After years of showing ineptitude against upper-level pitching, Jesus Sucre was banished to another season of organizational catching depth for the Mariners. Things started out inauspiciously, as he broke his leg during the offseason and underwent surgery that held him out for much of the 2016 campaign. Once he recovered and began his tenure with Triple-A Tacoma, the 28-year-old showed some signs of life by batting .273 while striking out just 14.4 percent of the time, although these improvements are mostly nullified given that he's older than many of the players still in the minor leagues. He got a few at-bats in the major leagues and held his own surprisingly well, going 12-for-25 with two doubles and a home run. This production was likely just an anomaly given his ridiculously high .579 BABIP. With the Mariners trading him to the Rays over the offseason, Sucre appears to be destined for an organizational depth role with Curt Casali and Luke Maile competing for playing time until Wilson Ramos is ready for action.
Sucre went 1-for-2 with a two-run homer in Wednesday's 5-5 Grapefruit League tie with the Phillies. The non-roster invitee has already turned heads with his work behind the plate, and added to his impressive spring resume Wednesday by taking Alec Asher deep to left field with Rickie Weeks, Jr. aboard in the sixth. Factoring in Wednesday's production, Sucre is hitting .667 with two homers, four RBI, a walk and two runs over three games this spring, and also drew strong reviews from Wednesday's starter Jake Odorizzi.
Sucre, a non-roster invitee who's enjoyed a strong start at the plate this spring, is also impressing with his defensive handiwork, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "I like a lot of things Sucre can do," Rays pitcher Chris Archer said. "I like him a lot. ... I've been telling everybody this, it's like throwing to a younger, slimmer Jose Molina with the actions of the hands. And his ability to throw, it's up there." The 28-year-old arrived in Tampa via trade on Feb. 8 and has an uphill climb to secure a roster spot. Curt Casali and Luke Maile serve as spring competition, and offseason acquisition Wilson Ramos is expected back in May from offseason knee surgery. However, Sucre has gotten off on the right foot in making his case, having already smacked a homer and a pair of singles. He also gunned down the Red Sox's Brock Holt on the base paths Sunday and foiled a bunt single attempt by Jackie Bradley in the same contest. While he's had a mixed track record with the bat throughout his seven pro seasons, Sucre could be one of the surprises of spring if he maintains his current level of play.
Sucre went 2-for-2 with a single and an eighth-inning solo homer in Saturday's 7-2 Grapefruit League loss to a Pirates split squad. The 28-year-old backstop, who arrived in Tampa via a Feb. 8 trade, came on as a pinch hitter and delivered a single before capping off his day with a solo homer off reliever Brett McKinney. Sucre is in competition with Curt Casali and Luke Maile this spring for a roster spot, as Wilson Ramos (knee) isn't expected to be available until May at the earliest.
Sucre was traded to the Rays on Wednesday in exchanged for cash or a player to be named later. The backstop was outrighted by the Mariners earlier in the month, but Seattle managed to find their favorite trade partner willing to make a deal once again. He still won't be on the 40-man roster even after the organization change, and especially with Wilson Ramos (knee) in tow, Sucre will likely be relegated to an organizational depth role unless the injury bug bites those ahead of him in the catching pecking order.
Sucre cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday. After the Mariners acquired Dillon Overton from the A's, Sucre was deemed expendable and failed to garner much interest during his waiver period. The 28-year-old backstop received an invitation to major league spring training, but he seems to be destined for an organizational depth role with Mike Zunino, Carlos Ruiz, and Tuffy Gosewisch ahead of him in the pecking order.