Mariners outfielder Taylor Trammell will have surgery on his right hand to repair a broken hamate bone, reports Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times. Trammell will be out of action for seven or more weeks, per Corey Brock of The Athletic. Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto tells Divish that Trammell was struck on the hand during a workout.
Trammell, 25, was once one of the most highly-touted prospects in baseball but has yet to deliver on his promise in the big leagues thus far. Originally drafted by the Reds, he has twice switched organizations in significant trades. He went to the Padres in the 2019 deal that sent Trevor Bauer to the Reds and Yasiel Puig to Cleveland, then went to the Mariners in the 2020 trade that also sent Ty France and Andrés Muñoz to Seattle.
Trammell was able to make his MLB debut in 2021 but wasn’t able to hit the ground running, striking out in 42.1% of his plate appearances. Last year, he dealt with a hamstring strain for much of the time, only getting into 43 major league contests and 22 more in Triple-A. There were some signs of optimism, as his 28.2% strikeout rate was still above average but a noticeable improvement from the year prior. He also walked in a strong 11.1% of his trips to the plate. In those Triple-A games, he only struck out 17.3% of the time and hit .333/.408/.575 for a wRC+ of 144.
The outfield in Seattle figures to be different this year compared to last. Jesse Winker was traded to the Brewers, Mitch Haniger departed via free agency and Teoscar Hernández was acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays. Hernandez and Julio Rodríguez figure to be in right and center field, respectively, but left field was open for someone like Trammell. AJ Pollock was brought signed to be the short side of a platoon but Trammell and Jarred Kelenic, who both hit left-handed, were going to be competing to be on the strong side.
Opening Day is now about six weeks away, so Trammell now seems destined to miss at least some of the regular season. That opens the possibility that Kelenic gets another stretch of time in the club’s lineup, though he has faced similar struggles. Despite hitting .302/.372/.574 in 537 Triple-A plate appearances for a wRC+ of 128, his major league batting line is .168/.251/.338 for a wRC+ of 68 in 558 trips to the plate.
Should Kelenic continue to struggle against major league pitching, it seems he’ll face another competitor in Cade Marlowe. Dipoto tells Daniel Kramer of MLB.com that Marlowe could now figure more prominently in the competition. The young outfielder, 26 in June, had a solid year at the plate last year in the minors, hitting .287/.377/.487. That amounted to a 120 wRC+ and he added 42 stolen bases to boot. Most of that came at Double-A with a 13-game stint at Triple-A to finish the season. He was added to the club’s 40-man roster in November to protect him from selection in the Rule 5 draft.
Though it’s possible Trammell doesn’t miss much of the regular season, it’s surely a frustrating start to his 2023 on a personal level after he missed so much time last year. For the club, their outfield competition has lost one option, but they will hope that one of Kelenic or Marlowe can step up.