How The Mariners Will Spin The Jarred Kelenic Promotion
Not that long ago, I defended the Seattle Mariners’ treatment of the best prospect. Jarred Kelenic. At the time, I hinted that no one outside the organization really knew if Kelenic was ready for MLB. Now, with just six games and 29 home plate appearances in his AAA career, the Mariners have reportedly decided the 21-year-old is ready for major league action.
OF Baseball’s No.3 Jarred Kelenic is expected to be called up by the Mariners on Thursday, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.
While things can obviously change, the plan is to promote Kelenic for Seattle’s Home Series opener against Cleveland.
– Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 11, 2021
Naturally, Mariners fans are in turmoil. Who can blame them? Several points of sale for evaluating prospects, including Prospect Insider, rate Kelenic as one of the best young baseball players. And let’s face it, the club’s spitting offense needs help. Maybe the left-handed hitter can provide the punch that the formation needs.
But there is more.
Ryan divish from the Seattle Times has breaking news. The Mariners’ best prospect – Logan gilbert – will also make his MLB debut on the same night as Kelenic. The arrival of the two players will certainly delight fans of the team.
Logan Gilbert will start Thursday night against Cleveland to open the homestand.
– Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) May 12, 2021
As exciting as it is to see Kelenic and Gilbert in the majors, the timing of Kelenic’s promotion strikes me as odd. Why didn’t the Mariners promote their best prospect early in the MLB season? Gilbert’s delay makes sense to me. After all, he didn’t pitch a competition last year, and the team conservatively handled the workload of all starting pitchers. But why hold back Kelenic?
Yes, I’m aware of the handling of uptime and how former CEO Kevin Mather implied in january the Mariners were improperly influencing the start dates of their top prospects, including Kelenic. I also know the History of USA Today chronicle Kelenic’s grievances with the team and the GM Jerry dipoto. Yet these public relations disasters did not force management to include the Wisconsin native on the opening day list. So what has changed after just six AAA games against the same team?
Obviously, only the team knows how they came to the decision to promote Kelenic this week. Having said that, I consider myself a JeDi whisperer. So I’m going to attempt to predict how Dipoto and his surrogates turn the timing of Kelenic’s promotion to the media and fans.
The answer to the “why now” question will be too simple. The Mariners will suggest Kelenic’s full MLB and MiLB Spring Training playing time and his brief stint at Tacoma provided the readiness of an extremely talented player like Kelenic is MLB ready. Additionally, team officials will note that the attack really needs help.
How did I arrive at this prediction? With great ease, in fact. Dipoto subtly laid the groundwork for this post during the most recent episode of The Wheelhouse podcast hosted by broadcasters Aaron Goldsmith and Gary Hill Jr.
Dipoto told listeners that the organization’s top prospects played a 10-game “bridge” schedule against another organization’s top young players in a cooperative league until the start of Camp MiLB. The goal was to get Kelenic, Cal Raleigh, Julio Rodriguez and the other top minor leaguers 30-40 more plate appearances rather than being inactive until camp starts. The sixth-year general manager noted that the batters had racked up 100 to 125 home plate appearances in April before the start of the regular season.
Using JeDi math, Kelenic has nearly 180 appearances on the board this year, including spring training and AAA games. It’s probably enough for Dipoto and his team to rationalize that the young outfielder’s performance in Arizona and Tacoma told them he was ready for prime time.
Regarding the offensive aid, JeDi dropped a hint when speaking to 710 ESPN Seattle Danny and Gallant Last week. While referring to a possible Kelenic promotion, Dipoto said, “It’s also to a degree that it could add a spark to our attack if we give him that opportunity.”
Is my prediction of how the Mariners will broadcast the Kelenic news? We’ll find out in the next 24 hours. But does it really matter why the organization is promoting Kelenic now?
Not for me.
Honestly, we may never know the real story behind the squad timeline for Kelenic and all the other players in his farming system and I’m okay with that. Yes, it’s interesting and cool to learn how prospects become great players. But that’s the Mariners business to manage. It is our choice whether or not to support this company.
Personally, I am delighted with the news of the imminent arrival of Kelenic and Gilbert. Chat about whatever you want on their promotions calendar. I prefer to focus on the fact that the Mariners’ next phase of rebuilding has begun.
It was time.
My Oh My …
Last updated on May 12, 2021 by Luke arkins
Image courtesy of Darron Cummings / AP Images
Luke is from New York, who grew up as a fan of the Mets. After the US Navy moved him to the Pacific Northwest in 2009, he decided to settle in Seattle. In 2014, Luke joined the Prospect Insider team. During baseball season, he is often found observing the home team at T-Mobile Park. You can follow Luke on Twitter @luke_arkins