Sailors reinstate Julio Rodriguez, designated Luis Torrens

Sailors reinstate Julio Rodriguez, designated Luis Torrens

The Mariners announced a handful of roster changes during today’s day off. midfield player Julio Rodriguez is off the injured list while Catcher Kurt Casali was reinstated from his own IL stint. To create active roster space, Seattle opted for an outfielder Jarred Kelenic back to Triple-A Tacoma and the designated catcher Luis Torrens for assignment. Torrens’ DFA lowers the 40-man list to 39.

Rodríguez returns after little more than a minimal IL play. He last played on July 30 before a bruised right wrist cost him around two weeks. The 21-year-old star is back to add to a rookie-of-the-year format resume, owner of a .271/.334/.482 line with 18 home runs and 21 stolen bases. He’s already the top player on a 61-52 team that currently holds the second American League wild card pick. The Mariners are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Orioles and Rays, the clubs currently tied for the AL’s last postseason berth.

Kelenic and Sam Haggerty have been platooning in midfield for the last week and a half. Kelenic collected just two hits in 26 shots and continued his struggles at the big league level. He has hit .124/.187/.265 over 123 MLB plate appearances in the season. The 23-year-old has a .288/.353/.550 grade that shows over 252 trips to court with the Rainiers and he will continue to run in the minors every day. He will be joined in Tacoma by former Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewiswho was voted out yesterday while the Mariners are rolling with an outfield of jess winkerRodriguez, Mitch Haniger and Haggerty, with Jake Lamb Work as a corner hitter off the bench.

In addition to the outfield shake, the Ms make a switch behind the plate. Seattle acquired Casali from the Giants in the hours before the close last Tuesday. The veteran backstop was on a minor league rehab assignment at the time, working his way back from an oblique strain he suffered on July 4. He had hit .231/.325/.370 in 41 games in San Francisco and will get an opportunity to save CalRaleigh for the rest of the season. Casali is scheduled to move to free agency at the end of the year.

Naming timing must be wise for Torrens, who is just two days away from a walk-off single to cap a dramatic win over the Yankees. However, Casali’s acquisition seemed to indicate that the writing was on the wall for Torrens with the big league club. He no longer has minor league option years, meaning he had to remain on the MLB roster or be designated for deployment. With Raleigh and Casali in the herd, there would be no room for Torrens unless the team wanted to carry three catchers.

Of course, Torrens’ struggles were a driving factor in the club’s acquisition of Casali. He has accumulated just one line of .214/.262/.252 over 141 plate appearances and has an increased clip of 31.9%. He’s also been consistently rated as a well-below-performing defensive catcher throughout his MLB career, posting below-average pitch-framing metrics annually and standing behind the court for 17 wild pitches in just 267 1/3 innings this season. These certainly don’t all fall on Torrens, but Defensive Runs Saved ranked him as a catcher with 24 runs under average in 1067 2/3 career frames.

Manager Scott Servais gave Torrens some designated hitter time last season, hitting 15 home runs and 16 doubles in 108 games. That’s solid production for a No. 2 catcher, even a bat-first option, but Torrens’ offensive struggles increased this year. Along with his defensive shortcomings, they eventually pushed him out of the roster.

After the trading deadline is over, the only option is to put Torrens on a full or disclosure waiver within the next few days. He is playing on a salary of $1.2 million this season after qualifying for early arbitration as a Super Two player last winter. Around 369,000 US dollars are due to him by the end of the year. Any eligible team would take the rest of that money and could control Torrens until 2024. As a player with more than three years of service in the big league, he would have the right to decline a direct assignment in favor of free agency in the minor league if it were left unclaimed on waivers. However, this would mean losing the balance of his guaranteed salary as he has less than five years of service. It therefore seems likely that he would accept a job at Tacoma if he clears.