In the past we have brought up the idea of the Cleveland Indians manipulating the service time of young prospects.
Essentially, it means holding a player in the minors just long enough so he can’t hit free agency for an extra year down the line.
This happened with Francisco Lindor and some fans may think it is happening with Nolan Jones.
But nothing will top how openly the Seattle Mariners use this practice.
Former team president Kevin Mather even stated it was happening in a speech to a local Rotary Club.
So why are we discussing the Mariners?
Well, the Indians are heading out to Seattle later this week and are expected to see an exciting prospect who was at the center of Mather’s comments.
That is Mariners top prospect Jarred Kelenic.
OF Jarred Kelenic, the No. 3 prospect in baseball, is expected to be called up by the Mariners on Thursday, sources familiar with the situation tell ESPN.
While things can obviously change, the plan is to promote Kelenic for the first game of Seattle's home series vs. Cleveland.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 11, 2021
Fans all around baseball will now have some added motivation to watch the series.
A Brief Summary of Jarred Kelenic
Kelenic was a former first-round pick of the New York Mets who was traded to Seattle in the Robinson Cano deal.
Talk about an absolutely terrible idea.
But it worked out for the Mariners in a big way.
The young outfielder is only 21 years old and was sent to Triple-A to begin the 2021 season.
He showed up as a premier prospect and fans have been waiting to see him at the MLB level.
The situation has two sides because Kelenic believed he was ready last year and the team logically could have said there was no point to have him play in the shortened 2020 campaign.
Mather was the one who went out and said it was all about team control.
Service-Time Questions in Cleveland
Kelenic getting promoted turns the focus to the top prospects in Cleveland.
Jones sits atop that list with Tyler Freeman and Bo Naylor behind him.
Freeman and Naylor are likely going to be waiting until at least 2022 and not because of service time.
Freeman is blocked at the infield positions and Naylor is not going to get called up just to be a backup to Austin Hedges while Roberto Perez is out.
That leaves Jones.
He is getting time at several positions in the field and could show up in the outfield or at first base.
First would be more likely given the state of the position, but that would require several roster moves and him jumping over Bobby Bradley in the organizational order.
#Indians Bobby Bradley needs his shot at 1B but they could go the Nolan Jones route as well. Jones has being seeing some time at first w/ the current alternative site team.
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) April 14, 2021
It does not appear the Indians are directly manipulating his time, but we could be wrong.
The plan seems to be a familiar one of cycling through veterans early in the year to figure out who should stay and who should go.
Fans have still not even seen Bradley Zimmer or Oscar Mercado yet this season.
So while the Mariners have drama, the Indians are using a plan fans have seen before.
But someone like Jones is not going to care about the plan if he is still not up at some point this season.
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