Mariners Notes: J-Rod, Trades, Kelenic

Mariners Notes: J-Rod, Trades, Kelenic

10:46 a.m: X-rays of Rodriguez were negative, Jerry Dipoto said during an appearance on “The Front Office Show” on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link). It doesn’t seem likely that Rodriguez will play in tonight’s game and the M’s will continue to monitor the outfield player’s status, but the initial test results “bode well for the future,” as Dipoto put it.

10:06 a.m: Julio Rodriguez was hit by a throw in the right hand in last night’s 5-4 win over the Astros and was eventually forced out of the contest in the ninth inning. The rookie superstar was hit in the top of the round of 16 and he felt good enough to take the field for the bottom half of the inning despite being a batter Abraham Toro replaced Rodriguez for a plate appearance in the ninth inning.

X-rays were scheduled last night and the results could mark a turning point in the Mariners’ season. A serious injury could sideline Rodriguez for most or all of the remainder of the schedule — a worst-case scenario that would derail both Seattle’s chances of finally ending the postseason drought and Rodriguez’s spectacular rookie campaign.

Rodriguez, widely considered the best player in baseball, has hit .271/.334/.482 with 18 home runs and 21 steals in his first 401 plate appearances in the majors. With his power, speed and strong midfield defence, Rodriguez at 21 already looks like one of the sport’s greatest all-around talents and has even drawn comparisons to the Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr.

Acquisition on Friday from Luis Castillo is the latest sign that the Mariners are all-in for the 2022 season, and whatever further plans baseball operations president Jerry Dipoto might have would surely be swayed by Rodriguez’s status — if even a 10-day one IL travel is required, the M’s could conceivably add some outfield depth to fill the gap. Ahead of yesterday’s game, Dipoto said the Mariners were “still open to the idea of ​​adding a bullpen arm” but downplayed the idea the club would make another big move.

On offense, Dipoto told the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish and other reporters that the Ms are largely counting on the internal return of injured players. “We see Mitch (Haniger) and the addition of Kyle Lewis last week as the moves our offense needed. That being said, we’ll keep our ear to the ground should the opportunity arise. It’s just a little harder to see where that might be,” Dipoto said.

The M’s have already given up some land to Castillo, although Seattle, with a deep farming system, has more to offer in other potential trades. In an article written before the Castillo deal, Divish cited several young players who were either already on Seattle’s MLB roster or in their farm system and ranked them according to their likelihood as trade chips. Edwin Arroyo was the highest-ranking member of Divish’s roster dealt in the Castillo swap, with Arroyo ending up in the third tier – dubbed the “it would hurt but if it’s the right player(s) in return” division became. Since Noelvi Marte was in the fourth row, Seattle only had to move two of its top 10 young assets to land Castillo, in Divish’s estimation, although obviously some of those assets (like Rodriguez or Logan Gilbert) are untouchable or virtually untouchable.

Jarred Kelenic was once viewed as a potential prospect who can’t move, yet Divish hears from a scout that “the Mariners have made it clear that they are willing to trade Kelenic to meet their immediate needs.” Kelenic has hit just .173/.256/.338 over 473 PA in his first two big league seasons, with 17 homers and 142 strikeouts in that small sample size. Even as he continues to tear up the Triple-A pitch, Divish notes that Kelenic has trouble hitting breaking pitches in the minors, and the MLB pitchers took full advantage of his mistake. Moving Kelenic now would appear to have some sort of low-selling aspect but the 23-year-old would certainly attract a lot of interest in trade talks.