Mariners Insider Blog

The roster is about to be set, but not in stone

The final two spots on Seattle's 25-man opening day roster will be filled this afternoon, but as interesting a question is how many of those players won't finish the season in a Mariners uniform.

The assumption all winter has been that Erik Bedard will be dealt by the July trade deadline. And while Adrian Beltre is a marvelous player, but realistically the Mariners aren't going to extend his $12 million a year contract.

So he's going to be traded, too.

If Jarrod Washburn pitches well and anyone offers anything, he's gone. The same with Miguel Batista, who can pitch relief or start.

Beyond that?

This could be a make-or-break season for the double-play combo of Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez. Can Yuni buy into Don Wakamatsu's small-ball efforts? He squared to bunt a dozen times this spring – but never actually tried to bunt for a hit.

And Lopez is coming off a productive season, but still isn't a good defensive second basreman. With 19-year-old Carlos Triunfel on the horizon, if the Betancourt-Lopez tandem doesn't perform well early, one of them is likely to become available late.

Then, there's closer Chad Cordero, rehabbing from shoulder surgery and expected back in May. Yes, he's a veteran closer of the Eddie Guardado mold – command over velocity.

If Brandon Morrow is the closer of the future, beginning now, Cordero might prove to be quite a trade chip if he can prove he's healthy again. Whether he closes in Seattle or sets up Morrow, if he appears to be the pitcher he was two years ago, he's a 29-year-old pitcher teams will covet down the stretch.

Similarly, that catching depth that extends beyond Kenji Johjima and Rob Johnson to Jeff Clement and Adam Moore, means the Mariners could move one of those young catchers if another team offers enough in return.

Jack Zduriencik has shown a willingness to make deals large (J.J. Putz) and small (Chris Burke). He has stockpiled young players and pieces like Chris Shelton, in part to improve the Mariners minor league season and in part to act as a 7-11 convenience store for teams in need of a quick fix.

So, yes, the final 25-man roster will be of interest. But figure that roster is a month-to-month – if not week-to-week – production. It will change dramatically during the course of the season.

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