The Mariners expanded their roster to 40 players last week as the calendar turned to September. Who are these new faces and will they help this year?
The Mariners are on their last legs in the American League Wild Card race. They’ve been up and down all season, and the next downturn could be the coup de grace. After a three-game sweep of the terrible Oakland A’s at home, they dropped their next home game against the Houston Astros, who are counting down the days until they win the AL West, 6-2.
Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto brought in Mike Leake to patch up the…leaks…in the starting rotation, and September 1st brings in a number of other new faces to the clubhouse, many of them pitchers who will pitch in (okay, I’ll stop) to get precious outs from the bullpen in the stretch run.
Let’s take a look at a few of the new faces in the Mariners dugout and try to predict how they’ll help in the final 24 games of the regular season:
Marjama was acquired in a lesser-known transaction with the Tampa Bay Rays back on August 5th. Before being traded to the Seattle system, the catcher/designated hitter/first baseman was hitting .274/.342/.445 for AAA Durham. Since joining the Tacoma Rainiers, Marjama hit .167/.244/.346 in 21 games.
Mariners manager Scott Servais will likely use Marjama as he would any inexperienced 40-man roster invitee: keeping him out of the batter’s box as much as possible while using his warm body to back up catchers Mike Zunino and Carlos Ruiz late in games.
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Frankoff was acquired from the Cubs last week to help bolster the tired bullpen. With David Phelps headed to the 60-day DL, Servais needs arms to bail out his shell-shocked starting rotation, which, outside of Erasmo Ramirez in recent days, can’t make it through the opposing lineup more than twice.
Frankoff has bounced around international leagues and minor league affiliates for 11 seasons. The 29-year-old will likely be an innings-eater to save other bullpen arms down the stretch.
Another acquisition from the Cubs, Hannemann is a Leonys Martin replacement with more minor league options on his contract. Hannemann has great speed and fly ball catching ability, but little power. He’s extra outfield depth and a possible defensive replacement late in games. Who he’ll be replacing for defense is anyone’s guess.
The Mariners are 69-69 and trail the Minnesota Twins by 2.5 games in the Wild Card race. They’re not out of it yet, but how these fringe players bolster the regulars we’ve been seeing all year will be telling in how the Wild Card race pans out. Maybe they can truly make the playoffs with their starting rotation rarely going beyond the fifth inning if they keep bringing in and churning out long relievers.