The Mariners’ roster churn has continued as a means of getting Jeremy Bonderman on the roster, as the team DFA’d Vinnie Catricala, put Justin Smoak on the disabled list, shipped Francisco Martinez to Detroit for a PTBNL or cash, and watched Jesus Montero tear his meniscus, all but ending his time at catcher – as if there was any life left in that aging horse – and putting his immediate future in serious jeopardy.
Bonderman, for his part, got absolutely shelled literally one minute after Jason A. Churchill predicted as much at the Prospect Insider event I attended at Cheney Stadium Sunday morning. That doesn’t exactly make him Nostradamus, or even Mike Blowers, as the Bonderman that threw in the low-mid 90s had problems missing bats, so there’s no reason to believe that the mid-high 80s iteration of Bonderman would be any better. Bonderman is different than Brandon Maurer, who has been pretty bad this far into his young career. Some may have thought there was no way the Mariners could get worse production from their fifth starter. Those people may be proven wrong.
The good news is that Aaron Harang has been serviceable in his past two starts, and while his outing on Saturday hardly matched his complete game shutout from his last turn in the rotation, if the team gets a six innings and two runs allowed from him on average for the rest of the season, they’ll be quite satisfied. Harang has gone from a guy that was perhaps literally pitching for his roster spot two starts ago to a guy that will probably ebb and flow his way to a slightly below-average season.
The Francisco Martinez news comes as no shock. The Tigers have liked him for some time and he’s lost favor in Seattle. What looked like a promising bat, and perhaps the only real outfielder in the system never materialized into production worthy of much hype. Martinez is a unique athlete and I’ve been a pretty outspoken advocate of his potential, but if he is to develop it will not be in Seattle, obviously.
Vinnie Catricala’s DFA is quite a bit more shocking than the Martinez news. Catricala was in the top 10 of most Mariners prospect lists. He doesn’t really have a position though, and his bat has regressed since dominating in Double-A two years ago. Catricala struggled in Tacoma last year, and was demoted back to Double-A Jackson this year, where he had a tough time yet again.
There’s a good chance Catricala will clear waivers and be outrighted off the 40 man roster, so his time in Seattle may not be done, but this is a pretty crappy sign for his career.
The team put Smoak on the disabled list with a strained oblique to make room for Bonderman on the 25 man roster. Smoak has only one at-bat, a pinch hit attempt on Saturday since straining his oblique on May 25. His DL stint will be retroactive to Saturday, but it may not matter as oblique strains, like any core injury, tend to stick around for a while.
Montero’s knee injury comes at perhaps the worst possible time for him. He’s in the midst of a likely-unproductive-attempt at learning first base, and his bat has been terrible. It’s hard to think of any way he may be able to gain ground on what has been a largely disappointing career while rehabbing from this injury, and the chances of him returning to the bigs this season seem particularly unlikely.