2:41pm: The Mariners announced that they’ve not only claimed Hannemann off waivers from the Cubs but also right-hander Seth Frankoff, who was designated for assignment last Friday. In order to clear spot on the 40-man roster, Seattle has transferred David Phelps to the 60-day DL and designated lefty Zac Curtis for assignment. Phelps’ placement on the 60-day DL will end his season.
Frankoff, 29, made his big league debut with the Cubs this season but tossed only two innings. He’s spent the bulk of his career in the Athletics’ minor league ranks and has pitched to a 4.40 ERA with 9.2 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 through 116 2/3 innings in Triple-A Iowa this year — mostly out of the rotation (21 starts, three relief appearances).
Curtis, 25, was acquired alongside Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger in last winter’s Taijuan Walker trade with the D-backs. He made just three appearances with the Mariners’ big league club and spent the remainder of the season with Triple-A Tacoma. The DFA of Curtis comes as at least a moderate surprise, as he’s worked to a respectable 3.51 ERA through 51 1/3 innings with Tacoma, where he’s averaged 10.5 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 with a 40.9 percent grounder rate.
The loss of Phelps is an unfortunate development for the Mariners, who traded four minor leaguers (albeit only one that was especially well-regarded) in order to obtain him from the Marlins earlier this summer. Phelps has been very good in Seattle when healthy, allowing just three runs with 11 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings as a Mariner.
However, a right elbow impingement will prevent him from appearing again this season. On the plus side for the Mariners, Phelps is controlled through 2018, so there’s hope that he can return to play an important role in next year’s relief corps.
1:39pm: The Mariners have claimed outfield prospect Jacob Hannemann off waivers from the Cubs, reports Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). MLBTR had just reported that Hannemann would lose his 40-man roster spot, though it seems that his removal and subsequent placement on waivers was already in the works. He’ll land on Seattle’s 40-man roster.
The 26-year-old Hannemann has split the 2017 season between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, hitting considerably better at the more advanced of those two levels. Through 322 PAs with Iowa, Hannemann has slashed .265/.324/.404, though his rough stretch in Tennessee drags his cumulative batting line down to a less palatable .240/.312/.372.
Baseball America rated Hannemann as Chicago’s No. 23 prospect this past offseason, writing that he has 70-grade speed and is the “best athlete in the Cubs system.” However, he also has a fringy arm in the outfield, per their report, and has never demonstrated that much power in the minors.
Hannemann’s speed and defensive ability are traits that the Jerry Dipoto-led Mariners have prioritized, as evidenced by this regime’s acquisitions of players such as Jarrod Dyson, Mitch Haniger and Ben Gamel (among others). With that trio lining up for starting duties, plus Guillermo Heredia, Danny Valencia and Taylor Motter all representing outfield options on the bench, it’s not clear if Hannemann will receive the opportunity to join the Mariners as a September call-up. But, he was only just added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster this past winter, meaning he has two minor league options remaining and figures to compete for a job next spring.