The Roster Doctor makes house call

Two weeks from today, the Mariners will play their regular-season opener against the Twins in Minneapolis.

As of this morning, there are 44 players in the big league camp competing for the 25 Opening Day roster spots. That means — my Butte Valley High School math teacher would insist — that there are 19 more players than openings.

Therefore, it’s time for another visit from the Roster Doctor for some Opening Day roster assistance.

The way the Doc sees it, the Mariners will open the season with 12 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders.

And so, without further adieu, here is the Doctor’s predicted Opening Day roster. And remember, don’t take this to the bank.

Pitchers (12)

Felix Hernandez
Erik Bedard
Carlos Silva
Jarrod Washburn
Ryan Rowland-Smith
Miguel Batista
David Aardsma
Roy Corcoran
Shawn Kelley
Mark Lowe
Cesar Jimenez
Garrett Olson

Comment: The Doctor expects right-hander Brandon Morrow to start the season on the 15-day disabled list and join Triple-A Tacoma, where he will build his arm strength to the point where he can throw 100 pitches on any given start. Also, the bullpen eventually will include right-handed closer Chad Cordero and left-handed setup man Tyler Johnson.

Catchers (2)

Kenji Johjima
Rob Johnson

Comment: With so many designated hitter candidates and Johnson having slightly better defensive skills, it appears that left-handed hitting Jeff Clement could be headed back to Tacoma.

Infielders (6)

Russell Branyan
Mike Sweeney
Jose Lopez
Yuniesky Betancourt
Ronny Cedeno
Adrian Beltre

Comment: Non-roster invitee Chris Shelton has had an outstanding camp and shown that he is a big-league hitter. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any room for him in Seattle.

Outfielders (5)

Ichiro Suzuki
Franklin Gutierrez
Ken Griffey Jr.
Endy Chavez
Wladimir Balentien

Comment: The Doctor believes it will come down to either Balentien or Mike Morse. Both are out of Minor League options and would have to clear waivers to be sent down. Balentien has more upside because he can play all three outfield positions a little better than Morse, who is a better overall hitter. The doctor (and myself) hope that if he doesn’t make it here, Morse gets a chance to play for a National League club. He would get far more at-bats and could become another Greg Dobbs.

Naturally, this is all predicated on the Mariners standing pat and not making any trades between now and Opening Day. GM Jack Zduriencik and his assistants are constantly on the lookout (and the phone) searching for ways to improve the team and a deal naturally would force the Roster Doctor to re-evaluate.

 — Jim Street



    Jim, you just ruined my day. What’s the point in inviting a guy like Shelton to spring training, if he can?t win a job no matter how great he plays? If you would have said, Shelton will hit .500 with power and a very good glove, will he make the team, and the answer is not a resounding yes, then why invite him? He could have won a job on a club that needed him. The man is hitting .500!!! Branyan and Sweeney are 1 year quick fixes…I don?t understand this. UGH!

  2. fredpark

    Jim: Yes, Shelton, and also the pitcher Jakubauskus. They were doing better than just about anybody. Also that OF named Wilson. He hit okay, had some pop, and at least one strong throw in from RF. I guess it gives them a camp and a cup of coffee, right?


    we gotta keep mikey morse… he has so much promise. last year was a big dissapointment after his great spring campaign. balentine just hasnt impressed me all that much. who cares if he can play all 3 OF positions… where did the mariners rank in OFFENSE last season? exaclty. my vote is for morse.

  4. fredpark

    Jim: Balentien is having a fine spring at the plate. And today Jakubauskas just made his case stronger. Hurry, April.


    Seriously they need to keep Morse and Shelton. While Chavez may be a better outfielder then Morse, offensively Morse has so much more potential it is ridiculous. Also if defense if your focus Balentien was the worst fielder I have ever seen last year and I don’t think he will ever bat over .250 or have an OBP over .300 at the major league level.
    As far as Shelton is concerned he has been a beast this Spring training and deserves to make the team. Even if you have to drop Cedeno (have Morse backup infielder and outfielder positions) there should be a way to fit him on the team. Historically he has a good average and OBP with some pop and not keeping him on the team would be a disaster.


    I think that Jackie Z should be entertaining trades for Beltre (a disappointment for the last 4 years, do we need to see more???) and Banyan (just maintaining a spot that should be occupied by a younger player – what was Zman thinking??). Trading or releasing Johjima (Mr. Pastball – 3yrs-$30 Million – what was Bavasi thinking?!?), Cedeno (4Ks per Walk), Balentien (No defense, 5Ks per Walk), and Silva (7 earned runs in 12.1 WBC innings). Then offer back the two Rule-5 players we picked up in the off-season (never will be anybodies); as they are just taking up 40-man roster space.
    Burke, Tui, Shelton, Sweeney, and Morse bring needed excitement and energy to this team. I would also consider adding 6ft-5in Randy Messenger on the active roster to replace Silva or Olsen. Robbie Johnson is proving that he deserves a shot much more than the Mr. “I played myself out of a sure spot on this team” Clement.
    Jamie is a great catcher with a better win-to-loss ratio than Kenji (and he will be a awesome influence to Robbie J). Tui and Shelton are proving they are major league ballplayers who will be around for quite awhile. Have always wanted Mr. Sweeney (hitting machine with great leadership) on this team. And Mikey Morse is an exciting player, who works hard, has shown he can hit, will play anywhere, and has a great team first attitude. Gotta love that in a player!
    These guys bring offense to the team and the baseball gods know that was severly lacking on last year’s edition of the M’s.
    Go Mariners!


    I think we’d be making a collossal mistake if we don’t put Morse on the team. I remember watching that catch that damaged his shoulder last year, and I thought that it was about time that we had a younger player that put that much effort into playing, and actually ENJOYED it at the same time!
    I think he has the spark and the bat to really make a difference in our season. I’ve been a lifelong fan, and this would be one of the biggest disappointments the organization has handed us in a long time.

  8. renaudtn

    Hello there Jim,
    Although I’m an Astros fan, I am also an Austin Peay State University alumni and a Shawn Kelley fan… I see with great pleasure, yet with disbelief that you have him on the 25 men roster?I figured he would start at AAA this year. What?s your thought behind this prediction ?


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