Torrens among three non-tendered by Mariners

November 19th, 2022

SEATTLE -- One day after trading Kyle Lewis to Arizona, the Mariners further adjusted their roster when opting to non-tender catchers Luis Torrens and Brian O’Keefe and reliever Luke Weaver, trimming their 40-man roster to 37 as the Hot Stove season gets ready to heat up.

Torrens was the most notable decision after he experienced a massive dip in production -- a .225/.283/.298 (.581 OPS) slash line in 2022 compared to a .243/.299/.431 (.730 OPS) clip in a solid ‘21 -- and that he was slated to earn $1.2 million via arbitration in '23, per Cots Baseball Contracts.

Also, the Lewis trade returned catcher/outfielder Cooper Hummel, who will essentially fill Torrens role in the catching rotation, along with Tom Murphy, who will be back following season-ending surgery to repair a dislocated left shoulder. O’Keefe and Weaver weren’t unexpected casualties.

The Mariners will extend Torrens a non-roster invite to Spring Training if he doesn’t land with a team, per president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto.

“We would have a ton of interest in doing that,” Dipoto said. “And I think he'd find that comfortable if he can't find the right fit elsewhere, but catching is hard to find, and we'll see if he finds a good spot for him and his family.”

Torrens has long been perhaps the oddest man out on Seattle’s 26-man roster the past year given that he’s shown flashes of solid offense and can play a premium position, albeit one that he’s needed to make significant defensive strides at, and that the Mariners have a logjam at catcher.

Yet Seattle was unable to trade him dating back to last offseason, when his value was its highest, and it was again unable in attempts at last year’s Trade Deadline, when the club acquired Curt Casali to essentially take Torrens’ role, shortly after which he was designated for assignment.

And with where they are in contention -- coming off consecutive 90-win seasons and trending up after last year’s playoff berth -- there wasn’t enough room on the 40-man roster to retain him with the rest of their offseason agenda.

“From the very start, he just had a difficult time this year getting into any type of groove and never really got a ton of traction while he was at [Triple-A] Tacoma,” Dipoto said. “We made it a priority through the Trade Deadline to try to find alternatives so that we weren't reliant on LT getting it going.”

Torrens had some huge moments in Seattle, perhaps none bigger than his walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th inning that broke a scoreless tie against the Yankees on Aug. 10 in what was one of MLB’s best games of 2022. And on the final day of the regular season, the stakes far lower, he became the first position player in Mariners history to record a pitching win.

As for O’Keefe, he was called up the night that the Mariners ended the drought, made his debut the following day and wound up playing just two games, going 1-for-3. Weaver was recently claimed off waivers from the Royals on Oct. 26.