1:41pm: The two teams have both announced the move.
“Nestor is a versatile lefty who can do a little bit of everything,” Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said in a statement announcing the swap. “He can start, he can relieve, he can give you those middle innings or even operate as an opener.”
Seattle’s 40-man roster is now at 36 players.
1:30pm: The Yankees have traded left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. to the Mariners in exchange for international bonus allotments, Buster Olney of ESPN reports (via Twitter). New York designated Cortes for assignment last week when setting the 40-man roster in advance of next month’s Rule 5 Draft.
Cortes, 25 next month, has appeared in 37 big league games over the past two seasons — all but one of which was a relief outing. Though he’s been a longtime Yankees farmhand, the lefty actually made his MLB debut with the Orioles in 2018 after Baltimore selected him in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft. He wasn’t able to hold his roster spot, however, and was returned to the Yankees during the ’18 season.
This past year, Cortes made his Yankees debut but limped to a 5.67 ERA in 66 2/3 innings. He averaged 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and logged a 10.5 percent swinging-strike rate, but Cortes also averaged 3.8 walks and 2.2 home runs per nine frames in his limited time with the Yanks. He doesn’t generate many grounders (34.2 percent), nor does he throw especially hard (89.6 mph average fastball), but lefties with strong Triple-A track records and minor league options remaining will always have some appeal throughout the league. Cortes has a pair of options left and, in 205 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level, has a 3.11 ERA with 8.7 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. A move to a more pitcher-friendly setting could certainly help to curb the home-run troubles that plagued him in 2019, and at the very least he’ll give the Mariners some depth both in the rotation and as a long relief option.
The amount of money the Yankees received in return for Cortes isn’t presently known, but international allotments have to be traded in blocks of $250K, so New York picked up at least that much in additional resources to add to its pool.