Jarred Kelenic set to begin rehab stint with Tacoma, but where does he fit on the roster?
Currently rehabbing from a broken foot, Jarred Kelenic is set to begin playing games early next week. Where does the young outfielder fit on this roster? Let's take a look.
Just a few weeks ago we saw one of the most vulnerable moments you will ever see from a professional athlete, as a teary-eyed Jarred Kelenic spoke with the media in the first base dugout at T-Mobile Park. This reaction was caused by an incident where Kelenic kicked a water cooler in frustration after a strikeout to Twins reliever Jhoan Duran.
The emotion was real and raw, spawned by the frustration and sadness of letting his teammates down. Kelenic is set to start a rehab stint early next week in Tacoma, but what will his role be on the team when he returns?
First of all, it is important to look at the information we have. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reported that the rehab stint wouldn’t be a short one and that the Mariners anticipated him being an impact addition on his return.
Seattle was able to go 24-8 in Kelenic’s absence in an incredible stretch of baseball. Cade Marlowe and Dominic Canzone picked up the slack while he was on the shelf, and are two very interesting players with long-term futures in Seattle. You can check out my scouting reports and analysis on both players here.
Seattle has also gotten contributions from players like Mike Ford and Dylan Moore that have helped the team claw back into contention.
It is likely that many people believe Kelenic should lose his spot on the roster for his antics. While they were certainly selfish in that moment, a lot of his reaction to that July 19 strikeout is what makes him a good player.
The 24-year-old outfielder is intense and plays with his hair on fire. In 90 games this season Kelenic posted 1.4 fWAR and a 110 wRC+, behind a .252/.320/.439 slashline. His outfield defense has been excellent, ranking in the 60th percentile of Outs Above Average on Baseball Savant.
He will likely spend a few weeks at Tacoma, mixing in days as a DH while spending time in the outfield. Rosters are set to expand on September 1st, meaning the Wisconsin native likely won’t be ready to join the team on roster expansion day.