The Mariners have acquired right-hander Matt Wisler from the Padres in exchange for cash, the teams announced. Seattle had an opening on its 40-man roster, so a corresponding DFA or 60-day IL placement isn’t necessary. Wisler was designated for assignment by San Diego last week.
Wisler, 26, was once one of the game’s premier pitching prospects but has yet to find his footing at the MLB level. He’s shifted to a full-time relief role for the first time in 2019, and while the bottom-line numbers aren’t great — 5.28 ERA, five homers allowed in 29 innings — there’s also reason for optimism. Wisler is striking out a career-best 26.4 percent of opponents (10.6 K/9) thanks to a career-high 15.6 percent swinging-strike rate and 35.1 percent opponents’ chase rate. He’s also been plagued by a bloated .363 average on balls in play despite substantial drops in his opponents’ hard-hit rate and average exit velocity.
Opponents have batted .291/.344/.479 against Wisler in 2019 — good for a .349 weighted on-base average. But based on the quality of contact allowed and his enhanced strikeout tendencies, Statcast projects a more palatable .252 expected batting average, .394 expected slugging percentage and .314 weighted on-base average. Whether he’s able to turn things around in his new environs remains to be seen, but he’ll give the Mariners yet another fresh arm to trot out into an ever-changing bullpen mix. Wisler is out of minor league options, so he’ll have to improve at the MLB level or else once again be designated for assignment before he can potentially be sent to Triple-A.