Right-hander Al Alburquerque has signed a minor league contract with the Mariners, as was first reported by Triple-A broadcaster Mike Curto last week (Twitter link). The longtime Tigers reliever spent the majority of the 2016 season with the Angels but was released on Aug. 13.
Alburquerque, 30, logged a 3.80 ERA with a 26-to-13 K/BB ratio and a 44.9 percent ground-ball rate in 23 2/3 innings with the Halos’ Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake this season. Alburquerque also tossed two innings for the Angels at the Major League level this year, allowing one earned run on two hits and two walks with a strikeout. He’s appeared in a pair of games for Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate and will hope to earn a promotion to the big league level when rosters expand on Thursday.
While Alburquerque hasn’t pitched much in the Majors this year, he was a regular contributor to the Detroit bullpen from 2011-15, continually demonstrating an ability to rack up strikeouts but also consistently showing below-average control. In 225 innings as a member of the Tigers, Alburquerque posted a very solid 3.20 ERA and averaged an impressive 11 strikeouts per nine innings, but he also averaged five walks per nine innings pitched over the life of his Tigers career. If he does end up making an appearance on the Mariners’ roster next month, Seattle will have the ability to control him through the 2017 season if desired, as he’s currently just shy of five years of big league service (a September call-up would push him over the threshold).