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Quick Look at September Call-Ups

Jeff ClementWith September comes expanded rosters, and the Mariners plan to take advantage of it. Yesterday, they announced that they planned to call up a total of 10 players. Five of them are part of the ballclub now, and four more will join it when the AAA season ends on Tuesday (John Parrish was supposed to be called up today but wasn't, so it is unclear what the Mariners are planning to do with him now). Here is a quick look at the players the Mariners are adding, and the impact of the moves:

  • UT Mike Morse (69) - Morse had a knee injury that kept him out for a couple months, but he when healthy he was productive. For as big of a man as he is, he still hasn't flashed much power, though he has shown the ability to hit for average both in AAA and the major leagues. Ultimately, Morse's greatest value to the team is his defensive versatility, and he'll likely see a few at-bats as a right-handed pinch-hitter.
  • OF Charlton Jimerson (56) - With 25 home runs and 35 steals in the minors this year, Jimerson possesses a nice power/speed combo. However, his power is wiped out by an obscene number of strikeouts - 139 in 387 at-bats to be exact. He'll be the designated pinch-runner, a role that he should thrive in.
  • C Rob Johnson (62/73) - The Mariners have long been high on Johnson, and though he likely won't play much he should make his major league debut sometime in the next month. Johnson's strength is his defense, and his hitting has developed some. Still, he will be the third-string catcher, so he will see little playing time.
  • LHP Ryan Feierabend (59/67) - Since struggling mightily in the majors, Ryan has settled down and ended up having a solid year in Tacoma. Still, he's not ready for a pivotal role on this team. He should take over mop-up duty in any potential blow-outs down the stretch, freeing up Ryan Rowland-Smith for more important innings.
  • RHP Sean White (68) - The Rule Five draft pick is back, and he is the biggest addition of the guys called up today. White will join Feierabend as a mop-up man, though he is a better pitcher than Ryan right now. The two of them should ease concerns of burning out the bullpen.
  • OF Jeremy Reed (68) - To a certain extent Reed has re-discovered the stroke that once made him a top prospect. He should be a good left-handed pinch-hitting option off the bench. McLaren may also use him as a defensive replacement as well, but that would be a mistake if he picks Reed over Adam Jones in any situation.
  • OF Wladimir Balentien (71/83) - It will be interesting to see what the Mariners do with Balentien once he is called up. Wladimir is yet to make his major league debut, but he is the best player the M's are calling up. Balentien's greatest strength is a powerful bat, though he also has underrated speed. He has started to tap into his power potential thanks to remarkably improved plate discipline the last couple years. The odds are Wladimir will get very little playing time, though he should share pinch-hitting duties with fellow call-ups Mike Morse and Jeremy Reed.
  • INF Nick Green (69) - Green has been tearing the cover off the ball ever since joining the Rainiers. Nothing about the rest of his career says he can maintain the type of hitting he has shown, but maybe this is just his year. Green can play around the infield, though his best position is second base, which has value on this team given Jose Lopez's struggles.
  • C Jeff Clement (71/83) - Clement might be even more interesting to watch than Balentien in September. The former first-round pick is yet to make his major league debut, but after a slow start he really heated up. Thanks to his patience and power, he should see some pinch-hitting opportunities. Clement bats left-handed, but he absolutely crushed left-handed pitching. Hopefully McLaren realizes that he is much better against southpaws.
  • LHP John Parrish (64) - When the Mariners traded for Parrish he had a 70 rating, but his rating has since dropped significantly despite very few innings pitched. He was supposed to be called up today, so I'm simply guessing that he will eventually be called up. Parrish should not be anything other than another mop-up man, but he is a better pitcher than he has shown in Seattle.
To make room on the 40-man roster for a number of these players, the following players had to be removed from it. They all are still part of the Mariners organization, but there is now a chance they could lose all of them (to put a complicated process way too simply):
  • OF Mike Wilson (44/63) - Wilson got off to a horrible start, and though he had a much better second half, it still wasn't that impressive. He has great power, but struggles to make contact.
  • INF Oswaldo Navarro (57/67) - Oswaldo looks like a light-hitting, decent-fielding shortstop at best. I don't know how he ever got on the 40-man roster to begin with.
  • C Rene Rivera (41/59) - All I'll say is that I'm very glad the Mariners have Jamie Burke, because another year of watching Rene Rivera flail at the baseball like he's blindfolded was going to be painful. Rivera has inexplicably regressed as a hitter the last couple years to the point that he is not a viable option in the majors. How he stayed on the 40-man this long nobody will ever know.
  • LHP Jake Woods (50) - After a pleasantly surprising season out of the bullpen last year, Woods has had a not-so-pleasantly surprising disaster of a season in Tacoma. Woods probably is not as good as he pitched in 2006, but also not as bad as he was this season. Still, given all the lefties the Mariners have on the roster, this was a logical move.
The Mariners September call-ups could actually be major difference-makers down the stretch. For the most part they won't be pitching or hitting in crucial situations, but they will allow McLaren to rest important contributors in non-crucial situations. It will allow important players to have days off that they otherwise would not get, especially in the bullpen. That will be especially valuable given how few days off the Mariners have the rest of the way.