This is an exciting week for the Mariners. As Spring Training prepares to wrap up, position battles will bring out the best in the team, the Dominican teammates will rejoin the squad for a last little bit of camp, and things are looking amazing for Seattle going into the season. Today ended in a narrow 3-2 loss to Texas, but we saw a great outing from Dillon Overton and great relief pitching from Marc Rzepczynski, who had struggled earlier in the Spring.
James Paxton pitched in a minor league game against the White Sox with catcher Carlos Ruiz, striking out eight and allowing two runs in 4.2 innings. It’s great to see a good performance out of him, even if it is against minor leaguers.
Motter Making the Most of His Opportunities
Taylor Motter finds himself in the middle of a battle for a utility spot. The battle basically comes down to him and Shawn O’Malley, who spent quite a bit of time with the MLB club last year. Motter has far less MLB experience than O’Malley, but his performance this Spring has caught the eye of the organization. If we’re going off experience, O’Malley gets the job and Motter starts off 2017 in Tacoma. If we go off this Spring and hair, Motter wins by a mile. That hair is incredible. Motter impressed by taking reps at both left field and first base today, providing sound defense on both sides. He added two hits and scored a run off of Haniger’s double in the top of the first.
Personally, my vote’s with Motter. That hair can’t be beat.
Haniger Making DiPoto Look Like a Genius
I was one of many who didn’t even blink when seeing Mitch Haniger’s name in the Jean Segura trade. When writing up a 2017 preseason review, I almost completely forgot to include his name in the deal. He just seems like one of those names that ends up filling the “player to be named later” column that we read in passing, but he’s proven to be much more than that so far this Spring. He’s shown power and drive from the plate, and knocked his sixth double of the Spring and drove in his eight RBI. He’s become an exciting at-bat for Mariners fans, and I’m as surprised as I am pleased. He’s earned an Opening Day spot, and that’s likely what he’ll get.
In terms of a backup Heredia has dazzled this Spring, and has more experience in terms of games played at the MLB level. I’d choose him over Gamel.
Down Go the Dominicans, Up Go the Mariners
The US team ousted the Dominican Republic in dramatic fashion in WBC action. Giancarlo Stanton hit a Giancarlo Stanton home run, Adam Jones robbed Manny Machado of a home run, and the US came away with a 6-3 win to move on to the final round of play. This means Robinson Canó, Nelson Cruz, and Jean Segura managed to avoid injury and will return to the Mariners soon.
The Mariners get the day off tomorrow, and will host Oakland on Tuesday in Peoria.