The Mariners announced that they have selected the contract of catcher Brian O’Keefe. He will take the active roster spot of fellow backstop Tom Murphy, who has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a left thumb sprain, retroactive to August 14. The club already had a vacancy on the 40-man roster.
O’Keefe, 30, gets called to join the Mariners for the second time in his career. He was selected in late September last year, getting into two games before being non-tendered in the offseason and re-signing on a minor league pact. He’s spent all of this year with Triple-A Tacoma in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Despite hitting 22 home runs and drawing walks in 11.1% of his plate appearances, his .240/.325/.511 batting line amounts to a wRC+ of just 91.
He will slide into the backup role behind starter Cal Raleigh, taking the place of Murphy, who has an uncertain timeline but will be officially out for more than a week. Murphy has generally been an above-average hitter in his career but health has been an impediment. He’s never reached 100 games played in a season and was limited by a dislocated shoulder to just 14 contests last year. He’s played 47 games this year, hitting a huge .290/.335/.538 for a wRC+ of 142, but will now have to put that strong season on pause.
Dating back to his debut in 2015, Murphy is a career .244/.313/.456 hitter, which translates to a wRC+ of 106. Despite almost a decade in the bigs at this point, he’s played just 315 games but has generally succeeded when on the field. He’s set to reach free agency at season’s end.