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Sports >  Seattle Mariners

Did Jarred Kelenic’s torrid start to his Triple-A season earn him a call-up to the Mariners?

UPDATED: Mon., May 10, 2021

Tacoma’s Jarred Kelenic, right, bumps arms with teammate Donovan Walton after Kelenic’s second home run Thursday in the Rainiers’ season opener against visiting El Paso at Cheney Stadium.  (Dean Rutz/Seattle Times)
Tacoma’s Jarred Kelenic, right, bumps arms with teammate Donovan Walton after Kelenic’s second home run Thursday in the Rainiers’ season opener against visiting El Paso at Cheney Stadium. (Dean Rutz/Seattle Times)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

Contrary to a tweet from a fake Twitter feed posing as the Mariners’ PR account, outfielder Jarred Kelenic and pitcher Logan Gilbert were not called up to the Mariners on Monday.

The tweet fooled plenty of people because they either want the two prized prospects to join the team or think the Mariners could use the infusion of young talent to help a sagging offense and an injury-riddled rotation.

Now, if the person intent on trolling M’s fans and media had tweeted that Kelenic was being called up Thursday they might have stumbled into a scoop.

Because Monday evening, just 15 minutes after Kelenic led off the bottom of the first with a crisp single for Triple-A Tacoma at Cheney Stadium, ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted that based on an MLB source, the Mariners were going call-up Kelenic for Thursday’s game against Cleveland at T-Mobile Park.

Sources within the Mariners would not confirm the report while Kelenic’s agent, Brodie Scoffield, didn’t respond to text messages.

And this wasn’t a childish ruse to see how many people it could fool.

The decision to call up Kelenic for Thursday’s game does fit a logical timeline. Where the bogus tweet missed the standard of logic is with the Mariners having the day off Monday.

While teams might make the decision to call up a player on an off day, they never announce it until the day of the game. Why make the roster move official early and then run the risk of a fluke incident/injury occurring before the first pitch? Roster moves to call up starting pitchers always are made the day of the start to maximize roster space in the days before.

Also, the Mariners are in Los Angeles, which means Kelenic and Gilbert would have to take a commercial flight to join the team. Because the Mariners haven’t reached the 85% threshold of Tier 1 individuals being full vaccinated, and likely won’t for the foreseeable future, Kelenic and Gilbert would have to redo full intake protocols, which includes a period of quarantine of 48 hours or longer.

Teams also rarely call up top prospects on the road to make their debut. They wait for a homestand to provide familiarity and comfort to the player and maximize fan interest and ticket sales. And with the anticipation and excitement of Kelenic and Gilbert making their eventual debut raging throughout the fan base, the Mariners would want to take advantage of that situation.

Kelenic was batting leadoff and starting in center field for the Tacoma game Monday night against El Paso at Cheney Stadium while Gilbert hung out with pitchers and did his midweek work before the game in preparation for his next start, which presumably would come in Salt Lake City on either Thursday or Friday. The Mariners could choose to bring him up and make that start in Seattle instead, avoiding yet another bullpen start.

But general manager Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais and director of player development Andy McKay have said it often that they want Gilbert to be pitching in MLB games at the end of the 2021 season and not shut down due to early usage and his innings limit. The easiest way to control that usage and those innings is in the minor leagues where the game’s outcome is secondary to the player’s development.

Given the status of the Mariners’ lackluster and inconsistent offense, which has led to the team being ranked at or near the bottom of every major statistical category other than home runs, the eventual addition of Kelenic was a given. With so much success in his Triple-A first series, Kelenic could have accelerated expected arrival which initially seem to be projected for the homestand that started on May 27.

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