The Mariners announced they’ve selected outfielder Marcus Wilson onto the big league roster. He’ll replace Taylor Trammell, who lands on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain. Seattle also optioned corner infielder Kevin Padlo to Triple-A Tacoma and recalled utilityman Sam Haggerty to add some defensive flexibility to the bench. In order to create a 40-man roster spot for Wilson, catcher Tom Murphy has been transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day IL.
Wilson, 25, would make his major league debut if he gets into a game. He’s spent time on a 40-man roster before, having been added to the Red Sox’s roster to keep him from being taken in the 2019 Rule 5 draft. Wilson spent a year and a half on optional assignment to the minor leagues before being designated for assignment by Boston at last summer’s trade deadline. Seattle grabbed him off waivers and kept him in Triple-A for the remainder of last season.
The California native struggled during his initial two months in the M’s organization, leading Seattle to take him off the 40-man at the end of last year. Wilson passed through waivers unclaimed and remained in the system, and he’s spent this season in Tacoma. Through 209 plate appearances, he owns a .209/.336/.469 line with 12 home runs and eight stolen bases. As he has for most of his minor league tenure, Wilson has shown some power, speed and excellent strike zone awareness to work walks at a nearly 15% clip. He’s paired those promising tools with alarming swing-and-miss concerns throughout his time in pro ball, though, and he’s again punched out in more than a third of his plate appearances with Tacoma this season.
Wilson has experience at all three outfield spots but has spent much of this season in right field. That’s where Trammell has suited up for much of the year, putting together a solid .235/.323/.457 showing over 32 games. Unfortunately, the 24-year-old went down with a hamstring strain during last night’s contest. It’s the second time that’s happened to Trammell, as he spent around six weeks on the minor league IL earlier this season with the same injury. Whether his current strain is as severe as the one he suffered in April isn’t clear, but he’ll at least need some time on the shelf.
The Mariners figure to rely on some combination of Justin Upton, Dylan Moore and Wilson to cover right field for the next few weeks. Opening Day right fielder Mitch Haniger has been out since late April after suffering a high ankle sprain. He’s recently begun baseball activities but has yet to embark on a minor league rehab assignment; Haniger has maintained he hopes to be back in the big leagues around the All-Star Break.
Seattle could’ve elected to recall Jarred Kelenic, who was optioned six weeks ago at the time the M’s brought Trammell up. Kelenic has responded with a strong .295/.340/.576 showing in Tacoma, but he’s struck out at an alarming 27.7% rate while only walking at a 5.7% clip. The organization clearly feels the 22-year-old would be better served with continued run against high minors pitching — he’d had only 30 career Triple-A games entering this season — rather than returning to the majors to hold down right field until Haniger is healthy.
Murphy, meanwhile, has been out of action since May 7 after dislocating his left shoulder attempting a tag at home plate. He later suffered a setback, and Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times relayed last week that he’ll require season-ending surgery. That makes today’s IL transfer nothing more than a formality.
It’s an obviously frustrating end to the year for Murphy, who only managed to appear in 14 games. The 31-year-old had performed very well in that limited stretch and looked as if he’d reemerged as a viable #1 option for the Mariners. Murphy had a stellar .273/.324/.535 showing while suiting up in just under half the team’s games in 2019, but he missed the entire following season after fracturing his left foot. Murphy returned last season but managed a less inspiring .202/.304/.350 showing through 325 trips to the plate.
Murphy’s efforts at a bounceback season are cut short by the shoulder issue. He’s playing this season on a $1.575MM salary after avoiding arbitration. The Mariners can keep him around via that process for a final time in 2023. Whether they’ll do so figures to depend on the long-term prognosis for his recovery. Murphy’s abbreviated season won’t earn him much of a raise relative to this year’s modest salary, but it’s possible Seattle looks for a new starting catcher next winter given his recent injury woes.