The Mariners announced Monday that they’ve designated right-hander Will Vest for assignment in order to open a spot on the roster for lefty Yusei Kikuchi, who has been reinstated from the Covid-related injured list.
Vest, the Mariners’ pick in December’s Rule 5 Draft, was selected out of the Tigers organization and had a nice run with the Mariners early in the season. The 26-year-old pitched to a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings in April, albeit with shakier K-BB numbers, and kept his ERA at a respectable 4.03 through the end of May.
Since the calendar flipped to June, however, it’s been increasingly tough for the Mariners to trust Vest. He’s tallied 12 2/3 frames in that time and surrendered 14 runs on 18 hits and eight walks with 11 strikeouts. Overall, he’s tossed 35 innings for the Mariners and been roughed up to the tune of a 6.17 earned run average with a 17.3 percent strikeout rate and an 11.5 percent walk rate.
Were the Mariners playing the way that many onlookers expected, it might be easier for them to continue dedicating a roster spot to Vest for the balance of the season. Doing so would’ve given the Mariners his long-term contractual rights. However, Seattle is five games over .500 and is only three and a half games out of a Wild Card spot. The seven-game gap they’re facing in the division is a bit tougher to surmount, but the Mariners are at least on the periphery of the postseason picture and will have a harder time finding opportunities for a pitcher who cannot be optioned and has looked increasingly overmatched.
Vest will now be placed on outright waivers and, if he clears, must be offered back to the Tigers organization. If a team does claim Vest, he’ll retain his Rule 5 status for the balance of the season.