Mariners set 2023 Opening Day roster
SEATTLE -- At long last, Opening Day is practically here. And the Mariners have officially announced the 26-man contingent that they'll begin the season with when they take on the Guardians on Thursday at T-Mobile Park.
There were no major surprises, other than that they'll roll with Tommy La Stella as a backup infielder instead of Mason McCoy, who had a productive camp but was reassigned to the Minors on Monday. Utility infielder Dylan Moore (left oblique) and outfielder Taylor Trammell (right hamate bone) will begin the year on the injured list, as expected.
Here's a look at the Mariners' first roster of the year:
Catcher (3): Cal Raleigh, Tom Murphy, Cooper Hummel
When camp opened, it seemed like an outside shot that the Mariners would carry three catchers. But Hummel had a solid spring, can play the corner outfield spots and gives the Mariners more flexibility to be creative with how they utilize the Raleigh-Murphy tandem, which will be vital in 2023 after it was clear that Big Dumper needed some reinforcements down the stretch.
First base (1): Ty France
The first-time All-Star is looking to replicate his first-half production after dealing with wrist injuries that curtailed his production down the stretch.
Second base (1): Kolten Wong
Wong has already caught on with his new teammates, flashed improved defense and made a strong early impression. His experience on six different postseason teams should be huge, too.
Shortstop (1): J.P. Crawford
Seattle’s staple at the position is dealing with a minor issue after fouling a ball off his foot, but the team expects he'll be fine. He made some significant adjustments last offseason at Driveline as he enters the second year of a five-year, $51 million extension. He'll also have more depth behind him, a by-design effort to build in more rest after his first two full seasons as a starter.
Third base (1): Eugenio Suárez
The fan favorite had a very productive showing at the World Baseball Classic, and is back and ready to produce. Arguably no player gives the Mariners as much clarity as Suárez -- an everyday player, key run producer and solid defender.
Right field (1): Teoscar Hernández
Seattle’s biggest offseason addition showed why he could be a huge boon to their offense with a homer earlier in camp that nearly left the ballpark. His presence in the lineup will be vital for the Mariners to take the next step offensively.
Center field (1): Julio Rodríguez
The reigning American League Rookie of the Year could be poised for a monster year. The biggest objective for the 22-year-old, especially after learning the rigors of a full season, will be health.
Left field (2): Jarred Kelenic, AJ Pollock
Kelenic has been the Mariners' best player this spring, but that comes with a particular caveat for the former top prospect because results won't matter until the games count. And now they do. There's also some cushion there via Pollock, who in large part was swayed by Seattle due to the platoon fit.
Designated hitter: Everyone
As they did last year before injuries curbed their ability to do so, the Mariners will rotate their regular players here based on pitching matchups and, moreso, to build in rest.
Bench (2): Sam Haggerty, Tommy La Stella
Moore would've been slated for a primary spot here before his injury. La Stella, who signed with the team in January, seemed like a long shot to make the team after dealing with right shoulder soreness for much of camp. It appeared that McCoy had the inside lane to a spot, but the club instead opted for the veteran.
Haggerty, last year's emerging fan favorite, will also be a solid reinforcement after becoming such a key piece down the stretch. He'll also serve as an outfield reinforcement.
Starting pitchers (5): Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, Logan Gilbert, Marco Gonzales, George Kirby
Seattle will return its five-man group that was fortified after the Trade Deadline deal for Castillo, a staff that might be the best in the AL West.
Bullpen (8): Paul Sewald, Andrés Muñoz, Diego Castillo, Matt Brash, Chris Flexen, Penn Murfee, Matt Festa, Trevor Gott
The backbone of Seattle’s roster the past two years returns mostly intact. They have arguably more than eight capable arms for the eight available spots, yet a few outlying factors -- Flexen being stretched out and Gott being on a $1.2 million deal -- which contributed to the decision-making.