The Mariners have claimed infielder Kevin Padlo off waivers from the Rays, per a club announcement. Right-hander Justin Dunn was moved from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Dunn has already spent 63 days on the IL, so the shift to the 60-day IL is an entirely procedural move.
Padlo, 25, made his big league debut with the Rays in 2021 but went just 1-for-12 in 14 plate appearances before being optioned back down to Triple-A Durham, where he’s struggled to a .174/.270/.379 batting line in 282 plate appearances on the season.
While those numbers are obviously unsightly, Padlo entered the year ranked comfortably within the middle ranks of a deep Rays’ farm system, sitting 25th at FanGraphs and 20th at Baseball America. Huge raw power from the right side of the plate is Padlo’s calling card, and he had it on full display in the 2019 season when he posted a combined .265/.389/.538 batting line with 21 home runs and 31 doubles. Most of Padlo’s 2019 season was spent in a very pitcher-friendly Double-A setting, but upon being bumped to Triple-A Durham, he ripped nine home runs in just 145 plate appearances and batted .290/.400/.595.
Third base has been Padlo’s primary position in the minors, though there’s some skepticism as to whether he can remain there. He’s also spent time at first base, and FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen suggests that his eventual role could be a righty-hitting role player who bounces between all four corner spots and designated hitter.
Padlo has some strikeout issues, with a career 25.4 percent mark in the minors and a 33 percent mark in 2021, but he’s also walked in 13.6 percent of his career plate appearances. He has a minor league option remaining beyond the current season, so he can give the M’s some corner depth for the next year-plus as he looks to right the ship in the upper minors.