The Mariners announced on Thursday that they have released right-hander Anthony Bass so that he may pursue an opportunity with a team in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. The specific team with which Bass will sign in Japan has not yet been reported.
The move comes as somewhat of a surprise, as Seattle had only just acquired Bass this offseason in a trade that sent Tom Wilhelmsen, James Jones and Patrick Kivlehan to the Rangers. (Seattle received center fielder Leonys Martin in the deal as well.) While Bass wouldn’t necessarily have been guaranteed a roster spot with the Mariners, he seemingly was in a good spot to land a bullpen spot behind new closer Steve Cishek and new setup man Joaquin Benoit. The 28-year-old was eligible for arbitration and projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to take home a $1.1MM salary in 2016, so Bass and his representatives at the Beverly Hills Sports Council probably received a fairly notable offer from the yet-unnamed overseas club. Typically, in these situations, the foreign team will also pay the MLB club some kind of cash considerations as compensation for releasing the player.
Bass spent the bulk of the 2015 season in the Rangers’ bullpen, working to a 4.50 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 48.5 percent ground-ball rate in 64 innings of relief. He’s totaled at least 27 innings at the Major League level in each of the past five seasons, with the 2012 campaign representing his largest body of work (97 innings, including 15 starts for the Padres). In 278 1/3 innings, Bass has a 4.40 ERA and has averaged 6.1 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 to go along with a 47.8 percent ground-ball rate and a 92.6 mph fastball.