Mariners Reinstate Julio Rodriguez, Designate Luis Torrens – MLB Trade Rumors

Mariners Reinstate Julio Rodriguez, Designate Luis Torrens - MLB Trade Rumors

The Mariners announced a handful of roster moves during tonight’s off day. Center fielder Julio Rodriguez is back from the injured list, while catcher Curt Casali was reinstated from his own IL duty. To create active roster space, Seattle selected an outfielder Jarred Kelenic back to Triple-A Tacoma and designated catcher Louis Torrens for a task. Torrens’ DFA drops the 40-man roster to 39.

Rodríguez returns after not much more than a minimal IL stint. He last played on July 30 before a right wrist contusion cost him about two weeks. The 21-year-old star is back to add to Rookie of the Year caliber, owning a .271/.334/.482 line with 18 home runs and 21 stolen bases. He is already the best player on a 61-52 team that currently holds the second American League Wild Card spot. The Mariners are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Orioles and Rays, the clubs currently tied for the AL’s final postseason spot.

Keleniko and Sam Haggerty platooned in center field for the past week and a half. Kelenic collected just two hits in 26 at-bats, continuing his struggles at the big league level. He is hitting .124/.187/.265 over 123 MLB plate appearances on the season. The 23-year-old is hitting .288/.353/.550 in over 252 trips to the plate with the Rainiers, and he’ll continue to get everyday run in the minors. He is joined in Tacoma by a former Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewiswho was eligible out yesterday, as the Mariners roll with an outfield of Jesse WinkerRodriguez, Mitch Haniger and Haggerty, with Jake the Lamb working as a corner bat off the bench.

In addition to the outfield change, the M makes a switch behind the plate. Seattle got Casali from the Giants in the hours before last Tuesday’s trade deadline. The veteran defensive end was on a minor league rehab assignment at the time, working his way back from an oblique strain suffered on July 4. He hit .231/.325/.370 through 41 games in San Francisco and will get a chance. back up Cal Raleigh for the rest of the season. Casali is scheduled to hit free agency at the end of the year.

The timing of the appointment must be smart for Torrens, who is just two days removed from a walk-off single to close out a dramatic victory over the Yankees. The acquisition of Casali seemed to suggest that the writing was on the wall for Torrens with the big league club, however. He is out of minor league option years, meaning he had to remain on the MLB roster or be designated for assignment. With Raleigh and Casali in the fold, there would be no more room for Torrens unless the team wanted to carry three traps.

Of course, Torrens’ struggles were a driving factor in the club’s acquisition of Casali in the first place. He mustered just a .214/.262/.252 line across 141 plate appearances, striking out at an elevated 31.9% clip. He’s also consistently rated as a well-below-average defensive catcher throughout his MLB career, annually posting subpar pitch frame metrics and being behind the plate for 17 wild pitches in just 267 1/3 innings this season. Those certainly don’t all fall on Torrens, but Defensive Runs Saved pegged him as 24 runs below average in 1067 2/3 career frames as a catcher.

Manager Scott Servais got Torrens plenty of time as a designated hitter last season, when he had 15 home runs and 16 doubles in 108 games. That’s solid production for a #2 catcher, even a bat-first option, but Torrens’ offensive struggles have increased this year. Coupled with his defensive deficiencies, later they pushed him from the roster.

With the trade deadline passed, the only option is to put Torrens outright or clear waivers within the next couple of days. He is playing this season on a $1.2MM salary after qualifying for early arbitration as a Super Two player last winter. He is owed about $369K by year’s end. Any claiming team would assume the rest of that money and could control Torrens through 2024. As a player with more than three years of big league service time, he would have the right to decline an outright assignment in favor of minor league free agency if he. becomes unclaimed on waivers. Doing so would mean forfeiting the remainder of his guaranteed salary, however, as he has less than five years of service. That’s why it seems likely he would accept an assignment to Tacoma if he bans.

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