BY John Hickey 12:19PM 03/22/2012

Mariners Set Their 30-Man Roster, Jet To Japan

Although the Mariners have a traveling party of 30 players for their trip to Japan, only 25 will be eligible to play when they open the season against the A’s.

The Mariners will play four games in the Tokyo Dome next week, including a pair of exhibition contests and the first two games of the regular season. / Wiki Commons

The Mariners Mariners left from Peoria, Ariz., about noon Thursday for the 45-minute drive to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport and then for the 13-hour flight across the Pacific Ocean to Japan.

On the plane were 30 players, all of whom will be eligible to play in two exhibition games and 28 of whom will be on the active roster for the two season-opening games against the Oakland Athletics March 28-29, but only 25 of whom can actually play in the games in the Tokyo Dome against the A’s.

In a normal season, the 40-man roster (those eligible to play in the big leagues) and the 25-man active roster would have to be set 24 hours before the season’s first game. Simple.

Not so much for teams starting the season half a globe away and a week early. Under this year’s Major League Baseball rules, all 30 players on the plane are eligible to play in the exhibition games against the Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants this weekend. An active roster of 28 players has to be set before the two games against the A’s, but only 25 of those 28 can be designated to play.

The 28-man list must include all players who are expected to wind up on the 25-man roster to start the season back in North America, so starting pitcher Kevin Millwood, who is going to be part of the rotation but who isn’t travelling to Japan because he’s not due to pitch, has to be on it.

That brings the total number of positions in play to 31. Three will have to be moved off the roster the morning of the opener with the A’s, and three more, one of whom will be Millwood, will be still on the roster but will be designated as inactive for the two games against Oakland.

With the move Thursday morning to put lefty reliever Cesar Jimenez on the roster of Triple-A Tacoma, the Mariners’ the 40-man roster is now at 37, leaving three open spaces needed for the ability to put three non-roster invitees – Millwood, infielder Munenori Kawasaki and, possibly, right-handed pitcher Erasmo Ramirez – on the 25-man active roster once the season starts in North America.

Here’s the 30-man traveling squad:

Starters (4): Blake Beavan, Felix Hernandez, Hector Noesi, Jason Vargas.

Catchers (4): John Jaso, Jesus Montero, Miguel Olivo, Guillermo Quiroz.

Bullpen (10): Steve Delabar, Charlie Furbush, Hisashi Iwakuma, Shawn Kelley, Brandon League, Lucas Luetge, Erasmo Ramirez, Chance Ruffin, George Sherrill, Tom Wilhelmsen.

Outfielders (5): Mike Carp, Carlos Peguero, Michael Saunders, Ichiro Suzuki, Casper Wells.

Infielders (7): Dustin Ackley, Chone Figgins, Munenori Kawasaki, Alex Liddi, Brendan Ryan, Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak.

The seven players still on the 40-man roster but not making the trip are two players expected to start the season on the disabled list, center fielder Franklin Gutierrez and catcher Adam Moore, and five players likely to start the season in the minor leagues – catcher Jesus Sucre, third baseman Vinnie Catricala, shortstop Luis Rodriguez and outfielder Mike Wilson.

The seven players will be available to rejoin the team and play in the five Cactus League games that await Seattle after the club returns from Tokyo.

Manager Eric Wedge said that the club will take 12 pitchers, which means only seven of the 10 relievers will make it. It’s likely that Ramirez, a right-hander the Mariners see as a starter, figures to be one cut. Another will be a choice between two lefties, Rule 5 pickup Luetge and Furbush. And the last cut is likely to be between two right-handers, Delabar and Ruffin.

Three catchers are going to make the roster, and Quiroz will be the odd man out.

Here’s a best-guess of the 25-man roster to start the season:

In the infield, either Seager or Liddi will be sent down, while in the outfield, the choice will come down to Peguero or Wells.

Starters (5): Blake Beavan, Felix Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Hector Noesi, Jason Vargas.

Bullpen (7): Charlie Furbush, Hisashi Iwakuma, Shawn Kelley, Brandon League, Chance Ruffin, George Sherrill, Tom Wilhelmsen.

Catchers (3): John Jaso, Jesus Montero, Miguel Olivo.

Infielders (6): Dustin Ackley, Chone Figgins, Munenori Kawasaki, Brendan Ryan, Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak.

Outfielders (4): Mike Carp, Michael Saunders, Ichiro Suzuki, Casper Wells.

Disabled list (2): center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, catcher Adam Moore.

Mariners’ Opening Day Roster

# Pitchers B/T Ht Wt DOB Hometown
49 Blake Beavan R-R 6-7 240 17-Jan-89 Irving, TX.
35 Steve Delabar R-R 6-5 220 17-Jul-83 Fort Knox, KY
41 Charlie Furbush L-L: 6-5 215 11-Apr-86 Portland, ME
34 Felix Hernandez R-R 6-3 230 8-Apr-86 Valenciz, VZ
18 Hisashi Iwakuma R-R 6-3 190 12-Apr-81 Tokyo, Japan
23 Shawn Kelley R-R 6-2 220 26-Apr-84 Louisville, KY
43 Brandon League R-R 6-2 210 16-Mar-83 Sacramento, CA.
25 Kevin Millwood R-R 6-2 210 16-Mar-83 Sacramento, CA.
44 Lucas Luetge L-L 6-4 205 24-Mar-87 Brenham, TX.
45 Hector Noesi R-R 6-3 200 26-Jan-87 Valverde, DR
50 Erasmo Ramirez R-R 6-0 180 29-Apr-76 Santa Ana, CA.
52 George Sherrill L-L 6-0 225 19-Apr-77 Memphis, TN.
38 Jason Vargas L-L 6-0 215 2-Feb-83 Apple Valley, CA.
54 Tom Wilhelmsen R-R 6-6 230 16-Dec-83 Tucson, AZ.
# Catchers B/T Ht Wt DOB Hometown
27 John Jaso L-R 6-2 205 19-Sep-83 Chula Vista, CA.
63 Jesus Montero R-R 6-3 235 28-Nov-89 Carabob, VZ
30 Miguel Olivo R-R 6-3 230 15-Jul-78 Villa Vasquez, DR
# Infielders B/T Ht Wt DOB Hometown
13 Dustin Ackley L-R 6-1 190 26-Feb-88 Winston-Salem, N.C.
9 Chone Figgins S-R 5-9 180 22-Jan-78 Leary, GA.
61 Munenori Kawasaki S-R 5-10 165 3-Jun-81 Kagoshima, JP
16 Alex Liddi R-R 6-4 230 14-Aug-88 San Remo, Italy
26 Brendan Ryan R-R 6-2 195 26-Mar-82 Los Angeles, CA.
15 Kyle Seager L-R 6-0 195 3-Nov-87 Charlotte, N.C.
17 Justin Smoak S-L 6-4 230 5-Dec-86 Goose Creek, SC.
# Outfielders B/T Ht Wt DOB Hometown
20 Mike Carp L-R 6-2 210 30-Jun-86 Long Beach, CA.
55 Michael Saunders L-R 6-4 215 19-Nov-86 Victoria, B.C.
51 Ichiro Suzuki L-R 5-11 170 22-Oct-73 Kobe, Japan
33 Casper Wells R-R 6-2 210 11-Nov-84 Grand Rapids, MI

*=Non-roster invitee


  • jafabian

    Interesting pick.  Pretty high for a player who was considered to be disappointing last season.  But then Aaron Curry was supposed to be a lock and that didn’t happen.  At least the Hawks won’t plan on converting him to a safety like they did with Michael Boulware.

  • Diamonddust

    Disapointing Pick.  A project.  The Team needed an impact player now, not a part time player, not in the first round.

  • Jamo57

    Can’t imagine the Ms making such a daring pick.   On the contrary, some scouting director would have been fired.

    • HawkMuny

      How are those Mariners doing, by the way?  Playing it safe hasn’t produced much in the last decade.

  • DuplicityAnnie

    I hear defense attorneys in Seattle are salivating at the thought of this clown in town…..

  • Wesley Gunther

    I knew Ben Davidson as a kid growing up in East Los Angeles.  He and his brother attended Sunday School in a small church of which I was pastor.  I remember him as a rowdy kid then.  Who would have thought he would become the great football player we was.  God bless him!

  • Jamo57

    As much as Husky fans like to attribute (blame) Oregon’s ascendance on the seeming unlimited funds Uncle Phil pumps into the program, it’s the following numbers that are probably more important:

    Rich Brooks 1977-1994
    Mike Belotti 1995-2008
    Chip Kelly 2009-to as long as he wants (or hopefully  a Carrollian jump to the NFL shortly before the NCAA hammer is struck).

    But the point is even if your are right Art, the Husky nation needs to resist the temptation to put Sark on the hot seat.   Oregon has the additonal benefit in the fact Nick Aliotti doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere to take a head coaching job, so the continuity on the defensive side of the ball is even more pronounced.    I’m not sure that is the same path Justin Wilcox wants to take. 

    • Artthiel

       Jamo, you’re right that the coaching churn and various scandals have been the single biggest factor in the Huskies’ erosion. Lots of bad management by the alleged adults.

      But now it’s Oregon’s turn to be spanked by the NCAA. Happens to nearly every team that succeeds because nobody plays by the rules. Just a matter of if-when you’re caught.

  • Brett

    I don’t see it Art. This team will score an upset of one of the “Big 4” (most likely Stanford) and then go either 5-1 or 6-0 in the back half. 7 wins is the safest prediction. Yours assumes that this team won’t upset anyone and will lose to two teams it shouldn’t. While this team is young in terms of age, it actually has more game experience than last year’s team, particularly on defense.

    • Artthiel

       Sorry, Brett, the D just doesn’t have Pac-12-caliber talent. They’re already out two starters who weren’t quite average. Thompson’s already the best player, and he hasn’t played. Washington used to have six guys a year like Thompson.

  • Pixeldawg13

     Well, no.  I didn’t.  That prediction’s been made a number of times, often on the Seattle Times’ Husky blog.

    It’s a possibility, but I’m not sure the Cougs can outscore six opponents; they’re unlikely to stop anyone, given their depth issues on D.  (remember, between an injury or two, and the Pirate’s cleaning house, at least 3 defensive starters are gone permanently.  I give Leach credit for his rules and abiding by them–but it does make the defensive cupboard pretty doggone lean.)

    I think the Husky D, while not reminiscent of the late 80s-early 90s Purple Reign, will be much improved.  Even if they only improve to, say, 65th or so in the country, it’s a huge upgrade on that side of the ball.  Offense?  Yes, lost 3 major playmakers in Kearse, Aguilar, and some tailback–but the skill positions are not gonna be the problem on this O.

    • Artthiel

      Getting to 65 is a reach, Pixeldawg. No Pac-12 average LBs, aside from whatever they do with Shaq Thompson. 

  • Tianbiao

    Art is probably right. I mean, even if the Huskies beat one of the Big 4 (and please, gawd, may that one be Oregon), there is always a let-down loss or two to wazzu or Cal or Oregon state waiting out there somewhere.

    But I agree with Jamos (and Art): 6-6 is no great shame, it’s tough out there, and it takes time. Give Sark the time he needs, please.

    • Artthiel

       Begging college football fans for time is like begging a wolf to back away from a pork chop.

  • Artthiel

     Cougs with six wins? Apparently the cannibis harvest is real late this year.

  • Artvintage97

     I have to agree with Art. Tough schedule this year. Plus, the defense is
    coming from a point near the bottom of the barrel.
    Sark has had difficulty recruiting the best players from the PNW. Also,
    and I will say it, he can’t seem to recruit good white players.
    Anyone have a theory on the latter????I

    • RadioGuy

      Does it matter whether Sark recruits white players?  The only colors that should matter to UW fans are purple and gold.

    • Jtkxyz

      Your comment, and I will say it, is pathetic.  And not only is “the defense coming from a point near the bottom of the barrel”, so is your comment.  Maybe you can’t see straight with a pillow cover over your head, but come to the light, and unbend the racist bent of your mind.

      Your comment makes me wonder if you have difficulty cheering for the Hawks, they have so many “colored” players.  And basketball must not be a sport you follow.  Get out more often, and enjoy the beautiful colors of this wonderful world.