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Mariners give fans, players, employees the middle finger, demote Guillermo Heredia for Erasmo Ramirez

Oops, all angry

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at Seattle Mariners Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The original title for this piece was “The Mariners Fuck Up” but it’s 9:00 AM on a Sunday and I suspect y’all will have profanities to spare.

The Mariners demoting Guillermo Heredia in favor of retaining both Ichiro Suzuki and Marc Rzepczynski is an indictment of the organization in a way that is as painful as it is puzzling. By all appearances from our largely external viewpoint as well as those with internal perspectives, this is a decision made over the head of baseball operations.

Jerry Dipoto has done plenty worthy of criticism in his tenure in Seattle. I have felt relatively positive about his work, but believe the mistakes have been harmful. Every indication about this move is that it was pushed by ownership, which I say, not in aid of defending Dipoto, but for a few key reasons.

  1. Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais are like-minded individuals and close personal friends. While that can be troublesome at times in its own ways, it has meant that virtually every move the team has made has been one that the GM and the manager have been on the same page for. It seems unlikely that that is different here.
  2. Mariners ownership, while somewhat different in composition than a decade ago, remain the only individuals in a place of authority who lack the depth of baseball knowledge (or interest) to understand that Guillermo Heredia is a superior baseball player to Ichiro at this point, and a superior use of a roster spot.
  3. The beat reporters around the team expected a reliever to be demoted/cut to make space, suggesting that this may have been a late override.

Guillermo Heredia was a ~replacement-level player last year, albeit while playing through a separated shoulder. Ichiro was a ~replacement-level player last year as well. It’s dangerous to make assessments in small samples, but a healthy Heredia has looked like Seattle’s third-best outfielder (to me) over the past couple years.

To briefly touch on Erasmo, who I am glad to see return, the Mariners are officially on a 5-man rotation, which should bring some stability to the roster. It seems likely he’ll be topped out around 80-90 pitches today, but he appeared fully ready in his final start in Tacoma.

A way for the Mariners to swing this move somewhat creatively back to a realm approaching reason would be some 10-day DL shenanigans. Following tonight’s game, Juan Nicasio or Ichiro Suzuki could be placed on the 10-day DL (for shoulder stiffness or continued calf tightness, respectively), allowing the Mariners to circumvent the usual 10-day minimum demotion time and recall Heredia rapidly.

It’s a move none of us wanted. It’s a move Scott Servais didn’t want. It’s a move Jerry Dipoto seemingly didn’t want. It’s inarguable that Ichiro has value as a veteran presence, but the team is not short on exceptional internal leadership already. It’s a move that, even financially, is frankly baffling.

It’s the wrong move.