Flores move opens up roster spot

The Mariners sent Jose Flores back to the Cleveland Indians today, giving up their Rule 5 draft pick in a predictable move once it became clear he wasn’t going to be much help this season.

GM Jack Zduriencik took a flyer on Flores with the second pick in the Dec. 9 Rule 5 process, liking his upside. But reality this spring is that — with a number of non-roster guys fighting for spots — Flores wasn’t going to fit into the picture.

The Mariners have a greater need for roster room this spring than having a 21-year-old prospect take up one of the bullpen spots for the entire season.

The Mariners now have 38 players on their 40-man roster and likely will need to get it down to 35 in order to add five non-roster players at the final cutdown – with Adam Kennedy, Ryan Langerhans and a trio of relievers from the Chris Ray, Royce Ring, Denny Bautista, Jamey Wright and Justin Miller fivesome.

My guess is they’ll create one spot by putting Mauricio Robles on the 60-day DL as he recovers from arthroscopic surgery on his elbow, then release pitcher Chaz Roe and possibly utility man Josh Wilson from the 40-man roster.

Jack Zduriencik likely has his own ideas, however. And it wouldn’t surprise me if there are several late roster maneuvers if he sees players on the waiver wire who might be able to help bolster the bullpen.

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