The Mariners have optioned outfielder Mallex Smith to their alternate training site and recalled righty Art Warren, per a team announcement. The club also sent catcher Tom Murphy to the 45-day injured list, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. They now have an open spot on their 40-man roster as a result.
This continues a brutal year-plus for Smith, who had a terrific season as a Ray in 2018 but hasn’t come close to replicating that production in Seattle. In his second and last season with the Rays, Smith batted .296/.367/.406 (118 wRC+) with 40 stolen bases and 3.5 fWAR in 544 plate appearances. The Mariners surely expected similar success when they dealt catcher Mike Zunino to Tampa Bay for Smith in a five-player swap before 2019. Instead, while he did add 46 steals to his resume a year ago, Smith was a replacement-level who mustered a weak line of .227/.300/.335 (74 wRC+) over 566 trips to the plate.
This season has gone far worse for the 27-year-old Smith, evidenced by his .133/.170/.178 slash and minus-4 wRC+ in 47 PA. He wasn’t able to keep his job in right field, where the Mariners have been turning to Dylan Moore lately, but Smith will remain on their taxi squad.
As for Murphy, this continues to look as if it will be a lost year (or something close to it) for a player who enjoyed an outstanding 2019 campaign in Seattle. Murphy hasn’t been able to build on it because of the fractured metatarsal in his left foot that sent him to the 10-day IL on July 23. The Murphy-less Mariners have used a combination of Austin Nola, Joe Odom and Joe Hudson at catcher. Nola has been a bright spot as the starter, which has softened the blow of losing Murphy.