September is coming. This means that MLB active rosters will expand from 25-40. Of course, a team cannot bring up any 15 players in the minors that they want. They can only bring up players on the 40 man roster or replace players on the 40 man roster. Using my Mariners’ 40 man roster ranking that I created earlier this month (I am planning to update my rankings in January, then again in Spring Training) I will argue for whom I think should stay, be promoted, and be replaced.
1. Felix Hernandez (MLB): Stay
2. Danny Hultzen (AAA Tacoma): Basically shut down because of an innings limit. Hultzen wasn’t throwing strikes anyway, perhaps he could get some time in the Arizona Fall League, but I think an off-season of rest would be best.
3. Dustin Ackley (MLB): Stay
4. John Jaso (MLB): Stay
5. Charlie Furbush (MLB): Stay
6. Tom Wilhelmsen (MLB): Stay
7. Erasmo Ramirez (AAA Tacoma): A no brainer promotion, Erasmo is pitching reasonably well in Tacoma now after a successful stint in the Majors (both as a starter and a reliever). I would like to even see him get another start or two in the majors this year unless the Mariners are worried about his innings (which I don’t see why, as he threw more innings last year than he has so far this year). The only concern I could see is the minor elbow injury he suffered earlier in the year in his last MLB outing.
8. Kyle Seager (MLB): Stay
9. Jesus Montero (MLB): Stay
10. Brendan Ryan (MLB): Stay
11. Casper Wells (AAA Tacoma): Just demoted. Won’t be eligible to come back until the Tacoma season ends on September 3rd. Once this happens, he is another no brainer promotion.
12. Jason Vargas (MLB): Stay
13. Stephen Pryor (MLB): Stay
14. Michael Saunders (MLB): Stay
15. Carter Capps (MLB): Stay
16. Blake Beavan (MLB): Stay
17. Francisco Martinez (AA Jackson): With the injury problems he has had this year and the absolute silence of his bat, I see absolutely no reason to promote him. Just let his season end when Jackson’s season ends and get him some time in a Winter League this year.
18. Mike Carp (AAA Tacoma-Rehab): Reinstate him on September 1st.
19. Trayvon Robinson (MLB): Stay
20. Eric Thames (MLB): Stay
21. Johermyn Chavez (AA Jackson): No real reason to promote him. Still has to prove that he can do something with the bat.
22.Justin Smoak (MLB): Stay
23. Hector Noesi (AAA Tacoma): I would recall him back to the big leagues and use him as a reliever. No reason to not bring him back the the Majors, and there really isn’t room in the rotation.
24. Alex Liddi (AAA Tacoma): Other than an occasional home run, Liddi has not looked good in AAA. He still doesn’t lay off breaking pitches, and has no real defensive position or value. However, the Mariners might as well bring him back up to the Majors and get him 15-20 more plate appearances.
25. Oliver Perez (MLB): Stay
26. Franklin Gutierrez (MLB): Stay
27. Lucas Luetge (MLB): Stay
28. Shawn Kelley (AAA Tacoma): Very simple. Call him back up, he has been good in both Seattle and Tacoma.
29. Chance Ruffin (AAA Tacoma): Ruffin has not been good this year, but has been better as of late. There is no real need for another reliever, but I fail to see the reason for him to just go home when the Tacoma season ends. I don’t think it would be a bad idea to promote him and let him throw a few garbage time innings. We will at least get another look at him (selfishly, we would have more pitch f/x data on him).
30. Carlos Triunfel (AAA Tacoma): Like Ruffin, Triunfel is a borderline decision. He really hasn’t shown anything offensively to show that he deserves a MLB callup, and he is inferior defensively than the Mariners other choices. However, it might not hurt to give him a couple starts after the Tacoma season ends.
31. D.J. Mitchell (AAA Tacoma): I would really like to see him promoted and used as a reliever.
32. Yoervis Medina (AA Jackson): This is an interesting case. Medina throws hard, and has been an effective reliever for the AA club. He has a history of control issues, but has been pitching fantastic lately. I think I would give him a shot and let him throw 5-10 innings against big league hitting (and let him start the season in Tacoma next year).
33. Kevin Millwood (MLB): He was placed on waivers earlier this week. I keep thinking that Millwood will be traded, but we will see. If he is still one in September, obviously he will be with the MLB club and it will be disappointing.
34. Hisashi Iwakuma (MLB): Stay
35. Carlos Peguero (AAA Tacoma): I wouldn’t give him much playing time with the other young outfielders the Mariners have, but there really isn’t a reason for him to not be back with the big league club (unless they decided to be really aggressive and DFA him for another option. They may do that in the off-season anyway).
36. Josh Kinney (MLB): Stay
37. Mauricio Robles (AA Jackson): Too many walks. No reason to bring him up.
38. Miguel Olivo (MLB): Stay (Probably)
39. Munenori Kawasaki (MLB): Stay (Probably). You need a backup shortstop, so unless Triunfel is promoted (or Nick Franklin/Brad Miller is added to the 40 man and promoted), you really can’t get rid of him. He is better than Triunfel at this point, in my opinion, but he really has no future in the organization or the Majors in general. Triunfel might (probably not, but he is still young and has a much better chance than Kawasaki).
40. Chone Figgins (MLB): DFA
We have either 1-3 open 40 man roster spots. So who are possible candidates for being called up and placed on the 40 man roster?
Luis Jimenez: While he has played well enough to deserve a call-up to the Majors, he doesn’t really have a future, especially in the Mariners organization. Replacing Figgins with him wouldn’t be the dumbest thing in the world, but it will be hard to get him at-bats with Jaso and Montero getting most of the time at DH (and not being good defensive catchers).
Darren Ford: The big question for me is: Ford or Jimenez? Ford most likely will not provide value with the bat, but the raw speed is always intriguing (although his in game speed is actually not that great, as he gets caught stealing too much, and has just a 7.0 Speed Score in Tacoma. That is good, but not great.). You can possibly see Ford getting more playing time, but it maybe wise to pass on both him and Jimenez, as they are both veterans and will be free agents at the end of the year.
Mike Zunino: I probably wouldn’t add him to the 40 man roster. There just isn’t any reason to rush. Of course, he is tearing the minor leagues to pieces, but he was a really advanced college hitter, it would concern me if he wasn’t tearing up minor league pitching. My preferred course of action would be Zunino perhaps playing in the Arizona Fall League, spending spring training with the big league club, then starting the year in AAA Tacoma. The only way that I would DFA Olivo would be if I brought up Zunino.
Nick Franklin hasn’t hit very well in Tacoma. He is striking out too much, walking below average, but hitting for some power. I would rather not see him with the Mariners in September.
Stefen Romero doesn’t walk, but he doesn’t strikeout a whole lot either. He has torn both California and Southern League pitching apart, hitting much better than Franklin in AA. He provides less defensive value as he can’t play shortstop and the jury is out on whether he can play 2nd base. You would like to see Romero get his position set before he is brought up, but taking Figgins’ spot on the roster and getting a few starts at 1st would be interesting, even if not wise.
Brad Miller: It is not a big sample size, but Miller’s K/BB is awesome in Jackson. He is not slugging near as much there as Romero and Franklin have in Jackson, but he is more than holding his own offensively. Defensively, he plays the middle infield and a lot of scouts believe he will be able to handle short. He isn’t ready yet. I would promote Romero and Franklin over Miller.
Mike Wilson was actually on the 40 man roster in spring training before being designated for assignment (along with Chris Gimenez) for Shawn Camp and Hong-Chih Kuo (neither of whom made it out of Spring Training with the Mariners). While showing an occasional display of power in Tacoma, his overall statistics are are underwhelming. There is no reason to add him back to the 40 man, and he will walk in free agency this off-season (unless he just really loves Tacoma and wants to come back).
Bobby Lafromboise: There really isn’t any need for another reliever.
Danny Farquhar has basically the same problem as Lafromboise, except he is right-handed. You could make a good case that he should be on a big league roster, but he just doesn’t fit with the Mariners. It is a good problem to have. I still like him better than Mitchell, but roster situations are roster situations.