The Mariners announced today that they’ve requested release waivers on right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, who was designated for assignment last week as part of a flurry of moves that preceded the deadline to set rosters prior to the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. A team could technically claim Wilhelmsen off release waivers, though with a projected $3.8MM salary for the 2017 season, that seems unlikely.
The 33-year-old Wilhelmsen went from Seattle to Texas in last offseason’s Leonys Martin swap but was shelled in his limited time with the Rangers. Wilhelmsen served up an incredible 25 earned runs on 38 hits (seven homers) and nine walks in just 21 1/3 innings. Those alarming struggles, unsurprisingly, led to a release by the Rangers, and the former Mariners closer quickly re-signed in Seattle. Wilhelmsen went on to enjoy success over his final 25 innings of the year, posting a 3.60 ERA with a 17-to-10 K/BB ratio and a 52.8 percent ground-ball rate.
With the exception of his disastrous run in Texas, Wilhelmsen has performed pretty well over the past three seasons. From 2014-15, he logged a 2.67 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and a roughly league-average ground-ball rate in 141 1/3 innings of relief with the Mariners. He averaged a solid 94.8 mph on his heater this season and, given his past success, should draw interest for teams looking for a short-term commitment to a bullpen arm. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has already spoken about the possibility of a re-signing Wilhelmsen, though he could certainly end up garnering big league offers elsewhere.