The Mariners thinned their potential crowd of catchers at Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday by trading veteran Jesus Sucre to Tampa Bay for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Sucre, 28, became expendable Jan. 26 after the Mariners acquired veteran Tuffy Gosewisch, 33, from Atlanta in a waiver claim. The preference for Gosewisch stemmed from roster flexibility — Gosewisch still had one option remaining.
Sucre is out of options, which meant he had to clear waivers before he could be sent to the minors. Both players are regarded as solid catch-and-throw receivers who contribute little offense.
That option status was critical because neither Sucre nor Gosewisch projected to make the big-league roster unless an injury sidelined starter Mike Zunino or backup Carlos Ruiz.
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The Mariners designated Sucre for assignment in order to clear space for Gosewisch on the 40-man roster. Club officials privately believed Sucre would be claimed by another team when placed on waivers.
That didn’t happen.
Sucre cleared waivers on Feb. 1 and sent to Tacoma on an outright assignment.
That created a different problem in that clubs generally prefer to have only one veteran catcher at Triple-A. The other spot spot is generally assigned to a prospect. The Mariners have two such candidates in Marcus Littlewood and Tyler Marlette.
Gosewisch and Sucre each spent parts of the last four seasons in the big leagues.
Sucre batted .209 with two homers and 20 RBIs in 90 games for the Mariners, while Gosewisch batted .199 with five homers and 30 RBIs in 126 games for Arizona.
The trade reduces the Mariners’ camp roster to 62 players, including eight catchers.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners