2:33pm: The move is now official. Moore was placed on the 10-day IL and righty Chasen Bradford was optioned to create roster space.
10:49am: The Mariners are promoting young infielders J.P. Crawford and Shed Long in advance of this weekend’s series against the Red Sox, per Corey Brock of The Athletic (Twitter link). Both players are on their way to Boston to join the club. The pair of promotions comes after Dee Gordon exited Thursday’s game against the Yankees after taking a fastball to the wrist. Infielder Dylan Moore, too, is being hampered by a wrist injury and had been slated to undergo testing to determine the root of the issue.
Both Crawford and Long are considered potential long-term pieces in the Seattle infield. Each arrived in the organization this winter as part of general manger Jerry Dipoto’s whirlwind of trades to “re-imagine” the roster moving forward. Crawford, the 16th pick in the 2013 draft, was long considered to be the Phillies’ shortstop of the future and for years ranked among the game’s top 20 overall prospects. However, he was the key piece acquired by Seattle in the trade that sent Jean Segura to Philadelphia, and it’s now the Mariners who hope that Crawford can lock down the shortstop position for the foreseeable future. He’s not ranked among the organization’s top prospects due to the fact that he has too much big league service time to technically be considered a prospect anymore, but the organization nevertheless views him as a vital long-term cog.
Long, meanwhile, will be making his MLB debut the first time he gets into a game and is widely considered to be one of Seattle’s best farmhands. The Mariners thought highly enough of Long to trade last season’s second-round pick, outfielder Josh Stowers, to the Yankees in a straight-up swap for him back in January — barely seven months after the draft. The Yankees had just acquired Long as part of the trade that sent Sonny Gray to Cincinnati, though the Mariners’ interest in Long predated that three-team swap. He’s played second base, third base and left field with the Mariners organization this season, though second base or left field seems to be his likeliest long-term home. Long draws praise for above-average power and speed, and he has a track record of drawing walks at a healthy clip to help offset a strikeout rate in the 22 to 23 percent range.
To this point in the season, the 24-year-old Crawford is hitting .319/.420/.457 with three homers, seven doubles, three steals and nearly as many walks (19) as strikeouts (25) through 138 plate appearances in Triple-A Tacoma. The 23-year-old Long, meanwhile, is hitting .276/.350/.504 with five homers, 10 doubles and four triples while posting 14 walks against 31 strikeouts (also in 138 plate appearances).
The arrival of both well-regarded young infielders likely signals a trip to the injured list for Gordon and/or Moore, and given how important they are to the Mariners’ future, both will probably be afforded everyday at-bats. That’ll likely cut into the playing time of Tim Beckham, although the veteran infielder’s bat has predictably cooled after a torrid start to the season. Beckham hit .410/.477/.846 through his first 10 games but has turned in just a .206/.260/.361 batting line with a 35.5 percent strikeout rate in 104 plate appearances since.
From a service-time vantage point, even if both infielders stay in the Majors from this point forth, the Mariners will control Crawford for five years beyond the 2019 campaign and control Long for six. Crawford came into the season with a year and 20 days of MLB service under his belt, but there are only 144 days remaining in the 2019 campaign, so he can’t reach the 172-day mark he’d need to cross the threshold into two full years of Major League service time. The promotion could very well put both players on track for Super Two status, which would make them both eligible for arbitration four times rather than three — Crawford beginning after the 2020 season and Long beginning after the 2021 campaign. All of that, of course, could change depending on whether either is optioned back to Tacoma.