Trammell's 1st SEA act? Practical joke on GM

September 3rd, 2020

SEATTLE -- When Jerry Dipoto called , his newest elite prospect acquisition, to welcome him to the Mariners after pulling off his seven-player trade with the Padres on Sunday night, he was shocked to be greeted by silence at the other end of the line.

Trammell, a 22-year-old with an outgoing personality and a sense of humor to match, initially pretended not to know who Dipoto was or why he was calling before finally breaking the ice with a laugh. It was a move that left Dipoto impressed by the youngster’s moxie, as well as a much better understanding of the interesting character the Mariners are adding to their strong core of outfield prospects.

The confidence to joke with a general manager who just acquired you in a major trade before you’ve even reached the big leagues isn’t something you’ll find in a lot of players.

“I was just being myself,” Trammell said after arriving in Tacoma, Wash., on Wednesday and taking part in his first intrasquad scrimmage at the Mariners’ alternate training site. “I just wanted to show him that, for me, a lot of times people take things too seriously. Life is too short. I’ve lost loved ones that are the same age as me.

“So that was just a good way for me to show him, ‘Hey, this is what you’re getting.’”

What the Mariners are getting is another outstanding prospect with an intriguing combination of speed and power who joins Seattle’s very interesting group of up-and-coming outfielders. With Kyle Lewis already putting together a breakout rookie campaign in center field, Seattle now has three additional outfielders all ranked among the Top 60 prospects in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, with Jarred Kelenic at No. 12, Julio Rodriguez at No. 19 and Trammell at No. 59.

Some youngsters might wonder where they fit in to such a situation, but Trammell sees nothing but upside.

“I look at it like this,” he said. “Those guys are going to make me better and in return, I think I’m going to make those guys better. My main objective is to win. Everybody has seen what K-Lew and Jarred and Julio Rodriguez and these guys can do. I’m going to do something to get myself better because they’re getting better.

“It cycles through and that’s how you start to win. Every year I’ve been in the Minor Leagues I’ve been in the playoffs, and it seems that was the constant with these winning teams. Guys want other guys to get better along with them. It’s not a selfish act.

“So that gives me extra motivation. I want to go out and have fun with those guys and look at my grandkids one day and say, ‘Hey, I got this championship ring like 50-something years ago.’ That’s what I want to do.”

Trammell will have the chance to work out with Kelenic and Rodriguez the rest of this month. He already is plenty familiar with Lewis, whom he knows from their days growing up in Georgia. Lewis is three years older, but he was drafted out of Mercer University in 2016 with the 11th pick by Seattle, while Trammell was selected by the Reds with the 35th pick as a high school senior the same year.

Trammell’s brother was playing football at Mercer while Lewis was there, and the two worked out together in Atlanta during the pandemic shutdown this spring.

“He’s one of the best human beings of all time,” Trammell said. “He’s unbelievable. During the quarantine we got together at one point and played intrasquad games at a high school field, just playing ball. [Justus] Sheffield and Shed [Long Jr.] were there, too. It was a good time. Little did I know they’d be future teammates.”

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder spent the past month at San Diego’s alternate training site working on being more aggressive with his swing and using his physical strength to punish the ball after Padres assistant hitting coach Johnny Washington told him, “You’re a big dude who plays small.”

Trammell said Washington’s honesty was refreshing and sparked him to change his approach, which now could be to the Mariners’ benefit. Being traded for a second time already in his young career is another situation he’s embracing rather than questioning.

The youthful Mariners are a perfect fit, he figures.

“We’re a young team and I’ve played with and against some of the guys on this team,” he said. “The energy meshes well with me. This is a good opportunity for me to get out there and just play, just be myself and not worry about anything other than just playing my game and contributing as much as I possibly can.”