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Inbox: When will Haniger rejoin Mariners?

Beat reporter Greg Johns answers fans' questions
August 17, 2017

Since Leonys Martin has had a nice impact, what outfielder will the Mariners option to Triple-A Tacoma when Mitch Haniger returns? -- Bobby J., New OrleansHaniger had played five rehab games for Tacoma through Wednesday, going 4-for-18 with two homers. But there's no rush to bring him back after getting

Since Leonys Martin has had a nice impact, what outfielder will the Mariners option to Triple-A Tacoma when Mitch Haniger returns?
-- Bobby J., New Orleans

Haniger had played five rehab games for Tacoma through Wednesday, going 4-for-18 with two homers. But there's no rush to bring him back after getting hit in the face by a Jacob deGrom pitch, particularly since he was already struggling to regain his stroke in Seattle and had posted a .203/.303/.316 line in 37 games after returning from his strained oblique.
My guess is they'll give Haniger time to regain his timing and confidence at the plate and wait until rosters can be expanded on Sept. 1 to bring him back, unless something happens to Martin, Jarrod Dyson, Guillermo Heredia or Ben Gamel before then.
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We keep hearing how many pitchers the Mariners have needed to use this season. How close are they to a Major League record?
-- Danny A., Eugene, Ore.

The Mariners have used 37 pitchers, which is tied with the 2002 Padres and 2015 Braves for the second-most in an MLB season, dating back to 1901. The record of 40 was set by the 2014 Rangers, who finished with a 67-95 record and had current Mariners bench coach Tim Bogar serving as interim manager for the final month after Ron Washington stepped down.
Seattle has used 16 starting pitchers so far, one shy of the franchise record set in 1977, but well short of the MLB record of 24 by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1915. The Mariners have used a club-record 55 total players, which is 22nd on the all-time list, but still short of the MLB record of 64 by those 2014 Rangers.
Trey Griffey was undrafted out of the University of Arizona this past April and signed in May as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately, he was waived off injured reserve about a month ago. Is he interested in trying baseball? I believe the Mariners hold his Draft rights from the 24th round in 2016.
-- Ron C., Carmel, Ind.

Ken Griffey Jr.'s oldest son seems intent on pursuing his football chances first and just signed with the Dolphins this week as a wide receiver. He hasn't played baseball since his junior high days, but the Mariners did draft and sign him a year ago in case he ever does decide to give baseball a shot.
With the acquisition of Yonder Alonso and his potential re-signing in the offseason, does this mean the Mariners have given up on Dan Vogelbach? I always thought he'd succeed Nelson Cruz at DH in 2019.
-- Inigo O., Manila, Philippines

There's no guarantee the Mariners will re-sign Alonso this winter, but they clearly wanted to upgrade first base with a more established hitter and proven defender this year as they chase an American League Wild Card berth. As for the future, I'm sure Vogelbach will be given further opportunities, but he'll need to show he can hit at the big-league level before he's part of a DH plan.

With the Mariners struggling to find consistent starting pitching, has there been any thought of moving Emilio Pagan to the rotation? He has shown the ability to work multiple innings with good consistency.
-- Jacob, Kent, Wash.

Pagan has never been a starter in his pro career, but he has fared well in multi-inning situations and it's possible he could be looked at as a starting candidate next year. But for now, the 26-year-old is filling a very valuable role as a versatile reliever. They already have a rotation of fill-in starters who are only being asked to go four to six innings. Somebody has to be there to bridge the gap to the back of the bullpen and Pagan is that much-needed guy right now.
Do you think there is any way the Mariners make a move for Giancarlo Stanton? With Stanton clearing revocable waivers, would this make any sense for them? Who would they need to move to get a deal done?
-- Allen S., Hayden, Idaho

No. Lots of big-name players with large contracts clear revocable waivers. Almost none get traded. The Marlins aren't going to trade Stanton unless they get blown away by an incredible package of prospects, which the Mariners don't have. Not to mention Stanton still is owed $295 million for the next 10 years and has a no-trade clause in his deal. It would make more sense to pursue Justin Verlander, if you want to dream. And no, I don't think there's any chance of that happening, either.
Is there any update on Evan White's injury?
-- Matt Y., Salem, Ore.

Mariners farm director Andy McKay says the club's first-round Draft pick is progressing well from the hamstring injury that sidelined him a month ago after hitting .277 with three homers in his first 14 games with Short-Season Class A Everett. White is expected to be healthy in a couple of weeks, though with only 17 games remaining, it's uncertain if he'll participate again this year for the AquaSox. He will be full-go for all the Mariners' offseason programs.
Do you think the Mariners should have kept Taijuan Walker in light of how things have turned out?
-- Jerry B., Yakima, Wash.

Walker certainly would be welcome in the Mariners' rotation at the moment, given their injuries. He's been solid this season in Arizona (6-7, 3.83 ERA in 20 starts) and still has three years of team control remaining. But general manager Jerry Dipoto got a very good return for Walker with Haniger and Jean Segura, who is third in the AL in hitting at .320. Particularly given the Mariners were able to extend Segura's contract through 2023, I'm not going to second-guess that deal.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.