The Mariners have agreed to a deal with right-hander Chris Flexen, reports Mike Mayer of MetsMerized (Twitter link). The New York Post’s Ken Davidoff hears the same, adding that Flexen will be guaranteed $4.75MM over two years on the pact. The pact also includes a pair of options for 2023, per Davidoff. There’s a $4MM club option and, if Flexen throws 150 innings in 2022 or 300 frames from 2021-22, an $8MM vesting option. The O’Connell Sports Management client could also make an additional $1MM in performance bonuses, and he’ll earn $250K if he’s traded. The Mariners won’t be able to send Flexen to the minors without his consent, Davidoff adds.
Flexen, 26, was an up-and-down depth piece with the Mets from 2017-19 before signing with the Korea Baseball Organization’s Doosan Bears last winter. While Flexen – a former 14th-round pick – could only muster an 8.07 ERA and a 6.92 FIP in 68 innings as a Met, the right-hander put together a dominant season in South Korea, logging a 3.01 ERA/2.74 FIP with 10.2 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 in 116 2/3 innings as a member of the Bears’ staff.
Flexen was exclusively a starter for the Bears, though most of his work in the majors so far (16 of 27 appearances) has come out of the bullpen. It’s unclear which role he’ll take for the Mariners, who have Marco Gonzales, Justus Sheffield and Yusei Kikuchi as locks to start next year. Justin Dunn, Nick Margevicius, Ljay Newsome and the just-acquired Robert Dugger represent other 40-man options. General manager Jerry Dipoto said at the outset of the season that he was targeting relief help, so if Flexen doesn’t win a spot in the M’s starting staff, he could be a factor out of their bullpen.