Did you know that the Mariners' organizational depth isn't very good? Sure you did. Not only are you smart (and very good looking, clever, hard working, excellent with grammar, etc.) you have watched the Mariners play baseball the past ten days or so. Without Ketel Marte, Leonys Martin, and Felix Hernandez the Mariners have been reduced to playing like, well, the Mariners, and have gone 3-7 over their past ten games.
Yesterday's game provided a classic Mariners Moment, as stellar pitching from Hisashi Iwakuma, and Nelson Cruz hitting a baseball and simultaneously causing a small tectonic shift (Boomquake? No, shut up) were not enough to avoid a frustrating 3-2 loss as injury fill ins combined to error and brain fart away three runs.
The need for reinforcements has been dire, and today is (partially) being filled:
Mariners have activated Marte from DL, Romero optioned to AAA— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) June 6, 2016
In the Pacific Coast League, one of the most highly skilled baseball leagues in the entire world, Stefen Romero is something like Miguel Cabrera. His line on the year (.358/.417/.601, 168 wRC+) looks so tasty and inviting. Against a collection of the top 1% of pitchers playing the game Romero is an offensive force to be reckoned with. Yet, in the best league in baseball, against the 0.1% best pitchers he has hit .192/.237/.305, and yesterday committed multiple key defensive gaffs in a narrow defeat.
I cannot imagine being close, so close to the absolute pinnacle of one's chosen profession; to taste the sweetness of the big leagues, only to time and again fail to seize the opportunity. To be so skilled, so powerful, so good, but just not quite good enough. I was furious with Stefen Romero yesterday, as mad as I have been at a baseball player all year. But he is twenty-seven, and staring many more months, if not years, of long bus rides, small crowds, and terrible pay ahead of him.
Sending down Stefen Romero was one of the easiest, most obvious, and correct roster moves of the season. I'm a bit sad for him, honestly.
That's an ancillary effect, however, of the real news, which is that the Mariners have their young, exciting starting shortstop back. In the American League, surrounded by Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Manny Machado, and others Ketel Marte is almost always going to be overlooked by outsiders. But for those of us who have watched Chris Taylor, Luis Sardinas, and Shawn O'Malley play shortstop the past few weeks (not to mention a sideways glance at a rapidly heating up Brad Miller in Tampa) Marte's league average defense/bat combo with plus speed and charismatic style of play is an oasis in a desert.
The Marte Partay is back on, and not a moment too soon. Go get 'em, Ketel.