Today the Mariners announced they had tendered contracts to 27 players not already signed for the 2023 season. Three players were not tendered contracts.
New additions to the 40-man roster, RHPs Prelander Berroa and Isaiah Campbell and OFs Jonatan Clase and Cade Marlowe, were tendered contracts. Also, off-season acquisitions LHP Gabe Speier and RHP Easton McGee were also tendered contracts. RHP Luke Weaver, who was set to make $3M in arbitration, was not tendered a contract.
The other players not tendered a contract are C/UTIL Luis Torrens, and C Brian O’Keefe. With this loss of catching depth, it would seem that Cooper Hummel, traded from Arizona in the Kyle Lewis deal, is ticketed to get some reps at catcher, where Dipoto says “the catching data is pretty positive”—although he also notes Hummel can also play corner outfield and some corner infield. Similar to other players they’ve targeted like Ty France or Abraham Toro, Hummel is a player the Mariners analytics department has liked for a while. “Now it’s just a matter of giving him enough runway to bring out the rest of his skillset.”
Hummel has two MiLB options remaining, which gives the Mariners a flexibility they don’t have with Luis Torrens. Dipoto noted that although Torrens scuffled to start the year, the team plans to stay in touch and would be interested in bringing him in during the spring as an NRI (non-roster invite)—although he seemed to admit that was less likely given the constant need for catchers across the league. We wish Luis, a staff favorite for his kindness and a fan favorite for his can-do attitude and work ethic, a successful career wherever it takes him.
On the subject of difficult good-byes, Dipoto looked visibly saddened when talking about Kyle Lewis, calling him “a wonderful human being who had some really difficult circumstances to deal with.” The decision to trade Lewis was difficult, but Dipoto called it “the right thing to do for both parties,” pointing out that the Mariners need some “certainty” given where they are on the win curve, and Lewis could use a fresh start.
However, Dipoto is excited about the young outfield group. Obviously Julio and Teoscar will anchor the outfield, leaving, as it currently stands, Jarred Kelenic, Taylor Trammell, and Cade Marlowe to battle for regular reps at one of the corners. “Somebody in that group is going to break through,” said Dipoto. “We do want to make sure that we provide opportunity so that our young players have that chance.” From that, it doesn’t sound like the Mariners will be super-active in seeking out another outfielder (including Haniger, who Dipoto did not mention during that call), but never rule anything out where Jerry Dipoto is concerned in the off-season.
As far as further additions, Dipoto says they’ve been in touch with all the free agents the Mariners have in their “Tier A, Tier B,” in some cases having direct contact with players, but he does anticipate the market to slow down some with the holidays approaching, as it does every year. On the trade side, the Mariners have been in contact with other clubs, as “we do have more than one target,” even exchanging names with some clubs, but there is no “direct hit” as of yet, and he describes the tenor negotiations as “not particularly close.” So for those of you who have been waking up early to play the What Has Jerry Done Today game, it sounds like you can hit the snooze button...for now.