Mariners: Rodriguez returns while uncertainty surrounds Kelenic

The Mariners made several roster moves on Thursday, highlighted by reinstating Julio Rodriguez and optioning Jarred Kelenic to Triple-A.

The Mariners continue to get healthier, as evidenced by the recent return of Mitch Haniger, Diego Castillo and Dylan Moore. And fans received more good news on Thursday, in respect of their crown jewel Julio Rodriguez.

As announced by the Mariners, they have reinstated Rodriguez from the 10-day Injured List. He missed the last 11 games, while dealing with a right wrist contusion.

The 21-year-old is already arguably the best player on the ball club. His return will undoubtedly boost an offense which struggles to produce on a consistent basis.

While better than last season the offense still has work to do, as evidenced during the Yankees series. Entering Friday’s action, they rank 22nd in the Majors for runs scored, 25th for batting average and 17th in OPS.

On an individual basis, Rodriguez is well on his way to Al Rookie of the Year honors. For the Mariners specifically, he is tied for the team lead in home runs, one off the lead for RBI and first in WAR.

While facilitating the return of Rodriguez, there was a certain sense of irony in him essentially replacing Jarred Kelenic on the roster. The latter was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma, after another unsuccessful stint in the Majors.

In theory, Kelenic is close to his teammate in terms of potential and his play in the outfield has certainly been Major League-level worthy. His struggles with the bat continue however, as he had just two hits in nine games for a lowly batting average of .074.

As a result, questions will continue to circulate about the 23-year-old’s future in Seattle and the Majors as a whole. He still has the talent to succeed, but needs to resolve his mental block when it comes to hitting.

Swapping catchers

In addition, the Mariners activated Curt Casali from the 10-day Injured List following his recovery from a right oblique strain. He was acquired from the Giants on trade deadline day and is now in line to make his Mariners debut.

Casali was acquired to become the main backup catcher behind Cal Raleigh, with a focus on facing left-handed pitcing. On the season, he is batting .231, with four home runs, 14 RBI, 15 walks and 13 runs in 41 Major League games.

As a result of Casali’s addition to the Mariners roster, Luis Torrens has been designated for assignment. Coming just two days after his walk-off single to beat the Yankees, it highlights how unfair baseball can be at times.

Regardless, this move was always expected once Casali arrived from San Francisco. Torrens was out of minor league option years and the Mariners did not want to carry three catchers.

Torrens will likely now be placed on outright or release waivers within the next couple of days. Assuming he clears he will probably accept an assignment in Tacoma, to avoid forfeiting the remainder of his guaranteed salary.

What are your thoughts on Kelenic and how he fared during his latest stint in Seattle? Do you predict he will eventually prove himself with the Mariners, or are you concerned about his long-term career prospects at the Major League level? Let us know in the comments section below.

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