Mariners add outfielder for reasons(?)

Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto added a player to the Mariners' major-league roster today by claiming outfielder Phil Ervin off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.

Ervin was drafted by the Reds in the first round of the 2013 draft and steadily moved up their minor-league ladder despite unspectacular numbers at the lower levels. He seemed to put it all together after a season at Triple-A Louisville and spent the next two seasons, 2018 and 2019, up and down between Louisville and Cincinnati; his major-league batting line over that time was .262/.327/.436 with moderate power (14 home runs). He's been with the Reds throughout this abbreviated season and struggled, going 3-for-35 with six walks off the Reds' bench.

Why Dipoto felt this was necessary is a mystery. Seattle's outfield complement now consists of Kyle Lewis, Jake Fraley, and Ervin, with utility players Dee Gordon, Tim Lopes, and Sam Haggerty also seeing time in those spots. Mallex Smith and Braden Bishop are at the Tacoma satellite training camp and utilityman Dylan Moore is on the injured list. Ervin is not filling any immediate need nor any anticipated hole in next year's club (Mitch Haniger should be back for 2021).

The Mariners' roster has undergone a bit of churn during the last week because of the trades with San Diego and promotions from the satellite facility of pitchers Kendall Graveman and Seth Frankoff, and this move will require a corresponding removal of another player. The odd man out figures to be 1B/DH José Marmolejos, but that remains to be seen.

If Marmolejos is indeed the one to be sent off to the taxi squad, it would leave the M's with this active 28-man roster, likely beginning with Sunday's game, after Ervin makes his way here and goes through COVID intake testing (new arrivals in italics):

  • LH Pitchers: Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield, Nick Margevicius, Anthony Misiewicz, Aaron Fletcher.
  • RH Pitchers: Justin Dunn, Ljay Newsome, Kendall Graveman, Yoshihisa Hirano, Seth Frankoff, Yohan Ramírez, Joey Gerber, Brady Lail, Walker Lockett.
  • Catchers: Luis Torrens, Joe Odom.
  • Infielders: Evan White, Shed Long Jr., J.P. Crawford, Kyle Seager, Ty France.
  • Outfielders: Jake Fraley, Kyle Lewis, Phil Ervin.
  • IF/OF: Dee Gordon, Sam Haggerty, Tim Lopes.

Another curiosity from the transactions page today finds ex-Mariner Daniel Vogelbach claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays by the Milwaukee Brewers. Vogelbach replaces another ex-Mariner first baseman, Justin Smoak, whom Milwaukee designated for assignment after he hit just .186 in 33 games for the Brewers. Other underachieving ex-Mariners on Milwaukee's roster include outfielder Ben Gamel (.227), catcher Omar Narváez (.175), and corner infielder Ryon Healy (.167, not active).

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