The Mariners will include outfield prospect Taylor Trammell on their Opening Day roster, manager Scott Servais told Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (all Twitter links) and other reporters. Trammell hasn’t only just made the roster, but Servais that Trammell will be the starter in either left field or center field depending on the health of Kyle Lewis. Another notable Seattle prospect in Justin Dunn has won the sixth starter job, Servais said, while Rule 5 Draft pick Will Vest has also made the team and will work out of the Mariners’ bullpen.
The 35th overall pick of the 2016 draft, Trammell is set to make his Major League debut after having already been part of two huge trades in his young professional career. Trammell was originally drafted by the Reds, who sent him to the Padres as the only piece San Diego received in their end of the three-team blockbuster in July 2019 that saw Trevor Bauer go from Cleveland to Cincinnati, while such notables as Franmil Reyes, Logan Allen, and Yasiel Puig were part of the five-player package acquired by the Indians. After a little more than a year in San Diego’s farm system, Trammell was on the move again, dealt with Ty France, Luis Torrens, and Andres Munoz to the Mariners for Austin Nola, Austin Adams, and Dan Altavilla.
It’s naturally unusual to see a top-100 prospect dealt twice in as many years before he even begins his MLB career, and it could speak to why Trammell has fallen closer to the back-end of minor league talent rankings over the last four years (he topped out at #11 for Baseball America and #16th for MLB.com, both prior to the 2019 season). Trammell has hit a solid but unspectacular .270/.363/.406 over 1799 plate appearances in the minors, but only a .234/.340/.349 slash over 514 PA at Double-A. According to MLB Pipeline’s scouting report, Trammell “got a little pull-happy in 2019, which led to more swing and miss, but he still drew a ton of walks and showed off premium bat speed.”
Trammell put in work to correct his swing at the Padres’ and Mariners’ alternate training sites in 2020, and clearly Seattle was impressed enough to allow Trammell to bypass Triple-A and directly suit up in the big leagues. While Lewis’ injury was surely a factor in the Mariners’ decision, Trammell was already gaining a lot of buzz to make the team even prior to Lewis’ collision with the wall, and was seen as a potential starter in left field. While scouts are mixed as to whether or not Trammell could be a long-term center field option, he can surely handle the position on a short-term basis while Lewis recovers.
The other interesting wrinkle to the Mariners’ decision is that if Trammell sticks on the active roster, he’ll gain enough service time to reach free agency after the 2026 season, whereas holding Trammell back for a few extra weeks would allow the M’s to get a seventh year of team control over his services. Naturally, service time is a particularly contentious issue in Seattle in the wake of comments made by former president/CEO Kevin Mather during a rotary club speech, as he openly spoke about keeping such youngsters as Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert in the minors long enough this year to delay their service clocks. Trammell was indirectly referenced by Mather as well, when he noted that though the Mariners had several of their top prospects working out at the alternate training site last season, “there was no chance you were going to see these young players at T-Mobile Park. We weren’t going to put them on the 40-man roster, we weren’t going to start the service time clock.”
Dunn already has a year and 20 days of service time accumulated over two seasons and 52 1/3 innings for the Mariners, and the righty will now enter Seattle’s rotation for the second straight year. A highly-touted prospect in his own right, Dunn and Kelenic were the prizes of the trade package received from the Mets in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade. Dunn has a 4.13 ERA as a Major Leaguer, though with almost as many walks (31) as strikeouts (38), Dunn’s advanced metrics indicate that some good fortune went into that respectable ERA.
Vest was a 12th-round pick for the Tigers in the 2017 draft, and the left-hander has a 3.88 ERA and 25.6% strikeout rate over 132 1/3 innings in Detroit’s farm system, working exclusively as a reliever. As per the provisions of the Rule 5 Draft, Vest must remain on the Mariners’ big league roster for the entire season in order for Seattle to permanently retain his rights; otherwise, the M’s must offer him back to the Tigers for $50K.