The Mariners announced they have selected an outfielder Mark Wilson on the big league squad. He will replace Taylor Trammel, who ends up on the 10-day injured list with a right thigh strain. Seattle also chose the corner infielder Kevin Padlo to Triple-A Tacoma and recalled Utilityman Sam Haggerty to give the bank some defensive flexibility. To create a 40-man roster spot for Wilson, Catcher Tom Murphy was 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 has previously spent time in a 40-man roster after being included in the Red Sox roster to avoid being included in the 2019 Rule 5 draft. Wilson spent a year and a half on optional minor league duty before being picked up by Boston at the trade deadline last summer. Seattle got him from waivers and kept him in Triple-A for the rest of last season.
The California native struggled during his first two months in the M’s organization, leading to Seattle’s removal of him from the 40-man team late last year. Wilson has passed waivers unclaimed and stayed in the system, and he has spent this season at Tacoma. Through 209 plate appearances, he owns a .209/.336/.469 line with 12 home runs and eight stolen bases. As has been the case for most of his minor league tenure, Wilson has shown some strength, speed and excellent strike zone awareness to work walks at close to a 15% clip. However, he has paired those promising tools with alarming swing-and-miss concerns throughout his time in pro ball, and he has again punched out with Tacoma in more than a third of his plate appearances this season.
Wilson has experience at all three outfield spots but has spent much of this season in right field. This is where Trammell has held up well for most of the year, putting together a solid .235/.323/.457 over 32 games. Unfortunately, the 24-year-old suffered a thigh strain during last night’s competition. It is the second time it has happened to Trammell as he spent around six weeks in Minor League IL earlier this season with the same injury. Whether his current strain is as severe as the one he suffered in April is not clear, but he will at least need some time on the shelf.
The Mariners character relies on a combination of Justin Upton, Dylan Moore and Wilson to cover right field for the next few weeks. Right fielder on opening day Mitch Haniger has been out since late April after sustaining a severe sprained ankle. He has recently started baseball activities but has yet to start a minor league rehab assignment. Haniger has claimed he hopes to be back in the big leagues by the all-star break.
Seattle could have opted for a recall Jarred Kelenic, who was elected six weeks ago when the M’s brought up Trammell. Kelenic responded with a strong .295/.340/.576 in Tacoma, but he slammed at an alarming 27.7% rate while only going at a 5.7% clip. The organization clearly thinks the 22-year-old would be better served continuing to run against high minor pitching – he had only had 30 career Triple A games this season – than returning to the majors to up Haniger holding right field is healthy.
Murphy, on the other hand, has been out since May 7 after dislocating his left shoulder in a tag-at-home-plate attempt. He later suffered a setback, and Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times shared last week that he will need surgery at the end of the season. Today’s IL transfer is 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 at that limited stretch and looked like he’d become a viable No. 1 option again for the Mariners. Murphy had an excellent .273/.324/.535 in just under half of the team’s games in 2019, but missed the entire following season after breaking his left foot. Murphy returned last season but managed a less than inspiring .202/.304/.350, evidenced by 325 trips to the plate.
Murphy’s efforts at a bounceback season are cut short by the shoulder problem. He’s playing with a salary of $1.575 million this season after avoiding arbitration. The Mariners may keep him via this process one last time in 2023. Whether they do so depends on the long-term prognosis for his recovery. Murphy’s shortened season won’t earn him a huge raise compared to his modest salary this year, but it’s possible Seattle may be looking for a new starting catcher next winter given their recent injury woes.