The Mariners announced that they have selected the contract of catcher Luis Torrens, with fellow backstop Brian O’Keefe placed on the paternity list in a corresponding move. There was already a vacancy on their 40-man roster.
Seattle was operating with Tom Murphy as its backup to Cal Raleigh for much of the year, but Murphy landed on the injured list in August due to a thumb issue, which bumped O’Keefe into the job. It was reported earlier today that Murphy’s injury, initially reported as a displaced tendon, was actually revealed to be a fracture once the swelling subsided. He’s been shut down from baseball activities for the next 10 days and may not be able to return to the team this year.
Now with O’Keefe leaving the club for a few days, that has bumped Torrens up to the big league club. Torrens was signed to a minor league deal in August to provide some extra depth after Murphy’s injury and O’Keefe’s promotion. He’s been wearing many jerseys this season, having signed a minor league deal with the Cubs in the offseason and cracking that club’s Opening Day roster. But he was designated for assignment about a month into the season and traded to the Orioles for cash. But he got the DFA treatment again less than a week later, eventually clearing waivers before electing free agency and signing another minors deal with the Nationals. After about six weeks without getting promoted to the big leagues, he opted out of that deal, which allowed him to sign with the M’s.
Amid all of those transactions, he hit .250/.318/.300 in 22 big league plate appearances and .244/.295/.442 in 95 trips to the plate in the minors. He’s generally considered to be a bat-first catcher, which he showed with the Mariners in 2021. He hit 15 home runs in 378 plate appearances that year but his 26.2% strikeout rate has ticked up since. It climbed to 30.1% last year and 36.4% this year, leading to his nomadic trip around the league.
He’ll now get another shot at the big leagues, which may be brief, depending on what happens when O’Keefe comes back. The latter has options and could be sent down to the minors in order to preserve depth, though Torrens is out of options. It’s also possible the club keeps three catchers for the stretch run, with expanded rosters giving them a bit more roster flexibility. If Torrens hangs onto his roster spot, he can be retained via arbitration for three more seasons.