Seattle Mariners Rumors

Seattle Mariners trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Mariners Sign Joe Beimel

The Mariners have signed left-hander Joe Beimel to a minor league contract, the team announced.  Beimel unofficially announced the deal himself via his Instagram page earlier tonight, with Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times confirming that the deal would be finalized when Beimel passed a physical.

Beimel posted a strong 2.20 ERA in 45 relief innings for Seattle in 2014, though his advanced metrics (4.18 FIP, 4.17 xFIP, 4.09 SIERA) paint a different picture of his effectiveness, as Beimel was aided by a .250 BABIP and a whopping 86.8% strand rate.  Left-handed hitters managed only a .504 OPS against Beimel last season, indicating that the veteran can still contribute as a specialist out of the bullpen.

Beimel, who turns 38 on April 19, signed a one-year, non-guaranteed Major League deal with the Rangers in early March but was released just over two weeks later after being hit hard in brief spring action.  Charlie Furbush and rookie Tyler Olson project to be Seattle’s two left-handed bullpen options on Opening Day.


West Notes: Nix, Walker, Olson, Garcia, Bradley

Late last night, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle followed up on his report that the Astros‘ exact draft pool is unknown because two players after the 10th round received bonuses north of $100K. Per Drellich, 14th-round pick Nick Tanielu and 15th-round pick Connor Goedert each received bonuses of $200K — $100K above slot for each of them. As such, Drellich writes in a separate piece that the team’s final $616,165 offer to fifth-rounder Jacob Nix was virtually every dollar they had available to offer without losing future draft picks.

Here’s more from the game’s Western divisions…

  • Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon confirmed to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune that both right-hander Taijuan Walker and left-hander Tyler Olson have made the team’s Opening Day roster (Twitter link). Walker’s inclusion on the 25-man roster is significant, as with 142 days of service time under his belt, he’ll almost certainly be a Super Two player two offseasons from now. The 25-year-old Olson, on the other hand, was in camp as a non-roster invite and will need to be added to the 40-man roster.
  • Freddy Garcia‘s Minor League contract with the Dodgers does contain an opt-out clause, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, although the exact date of that opt-out remains unknown. Also pertaining to Garcia, Han Lee of Global Sports Integration has passed along Garcia’s Taiwanese stats to MLBTR. The veteran righty pitched to an 11-9 record with a 3.19 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 1.1 BB/9 and a 1.19 WHIP in 161 innings of work while pitching overseas in 2014.
  • Though the D-Backs have named their starting rotation, Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic writes that Archie Bradley has been so impressive that the Snakes may have to re-think at the last minute. Bradley fired six shutout innings Wednesday, including 5 2/3 no-hit innings, and after the game, manager Chip Hale told reporters: “We’ve named our five, but he’s pushed the envelope all the way down to the last possible chance he had. He’s looked great. We’ll have to sit down and evaluate everything.” Bradley could also begin his first full season in the Majors in a bullpen role, serving as a long man to get acclimated with the big leagues, Hale indicated.

Mariners, Rays Swap Erasmo Ramirez For Mike Montgomery

The Mariners announced that they have traded right-hander Erasmo Ramirez to the Rays in exchange for left-hander Mike Montgomery.

Ramirez, 24, enjoyed an excellent rookie season with the Mariners in 2012 when he worked to a 3.36 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 40.4 percent ground-ball rate in 59 innings, making eight starts and eight relief appearances. While stats like FIP, xFIP and SIERA all pegged him for a slightly higher mark — in the 3.55 to 3.75 range — it was a promising debut for a player that had ranked as the organization’s No. 13 prospect (per Baseball America) in the previous offseason.

However, Ramirez has fallen on hard times since that impressive debut; over the past two seasons, he’s recorded just a 5.12 ERA that unfortunately lines up nearly exactly with his 5.11 FIP. Ramirez’s strikeout and ground-ball rates have remained similar, but he’s seen his control take a step back, averaging 3.7 walks per nine innings in that time while becoming increasingly homer-prone.

Ramirez was out of Minor League options, meaning he would have been required to clear waivers before the Mariners could send him outright to Triple-A. The Rays then appear likely to keep him on the 25-man roster and hope for better results from Ramirez at the back of an injury-plagued rotation. In addition to Matt Moore, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Rays will also open the season without Drew Smyly at full strength. Alex Cobb and Alex Colome have both been slowed by injuries this spring as well, which has led to a well-known search for rotation depth in Tampa.

Montgomery, who turns 26 in July, was once one of the crown jewels of a vaunted Royals farm system, but his career stalled upon reaching the Triple-A level. Montgomery posted ERAs of 5.32 and 6.07 in his first two years reaching that level, and he’s struggled at lower levels since. All told, he has a 4.98 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 in parts of four seasons at Triple-A.

The Rays acquired Montgomery from the Royals in the James Shields/Wil Myers blockbuster in hopes of revitalizing his career. However, while his numbers improved a bit — 4.29 ERA in 25 starts at Triple-A last year — he’s yet to show the promise that made him the No. 36 overall pick in the 2008 draft and one of the game’s top prospects from 2010-12. In their last scouting report on him, following the 2012 season, BA wrote that Montgomery began experimenting with a lower arm slot that caused his velocity to dip from the 92-93 mph range to the 88-90 mph range, adding that left-handed hitters were too comfortable against him. Montgomery is a reclamation project for the Mariners, but although he’s on the 40-man roster, he, unlike Ramirez, has an option remaining and can therefore hope to rediscover himself in the Minors in 2015.



AL West Notes: Nix, Astros, Mariners, Rangers

In a revealing piece for Sports Illustrated, Stephanie Apstein spoke with 2014 fifth-round pick Jacob Nix, who was selected by the Astros and agreed to a $1.5MM bonus before having the offer pulled following complications with top pick Brady Aiken‘s physical. As most readers remember, the team reached a verbal agreement with Nix before finalizing Aiken’s deal, and once Aiken’s physical revealed troubles with his UCL, his offer had to be reduced. When Aiken didn’t agree to terms, the money for his slot was lost, and the team could no longer fit Nix’s bonus into its draft pool without incurring maximum future penalties. (Aiken, of course, recently underwent Tommy John surgery.) Nix discussed the waiting at length with Apstein, stating, “I’ve never been that kind of guy. I’ve always been out doing something.” Nix waited two weeks after departing Houston before the team contacted him, and he then waited another week to hear if his signing would come together. He was offered a revised $616K offer about an hour before the deadline, Apstein reports, but Nix passed and has since enrolled at IMG Academy in hopes of boosting his stock. It seems to have worked, as ESPN’s Keith Law noted in February that Nix is already showing first-round potential after adding 25 pounds of muscle and flashing average or better changeups and curveballs at times, complementing his solid velocity. Nix is looking forward to his pro career, though he won’t consent to being re-drafted by the Astros. “I hear nothing but good things about 29 teams,” Nix told Apstein. “I just want to get in and start my career.”

More on Nix, the Astros and the AL West…

  • Team officials have indicated to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle that the Astros‘ currently reported 2015 draft pool and the amount they spent in 2014 aren’t accurate (Twitter links). It seems, Drellich continues, that someone after the 10th round got more than the allotted $100K in last year’s draft. All rounds following the 10th have a $100K slot, and additional spending over that mark counts against a team’s bonus pool. Drellich notes that this makes it impossible to know what the maximum amount Houston could have offered either Aiken or Nix truly was.
  • As much or more than any other team, the Mariners receive a huge portion of their value and income from their television arrangements, as Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times explains. A close bottom-line focus over recent years did not deliver a winner, but did leave the team in position to ramp up its spending. Now, certainly, Seattle enters the 2015 season with postseason expectations.
  • The Mariners could use a modified six-man rotation, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. By slotting in Roenis Elias liberally throughout the year, the club might hope to limit the wear and tear on its five top starters over the course of the regular season.
  • That sort of flexibility figures to play an even more prominent role for the Rangers this year, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News explains. Texas may not quite reach the level of impermanence it did last year, when it used a league-record 64 players at the big league level, but the club figures to rely heavily on option years to shuttle players back and forth between the bigs and the upper minors.

Mariners Release Chavez, Release And Re-Sign Gutierrez, Saunders

The Mariners have made a host of moves involving veteran non-roster invitees, per a team announcement. Seattle has released outfielders Endy Chavez and Franklin Gutierrez along with lefty Joe Saunders, with the latter two players re-signing on new minor league deals.

Chavez, 37, exercised an opt-out clause in his deal to reach the open market. He has spent the last two seasons with the Mariners, combining for 537 plate appearances with a .271/.303/.347 slash.

The 32-year-old Gutierrez, meanwhile, sat out all of 2014 and has seen only five plate appearances in Cactus League action this spring. He has been a productive player at times, though certainly will need to prove his health and productivity if he is to re-establish himself in the big leagues.

Meanwhile, Saunders will figure to provide a depth option for the Mariners’ pitching staff. The lefty has had difficult results in each of the last two seasons, but has a long track record of durability.


Mariners Release Kevin Correia

The Mariners announced that they have released right-hander Kevin Correia, who was in camp on a Minor League contract. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted earlier today that Correia was planning to opt out of his deal after being reassigned to Minor League camp.

Correia, 34, struggled to a 5.44 ERA in 154 innings between the Twins and Dodgers in 2014 — the second season of a two-year, $10MM pact he had inked with Minnesota prior to the 2013 campaign. Correia pulled his weight in the first year of the deal, registering a 4.18 ERA in 185 1/3 innings, but his middling strikeout rate (4.8 K/9 over the past two seasons) and hittable arsenal appear to have caught up with him in 2014.

Still, despite his stumbles, FIP and xFIP feel that Correia’s ERA could’ve been a bit lower, pegging him at 4.67, and the veteran righty has shown very good control over the past four seasons (2.3 BB/9).  Recently, Heyman noted that even though Correia was a longshot to make the M’s, injuries elsewhere would likely lead to significant interest from other clubs.


Mariners Prospect Victor Sanchez Dies

Mariners prospect Victor Sanchez has passed away, Jose Grasso of Finanzasdigital.com tweets. Sanchez was 20. Last month, Sanchez was swimming off the coast of his native Venezuela when he was hit by a boat. He suffered a fractured skull and a hematoma that caused a stroke, and he went into a coma.

The Seattle Mariners are saddened to learn of the passing of Victor Sanchez,” says Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik. “Victor was a tremendous young man and a wonderful teammate. He was a very talented player who was close to fulfilling his promise as a Major Leaguer. He will be missed by his teammates, and the coaches and staff at the Mariners.”

Sanchez had been in the midst of a promising career as a starting pitcher. The Mariners signed him for a $2.5MM bonus in 2011 and promoted him aggressively through their system. He threw a no-hitter in 2013 in Class A, then he held his own last year at Double-A as a 19-year-old. MLB.com ranked Sanchez as the 11th-best prospect in the Mariners’ system, praising his strike-throwing ability.

We at MLBTR offer our condolences to Sanchez’s family and to the Mariners organization.


Mariners Rule 5 Pick David Rollins Suspended 80 Games For Failed PED Test

Mariners Rule 5 Draft pick David Rollins has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for Stanozolol, the league announced. Rollins, a 25-year-old lefty selected out of the Astros organization, had pitched exceptionally well in Spring Training and was considered likely to make the team’s bullpen. In eight innings, Rollins had yielded one run with seven strikeouts and no walks.

The Mariners will be allowed to keep Rollins and place him on the restricted list until his suspension has been served. He can head into extended Spring Training and work out there, eventually moving to a rehab assignment before ultimately joining the team, if the club wishes to retain him. That appears to be the likely outcome, as Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune writes that GM Jack Zduriencik has indicated the team is leaning toward keeping Rollins. Via Dutton, Rollins says that the mistake came following an injury in winter ball when he was trying to speed up the recovery process. Zduriencik released the following statement via press release: “Having spoken at length with David, I know that he is truly remorseful for his error in judgement. We will continue to work with him to get past this situation.”

In a statement released via the Players Association, Rollins apologized to the organization and thanked the Mariners for their support: “My positive test was the result of a serious error in judgment. I know I have disappointed my many supporters; and my sincerest apologies go out to everyone associated with the game of baseball, especially the Seattle Mariners organization, my teammates and the fans. I am truly grateful for the opportunity the Mariners have given me and never again want to compromise this trust. From the bottom of my heart, I deeply regret this mistake and give you my word it will never happen again.”

It’s possible that Rollins could eventually pitch for the Mariners this season, and the southpaw’s Minor League track record and solid spring indicate that he could indeed stick with the club. In four seasons since being selected in the 24th round by the Blue Jays (Rollins was sent from the Jays to the Astros in the 10-player J.A. Happ/Francisco Cordero trade), Rollins has worked to a 3.39 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 358 2/3 Minor League innings. The Mariners have a potential need for a second lefty in the bullpen behind Charlie Furbush, as the team did not re-sign Joe Beimel or add a second lefty on a big league deal.


Quick Hits: Diamondbacks, Ramirez, Bradley

Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart says his team doesn’t feel the need another lefty reliever to complement Oliver Perez, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports. Instead, they’ll go with Andrew Chafin, Matt Reynolds, Dan Runzler, or possibly Robbie Ray. The 24-year-old Chafin struggled as a starter at Triple-A Reno after nine good starts at Double-A Mobile in 2014. Reynolds was recovering from Tommy John surgery, although he had success in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen in 2013 before getting hurt. Runzler pitched in the bullpen at the Triple-A level in the Giants system and is in Diamondbacks camp as a non-roster invite. Ray is in competition for the Diamondbacks’ last rotation spot, although that could go to Rubby De La Rosa, freeing Ray to work out of the bullpen. Here are more notes from throughout baseball.

  • The Mariners are likely to try to trade pitcher Erasmo Ramirez, MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes. Ramirez is out of options and doesn’t figure to make the team. The number of pitching injuries throughout the game could create a need for Ramirez somewhere. Since the Mariners will likely be forced to designate Ramirez for assignment if they don’t trade him, though, they don’t necessarily have much leverage.
  • Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t likely to make the Red Sox coming out of camp, but he’s hit well in March while demonstrating a more level swing, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. That could make Bradley an attractive trade candidate again despite a tough 2014 season. The Red Sox can option Bradley, however, meaning the team doesn’t have to deal him even though it does have more outfielders than it needs right now.

AL Notes: Watkins, Correia, Surkamp

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe profiles Red Sox minor-leaguer J.T. Watkins, a 25-year-old backstop who hopes to become the first West Point grad to make it to the Majors. Watkins has spent two years in military service since being drafted, but was given the chance to pursue a baseball career by the Army. Of course, his odds of cracking the majors are somewhat longer those of, say, his 2012 teammate Mookie Betts — who just happened to be signed by Watkins’ father Danny. Here are more quick notes from the American League.