Seattle Mariners – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-10-25T20:59:40Z WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[D-backs Claim Taylor Guilbeau From Mariners; M’s Outright Gerson Bautista]]> 2020-10-23T23:46:06Z 2020-10-23T23:46:06Z The Diamondbacks have claimed left-hander Taylor Guilbeau off waivers from the Mariners, per an announcement from Seattle. The M’s also announced that righty Gerson Bautista has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma.

Now 27 years old, Guilbeau joined the Mariners as part of their return from the Nationals in a 2019 deal that sent relievers Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland to Washington. Guilbeau went on to toss 20 innings of 2.70 ERA ball with a 59.1 percent groundball rate as a member of the Mariners, though he also struck out barely more hitters (10) than he walked (nine). He dealt with a shoulder strain in 2020 and saw his velocity tumble.

Bautista, whom the Mariners acquired in their pre-2019 trade with the Mets centering on Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, has only thrown nine innings with Seattle. He racked up all of those frames in 2019, as the 25-year-old missed all of this season with a flexor strain in his right elbow.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Claim Domingo Tapia From Red Sox]]> 2020-10-23T20:03:51Z 2020-10-23T20:03:51Z The Mariners announced that they have claimed right-hander Domingo Tapia from the Red Sox via waivers. Seattle now has 34 players on its 40-man roster.

Tapia, formerly a farmhand with the Mets and Reds, joined the Red Sox on a minor league contract last December. The hard-throwing 29-year-old wound up making his major league debut with Boston this past season and tossing 4 1/3 innings of one-run, four-hit ball with four strikeouts and two walks. Tapia has also spent time at the Triple-A level, where he has pitched to a 4.34 ERA and posted 6.8 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 over 134 2/3 innings.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Matt Magill, Carl Edwards Jr., Nestor Cortes Jr. Elect Free Agency]]> 2020-10-22T16:20:45Z 2020-10-22T16:20:45Z The Seattle Mariners outrighted three relievers to Triple-A, the team announced. Matt Magill, Carl Edwards Jr., and Nestor Cortes Jr. each elected free agency. The Mariners have 7 open spots on their 40-man roster.

Magill underwent arthroscopic debridement surgery on his right shoulder on Sept. 15, effectively ending his season. The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, per the team release. The 30-year-old reliever did a fine job for the Mariners in 2019 after Seattle purchased his contract from the Twins in July, posting a 3.63 ERA across 22 appearances totaling 22 1/3 innings. His 2020 was more fraught, however, yielding over 6 runs per 9 innings before going down with injury. Originally drafted in the 31st round by the Dodgers, Magill has appeared in the bigs with the Dodgers, Reds, Twins, and Mariners since his debut in 2013.

Edwards Jr. will be well-remembered by Cubs fans for his time in Wrigley Field where he spent the first 4 1/2 seasons of his career. One of a small cadre of relievers that gained manager Joe Maddon’s trust during their title run in the 2016 playoffs, Edwards Jr. remained a key member of the Cubs’ bullpen from 2015 to 2018 with a 3.06 ERA/3.12 FIP in 159 innings over 172 appearances with 12.3 K/9 to 4.9 BB/9. The String Bean Slinger lost his command as he stumbled through a difficult season in 2019. The Cubs eventually traded him to the Padres for Brad Wieck in a swap of bullpen projects.

Edwards Jr. signed with the Mariners as a free agent before 2020, appearing in just 5 games, though he looked sharp in those 4 2/3 innings, allowing just 1 earned run while striking out 6 to just 1 walk. A forearm strain sent him to the injured list on August 10th, ending his season. The 29-year-old will be an interesting reclamation project to track for someone next season. If he can return to the player he was with the Cubs, he’d certainly be a viable weapon out of the bullpen.

Like Magill and Edwards Jr., Cortes was put on the injured list in mid-August, and he too missed the remainder of the season. Cortes made one start and four relief appearances for the Mariners, giving up 13 earned runs across 7 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old has a 6.72 career ERA over parts of 3 seasons with the Orioles, Yankees, and Mariners.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Claim Art Warren]]> 2020-10-21T18:47:43Z 2020-10-21T18:40:47Z The Rangers announced Wednesday that they’ve claimed right-hander Art Warren off waivers from the division-rival Mariners. The move brings Texas’ 40-man roster to a total of 39 players and drops Seattle’s to a count of 33.

Warren, 27, has just 5 1/3 big league innings under his belt, all coming in 2019 with Seattle. He averaged just north of 95 mph on his heater in that time and drew 70 grades on the pitch when he was rising through the system after being selected in the 23rd round of the 2015 draft. Warren worked almost exclusively with a four-seamer and a slider — his most frequently used offering — in that tiny sample of work.

Had their been a conventional minor league season in 2020, Warren likely would’ve been ticketed for Triple-A — a level at which he still has yet to pitch. He jumped straight from Double-A to the Majors when making that 2019 debut. In a total of 47 1/3 frames of Double-A ball, Warren carries a 1.71 ERA and has averaged a dozen strikeout per nine innings, although he’s also averaged five walks per nine. He still has a minor league option remaining after spending the 2020 season in the Mariners’ player pool at their alternate training site. Warren did get a call to the big leagues with Seattle this past season but didn’t get into a game before being optioned back out.

As Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times points out, via Twitter, the Mariners have a whopping eight players on the 60-day injured list who’ll either need to be reinstated or designated for assignment, so it’s not much of a surprise to see some continued roster maintenance. That group includes Tom Murphy, Mitch Haniger, Gerson Bautista, Matt Magill, Andres Munoz, Taylor Guilbeau, Carl Edwards Jr. and Nestor Cortes Jr. Not all are locks to stick on the roster — Edwards, in particular, could be on shaky ground — but Murphy, Haniger, Magill and perhaps Munoz are all ticketed for notable roles next year.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Hisashi Iwakuma To Retire]]> 2020-10-20T17:54:28Z 2020-10-20T17:54:28Z The Yomiuri Giants announced yesterday that veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma will retire at the conclusion of the current Nippon Professional Baseball season.  Shoulder problems have kept Iwakuma off the mound in 2020, but he will hang up his glove after a combined 17 seasons of action in NPB and Major League Baseball.

Iwakuma is best known to North American fans for his six-year run with the Mariners from 2012-17.  The righty posted a 3.42 ERA, 3.86 K/BB rate, 47.6% grounder rate, and 7.3 K/9 over 883 2/3 innings at the big league level, starting 136 of 150 games.  Highlights of Iwakuma’s Seattle tenure included an outstanding 2013 season that saw him finish third in AL Cy Young Award voting, and a no-hitter against the Orioles on August 12, 2015.

It’s easy to wonder what might have been had Iwakuma arrived in the majors prior to his age-31 season, and also perhaps what he could have been able to accomplish in both NPB and MLB had he not been bothered by shoulder injuries and some other health woes for a good deal of his career.  This injury history cost Iwakuma some money in his initial contract with Seattle, and even more notably, a potential three-year, $45MM free agent deal with the Dodgers in the 2015-16 offseason that Los Angeles abandoned after concerns about Iwakuma’s physical.  Even Iwakuma’s return to Japan resulted in only two innings with Yomiuri’s minor league team in 2019.

Over 1541 innings for the Kintetsu Buffaloes and Rakuten Golden Eagles from 2001-11, Iwakuma posted a 3.25 ERA, 3.44 K/BB rate, and 6.9 K/9.  2008 was his greatest year, as Iwakuma captured both league MVP honors and the Sawamura Award (Japan’s equivalent to the Cy Young Award) after posting a 1.87 ERA, 4.42 K/BB rate, 7.1 K/9, and a 21-4 record over 201 2/3 innings for the Golden Eagles.  Iwakuma was also a member of Japan’s winning squad in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, with Iwakuma being named to the all-tournament team.

We at MLB Trade Rumors congratulate Iwakuma on an excellent career, and wish him the best in retirement.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Mariners Outright Four Players]]> 2020-10-19T23:32:14Z 2020-10-19T22:16:29Z The Mariners announced the outrights of four players: right-handers Brady Lail and Seth Frankoff, and catchers Joe Hudson and Joseph Odom. Hudson and Lail have elected free agency, while Frankoff and Odom were assigned to the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma. Seattle’s 40-man roster is down to 34 players.

Lail was claimed off waivers from the White Sox in August. He allowed eight runs (including five homers) in 15 innings down the stretch, striking out eleven against seven walks. Frankoff signed a minor-league contract the day after Seattle claimed Lail. He was eventually selected to the roster but only pitched in two games, allowing five runs in 2.2 innings. A longtime KBO starter, Frankoff will be eligible for minor-league free agency this offseason.

Hudson and Odom each unexpectedly picked up some of the slack behind the plate this season. Presumptive starter Tom Murphy missed the entire season with a foot fracture but figures to return to action next spring. Luis Torrens, who came over from the Padres in the Austin Nola trade, hit fairly well down the stretch and looks to have staked a claim to the backup job. Like Frankoff, Odom can elect minor-league free agency this winter.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mallex Smith, Bryan Shaw, Jimmy Yacabonis Elect Free Agency]]> 2020-10-15T20:07:28Z 2020-10-15T20:07:28Z Mariners outfielder Mallex Smith and right-handers Bryan Shaw and Jimmy Yacabonis have elected free agency, Greg Johns of tweets. The Mariners outrighted all three players in September.

Seattle had high hopes for Smith when it acquired him from Tampa Bay before 2019 in a deal that also involved catcher Mike Zunino, among others. The Mariners seemed right to be bullish on Smith, who was coming off a 3.5-fWAR, 40-steal season at the time. Smith has continued as a stolen base threat since then (he swiped 40 bags in 2019), but the 27-year-old has otherwise struggled. He finished his M’s tenure with 613 plate appearances of .220/.290/.323 hitting and six home runs.

It was also an awful 2020 for Shaw, continuing a downward trend for the once-effective Cleveland reliever. After a woeful two-year stint in Colorado, Shaw joined the Mariners on a big league contract in July, but the deal didn’t work out for either side. The 32-year-old wound up tossing six frames, yielding 12 earned runs on 13 hits and issuing six walks in Seattle.

Yacabonis joined the Mariners in a minor trade with the Padres in August, but he also didn’t establish himself in the M’s bullpen. The 28-year-old gave up one earned runs on two hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Evaluating Mariners' Offseason Roster Decision]]> 2020-10-12T14:01:34Z 2020-10-11T20:14:49Z
  • The Mariners will have some decisions to make in advance of this offseason’s deadline to protect players from the Rule V draft, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times explores. Taylor TrammellJuan Then and Sam Delaplane are obviously going to be protected, Divish feels, but reliever Wyatt Mills and corner infielder Joe Rizzo present tougher calls. One other key roster decision will involve right-hander Kendall Graveman’s $3.5MM club option, Divish notes. The 29-year-old’s overall season numbers weren’t particularly impressive, but Graveman seemingly found another gear working out of the bullpen down the stretch.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Mariners, Bullpen Coach Brian DeLunas To Part Ways]]> 2020-10-08T02:22:41Z 2020-10-08T02:22:41Z Mariners bullpen coach Brian DeLunas will not return next season, reports Corey Brock of the Athletic (Twitter link). As Brock notes, DeLunas originally joined the organization in a front office capacity entering the 2018 season. He became the club’s bullpen coach last November.

    DeLunas’ only season in that position certainly wasn’t a banner year for the team’s relievers. The Mariners’ pen was worth a league-worst 1.5 wins below replacement, in FanGraphs’ estimation. Cumulatively, Seattle relievers pitched to a 5.92 ERA/5.81 FIP.

    Of course, that’s hardly all the fault of DeLunas. The M’s bullpen personnel was lackluster, especially after Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla were traded to the Padres mid-season. The end of games is a clear area of focus moving forward, as GM Jerry Dipoto acknowledged the club will need to bring in “three or four” outside arms this winter.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dipoto: Mariners Hope To Add “Three Or Four” Relievers In Offseason]]> 2020-10-01T17:20:03Z 2020-10-01T15:38:34Z Expanded format or not, the Mariners stuck around the periphery of the playoff picture longer than most onlookers expected. Seattle finished the 2020 season within striking distance of a .500 record (27-33) and saw key young players like Kyle Lewis and Justus Sheffield take important steps forward.

    The Mariners’ 2020 relief corps, however, was disastrous by virtually any measure. Mariners relievers ranked 28th in ERA (5.92) and even worse in the estimation of fielding-independent metrics. The bullpen posted the game’s 29th-ranked SIERA (4.99) and was dead last in both FIP (5.81) and xFIP (5.69).

    Only the Rockies and Marlins bullpens struck out a fewer percentage of batters faced, and only the Mets bullpen walked a higher percentage of opponents. The Phillies were the lone team whose relievers averaged more homers allowed per nine innings. The Mariners were also a bottom-three bullpen in terms of swinging-strike rate, first-pitch strike rate and opponents’ chase rate. In short, Seattle relievers couldn’t miss bats, control the strike zone or avoid loud contact. They weren’t baseball’s worst bullpen thanks to some historically bad showings in Philadelphia and Denver, but that’s not exactly a technicality in which a team should take much pride.

    It should surprise no one, then, that general manager Jerry Dipoto made the bullpen his clear focus in chatting with reporters at season’s end (links via Corey Brock of The Athletic and Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times). But while many GMs speak in generalities with regard to their offseason needs, Dipoto was more specific, suggesting that the Mariners could add “three or four” new relievers — likely via free agency. (Of course, as we know by now, we should also never rule out the trade market as an avenue for Dipoto.)

    While the GM cautioned that he might not pursue the market’s “marquee names” — Liam Hendriks, Kirby Yates, old friend Alex Colome and the resurgent Trevor Rosenthal are among the top available arms — it was a rather straightforward declaration of his intent to be more active than most of his peers on the bullpen market. As Brock rightly points out, spending top dollar to build a bullpen via free agency is precisely what led to the aforementioned catastrophe in the Rockies’ bullpen, but Dipoto sounds as though he plans a more measured approach to making bulk additions.

    If the Mariners do wish to spend big, they’d certainly be able to do so. Seattle just over $50MM committed to next year’s payroll, per Jason Martinez of Roster Resource, and their arbitration class is rather light. Mitch Haniger, Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford are the only locks to be tendered contracts among Seattle’s arbitration-eligible players. Mallex Smith was already outrighted and will be able to become a free agent by virtue of his service time. Carl Edwards Jr. is also arb-eligible but pitched just 4 2/3 innings due to injury.

    Other additions will likely be made beyond the bullpen, though it doesn’t sound like they’ll be the primary area of focus. Divish suggests that a free-agent rotation piece will likely be in the cards, particularly given Dipoto’s indication that the Mariners will continue to utilize a six-man rotation. Speculatively, a veteran outfielder who could serve both as an early-season bridge to uber-prospect Jarred Kelenic and a safety net for long-injured Haniger could be prudent.

    Speaking of Haniger, one of the more encouraging takeaways from Dipoto’s comments was his assertion that the 29-year-old is at long last believed to be healthy. Haniger’s recovery “has really picked up steam in the past 30 or 40 days,” Dipoto said, expressing confidence that he’ll be the team’s Opening Day right fielder in 2021.

    That would be a welcome sight for Mariners fans, who saw Haniger break out with a All-Star 2018 season –. 285/.366/.493, 26 homers, 38 doubles, four triples, eight steals, solid defense — before a freak series of injuries torpedoed his 2019-20 seasons. Haniger fouled a ball into his groin in June 2019, resulting in a ruptured testicle. While rehabbing that already gruesome injury, Haniger suffered an adductor tear that snowballed into a herniated disc in his back. He ultimately underwent a microdiscectomy procedure that wiped out his entire 2020 season.

    An improved bullpen, Haniger’s return, Kelenic’s expected debut and some additional growth from young talents like Evan White, Shed Long Jr. and/or Crawford could lead to another major step forward for the Mariners. That’s a lot of things still needing to break in their direction, but Dipoto no longer sounds like a GM in the midst of an all-out rebuild. The Mariners’ goal next season, per the GM, is to contend for a postseason berth. “I don’t think that’s unrealistic,” said Dipoto.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dipoto: Mariners Plan To Upgrade Bullpen]]> 2020-09-29T03:08:26Z 2020-09-29T03:06:39Z
  • The  Mariners will enter the upcoming offseason with a focus on upgrading their bullpen, per general manager Jerry Dipoto (via Greg Johns of Seattle would “like to add three or four guys down there that can stabilize that group and give us some certainty as we move toward the end of a game,” acccording to Dipoto. The Mariners, who finished with a 27-33 record, kept their long-running playoff drought going this year thanks in part to a weak relief corps that finished last in the AL in ERA (5.92).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Shed Long Undergoes Surgery On Right Tibia]]> 2020-09-28T21:00:13Z 2020-09-28T21:00:13Z The Mariners announced Monday that second baseman Shed Long underwent a “closed reduction intermedullary fixation of his right tibia on Sept. 22 to repair a stress fracture in his right shin.” He’s expected to be able to participate in Spring Training games next year, per the club.

    Originally a Reds draftee — 12th round, 2013 — Long rose through the ranks to become one of Cincinnati’s more promising prospects in 2018. The Reds sent Long and a Competitive Balance Round A selection to the Yankees in exchange for Sonny Gray, however, and the Yankees immediately flipped Long to the Mariners for outfield prospect Josh Stowers in what effectively amounted to a three-team swap.

    Long, who turned 25 last month, made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2019 and got out to an impressive start, hitting .263/.333/.454 with five homers, a dozen doubles, a triple and three steals through 168 trips to the plate as a rookie. He opened the 2020 season as the everyday option at second base but floundered after a decent start to the season, posting a .451 OPS in his final 24 games.

    Overall, through 296 career plate appearances, Long is a .223/.294/.383 hitter. He’s walked in nine percent of his plate appearances but saw his strikeout rate climb from 23.8 percent as a rookie to 29.8 percent in 2020. While Long’s bat-to-ball skills and overall offensive output trended in the wrong direction this year, though, his glovework seemingly ticked up. Defensive Runs Saved, Ultimate Zone Rating and Outs Above Average all agree that Long’s defense at second base improved markedly this season.

    Long wouldn’t blame his 2020 struggles on the stress fracture, but both he and Mariners skipper Scott Servais said earlier this month that it’s an injury which had plagued him throughout the season (link via’s Greg Johns). Asked whether he debated shutting down earlier than he did, Long told Johns and other reporters: “You tell any person in America or anywhere for that matter that they’re going to be the starting second baseman for any Major League team, that’s not an opportunity that’s always presented to you. No matter what, I’m trying to make the most of this opportunity.”

    It’s an admirable take, and Long described himself as a “high pain-tolerance guy.” That pain grew too considerable when he fouled a ball into the area of the stress fracture, however. He’ll now take the offseason to rehab and prep for what will be a more crowded competition at second base in 2020. The Mariners acquired Ty France in the trade that sent Austin Nola to the Padres, and versatile Dylan Moore surely piqued the club’s interest with a big season of his own.

    Long has experience in the outfield, logging 130 innings in left field with the Mariners since his debut, and he’s tallied eight innings at third base as well. Each of Long, France and Moore have a minor league option remaining after this season (multiple, in Moore’s case), which would allow the Mariners to get someone regular work in Tacoma if playing time in the big leagues is too hard to come by. If nothing else, that level of depth is a welcome “problem” to consider as Seattle continues to take its next steps in emerging from a rebuilding process.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Mariners Place Luis Torrens On 10-Day Injured List, Activate Joe Hudson]]> 2020-09-27T19:29:12Z 2020-09-27T19:29:12Z
  • Joe Hudson has been recalled from the Mariners’ alternate training site for the final game of the season, per the Mariners’ PR department. Luis Torrens was placed on the 10-day injured list with back spasms. Hudson is making his third trip to the Mariners this season having one 3 for 17 in 9 games thus far. The 24-year-old catcher has started 16 games behind the plate for Seattle since coming over from the Padres at the deadline. Between both clubs, he slashed .257/.325/.371 across 78 plate appearances. It’s notable that Mariners’ manager Scott Servais noted that the offseason plan for Torrens will be to get strong enough to handle a full 162-game season, per’s Greg Johns. The Mariners would like Torrens to add 8-10 pounds before next season.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Claim Ian Hamilton]]> 2020-09-25T20:05:05Z 2020-09-25T20:05:05Z The Mariners have claimed right-hander Ian Hamilton off waivers from the White Sox, per an announcement from Seattle. The White Sox designated Hamilton for assignment Sept. 18.

    Thanks in part to shoulder problems, the 25-year-old Hamilton – who attended high school and college in Washington state – hasn’t taken the mound since Aug. 11. So far this season, he has thrown four innings of two-run ball with five walks against four strikeouts. In all, between this season and his debut in 2018, Hamilton has tossed 12 frames, given up seven runs (six earned), and totaled nine strikeouts against seven walks. The former 11th-round pick (2016) didn’t pitch at all in the majors last season on account of shoulder and jaw injuries.

    While his MLB career hasn’t gone that well so far, there’s little harm in taking a chance on Hamilton from the Mariners’ perspective. After all, Hamilton remains a promising flamethrower who was dominant at the Triple-A level as recently as 2018. That year, Hamilton put up a 1.71 ERA/2.76 FIP and notched 9.57 K/9, 1.37 BB/9 and a 46.8 percent groundball rate in 26 1/3 innings.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dylan Moore Done For Season]]> 2020-09-23T12:29:28Z 2020-09-23T03:02:10Z Mariners outfielder/infielder Dylan Moore is done for the season as a result of a concussion, the team announced. Moore suffered the injury when he took a pitch off the helmet on Monday, ending what was a terrific campaign for the 28-year-old. Moore batted .255/.358/.496 with eight home runs and 12 stolen bases over 159 plate appearances in 2020.