Final Mariner Call-Ups: No Zunino?

Monday afternoon, Mariners reporter Bob Dutton reported that the team was going to be recalling four players as the Tacoma Rainiers season ended. Those players being catcher Steve Baron, outfielder James Jones. reliever J.C. Ramirez and 1st basemen Jesus Montero. Earlier in the day, the Mariners also optioned reliever Edgar Olmos to Tacoma while recalling Danny Farquhar.

There’s a few interesting omissions from the list of recalls, most notably catcher Mike Zunino. Despite a horrid .174/.230/.300 slash, it was still expected Zunino would return to Seattle after being sent down in late August. It’s been a long, long year for the Mariners’ young catcher as he continues to fail to live up to the hype. Zunino’s numbers weren’t great last year, but he did manage to power out 22 long balls and rack up 60 RBI. This year, he’s down to only 11 homers and 28 RBI, while striking out 132 times. Zunino does play excellent defense, but the Mariners drafted him for his bat, not solely his glove. Despite all this though, it was still largely assumed we’d see Zunino again at Safeco this season, but apparently manager Lloyd McClendon saw no fit for the former Florida Gator for the rest of the year.

There were a few other surprises along with Zunino. Shortstop Chris Taylor hasn’t hit well this year, but is still considered one of the team’s top prospects and did have success last year. Mike Montgomery started the season tremendously in the rotation, but dropped off badly to where he was finally sent to Tacoma. He was expected to be brought back though to provide the bullpen some depth. Unlike Zunino, Taylor and Montgomery, Jabari Blash hasn’t seen the big leagues but has smacked 31 dingers and has hit .271/.370/.576 in Tacoma. Blash may be the biggest surprise, mostly because the Mariners are short on outfielders and it’s a good time to see how well the kid can hit big league arms. Blash is injured at the moment though, so he could perhaps be brought up as soon as he gets healthy.

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When it’s all said and done, the disappointing Mariners aren’t going to be making a playoff push this year. All that does though is add fuel to the fire. Why, when the season isn’t going to produce results, are the young kids not getting a chance to play? McClendon must know something we don’t, because there really isn’t a logical explanation.

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