Seattle Mariners: 2018 Player Review Ben Gamel

Ben Gamel, Seattle Mariners. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Ben Gamel, Seattle Mariners. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Seattle Mariners
Ben Gamel, Seattle Mariners. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

Changing Roles

Gamel again had to share his playing time when the Mariners acquired Denard Span from Tampa Bay along with reliever Alex Colome on May 25. This was almost two weeks after Robinson Cano was placed on the disabled list with a fractured right hand, then suspended 80 games for violations of the Major League drug policy.

The Mariners moved Dee Gordon back to second base, as a replacement for Cano, so M’s general manager Jerry Dipoto felt the team needed additional veteran help in the outfield in addition to Gamel in left, Guillermo Heredia in center, and Mitch Haniger in right.

With the addition of Span, Gamel was once again a platoon player in left field. When he was starting in left, then Span would pinch hit and vice versa, when Span started. The left field platoon was working fine, however, Heredia was struggling at the plate as the regular center fielder. Dipoto made another trade, acquiring Cameron Maybin from Miami, just before the deadline.

Due to an abundance of outfielders, and the fact they were scheduled to face several lefties, Gamel was sent back to Tacoma. It was an unpopular move because he was hitting close to .300 at the time. This move didn’t work out well, neither Heredia or Maybin did well at the plate despite their solid defense.

At Tacoma, Gamel’s bat still was a force, hitting over .300. He returned to Seattle on August 20 and Heredia was sent down for the next 11 days. By then, Span was established in left field so Gamel’s role was reduced to pinch hitter and spot starter.

For the season, Gamel played in 104 games with a batting of .272, slightly lower than his .275 of 2017. The bigger difference was that he hit only one home run this year, compared to 11 in 2017.  Also, Gamel drove in only 19 runs this season in 257 at-bats.