Mariners Japan Series Roster Set

The club filled their three empty 40-man roster spots and sent a few players to the minor leagues to get set for Oakland.

The Seattle Mariners had their second roster deadline in the last week yesterday and made a few moves to get from 30 players to 28 on the big league roster. The club added infielder Munenori Kawasaki, 5th starter Kevin Millwood and young right-hander Erasmo Ramirez to the 40-man roster and optioned outfielder Carlos Peguero and right-hander Chance Ruffin to the minor leagues. They also reassigned catcher Guillermo Quiroz to minor league camp, and Quiroz is likely to be in Tacoma this coming year.

That means that they kept Rule 5 lefty Lucas Luetge, but really once he flew to Japan it became pretty obvious that the club liked him enough to keep him on the roster rather than offer him back to the Brewers. Luetge and Ramirez count as the only surprises on this list thus far, and really once Kuo and Camp were let go earlier this month, both pitchers' odds increased greatly.

But Ramirez's big league stay may not be long. The club still has another roster to finalize. That is the regular season 25-man roster after Spring Training officially wraps up, after they return from Japan and play a few more Cactus League games. That is three more roster spots which they need to trim. With Luetge and George Sherrill on the staff, the club figures to option either Charlie Furbush or Steve Delabar to Tacoma as they won't need eight relievers. Alex Liddi also figures to be optioned out. The third player will be either Ramirez or possibly right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma.

Iwakuma and fellow starters Hector Noesi and Millwood are on the 28-man roster as the three ineligible players for the A's series in Japan. But Hisashi wrapped up a less-than-impressive spring by getting knocked around pretty hard by Yomiuri the other day. Eric Wedge has said that they were hoping for better from him, and he's also hinted that the club doesn't feel he is at full strength. So we could look for Iwakuma to possibly hit the disabled list or stay behind in Arizona when the season opens while Ramirez fills the long role out of the pen.

Ramirez and Furbush could theoretically both eventually join the rotation in Tacoma. Prized arms Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker all figure to start in Double-A Jackson, and while the first two could see Tacoma fairly soon, the Rainiers (with whom Ruffin figures to close to start the season) are still a little thin on starting pitching right now. Whether the club wants to continue the starting experiment with Furbush or stick to him in the bullpen is not completely determined yet, but he has pitched and been used much more like a reliever this spring by Wedge and his staff.

Although he has had a fantastic spring hitting the ball, Kyle SeagerVinnie Catricala mans third) may be the best bet for him to play every day. But with the plan being that Chone Figgins assumes more of a utility role this year, Seager might see enough starts at 3B to allow him to stay on the big league roster.

Regardless of what the final few moves are, it appears that the club has made the decisions on the players that it is planning on counting on this season. And that season gets underway very early in the morning on the 28th.

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