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Roster Shuffle, 5/29/13: Liddi Up, Maurer Down

Alex Liddi has been called up in place of Brandon Maurer, as the Mariners will roll with 14 hitters for the next few days while Smoak and Morse nurse minor injuries.

That's enough, bud.
That's enough, bud.

It appears Alex Liddi has been called up and Brandon Maurer has been demoted to AAA. With Mike Morse and Justin Smoak both banged up and sporting the vague day-to-day tag, the team is short on position players. It's unclear how long Maurer will be in AAA, but the team needs some depth now and doesn't have a need for a guy who just got hit around again the day before and isn't due to pitch again until Sunday.

Maurer is clearly overwhelmed at the major league level right now, and has struggled mightily with his location. Left-handers are sporting a staggering 1.038 OPS against him, and right-handers are torching him too (.869 OPS). The Mariners certainly rushed Maurer and hoped he could battle through his troubles, but he simply isn't ready, and you have to worry about him developing bad habits just trying to stay alive against vastly superior competition.

Even though the Mariners are lacking any quality options to replace him, he should stay in AAA for the forseeable future while his innings go to Blake Beavan, Hector Noesi, or Jeremy Bonderman. Gross. Hopefully whoever replaces him will be here for just a spot start or two until Erasmo Ramirez is ready, who made his first rehab start in Jackson last night, allowing 1 earned run over 5 innings to go along with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Ramirez is the most talented replacement, but we'll see just how careful the organization is in bringing him back from an injury that appeared to be minor, and then kept him out nearly 2 months.

Clearly another corresponding move will be needed in a few days with Maurer's spot in the rotation due up on Sunday, and Liddi may be heading right back down unless Smoak or Morse needs to hit the DL. Shannon Drayer adds that Maurer has to be down for 10 days unless he's a DL replacement, so that remains a possibility if the M's aren't convinced he's taken enough punishment.

It's interesting that Liddi is getting the call and not Franklin Gutierrez, who is nearing the end of his rehab assignment. Gutierrez began his rehab assignment on May 16th, and has a maximum of 20 days he can remain in AAA until the team has to make a decision on him, which is right around the corner. Of course, Liddi can play 1B, and the team suddenly only has Morales available to play there with Smoak and Morse day to day.

Liddi has a .267/.323/.456 line in Tacoma. Liddi has not progressed whatsoever as a hitter in the past three seasons, and has 76 strikeouts in 50 games (224 PA) for a whopping 33.9% K rate. Liddi's never going to become anything if he doesn't make more contact, and he's now regressing in that area. Meanwhile, he'll bring that "cross your fingers and hope he hits a home run" factor to the Mariners they're missing with Mike Morse.