The thing about getting new fun things is you have to clear a space on the shelf for them, and that’s what the Mariners did today:
Chasen Bradford’s skill has been keeping the ball on the ground and unfortunately, that hasn’t happened, as he’s run a career-high 15.2 HR/FB% and a ground ball rate almost 10% lower than last year. He’ll go to Tacoma to try to recover his mojo before September callups or whenever another of the bullpen arms falters.
Optioning Ben Gamel came as a surprise to some of us, but the Mariners may have looked at the difference between Gamel’s 86 wRC+ in July and Heredia’s 61 and decided Heredia’s superior defense made up for the gap, especially considering his role will be limited to mostly defensive replacements and pinch-hitting. Heredia also gives the Mariners a righty bench on the bat to balance Chris Herrmann (lefty) and Andrew Romine (not a hitter). Gamel is limited to the corners and Heredia is either the best or second-best center fielder on the team, depending on one’s feelings about Cameron Maybin’s defense.
The Mariners hitters were no good, very bad, awful in July; only Denard Span posted a wRC+ over 100, with the exception of Nelson Cruz, whose 107 is still sluggardly for the Stick of Boom. Cameron Maybin is having the opposite season most Mariners hitters have; after posting some truly abysmal numbers over the first three months of the season, he came alive in July with the bat and coupled that with some solid plate discipline to post a slash line near .300/.400/.450. Hopefully Maybin’s hot streak continues and he injects some energy into a Seattle offense that looked like it was on life support for July. Meanwhile, Adam Warren, Pitcher/High School Biology Teacher, plus the other new acquisitions, will help prop up a heavily-worked ‘pen that has started to look mortal. If you’re interested in learning more about what each of them can bring, Jake had a great breakdown of each new pitcher here. Truthfully, though, when the Mariners have shown poorly in games over July, it’s more often been a function of offensive noodle-battery than pitching. The Mariners are depending heavily on Cameron Maybin riding his hot streak through August and pulling his sleepy teammates along with him. No pressure, Cam.