Nick Franklin's stint with the Mariners was short lived, as he failed to build upon the ringing triple he hit in the first at-bat. He only managed one other hit in his 18 plate appearances, so it's no surprise that the team wants him to get his swagger back in AAA. We'll probably see Franklin again, and this time they may give him some more time in the outfield down south, given that he got a start in right yesterday.
The beneficiary of this is Cole Gillespie, who enters a murky outfield mix thanks to an open spot on the 40-man roster vacated by Ji-Man Choi and his suspension. Gillespie, a journeyman outfielder, has been with five organizations throughout his career. He turns 30 in June and has always been a good minor league hitter, but never a great one. His previous stops through the majors have been mostly bench stints/pinch hitting duty in the NL, managing only a .630 OPS. He's never played in the American League.
Gillespie is right-handed and has been annihilating AAA so far, posting a .362/.456/.741 line to date. He's played both left and right field, and while he's played some center through the minors, it's generally not considered a position that he can field well enough at the major league level. He's regarded as a good defender in the corners.
You might remember Gillespie from a game against the Dodgers last year, in which he hit a line drive to Yasiel Puig, who proceeded to Puig all over himself in the most Puig way possible.
Gillespie will probably play right and a little left when Ackley needs a mental break, and he'll presumably he'll get some starts over the next week or so, coming at the expense of Ackley and (shocker) Michael Saunders. Ackley is stuck in a funk the past week, and Stefen Romero hasn't done much with his chances, so this likely relegates him to pinch-hitting duties.
Nobody really has any idea what to expect from Gillespie due to his scattered and small major league sample, and that's kind of fun. He's a relatively patient hitter who doesn't strike out a ton. His BB% over the last three years are 13.9%, 11.9%, and 13.2%, currently. He's struck out as many times as he's walked this year, and while his success is partially fueled by a .364 BABIP, Gillespie has posted high BABIPs over his entire minor league career, including .318 in 2013 and .347 in 2012. He doesn't show extreme platoon splits, even posting reverse splits in 2013, lefty-crushing splits in 2012, and even splits in 2011. Even if he doesn't hit, he'll provide more value in other ways than Romero, as a better baserunner and defender.
There's not a lot of red flags to watch out for with Gillespie, just a lack of opportunity. The Mariners outfield is wide open right now, and Abraham Almonte is hardly inspiring, so why not? It might be time to see some lineups with Saunders in center and Gillespie in right, and if Lloyd McClendon can let go of his obsession with Almonte for just a day, maybe we'll see that.
Lloyd McClendon's post-game comments on Erasmo Ramirez didn't show a lot of confidence, and as a result he has been banished down to High Desert which seems a bit extreme, but Shannon Drayer explains.
Pitching Erasmo in High Desert keeps him in turn through off days and on schedule to pitch one of the dbl header games in Oakland.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) April 24, 2014
This, of course, puts Hisashi Iwakuma on track to return in Ramirez's spot after his rehab start. Because the Mariners have Monday off, which would have been Ramirez's turn in the rotation, they can simply skip him and slot in Iwakuma for Saturday, May 3rd in Houston. Hopefully, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker aren't too far behind.