Mariners first baseman Evan White is healthy and even hit a home run in today’s spring action (Twitter link with video from the club). But Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports that the team wants him to get everyday action in Triple-A Tacoma to start the season. That’s fairly logical given that injuries have held back the former top prospect in recent seasons. In November of 2019, he and the club agreed to a six-year contract with three club options, before White had even cracked the majors. He finally made his debut in 2020 but struggled, striking out in 41.6% of his plate appearances. The two subsequent seasons were marred by various injuries, including hip surgery and sports hernia surgery, with White only getting into 62 total games between the majors and minors.
With so much missed time and White still having options, some regular playing time in the minors could help him get back on track. There’s also the matter of Ty France having taken over as the club’s regular first baseman. “I said to our coaches, ‘I believe at some point this year, Evan White will help us,’” Mariners manager Scott Servais said to Daniel Kramer of MLB.com. “He’s going to impact us. Certainly, Ty France has first base locked down right now. But things happen. Things happen throughout the course of the year. But [White] just needs to go play baseball, put himself kind of back on the map again — and the only way he can do that is to be available.”
In 2019, White played 92 games in Double-A and hit 18 home runs. His .293/.350/.488 batting line was good for a 132 wRC+, indicating he was 32% better than the league average hitter. If he can get back into that form, that would be a nice depth piece for the M’s to have.
Some other notes from around the league…
- Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander left today’s game after being hit on the knee with a pitch, with Nathan Ruiz of The Baltimore Sun among those to relay the details. The game was in the sixth inning at the time and Santander may have been scheduled to leave the game at that time anyway, but he did limp away from the field with the trainer by his side. The club later provided an update, describing Santander as day-to-day with a bruised knee. “I think he’s OK,” manager Brandon Hyde said, per Ruiz. If Santander isn’t seriously harmed, that would be good news for two clubs, as he’s set to play for Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Injuries dragged Santander down in 2021 but he stayed healthy last year and got back on track, hitting 33 home runs and finishing with a .240/.318/.455 batting line for a 120 wRC+.
- The White Sox are going to be without their closer for an unknown amount of time as Liam Hendriks is undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They will have to figure out how to proceed in the meantime, but it doesn’t seem like there are any plans to have one set closer. “Absolutely not,” manager Pedro Grifol said to Scott Merkin of MLB.com. “That’s not how we are going to run it.” Many teams are bucking traditional closers these days, preferring to target their best pitchers to the best hitters in the opposing lineup, with the Sox perhaps leaning that way as well. Though there won’t be a set closer, some candidates for high leverage work will include Kendall Graveman, Aaron Bummer, Joe Kelly and Reynaldo López.