We have the first round of spring training roster trimming today, as the Mariners have made some moves.
A reminder on the wording: players who are on the 40-man roster are “optioned to” a specific minor league team, and we can be fairly certain that is the team they will open the season with. Players in major league camp who are not on the 40-man roster are “reassigned to minor league camp” and will open the season with an affiliate which will be determined later.
In the first round of moves there were no options – just reassignments.
Reassigned to Minor League Camp (9):
- Right-Handed Pitchers (4): Jack Anderson, Darren McCaughan, Wyatt Mills, Penn Murfee, Matt Festa
- Infielders (2): Jordan Cowan, Connor Hoover
- Outfielders (2): Eric Filia, Luis Liberato
These moves leave 62 players in Mariners big league camp.
The first major injury of spring training involving a Tacoma Rainiers player has occurred, with Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto announcing this morning that reliever Matt Festa requires Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He’ll be out for the year.
We had Festa projected unto the Rainiers bullpen and possibly the closer at the start of the season. We wish him a full recovery and hope to see him on the mound in 2021.
Baseball America’s latest installment of Minor League Transactions informs us that the M’s have signed left-handed pitcher Dietrich Enns to a minor league contract.
Enns pitched for El Paso last year, making 25 starts among his 28 appearances with an 11-11 record and a 6.70 ERA.
El Paso, of course, plays its home games in an absolute launching pad. It is surprising to check the stats and see that Enns’ ERA was a full two runs lower in home games (5.56) than in away games (7.77). He led the PCL with 37 home runs allowed last year – and oddly, only 14 of those came at home.
Enns, like all pitchers (and many fans, and this broadcaster) in the PCL, are hoping the ball isn’t as juiced this year as it was last year.
Enns pitched in two major league games for the Minnesota Twins in 2017, logging four innings. While he did not get his first major league win, he did get his first major league hit by going 1-for-2 in an interleague game against the Brewers. He’s a lifetime .500 hitter in the big leagues. Hopefully he reminds people of that all the time.
Some recent former Rainiers who have new teams:
- Gordon Beckham – San Diego/El Paso
- Ryan Court – Oakland/Las Vegas
- Shirtless Rob Brantly – San Francisco/Sacramento
- Erasmo Ramirez – New York Mets/Syracuse
- Rob Whalen – New York Mets/Syracuse
- Tuffy Gosewisch – Milwaukee Brewers/San Antonio
- Jose Lobaton – Los Angeles Dodgers/Oklahoma City
- Here’s the story from The News Tribune on Matt Festa‘s injury.
- The Mariners infield defense should be greatly improved, Ryan Divish writes.
- There are only a couple of battles for roster spots in Mariners camp right now – here’s a look.
- Evan White has been missing games with a tight groin. Injuries have been a recurring issue for him during his brief professional career.
- Excellent story on Ichiro and his contributions as a coach. It seems that he’ll be visiting Tacoma again a few times this season.
- “C.B.C.” isn’t a new product at your neighborhood 18+ store. It’s the Mariners closer.
- Cool story: Mariners/Rainiers outfielder Braden Bishop suited up and played in a game against his brother Hunter Bishop for the first time ever. Hunter was a first round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants last year.
- MLB.com has updated its list of the Mariners Top 30 Prospects.
- Game Reports: on Sunday the Cubs beat the M’s, 7-3, scoring four runs off projected Rainiers pitcher Cody Anderson… Marco Gonzales pitched three scoreless innings, but the bullpen had a rough one in a 9-6 loss to the Royals on Saturday… Kyle Lewis homered and Dee Gordon had three hits on Friday in a 6-2 win over the Diamondbacks… Thursday saw a strong two innings from top pitching prospect Logan Gilbert, who we hope to see in Tacoma at some point this season, but the Mariners lost to the Giants 5-4… also on Thursday, a Mariners split squad lost to the White Sox despite a homer from Jake Fraley… and last Wednesday the M’s beat the Reds, 5-3, as Jose Siri homered and Tim Lopes had a couple of hits.
- A new pickoff rule is coming to the lower levels of Minor League Baseball, eliminating the so-called “balk move” used by many left-handed pitchers. The rule was tested in the Atlantic League last year and stolen base attempts increased substantially. I’m all in favor of this – the running game is fun. It’s nice to see rule changes that make the game more exciting.
- They aren’t here yet, but the robot umpires are coming. Larry Stone talked to Mariners prospects who used the system in the Arizona Fall League.
- Baseball America has a story on the Mariners “Gas Camp.”
- If you are a subscriber to The Athletic, you can read Keith Law’s top Mariners prospects list.
- Leap Day got weird in college baseball. A team pitched a no-hitter while allowing four runs, and another game went 24 innings.
- In the PCL… oh, no. The Omaha Storm Chasers are having a bring your cat to the ballpark night. That’s it, I’m out. You gotta draw the line somewhere, and that line has been crossed.