The Mariners announced Thursday that they have acquired infielder/outfielder Wyatt Mathisen from the Rays in exchange for cash. Left-hander Daniel Zamora was designated for assignment in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Tampa Bay had designated Mathisen for assignment earlier in the week as a corresponding roster move when promoting top prospect Wander Franco.
Mathisen, 27, will give the Mariners additional depth at second base and both corner infield and corner outfield positions. He never appeared in a big league game with the Rays, who acquired him in a cash deal with the the Diamondbacks earlier this season.
While he’s posted just a .159/.298/.290 hitter in a small sample of 84 MLB plate appearances — all coming with Arizona — Mathisen has a productive career track record in Triple-A. He’s hitting .288/.344/.525 there in 2021 and, in parts of three seasons of Triple-A ball (183 games), Mathisen owns a .269/.368/.515 batting line with 35 homers, 37 doubles and a triple. He also not only has an option for the 2021 season remaining but can be optioned in 2022, making him a nice bit of depth for the Mariners as they began to transition out of a rebuilding phase. For now, he’ll start his Mariners tenure in Triple-A.
The Mariners claimed Zamora, 28, off waivers from the Mets organization a month ago. He yielded four runs (three earned) in 4 1/3 innings out of the big league ’pen and pitched to nearly identical results in a brief look with Tacoma.
That Zamora made it to the big leagues at all is somewhat remarkable, given his status as a former 40th-round pick of the Pirates. He looked dominant in his 2018 MLB debut with New York, holding opponents to three runs on six hits and three walks with 16 strikeouts through his first nine MLB frames. But Zamora was hit much harder the following season in the Majors while also logging pedestrian numbers in Triple-A.
Zamora is in his final option season and has yet to have sustained success above the Double-A level, although his numbers up through Double-A are quite good. The Mariners will have a week to trade him or attempt to pass him through outright waivers. If he goes unclaimed, they’d be able to send him outright to Triple-A, keeping him in the organization without dedicating a 40-man roster spot.