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Following Sunday's benches-clearing fracas, the Mariners are, more likely than not, going to be without their three best hitters who are healthy once suspensions take effect for Jesse Winker (seven games), J.P. Crawford (five) and Julio Rodríguez (two). Each has elected to appeal and are allowed to continue playing until the process is complete. But typically in these scenarios, at best, the full suspension is not revoked.
Rodríguez may have the strongest case since he wasn't seen throwing punches, and MLB's press release cited that he was sanctioned "for his actions" compared to the more detailed accounts on Crawford ("for fighting") and Winker ("for actions that caused the incident and for fighting"). Rodríguez's listing was far more ambiguous, and he said after Monday's loss to the Orioles in Seattle that he didn't receive much further detail from MLB.
"They were just saying that I threw punches," Rodríguez said. "But I honestly don't know. We're going to review that and we're just going to see. My agents are definitely going to appeal to that. We're just going to see what they actually saw and we're going to get everything cleared up. ... We're definitely appealing that because I definitely didn't throw a punch to anybody. I was just trying to pull people away."
Here's reaction from the other two:
Crawford on if he was surprised to receive five games: "Yeah, I thought. But whatever. Actions happen. I've got to roll with the punches. I think [appealing] is the right thing to do. It's not good. Hopefully our teammates can step up and pick us up in a big spot."
Winker: "That's MLB's decision. Whatever. It's part of it. But we have depth here. We have a good team. We have guys that are going to fill in and do their job. ... [The Angels] are going to have suspensions, too. They're the ones, I think if people are going to look at somebody, they're going to look at them."
• Fan sends Winker pizza following fracas
Word is that the Mariners will be able to stagger the suspensions when they are issued, so their roster isn't as hamstrung all at once, but how that situation works is also unclear.
"It's up to the Commissioner's Office, and what they're going to [do] there," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We were in a tough spot yesterday and we're going to pay for it by losing some of our better players here for a significant amount of time."
Here's how the Mariners likely fill out those spots for the games in which Crawford is sidelined at shortstop, Rodríguez in center and Winker in left:
Shortstop: Dylan Moore is the clear backup and he's played well there on Crawford's rare off-days, having accounted for each of the five games that anyone other than the everyday guy has started. But that also would move Moore off first base, where he's been the first backup option while Ty France recovers from a left elbow strain. But veteran Carlos Santana, whom the club acquired from Kansas City on Monday, was destined for some time at first anyway. Kevin Padlo has also made two starts at first since being claimed off waivers earlier this month.
Center field: Beyond his bat, Rodríguez has been superb at the premium outfield position, ranking in the top 10 with plus-four outs above average, per Statcast. The rookie has started all but two games this season, and Taylor Trammell played center when Rodríguez had a scheduled off-day on June 13. Trammell was the fill-in last year, too, when Kyle Lewis opened the year on the injured list, and he has arguably the best arm on Seattle's roster.
Left field: The Mariners have used five other players in left, and it's likely that Adam Frazier -- who has made four starts there -- will shift from second base and see more action. Moore could, too, depending on how the timing of Winker's suspension stacks up against Crawford's. Justin Upton is an option here also, though his bat hasn't been nearly as productive as Seattle would've hoped, with a .431 OPS after Monday.