In a day chock-full of roster news, mostly boding ill, one of the most exciting moments of the spring may have a bit of a tempered feel. Still, The Mariners have announced their Opening Day roster, and while it lacks many surprises, it’s still interesting to consider.
The Mariners will carry an 8-man bullpen it appears, as had been discussed over the last couple weeks. That move seems especially necessary now that Drew Smyly will miss at least the first 6-8 weeks of the season. Tony Zych appears close to returning, but will open the season on the DL. LHP Dillon Overton has expressed a willingness to fit any role that best serves the team, despite a career as a starter, and his flexibility, combined with a strong spring performance, seems to have paid off. Overton, Ariel Miranda, James Pazos, Dan Altavilla, Edwin Díaz, Guillermo Heredia, and Taylor Motter (Edit: and Mitch Haniger) will all be making their first ever appearances on an MLB Opening Day roster, which, even for those who were certain of a spot, has to be a pure thrill.
The short bench will consist of backup catcher Carlos Ruiz, utility man Taylor Motter, and outfielder Guillermo Heredia, who narrowly beat out Ben Gamel. With Zych, Shae Simmons, and Steve Cishek all expected back within weeks to months, the bullpen should see some fluctuation, as may the back end of the rotation if Miranda or Gallardo fall flat out of the gate, but the rest of the roster appears ready to roll.
Go M’s. Two days.