APRIL 27: Martin has been outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers, Divish was among those to tweet. He’ll remain under Seattle’s control, then, though bringing him back to the active roster would require a 40-man move.
APRIL 23: The Mariners have designated outfielder Leonys Martin for assignment, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). First baseman Dan Vogelbach and right-hander Chris Heston have been called up from Triple-A Tacoma in corresponding moves, while righty Chase De Jong has been sent down to Triple-A.
[Updated Mariners depth chart at Roster Resource]
Martin is off to a very rough start this season, hitting just .111/.172/.130 through his first 58 plate appearances. This continues Martin’s slump from the last two months of the 2016 season, which put a damper on an overall productive first season in Seattle. Martin generated 2.2 fWAR on the heels of a .247/.306/.378 campaign in 576 PA, even if his base-running and defense contributed more to his value than his hitting.
Even Martin’s vaunted center field glove took a hit in 2016, however — he managed just a +4.2 UZR/150 and -2 Defensive Runs Saved, very middling numbers for a player who posted 45 DRS from 2013-15. Between this step backwards on defense, continued issues at the plate and a desire to give more playing time to Jarrod Dyson in center, it makes sense why Seattle would seek to move on from Martin.
The Mariners avoided arbitration with Martin by agreeing to a one-year, $4.85MM deal with him for the 2017 season, a sizeable enough salary that it seems unlikely another team would claim Martin on waivers. A trade could be a possibility; this is just my speculation, but the Tigers, Giants, and Pirates stand out as teams that could potentially use a left-handed hitting outfielder capable of playing center.
Vogelbach was originally ticketed for a timeshare at first base this season before a somewhat surprising demotion to Triple-A during Spring Training. With Danny Valencia struggling, however, it opens the door for Vogelbach to get some at-bats against right-handed pitching. The Mariners are also likely looking for ways to keep the hot-hitting Taylor Motter in the lineup with Jean Segura returning shortly from the DL, so Motter could factor into the mix at first or in left field (if Guillermo Heredia gets some time in center field).