With a day to go before roster finalizations, we got some clarity on a couple of players who had been somewhat in doubt for opening day. First, it appears congratulations are in order to José Marmolejos, whose name makes me hungry.
Servais said they'd be comfortable with playing Jose Marmolejos in left field based on the roominess of the outfield. Parks with more confined left fields would be easier to do. He specifically mentioned Houston.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 22, 2020
Marmolejos signed a minor league deal last offseason, approximately 3 decades ago, and after a solid AAA campaign in 2019 (117 wRC+ for the Nationals’ AAA squad) will be able to handle corner OF duties and possibly spell Evan White occasionally. This should mean Jake Fraley starts out on the taxi squad, giving him some time to settle in and get his head right after what seemed to be a shaky restart to his season in Summer Camp. Now, the bad:
Tom Murphy's sore left ankle isn't responding to treatment. There is a chance that he doesn't start on the opening day roster. Mariners would likely have Joe Hudson as the back-up. But they are also searching the free agent catching market and potential roster cuts— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 22, 2020
Tom Murphy obviously exploded onto the scene for the 2019 Mariners, the club’s best hitter by fWAR and wRC+ and a capable defender to boot. He had been held out a few times more than you’d expect in recent days and now may well miss out on Fauxpening Day, as the Mariners likely don’t wish to jeopardize a key piece in what they are now explicitly calling a rebuilding year.
Joe Hudson has had 13 MLB PA between Anaheim and St. Louis, but isn’t exactly a frontline catcher. With Austin Nola likely pinging around the diamond, it’s unsurprising that the Mariners are seeking a supplement at the position until Murphy is available. That’s not all the bad news either:
Austin Adams expected to start the season on the IL— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 22, 2020
Austin Adams had looked to be his old (good) self this summer, but the club admitted they pushed him a little bit, and like Murphy, a potentially valuable piece like Adams should be treated with caution until the club is certain he’s healthy. With Gerson Bautista’s injury, that really leaves two spots in the bullpen, and no Bryan Shaw as yet to fill that spot:
The Mariners are still finalizing their 30-man roster. The situation surrounding Murphy and also the status of Bryan Shaw passing intake requirements are going to have them waiting up until the 9 a.m. deadline tomorrow.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 22, 2020
At this stage, the middle of the Mariners’ bullpen is likely so interchangeable you can’t even really predict who sees the door crack open as a result of Adams going to the IL. The best case scenario for a fan is probably Joey Gerber, who has admittedly looked inconsistent this spring. They could also use Anthony Misiewicz in an effort to add some length that Bryan Shaw will provide once he arrives.
Update: on the broadcast tonight Jerry Dipoto announced that Tom Murphy has a “small” break in his metatarsal. To refresh those of you who aren’t anatomy nerds, the metatarsals are the long bones in your foot and the thing that hurts the most when you drop the peanut butter jar on your foot in the morning. How long Murphy is down will depend on how severe the fracture is, and which metatarsal it is that’s fractured. The first metatarsal, closest to your instep, is the biggest and has the most important job in being weight-bearing, and is the one that most often requires surgical intervention when broken, which obviously extends the healing period. Some fractures of the fifth metatarsal, on the outside of the foot, can take up to eight weeks to heal. The interior metatarsals, on the other hand, can take less time to heal. Still, there’s a possibility Murph could be down for a more significant amount of time than one might associate with the phrase “a small break.”