The three-o'clock press availability normally doesn't bring all that much news. Most times, it serves as an opportunity for the beat guys to get some clarity on the lineup and whatever else is coming down the pipe.
Today was different. Today there's a lot going on. And that doesn't even include the weirdest lineup of the year.
So let's bounce through everything that's going on.
Chris Taylor optioned to AAA
Taylor heads on down to Tacoma as right-handed reliever Mayckol Guaipe gets the call following a day in which the Mariners completely emptied their bullpen. Taylor had received just one start in Mariners' past five games. When asked about it, Lloyd McClendon said he was only trying to protect his young shortstop from some tough righties—but that didn't sound quite right.
The Mariners have been needing to make a position player move since the return of Austin Jackson, and this really is the easy way out. It's also not the worst idea as Taylor has struggled since the promotion, with a K rate that exceeds his wRC+ (27 to 22).
So, Brad Miller is back to starting at short—and thus far, he's tied with Marcus Semien as the American League's most valuable shortstop here through the season's first two months. While there are some questions about Miller's defense, it shouldn't be left unsaid that Willie Bloomquist is now the team's backup shortstop. And it's also worth wondering, somewhat, how much this move has to do with other news.
Ketel Marte hurt
Tacoma SS Ketel Marte suffered a broken left thumb and is expected to be out for six weeks. Had been viewed as a promotion possibility.— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) June 1, 2015
So that's bad.
With the struggles of Alex Jackson, D.J. Peterson and Taijuan Walker/James Paxton, Ketel Marte wasn't only a promotion candidate down the road, but possibly the team's best trade chip. And now he's out six weeks with the deadline roughly eight weeks away. Front offices aren't dumb, and they care a lot about what players show at the major league level, but it probably isn't the worst idea at this juncture to have Taylor attempt to rebuild some of his trade value down in Tacoma.
Outside of fantasyland, it's also a blow. Marte, just 21, had continued to develop down in Tacoma, and while the fielding has been a bit of an issue, the bat's been the opposite—as he's put up a 127 wRC+ (.343/.394/.434) in 221 PAs. While people were already looking to see Marte do to Taylor what Taylor did to Miller and Nick Franklin did to Dustin Ackley, it's just a bummer to see a player have his development derailed like that. But he'll be back, and no matter how the Mariners extract value from his talent, it'll be interesting to see.
Based on today's report from Dutton, it may be up in Seattle as, prior to the injury, the club viewed him as "a possible promotion candidate to replace Taylor as the Mariners’ starting shortstop.
Iwakuma's rehab progresses
Iwakuma playing catch at safeco. pic.twitter.com/6y5yJcLzUZ— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) June 1, 2015
Iwakuma will throw a bullpen session on Thursday. Still at least two weeks away from going on rehab stint - 3 starts expected for that.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) June 1, 2015
Hey, good news.
Still, with this injury, it's all about avoiding the setbacks—which Iwakuma has been unable to do thus far. You never know when that soreness could show up again, and at this point, it'd likely be wise for the Mariners to assume Kuma isn't going to make it back and, if he does, count it as gravy. As such, they should be looking for starting pitching help and, wisely, they have.
But even if you want to be an optimist, it's going to be at least another month until we see Iwakuma back on the mound. And then, there's no knowing whether or not we get 2013 and 2014 Iwakuma or the most recent iteration.
Farquhar's going to try to start
RHP Danny Farquhar starting Tuesday for Triple-A Tacoma. #Mariners are stretching him out for possible starting duty.— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) June 1, 2015
I don't even know. Really, I don't.
Farquhar has never started a game in his entire professional career. Not one, at any level. The Mariners are desperate for starting pitching, and this is what digging down at the bottom of the bag looks like. Then again, with how his 2015 has gone, maybe Farquhar could use a change.
So yes, lots of changes. Might some work? Sure. But I've said this a number of times—you know what would really help the Mariners perform to their expectations? Players playing better. So let's get on with it. Play better, guys.