A lot of stuff just went down in Seattle Mariners Land, so let’s try and sort through it all together. Per Divish, the Mariners have recalled Daniel Vogelbach and Chris Heston from Tacoma. To clear space, CF Leonys Martin has been DFA’d and RHP Chase De Jong has been sent back to Tacoma.
Vogelbach and Heston are up. De Jong back to Tacoma and Martin DFA— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) April 23, 2017
1B Daniel Vogelbach - Recalled from AAA Tacoma
The move likely represents the end for Danny Valencia: Everyday First Baseman. The 32-year-old Valencia was trusted with the full-time duties at the position after arriving with a strong track record that was without heavy splits, but he’s looked totally and utterly lost at the plate, slashing .145/.217/.226 with a 27 wRC+. His hard-hit percentage currently sits at 19.6%, a career-low by a fairly significant margin. In his first two at-bats in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Athletics, he saw two whole pitches and recorded two soft pop-ups. If a turnaround for him is truly coming soon, there’s nothing we can point to at the moment that gives us even the slightest bit of a hint.
Heading into Spring Training, Vogelbach was expected to open the season on the 25-man roster, but struggles with his approach and discipline at the plate all spring led to the Mariners sending him down to Tacoma to work on things.
With the Rainiers, Vogelbach has managed to clean things up a bit. He still isn’t quite back to looking like his 2016 self that posted a 17.22% walk-rate and 17.9% k-rate against Triple-A competition, but he’s worked himself back into looking like a competent hitter at the plate. He’s slashed .309/.409/.473 for the season and is 13-for-37 with six walks and two home runs over his last 10 games. The downside to all of this, of course, is that he didn’t show any sort of pop until the Rainiers traveled to the extremely hitter-friendly environments of El Paso and Albuquerque, but the approach as a whole has looked better.
RHP Chris Heston - Recalled from AAA Tacoma
With the rotation hardly being reliable at the moment and Chase De Jong getting used up yesterday, it seems wise that the Mariners carry a fresh long reliever. Enter Chris Heston, who has excelled in Tacoma so far this year. In 17.0 innings with the Rainiers, the former San Francisco Giant has struck out 19, walked 4, and surrendered just 6 earned runs. He hasn’t pitched since April 19th, so he’ll be fresh.
RHP Chase De Jong - Sent down to AAA Tacoma
This was expected! De Jong was brought up as long relief depth and he was spent on Saturday, tossing four shutout innings. I’m sure we’ll see this kind of move happen with De Jong multiple times over the rest of the season.
CF Leonys Martin - Designated for Assignment
This is the most eye-catching of all the moves. Leonys Martin has been praised as one of the heartbeats of the team since coming over and he’s just one year removed from a 2.2 fWAR season. Tinkering with his swing, and then un-tinkering with his swing, caused him to slip into an early season funk this year, as he’s put up a miserable line of .111/.172/.130, good enough for a -13 wRC+. The defensive value is still there, but the Mariners clearly weren’t willing to sit around and wait for his swing to fix itself, which is awesome considering some of the guys who were allowed to toil away in mediocrity for months (and sometimes a whole season) in previous seasons. What makes this all the more odd is that the Mariners’ eight-man bullpen remains intact through all of this.
Martin will go somewhere and get playing time, I’ll personally throw out San Francisco as destination of guess, and I wish him nothing but the absolute best.