The Mariners have an opportunity to do something truly noteworthy. A step towards the type of radical innovation Andy McKay can only dream about. Something that a major league team would be crazy, perhaps stupid, to even attempt. But if they pulled it off? Oh baby.
Abraham Toro came over to the Mariners at the trade deadline last year in a low-profile deal that no one really talked about, and certainly didn’t have any impact on the larger “clubhouse chemistry” conversations that hover endlessly around the sport. A top 30 prospect in the Houston Astros’ organization who had lost some shine, there was still a lot to like. Very good contact skills, a low strikeout rate, and some untapped power potential that was put on display immediately after he buttoned up his Mariners jersey. One of his most attractive traits? Versatility. The Mariners believe they have someone who can be serviceable at third and second base, and even believe in his athleticism enough to have started giving him some looks in the outfield. But that’s all baby stuff. I’m here to take this to the next level. We want the full bull. It’s time to engage Operation: TAURUS MAXIMUS.
Give Abraham Toro a mask and a catcher’s mitt. If Scott wants to carry three catchers on the active roster anyway, why not have one of them be offensively viable? I’ve been pretty vocal about not loving how Toro profiles as a starting 2B or 3B, but stick him behind home plate and that projected 108 wRC+ is looking reallll nice.
Now I know you’re already calling me an idiot for suggesting a player make a change to the most complex defensive position on the diamond at the major league level, but what if I told you…he’s already done it? That’s right, Sailor. Your favorite handsome utility man has already dipped his toes in these frigid waters. Check out this excerpt from an article by Brad Kyle for The Runner Sports in 2018:
Sure, the Astros abandoned this little exercise. But just because they’re scared, doesn’t mean the Mariners have to be. He just needs to work on his receiving. How hard can it be? Just catch the ball, Abe. The automated strike zone is coming soon anyway. It’s not like it will be a lot of hard work.
It’s time, Mariners. Be bold. Get this man behind the dish and give us a REAL super utility. You want to innovate? Abraham Toro, starting catcher. That’s how you innovate.