The Mariners announced that right-hander Matt Festa went unclaimed on waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Nashville. He’s been invited to Major League Spring Training as a non-roster player.
The 26-year-old Festa made his MLB debut with the Mariners in 2018 and has pitched a total of 30 2/3 innings of relief since that time. To this point in his relatively young career, Festa has managed a 4.70 ERA with a 25-to-14 K/BB ratio and a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate in the Majors.
Festa, a seventh-round pick back in 2016, has averaged about 93 mph on his four-seamer — rather pedestrian among relievers in today’s game — but the righty’s success in both Double-A and Triple-A could earn him another look with the Mariners in the future. The Seattle bullpen is short on proven assets and could feature a Rule 5 pick (Yohan Ramirez) as well as several out-of-options hurlers to begin the season (Matt Magill, Sam Tuivailala, Dan Altavilla and offseason pickup Carl Edwards Jr.). That could be a recipe for a fair bit of in-season turnover, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to Festa back in Seattle at some point this summer, particularly if he’s able to continue his strong upper-minors production.