Please note, Ethan Novak has been taken to a farm upstate. He'll be back next week, or at least someone we can pass off as him to the children. Stupid, ignorant children.
We're a little over a week past the trade deadline, and while the Mariners have been busy over the past few days picking up all the scraps left on the table, the next roster moves will come in mass in early September, when rosters expand and teams make their final push for the postseason. While the Mariners farm system is one of the weaker in baseball, there is some depth pieces in the high minors who could contribute to the club down the stretch, even if a minor role.
The Cow Cage
Jonathan Aro, Zach Lee, Cody Martin, David Rollins, and the newly acquired Pat Venditte, are all sitting in the minors, waiting to play in the big leagues again. None have been exactly successful in the majors, but the bullpen has some promising arms in the big leagues -- or potentially returning -- but they could use some depth. The rotation isn't in great shape, so being able to save the key relievers for when it matters most is important. Lee and Martin can both eat multiple innings at a time, and Venditte can serve as a LOOGY or ROOGY, whichever is preferred at the times. Aro and Rollins are meh, but they're arms with a pulse, and they aren't disasters.
Dan Vogelbach, acquired from the Cubs in exchange for Mike Montgomery, could have a huge role to play come September: Vogelbach could presumably take over as the club's primary first baseman against right-handed pitchers. Adam Lind has been a quality hitter since the All-Star break, and while there's a chance it's real, it also may not be. Vogelbach could get an early tryout for 2017 while also helping the 2016 club try to make it across the finish line. Even if he doesn't start, some key pinch-hit appearances could be in store.
Off The 40
It's certainly easier to promote players off the 40-man, since they're already eligible to be on the big league rosters, but there's a couple other players the could be worthy of a spot. Dan Altavilla continues to dominate as a reliever in Jackson, and the team is going to give him a look in Spring Training next year, so why not try to catch lightning in a bottle now? Another power arm in the pen is always nice.
Former first round pick D.J. Peterson is not yet on the 40-man roster, and he's been mashing the ball since being promoted to Tacoma. Peterson's walking less and his strikeout rate is still a couple points too high for this writer's liking, but he's got right-handed power and could add an interesting flair to the bench late in games. Clearing spots isn't the easiest thing to do, but perhaps some creative 60-day DL work could be used.
There's no top prospect coming up in September to breath fire into this team. Stefen Romero alone can't save us. But, with the right mix of middling minor leaguers and current big league vets, the team could be better rested and ready to kick some western ass before making it to the World Series.