been sidelined for a few days in the Arizona Fall League with back spasms. Mariners scouts were busy on Monday, watching workouts for former Royals closer Greg Holland and four players from Cuba.
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Top prospect Tyler O’Neill was out of the lineup for the Peoria Javelinas in Monday’s Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch. The Mariners’ top prospect was dealing with some back spasms that arose when he participated in Saturday’s annual AFL All-Star game. O’Neill went 1-for-2 in the game, but noticed some discomfort following a slide on a stolen base.
“If it were the postseason or something, I’d be out there, but it’s better to just get it taken care of,” he said.
O’Neill is hoping to be back in the starting lineup on Thursday after a few days of treatment.
Following a breakout year in which he hit .293 with 26 doubles, four triples, 24 homers and 102 RBI in 130 game for Class AA Jackson, O’Neill is continuing that play in the AFL. In 14 games, he’s hitting .322 with a .944 OPS, five doubles, three homers and nine RBI.
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O’Neill also confirmed that he was asked to represent his native Canada in the World Baseball Classic. It was something he was hoping for after playing well for Team Canada in the Pan-Am Games and Premier 12 tournament last year.
“I’m pumped,” he said. “I can’t wait.”
Mariners scout recovering reliever Greg Holland
Former Royals closer Greg Holland held an open workout for interested teams on Monday morning at Grand Canyon University. The Mariners had multiple representatives there to scout the veteran right-hander.
Per reports, Holland threw nothing but fastballs. The velocity sat at 89-91 mph.
Holland underwent surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in October of 2015 and sat out all of 2016.
When healthy, he was one of the more reliable closers in baseball. He was named to the AL All-Star team in 2013-2014, saving a combined 93 games with a 1.32 ERA in 133 appearances with 193 strikeouts in 129 1/3 innings pitched. He battled arm issues in 2015, posting a 3.83 ERA with 38 saves before his season-ending injury.
Holland figures to have plenty of potential bidders for his services, including his former team. The Mariners do return several right-handed relievers, including closer Edwin Diaz. But the team will likely be without set-up man Steve Cishek to start the season as he recovers from offseason hip surgery.
*** As expected, the Mariners officially announced that they didn’t make qualifying offers of $17.2 million for 2017 to any of their potential free agents.
*** Right-hander Ryan Cook has opted for free agency after being outrighted to the minor leagues by the Mariners last week. Because of service time, Cook, catcher Steve Clevenger and lefty Charlie Furbush all chose free agency instead of accepting their outright assignments by the Mariners.
*** The Mariners were also busy scouting a workout at the Padres spring training complex on Monday morning that featured four Cuban players – Right-handed pitcher Carlos Juan Viera, outfielder Dairon Blanco, shortstop Yorlis Rodriguez and outfielder Raidel Chacon. Blanco, 23, is a speedy defensive player that won Gold Gloves and led the league in stolen bases in Cuba. Rodriguez is just 17 and was a starter on Cuba’s starting junior national team.
*** While they aren’t participating in the fall instructional league, the Mariners do have several prospects at their spring training complex in Peoria as part of a mini-camp.