9:24pm: Dipoto announced that Murphy has a broken bone in his foot, Jen Mueller of ROOT Sports reports. The team’s optimistic it won’t take long for Murphy to heal, but he’ll start the season on the injured list.
7:15pm: The Mariners are in the process of finalizing their 30-man roster for their season opener, but it appears they’ll begin without a couple notable players, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports (Twitter links: 1, 2, 3).
Reliever Austin Adams won’t be available when the Mariners’ season kicks off Friday, as he’s still working back from the right knee surgery he underwent last September. Meanwhile, catcher Tom Murphy is battling a left ankle problem that hasn’t responded well to treatment, and the Mariners won’t know until Thursday morning whether he or reliever Bryan Shaw (whom they agreed to sign this week) will be immediately available. As Divish writes, Shaw has to pass coronavirus intake requirements before he’s able to join the team.
Both Adams and Murphy proved to be worthwhile scrapheap pickups for the Mariners last year. The club landed the right-handed Adams in a minor trade with the Nationals, and as MLBTR’s Steve Adams explained in April, it paid dividends. In his first season in Seattle, Adams posted a 3.77 ERA/2.96 FIP with 14.8 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 31 innings.
Murphy, acquired from the Giants heading into last season, also emerged as a shrewd addition, as MLBTR’s Anthony Franco noted this past spring. He slashed an impressive .273/.324/.535 with 18 home runs and 3.2 fWAR in just 76 games and 281 plate appearances while backing up Omar Narvaez. Now that Narvaez is a member of the Brewers, Murphy’s in line to get the lion’s share of playing time at catcher, but that will obviously depend on his health.
If Murphy’s unable to start the season, the Mariners are likely to turn to Austin Nola and Joe Hudson behind the plate, but Divish reports that general manager Jerry Dipoto is keeping an eye on the free-agent and waiver markets for outside help. Russell Martin is easily the best free-agent backstop available, but there’s no word on whether the M’s are interested in him or if the 37-year-old wants to play this season.