About a week ago, Bob Dutton tweeted out that the Seattle Mariners are considering the option of carrying only an 11-man pitching staff for the early days of the 2016 season. The decision isn't rock solid, has not been confirmed by the club, and sounds impermanent at best, but it has one large ramification on the 25-man roster; they can carry an extra field player. Look around the Major League Camp. Who is left? That man is Daniel Robertson.
There's something incredibly unusual about this. The Seattle Mariners selected him off waivers only to outright him off the 40-man roster sometime in February. He stayed with the M's, as a NRI to Spring Training. He's a career minor leaguer who has 277 MLB PA's. When he played often during the first few weeks of camp we kept wondering why they were giving so much time to a guy who was starting the season in AAA. And then we kept wondering. And wondering. And now we know why. It seems the Seattle Mariners are going to keep him around, for at least ten days, while the bullpen heals up.
There is one, single picture in our photo editor of Daniel Robertson in a Mariners' uniform, and for good reason. Search his name and the first baseball player to pop up is a 22 year-old shortstop in the Tampa Bay org. He's a sort of unremarkable player. He's thirty, he's shorter than most, and he doesn't have a plus-tool. Except maybe his speed. His speed stands out. It's hard to say why Robertson got the nod over a guy like, say, Shawn O'Malley, but that's where we are at this point. Robertson gives you a defense-first choice on the roster in the OF to sub in in the late innings of a close game. Maybe he takes the place of Nelson Cruz in the bottom of the 8th in Texas while the M's hold a two-run lead. He's a different form of insurance.
But Daniel Robertson is something else. He is a man who has worked his entire life for this one Spring. He is someone who has given every ounce of their soul to chase these next six days, and he's still here. You see, less than a week from now, Daniel Roberston just may be on the Opening Day roster of a Major League Baseball team. He'll hear his name across a Texas loudspeaker. And next Friday, he just may run down a long, red carpet from right-center field in Safeco Field to his name being announced to 40-plus thousand fans. Not all will cheer. For some will still not know who Daniel Robertson is. Most, even, will forget that he ever played for the 2016 Seattle Mariners. But there will be twenty, or thirty, or maybe even fifty people at that game who will not forget. Who will never forget.
And Daniel Robertson is one of them.