The Mariners placed outfielder Julio Rodriguez (right wrist contusion) and utilityman Dylan Moore (back spasms) on the 10-day injured list. Jarred Kelenic has been called up from Triple-A, and first baseman/outfielder Jack Larsen‘s contract has been selected from Double-A. To make room for Larsen on the 40-man roster, left-hander Anthony Misiewicz has been designated for assignment.
Last night’s 5-4 win over the Astros was a costly victory for the Mariners, as Rodriguez, Moore, and Sam Haggerty (due to a cut on his forehead) all had to leave the game, making Seattle’s late-inning triumph all the more improbable. If that wasn’t enough, Ty France is also set to undergo an MRI, as his bothersome left wrist injury flared up again late in the game.
Rodriguez’s injury drew the most immediate concern after the star rookie was hit on the right hand while swinging, although x-rays were negative. Rodriguez is still sore enough that he won’t be able to swing for the next 4-5 days, manager Scott Servais told Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times and other reporters, and thus the IL stint was necessary to both keep the Mariners from being undermanned and to give Rodriguez time to get healthy.
There’s no easy way to replace Rodriguez, who has quickly cemented himself as both the present and future of Seattle baseball. The outfielder is the heavy favorite to capture AL Rookie Of The Year honors, unless this IL stint lingers or impacts Rodriguez’s production once he does return. Likewise, France also made the AL All-Star team this year and has basically done nothing but hit since the M’s acquired him from the Padres at the 2020 trade deadline.
Rodriguez and France are the Mariners’ two team leaders in fWAR, so losing at least one and potentially both to injury just prior to the trade deadline leaves Seattle’s front office in a tight spot. President of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto implied that after the Luis Castillo trade, the M’s could be done with any huge moves, and were relying on Mitch Haniger‘s return to boost the offense rather than relying on any outside pieces. The Mariners still have over 52 hours to monitor and evaluate Rodriguez and France before the 5pm CT deadline on August 2, but if there’s any uncertainty, the aggressive Dipoto might opt to swing at least a depth trade for the lineup just in case.
Moore has been a valuable player in his own right, posting a 116 wRC+ (from five homers and a .197/.350/.367 slash line in 185 PA) and playing at least one game at seven different positions around the diamond this season . Abraham Thoreau will have to pick up some of the utility slack in the interim, although Toro has mostly played only second and third base during his two seasons with the Mariners. Back spasms might not sideline Moore for much beyond the 10-day minimum, yet Dipoto could also explore adding a multi-position player to help fill Moore’s shoes in the short term.
Kelenic will get another opportunity to establish himself in the majors after struggling badly in the first 473 plate appearances in the Show. Kelenic has hit .173/.256/.338 as a big leaguer, with an unprecedented 30% strikeout rate. That swing-and-miss has crept into Kelenic’s work in the minors, as though he is hitting well at Triple-A, his strikeout rate over 252 PA for Tacoma this season is 23.8%, up considerably from 15.4% in 143 Triple-A PA in 2021.
Larsen went undrafted in 2017, but after inking a deal with the Mariners shortly after the amateur draft, the UC San Diego product is now on the verge of his Major League debut without so much as a cup of coffee at the Triple-A level. The 27-year-old has played all three outfield positions and a handful of games as a first baseman, although Larsen has not played any center field this year. At the plate, Larsen has hit .266/.371/.444 in 564 career PAs in Double-A. Neither Baseball America nor MLB Pipeline rates Larsen as one of the 30 best prospects in Seattle’s farm system.
Misiewicz has been a regular in the Mariners’ bullpen for the last three seasons, but he was optioned to Triple-A in June after posting a 4.61 ERA and only a 14% strikeout rate in 13 2/3 innings this season. The M’s are known to be looking for bullpen help before the deadline, and left-handed relief could be a particular need, as Misiewicz’s struggles further lessened a pen already thin on southpaws. It isn’t out of the question that Misiewicz could be claimed on DFA waivers, given how other clubs are constantly on the hunt for left-handed relief.