Today the Mariners optioned Jonathan Aro, David Rollins, and Steven Baron to Triple-A Tacoma. Adrian Sampson and Ed Lucas were reassigned to minor-league camp.
Did you know the Mariners drafted Steven Baron, whose name I've typed as "Sasha" at least three times, in the first round of the 2009 draft? Anyway, Steven Baron was in Tacoma last year, and he will be in Tacoma this year. Now we put Steve Clevenger and Rob Brantly in a locked cage underwater and the one who breaks surface first is the winner of the backup catcher job, correct? I am told this is how these things work.
The three relievers sent down appear to clarify the status of the bullpen somewhat. Jonathan Aro's spring was forgettable, with an ERA of 8.53 through his 6.1 innings of work. He did punch out seven of the 31 batters he faced, and Aro still has rookie status, per his Bref page. David Rollins fared better in the spring, with a 2.57 ERA over his seven innings of work, but recorded just two strikeouts in 25 batters faced, and last year's 7.56 ERA still hangs over his head. Adrian Sampson, the local kid who came over from Pittsburgh in the Happ trade, had an intriguing campaign. He did allow five earned runs over his ten innings, but recorded eight strikeouts. Sampson's pitches showed some interesting movement and velocity, and Scott Servais had some very positive things to say about him. Given the questionable health of the bullpen, it's very likely we will see one or some or all of these guys again.
One guy I'm not sure if we'll see again, and it saddens me to say so, is staff favorite Ed Lucas. The 33-year-old utility man was batting .222 in the Cactus League before being reassigned. However, his Dartmouth degree in Economics is a pretty nifty safety net if he should decide he prefers the other side of the desk. Stay in school, young ballplayers.