Mariners Spring Training is nearly over and Opening Day approaches. Let’s take a look at who’s trending up, who’s trending down, who’s injured and make a guess at what the roster will look like.
The Mariners are winding down Spring Training for the year with just over two weeks left before Opening Day. General Manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais have made decisions about players that will affect the Opening Day roster and beyond as they try to whip this team into shape in time to start the season.
Several Mariners have returned from World Baseball Classic action that saw the United States win their first WBC title. Several Seattle players had memorable moments for their respective teams in the tournament, including Jean Segura breaking out for the Dominican Republic against Columbia. Edwin Diaz nailed down a crucial save against the Netherlands, and Drew Smyly and Felix Hernandez duked it out against each other. It appears the Mariners stars are ready to start the MLB season.
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Servais and Dipoto decided to option presumed first base starter Dan Vogelbach to AAA after his struggles this spring continued. His recent 1-for-24, 10K slide didn’t help matters. That means veteran Danny Valencia will take over full-time first base duties and hit seventh in the Mariners lineup. Servais and Dipoto hoped Vogelbach would catch fire in the Arizona desert this spring and earn more at-bats so they could bench Valencia against righties (he’s a career .246/.288/.394 hitter against right-handed pitching in his career). Now it appears Servais will have lean on the veteran ex-Athletic more.
Elsewhere in the infield, after an impressive spring, M’s prospect Taylor Motter appears to be a ‘near lock’ for the utility role after Shawn O’Malley went down with emergency appendectomy surgery and because of Vogelbach’s demotion.
Meanwhile, Hernandez, fresh off his excellent WBC performance against the US, shut down the San Francisco Giants for six innings, allowing one hit and striking out five in the win.
Stay tuned for Mariners coverage on ECS as we get closer to the season!