The news broke a few days before, leading to anticipation and mild hysteria in the Mariners’ fan base, but it finally became official Thursday morning hours before their anticipated debut in a slew of roster moves made by general manager Jerry Dipoto:
- Logan Gilbert, RHP, selected from Triple-A Tacoma.
- Jarred Kelenic, OF, selected from Triple-A Tacoma.
- Paul Sewald, RHP, selected from Triple-A Tacoma.
- Aaron Fletcher, LHP, optioned to Triple-A Tacoma (postgame, May 12).
- Wyatt Mills, RHP, optioned to Triple-A Tacoma (postgame, May 12)
- Taylor Trammell, OF, optioned to Triple-A Tacoma (postgame, May 12).
- Nick Margevicius, LHP, transferred to 60-day Injured List (thoracic outlet syndrome).
- Ljay Newsome, RHP, transferred to 60-day Injured List (UCL injury).
- Braden Bishop, OF, designated for assignment.
Gilbert, 24, is scheduled to start Thursday night’s game, and it will be his major-league debut. Kelenic, 21, is expected to start in left field.
“An exciting day for us as an organization, from scouting and player development, through the top levels of our Major League front office, this has been a long journey in working through our development system,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said in video conference Thursday morning. “So many people can take satisfaction in a moment, regardless of what the results are. Players: sometimes they hit the ground running, and sometimes they don’t, The Major Leagues are difficult, but there’s never any more excitement than with the anticipation of the arrival of talented young players like these and, and we’re excited to see what happens across the board. It’s, it’s gonna be a fun time for us.”
While the hype surrounding these call-ups is larger than ever before for the Mariners, Dipoto doesn’t want Kelenic or Gilbert viewed as a savior to the team or the organization’s rebuild plan. He also doesn’t think it’s fair to compare their progression to the success or failures of past Mariners prospects.
“I think it’s too much put on anybody — veteran players, free agents or young players making their debut,” he said. “It brings to mind that somebody much, much smarter than me many, many years before I was born once said, ‘you can learn from the past, but you can’t live in it.’ I think it’s just time to move on and accept that this is a new group, and not a single player here has been responsible for past issues or developmental problems or years without playoffs. It’s a new fresh group, we’re a young team, and we’re growing and trending in the right direction. And I think that’s a good thing.”
Because Gilbert, Kelenic and Sewald were not on the 40-man roster, which was full, Seattle had to open three spots.
The decision to move Margevicius and Newsome to the 60-day injured list seemed plausible considering their injuries. This is the first official confirmation of Margevicius’ injury beyond shoulder inflammation. Thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when blood vessels or nerves in the space between the collarbone and first rib (thoracic outlet) are compressed. It can cause pain in the shoulder and neck and numbness in the fingers. There is a surgery to correct it, usually removing some of the rib to relieve the pressure.
Newsome has yet to decide what to do with his torn ulnar collateral ligament. He could have surgery or try an injection platelet rich plasma.
The Mariners have 10 days to either trade, release or outright Bishop, who was on paternity leave from Triple-A Tacoma. If he clears waivers, he could be outrighted and remain in the system.
A third-round selection in the 2015 draft out of the University of Washington, Bishop has never translated his minor-league success — .290/.365/.394 slash line in 417 games — at the MLB level. In 47 big-league games, he has a .133/.188/.156 slash line with 33 strikeouts.
Gilbert made one start with Triple-A Tacoma, tossing five innings and allowing only one run with five strikeouts. Gilbert is rated as the No. 28 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline and the No. 4 prospect in the Mariners organization.
Kelenic was batting .370/.414/.630 slash line with a double, two home runs, five RBI and two stolen bases in six games with the Rainiers.
“I have to say the first six games were fairly convincing,” Dipoto said. “It was pretty loud. This was never about a lack of belief in what Jarred would do, it was always about making sure that we were building a foundation for success — against left handers, seeing upper-level pitching, guys who pitch backward when you’re behind in the count. And I don’t know if he’s seen enough of that, but I do know that it’s been loud enough.”
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound, outfielder is rated as the No. 4 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 1 in the Mariners organization.
“I don’t know if he’s big league ready today and I don’t know if he was big league ready a month ago,” Dipoto said. “That’s not the way development works. We believe he’s ready. Jared Kelenic’s going to be a good hitter in this league. I hope that starts today. But minimally I know that to be true. His process and his talent is just too good and he’s done what we asked him to do at every step. He’s being rewarded with the best thing we can give him, which is an opportunity in the big leagues to show it.”
Sewald, 30, began the season at the Mariners’ alternate training site before being assigned to Triple-A Tacoma, where he has appeared in two games (one opening start) for the Rainiers. He didn’t allow an earned run 4 1/3 innings, allowing three hits striking out 10.
Trammell, 23, will get the chance to play every day in Tacoma. After making the Mariners’ opening-day roster, he played in 27 games this season, posting a .157/.255/.337 slash line with three doubles, four home runs, 11 RBI, 10 walks and 41 strikeouts.
“He had a dynamic major league camp and couldn’t have done any more to be impressive in that setting,” Dipoto said. “We saw flashes. I am more convinced and I know this is shared by our staff, I am more convinced that Taylor Trammell’s upside is greater than what I thought it was when we acquired him. There’s a tool set there that is electric when it’s all clicking.”