The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

COOVERT: Mariners compete for open bullpen, utility spots

Who will win the final spots headed into Opening Day?
The Seattle Mariners

As Spring Training inches closer to the regular season every day, the Seattle Mariners are preparing to make their final roster cuts. While most of the team was already set in stone after the offseason, there was likely going to be a bench spot and bullpen spot up for grabs. Now, due to injuries, there may be multiple open spots on the bench and in the bullpen, and the Mariners are soon going to have to make their final decisions.

On the bench, the Mariners initially looked like they would be choosing between Dominic Canzone, Sam Haggerty and Taylor Trammell for one open spot. That may still be the case, but if Luis Urias ends up starting the season on the Injured List, that would open up a second bench spot. Urias was reportedly going to begin the season on the IL, according to Seattle Times reporter Ryan Divish.

However, since that report, Urias has played in eleven spring training games and has been healthy enough to hit for a .250/.267/.571 slash line. Even if Urias’ arm might not be strong enough to play third base, the Mariners could choose to activate him as a DH while he heals.

If Urias does make the team, the Mariners might not have a very difficult decision to make, because Dominic Canzone has made their decision for them. So far in the spring, Canzone is slashing .300/.333/.700, with three home runs and three doubles in just twelve games. Canzone is also the best defender in the outfield out of the group, something the Mariners likely value, due to Mitch Haniger’s age and declining defensive abilities.

Trammell at this point is relying on Urias to not be 100% on Opening Day. Trammell has not performed terribly during spring. He’s hitting .304, with a .407 OBP, which is very impressive when you consider his career average of .168.

Trammell is out of minor league options, meaning the Mariners must either give him a spot on the Major League roster or risk losing him as a waiver claim. Perhaps the M’s would like to give Trammell one last chance to prove himself.

For Sam Haggerty, his chances of making the roster look slimmer by the day. The fan favorite, who has been nicknamed ‘Swaggerty’ by fans, has struggled mightily this spring. He has collected just three hits in nine games, hitting .136, and has been outplayed by fellow utility-men Samad Taylor and Ryan Bliss. At this point, Haggerty seems destined to play for the Tacoma Rainiers.

Meanwhile, in the bullpen, the Mariners got bad news in recent weeks about star relievers Gregory Santos and Matt Brash. Neither will be ready for Opening Day, thus opening up spots in the bullpen to be won in Spring Training.

As it stands, the Mariners have four returners from 2023 (Andres Munoz, Tayler Saucedo, Trent Thornton, & Gabe Speier) as well as two free-agent additions (Ryne Stanek & Austin Voth). This leaves the Mariners with two open spots.

One pitcher who has made quite the impression is Tyson Miller. The 28-year-old has been a journeyman, throwing 31 total innings for five combined teams over the past four years. His career ERA of 6.97 might not look promising, but Miller may have turned a corner with the M’s this spring. So far, he is yet to allow a run in eight innings and has ten strikeouts to only two walks.

Carlos Vargas and Collin Snider will also be competing to make the opening-day bullpen. Vargas throws extremely hard, hitting over 100 MPH at times. He’s also very wild and has very little experience in the major leagues. Snider meanwhile, has a bit more of a track record.

Over the past two seasons, he has appeared in 62 games for the Kansas City Royals, pitching to a 5.93 ERA. Both Snider and Vargas have ERA’s over 6 this spring, but one of them will likely be on the big league roster despite that.

My guess is the M’s will keep Miller and Vargas for their bullpen. With Snider struggling, it would make sense for them to give the younger, harder-throwing Vargas a chance. I think Canzone is a lock to make the team, and my guess is that if Urias starts on the IL, Taylor Trammell will get a chance as his replacement.

However, the Mariners are often unpredictable, so truthfully, my guess is as good as yours! Whatever direction they go in, the Mariners should field a strong team headed into 2024.

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About the Contributors
Levi is a sophomore broadcast news major from Tacoma, Washington. He loves the Seahawks, Mariners, Kraken and of course the Cougs.
GRACIE ROGERS, Evergreen Illustration editor
Gracie Rogers is a graphic illustrator for the Daily Evergreen. She is a senior Digital Technology & Culture major from Pullman, Washington. Gracie started working for the Daily Evergreen back in Spring 2022.