The Mariners announced that reliever J.B. Bukauskas has gone unclaimed on waivers. He’s been sent outright to Triple-A Tacoma and will be in big league camp as a non-roster Spring Training invitee.
Bukauskas didn’t have a particularly long stay on the Seattle 40-man roster. Claimed off waivers from the Diamondbacks on January 17, he lost his spot earlier this week when the M’s grabbed Tayler Saucedo from the Mets. Seattle quickly ran Bukauskas through waivers and will now be able to retain a former first-round draftee and highly-regarded prospect without allocating a 40-man spot.
The 26-year-old was the 15th overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Astros. Houston flipped the UNC product to Arizona two summers later as part of a four-player package for Zack Greinke. A starter early in his minor league days, Bukauskas has come with questions about his ability to hold up in a rotation because of inconsistent command dating back to college. Those concerns have borne out over the past two seasons, as the Snakes moved him to relief after adding him to the roster over the 2020-21 offseason.
Bukauskas made his MLB debut in April ’21, eventually getting into 21 contests. He was hit hard for 19 runs through his first 17 1/3 big league innings despite averaging 94.5 MPH on his fastball and generating plenty of whiffs on his mid-80s slider. An elbow strain cost him a chunk of that season, and a lat injury suffered in Spring Training sidelined him for the first half of last year.
While he didn’t return to the mound until July, Bukauskas closed out the 2022 season with a nice run at Triple-A Reno. Pitching in an extraordinarily hitter-friendly park, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a solid 23.8% strikeout percentage and an excellent 5% walk rate. Nevertheless, he never got another MLB opportunity in a below-average Arizona bullpen and has found himself squeezed off two clubs’ rosters in a matter of weeks.
Bukauskas will try to pitch his way back onto the radar in spring camp and, if necessary, with Tacoma to open next season. The M’s already have a strong bullpen, with Andrés Muñoz, Paul Sewald, Diego Castillo, Matt Brash, Trevor Gott and likely Penn Murfee penciled into jobs. Matt Festa is out of minor league option years and has a strong case to hold onto a roster spot, while whomever of Marco Gonzales and Chris Flexen doesn’t win the #5 starter role could be in the bullpen. The M’s would also have to carry Rule 5 draftee Chris Clarke on the active roster or waive him and, if he clears, send him back to the Cubs. Bukauskas joins Taylor Williams, Casey Sadler, Riley O’Brien and Kyle Tyler among the non-roster depth options in the organization.
He’s Dutch it’s fine.
Just another routine working-out of the system.
The Mariners are the best team in baseball right now.
The evidence of that will start to show about next Friday.
Jerry sure loves these former 1st Round picks. It’s not an altogether asinine strategy; these guys have pedigree and at least at one point were thought very highly of to be taken so high in the draft.
What about the Rainers?
The Rainers? A team full of Donaldsons?
Well that would be a very interesting team
The Jays are the team to beat in the AL East this year. We need our revenge on Seattle so I hope you make it to the playoffs and face us
you high af, BJs are nowhere near top of their division
Fred Park, #1 Your Mariners are NOT the Best team in Baseball. Your Mariners made it to 1 playoff game in 20 years. and lose.The Braves,Dodgers and Houston are far superior than the lowly Seattle Mariners.
We can dream can’t we?
Far is a stretch.
Beat the Blue Jays in the WC round and made it to the alds. So played more than one playoff game. Fred, you’re a great fan!
The Saber-toothed Superfife
Buster Ulney said on the baseball tonight podcast he is in love with the Mariners team and said he could see a M’s v. Padres WS. I like the M’s too..my cubs are a cpl years away.
2023: WS Mariners vs Padres
2024: WS Mariners vs Cardinals
2025: WS.Mariners vs Cubs
I got it marked on the calendar, Pauly!
The mariners aren’t even the best team in their own division. Really aren’t even close to the Astros, either.
Hey, that’s your opinion man. It’s a free country. Cheerio!
Yet another in denial.
Yeah, cause that 0-0 ALDS game going into the 18th inning wasn’t even close at all…..bwahahahaha!!!
We have a pitcher to trade, what do you have for Clark?
Jj- They must of legalized pot in the NW,These guy are higher than Cheech and Chong with their one trick pony.
Washington legalized it over a decade ago, grandpa. Do you still carry nickels around for the malt shop?
Bart Harley Jarvis
I remember when Hershey bars cost a nickel. Hey, get off my lawn you goddamn kids!
All over the North actually. Canada completely decriminalized it.
Gotta remember on casino trips across the falls that I can’t have a joint anywhere. Wait till I cross and grab a few lol.
Such dumb rules
And here I thought Jaysfan was reefering to the Blue Jays. Silly me.
I’m surprised he went unclaimed.
Same. Thought some team, like Mets, would have claimed him
the eamus catulis
Makes you wonder why the Tigers didn’t make a claim for bullpen depth considering that AJ Hinch would be familiar with him from Houston? The Astros drafting has been less than stellar the last few years also.
Kruk's Left Nut
What’s the holdup? I’m sill waiting for the next waiver wire pick up.
It’s going to be a very tight AL West this year. I’d be surprised if there is a team with more than 97 wins this upcoming year.