The Mariners announced Friday that they’ve inked veteran lefty David Huff to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Tacoma.
It’s been five years since the now-36-year-old Huff last pitched in the big leagues with the division-rival Angels. That pairing didn’t go particularly well, as Huff was clobbered for seven runs in a tiny sample of 5 1/3 innings. From 2011-15, Huff tossed 180 innings of 4.20 ERA ball between the Indians, Yankees, Dodgers and Giants.
In the years since his last big league appearance, Huff has spent considerable time pitching overseas and found a good bit of success along the way. He pitched with the Korea Baseball Organization’s LG Twins from 2016-17, totaling 199 innings of 2.66 ERA ball before jumping to Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Huff spent the 2018-19 seasons pitching to a 4.50 ERA in 160 innings with Japan’s Yakult Swallows, and he tossed 14 1/3 solid innings last year in the independent Constellation Energy League during the shortened 2020 campaign. He’d previously signed a minor league deal with the D-backs for the 2020 season, but Huff was among the many minor leaguers cut loose after the season was halted.
Huff is a depth add for the Mariners at this point, but it’s feasible that given the number of injuries Seattle has incurred on its pitching staff, he could eventually get a look for a spot start or perhaps a long relief role out of the ’pen. The Mariners have lost James Paxton to Tommy John surgery and are in danger of losing righty Ljay Newsome to the same procedure. They also announced yesterday that Nick Margevicius has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. Marco Gonzales, meanwhile, has been sidelined with a forearm strain, although the expectation is that he’ll return to the club sometime next week.
Regardless, the slate of injuries has thinned out the team’s Triple-A depth and pushed ballyhooed prospect Logan Gilbert up to the big leagues, where he’ll likely be given a chance to claim a rotation spot in the long term. As such, there’s room for a veteran like Huff to join the rotation in Tacoma and give the club a veteran option on which they can call, should a need arise.