Jesus Sucre called up to replace John Buck

Otto Greule

What are the Mariners getting with Jesus Sucre?

Now that John Buck's exit has been completed and many words have been spilled about the questionable handling of his departure, Jesus Sucre has arrived to take his place. Sucre is already on the 40-man roster from his promotion last season, so nobody gets bumped by bringing him up. Sucre joined the Mariners last season for just a few weeks before falling victim to injury, and the Mariners rotated through catcher after catcher trying to find people to stay healthy at the position. Now, the Mariners feel comfortable enough rolling the dice again, just to get Sucre's glove in the mix.

What do we know about Jesus Sucre? We know that he has exceptional defensive skills and is highly regarded as a pitch framer, or he wouldn't be here. We also know that he has an extremely limited offensive profile, hacking at will while never walking. Sucre has only managed to walk four times all year, and while his last 84 PA have been good for a .346/.357/.469 line, it's also accompanied by a .422 BABIP. Sucre's full season is just .274/.293/.360, and his career in the minors has produced a mere .634 OPS. Sucre has some ability to hit for average, but that's about it. His offensive production is likely to be hollow, and quite likely terrible at the major league level. He's here for his glove and nothing else.

Because Sucre, like Buck, isn't likely to play very often, this won't be a major upgrade or downgrade in either direction. He'll surely be better behind the dish, but there's a likely chance he'll be worse on offense, even though Buck didn't do much himself. All emotions and chemistry influence aside, this is, at best, a very small upgrade for the Mariners. If this is all that there is to the move, it remains a curious decision.

Things still don't make sense on the Mariners roster. There's no pitcher starting on Thursday yet, George Kottaras is still hanging out on the waiver wire, and there's plenty of reasons to believe that Sucre is here as a placeholder, not a permanent solution.

Sucre's presence may shift Zunino to DH against LHP from time to time, but it's hard to envision Sucre playing more than a day or two a week.

This is a low-impact move that is unlikely to make much of a difference throughout the rest of the season. The Mariners have improved their defense, taken a bite out of their depth, and rocked the boat in the clubhouse. There's no way to tell how things will play out exactly -- we just don't know enough Jesus Sucre or what influence John Buck had. One thing is certain -- more strikes will be called when Sucre is behind the dish than there were with Buck. Anything more than that is a speculative guess.

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