Mariners Minors Transaction Update: July 1-15

The transactions began to pile up on the Mariners farm over the first half of July. Luckily, InsidethePark's Joseph A. Yencich is here to provide another rundown of all the happenings from the M's minors. Who was released? Who retired? Who was promoted? Read on for all the answers.


July 1
2B Jose Lopez optioned to Tacoma

Ordinarily, there's a 10-day limit between when a player is optioned and when he can be recalled again, but the injury to Dave Hansen opened up the loophole that allowed Lopez to rejoin the Mariners as part of the youth movement. With Boone DFA'd and subsequently shipped off to Minnesota, Lopez will take over as the team's primary second baseman. Rainiers manager Dan Rohn already said last season that Lopez had nothing left to learn in Triple-A, so it's about time.

July 3
2B Jose Lopez recalled to Seattle
OF Chris Snelling recalled to Seattle

As far as hitting goes, Snelling didn't have anything to prove either, hitting .363/.447/.540 in 57 games with the Rainiers before the Mariners concluded that he was healthy enough to be called up to Seattle. But through nearly two weeks with the big club, Snelling has only played in four games and has collected less than 10 at-bats in that span. Even considering the all-star break, there's little justification for that. (Snelling was optioned back to Tacoma on July 17)

July 7
LHP Cesar Jimenez promoted from San Antonio

The transition to Double-A for finesse lefties isn't usually an easy one, but Jimenez handled it pretty well, especially considering he won't turn 21 until well after the season's end. Jimenez had a 3.11 ERA through 32 appearances with San Antonio, and was improving with his control and the number of hits he allowed, despite some struggles about a month into the season. Though he was originally considered a candidate for the starting rotation after last year's campaign, bullpen work might get him to the big club sooner, and lessens the focus on his still-developing curveball.

July 8
RHP Chris Buglovsky placed on the DL
OF Tim Auty promoted from Peoria
OF Sam Bradford Jr. promoted from Peoria
SS Jeff Dominguez promoted from Peoria

Fortunately for Buglovsky, his injury shouldn't have much impact on his future on the mound. The move to the DL is the result of nothing more than a bruised left heel, suffered when he took a grounder off of it during 4-1 loss to the Portland Beavers the previous day. He shouldn't be out of action for too long, and will probably jump back into the rotation as soon as he's healed.

The Futures Game left the Rainiers without Yuniesky Betancourt and Shin-soo Choo for a few days, and Auty was one of three players called-up for a two-day stint on the opposite end of the minor league ladder. Though the Arizona League gets minimal coverage, try to keep your eye on this guy. The Australian native has been tearing up the league, batting .393/.452/.607 in 28 at-bats.

With the outfield already set at the affiliates in the low minors, it's been hard to get Bradford in the lineup on a day-to-day basis. After using 37 at-bats in Peoria to kick the dust off, he was sent to Tacoma, where they're still an outfielder short due to Snelling's recent promotion. Wisconsin is a possible destination for him further down the line, as he began last season there.

Justin Leone took over primary duties at short in Betancourt's absence, but Dominguez was there to take over in later innings as the club turned to the bench for some added defense. Dominguez has spent two years in Peoria now, and is slowly improving offensively. He's far over on the tools end of the spectrum, but some still believe that he'll become a legit prospect.

July 10
RHP Felix Hernandez reinstated from the disabled list

While he was in the rotation, the Mariners top prospect was working his way deeper and deeper into games and was on pace to pitch at least 150 innings by the end of a season, a number they kept him under last season. As a measure to keep his shoulder from getting too agitated, the Mariners have decided to pitch him out of the bullpen with the Rainiers until further notice, and the September call-up there were murmurs about during spring training may be put off. That doesn't mean he won't be in line for a job with next year's squad, but the M's are right to take the safe route with this arm.

July 12
RHP Jorge Campillo on rehab assignment in Peoria

With his arm already feeling months of work, the Mariners are taking it slow with Campillo, and sent him to Peoria for a rehab assignment rather than putting him back in the Rainiers rotation right away. Campillo started and pitched one inning on the 12th, striking out one of the three batters he faced. He should make a few more short appearances before rejoining the team, but he may not be used quite as much as before, and could end up in the ‘pen like Hernandez.

July 14
LHP Bobby Livingston called up

When your Triple-A club is in need of a pitching, it's nice to have a guy who started a Double-A all-star game in line for a call up. Though his velocity remains about the same as it has been in previous seasons, Livingston has been dominating the Texas League competition, posting a 2.86 ERA and walking only 27 in 116.1 innings. Recently, his strikeout numbers have been climbing as well, but Livingston doesn't rely on the K to be effective, and that makes him all the more dangerous.


June 29
C Brian Moon placed on the DL
LHP Chris Key placed on the DL (retroactive to June 26th)

Key came down with a case of shoulder bursitis that landed him on the bench briefly, which would explain a brief period of ineffectiveness for him. His case seemed to be less serious than that of Hernandez, and he was back in action and throwing effectively as soon as the limit was up. Since coming back, he has five innings under his belt and has allowed a single run on a solo shot out of the park.

July 1
LF Jon Nelson reinstated from the disabled list
UT Eric Blakeley released

After a three game stint in Peoria, Nelson has returned to San Antonio and his role as the Missions starting left fielder. Unfortunately for him, he seems to have left his bat elsewhere, and his average has sunk to .220 since his return. The Missions have been winning anyway, thanks to T.J. Bohn's recent resurgence, but they'll need Nelson's bat for the stretch run.

When the year was young and players were still trying to establish themselves, Blakeley was a great guy to have bouncing around from level to level, taking on whatever role was needed. But recent promotions left him without a consistent place to play, and the M's decided to release him so that he could find another team that would appreciate his talents.

RHP Phil Wilson promoted from Inland Empire

It's continued to be an uphill battle for Wilson, but the Missions' need for pitching got him a call back to San Antonio, where he started the season, after less than a month in the California League. The former third-round pick by the Angels it still trying to work out his mechanics and regain the mid-90s velocity that had him drafted so high. The strikeouts are coming back, but he's had an ERA above 5.50 at both levels so far, so it may take a while yet.

July 9th LHP Chris Key reinstated from the DL

July 13th C Brian Moon reinstated from the DL

July 14th
LHP Jared Thomas sent from Tacoma

It took him a little while to decide whether he would accept the demotion to Double-A or retire and continue his medical education, but for now, Thomas is back with the San Antonio Missions. The plan was to have him take the spot of Livingston in the rotation, at least for Friday night's game, but that spot start went to Renee Cortez and Thomas had to settle for coming in for the ninth inning of the 14-3 blowout, when he pitched a perfect inning.


July 10 RHP Mike Steele retires
RHP Jeff Mault called up from Everett

Like Austin Bilke before him earlier in the season, Steele decided to retire from baseball at the age of 26, having spent most of the past three years at Inland Empire. Steele was acquired in the minor league rule 5 draft from the Detroit Tigers, and had been left unprotected due to arm injuries. Those injuries continued to plague him with the M's, and he struggled to get a full season of work in. Steele was wooed back to his home state of Michigan, leaving his pro career for a coaching job with the Michigan State baseball team.

Mault is another former independent league player, signed before the 2005 Everett Aquasox season after playing for Gateway in the Frontier League. Prior to that, he had been pitching for Austin Peay, the alma mater of fellow Mariners farmhand George Sherrill. Mault was letting a number of runners reach against him in Everett, and his 5.06 ERA reflected that, but he's already 24 and pitching at a higher level may be his only chance to establish himself.

July 13
C Luis Oliveros sent from San Antonio

Stuck with the role of organizational back-up catcher for this season, Oliveros had to head back to Inland Empire once Moon and Rivera were both ready to go. The catching position has been a hole in the lineup for the Sixers, and while he hit .286/.333/.391 with the team back in 2003, this season has been a different story. Oliveros is one of the more talented catchers available in the system, but his recent flakiness over the past two years has left him as more of a suspect than prospect.


June 30
LHP Kendall Bergdall released

With Bergdall, it wasn't a loss of talent that got him released; it was a loss of his edge. As is sometimes the case with younger pitchers, Bergdall didn't quite trust his stuff and compensated by trying to get too fine with his control. That only led to walk after walk, and while he had the ability to work out of the jams earlier in the season, it became more difficult as the year dragged on. A change of scenery could do him some good, and he's currently in talks with other organizations.

July 6
RHP Justin Jordan reports to Wisconsin

Another Frontier League signing, Jordan was supposed to report much earlier, but Craig James' troubles at the airport had him sitting out for longer than expected. Jordan went undrafted in June after a disappointing season, but part of that might be chalked up to the fact that he threw 167.2 innings combined with Belmont University and in the Northwoods League the previous year in a relatively short span of time. He could have the endurance to start next year, but it might be wise to hold off a bit this season.

July 12
RHP Jason Snyder placed on the DL
RHP Mark Lowe reinstated from the DL

The T-Rats rotation took another hit when Snyder had to come out of a game early on July 6th after experiencing some shoulder discomfort. The team leader in wins and innings pitched, Snyder was arguably the top starting prospect on the team, but at times he would lose control of the game, as evidenced by 13 wild pitches and 10 hit batters, also team-leading. The Rattlers are playing .500 baseball to open the second half, and while they've already sealed a playoff spot, they'll need Snyder back to contend there.

The blow to the starting corps was softened quite a bit by the return of Lowe, who had taken a line drive off the back of his pitching hand more than a month prior. The break seems to have healed fine, and in his first start since coming back, a three-inning stint on the 13th, he gave up just one hit and struck out three. If he's returning to the same methods that made him a success earlier in the season, watch out.

July 13
LHP Casey Abrams released
RHP Jon Lockwood called up from Everett

The lone college player picked by the M's in the first five rounds of the '03 draft, Abrams was supposed to shoot through the system, but instead he never got out of the Midwest League. Injuries were part of that, but the biggest problem was walks. Abrams remains the leader of the league in that category at 63, 13 more than the next guy (who has 15.1 more innings under his belt). Since he was giving up more than a hit per inning while he was at it, you can guess the kind of results he was getting.

All Lockwood did to earn his promotion was strike out 19 in 16 innings with the Aquasox, not to mention he allowed only one base runner every four innings on average. At 23, Lockwood probably should've started the year at a higher level anyway, but don't expect him to be taking Abrams spot in the rotation, as that spot seems to have gone to Venezuelan right-hander Ivan Blanco.


July 4
SS Robert Hudson called up from Peoria
IF Ron Prettyman called up from Peoria

Fresh off helping the University of Texas Longhorns to a College World Series title, Hudson, an undrafted senior, was quickly snatched up by the Mariners. Like father, like son, as Hudson's father was originally signed by the M's and played in the system from 1980 to 1984. He got a couple of games in at Peoria, but his experience and steady defense were what got him the promotion to Everett, a team that was lacking in both categories at the time.

As a five-year senior and a top-10 draft pick, Prettyman was expected to deliver with the bat, and has done nothing to disappoint yet. In his first nine games with the AquaSox, he batted .385/.457/.487 and played whatever infield position the manager has asked him to. The team as a whole had been on a tear until running into the division-leading Vancouver Canadians recently, and the promotion of Prettyman and Hudson has been a key part of that.


July 4
SS Dean Zorn sent down from Peoria

It was a bit of a surprise to see the 18-year-old Aussie turn up on the opening day roster in Everett, but it wasn't meant to be. The shortstop only hit .167/.314/.238 in 12 games, and some shoddy glovework on his part also contributed to a slow start for the team. In Peoria, he rejoins Auty, who he was teammates with at the New South Wales Institute of Sport, and should be more comfortable in that setting. He's much better than the early results have suggested.

July 12
OF Tim Auty sent down from Tacoma
SS Jeff Dominguez sent down from Tacoma

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