The Mariners announced this morning that they’ve signed veteran right-hander Bryan Shaw to a Major League deal. It was reported earlier this week that Shaw, who was recently released by the Rockies, was expected to sign in Seattle. He’ll go right onto the 30-man roster for the Mariners. Seattle also placed catcher Tom Murphy on the 10-day IL with a fractured metatarsal in his left foot and added catcher Joe Odom to the 60-man player pool.
Shaw, 32, was an absolute workhorse out of the Indians’ bullpen for the better part of a decade but struggled immediately upon joining the Rockies on a three-year deal prior to the 2018 season. He’s earning $9MM on that pact, but the Mariners will only be responsible for the prorated league minimum for any time he spends on the roster. The Rockies are on the hook for the rest.
Over the past two seasons in Colorado, Shaw has been hammered for a 5.61 ERA as his HR/9 rate more than doubled from his Cleveland days. It might be easy to assume that’s attributable to Coors Field and Denver’s altitude, but Shaw wasn’t demonstrably better on the road as a Rockie than he was at home; in fact, he pitched much better at Coors Field in 2019 than he did away from Colorado.
That said, prior to his ugly tenure with the Rox, Shaw was a prominent setup man who’d rattled off a a 3.13 ERA and 3.52 FIP in 446 1/3 MLB frames between the D-backs and Indians. With a track record like that and plenty of uncertainty in the Seattle ’pen, it’s not hard to see why Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto felt it worth taking a look. Shaw could have some high-leverage work early in the year even, particularly with Austin Adams opening the year on the injured list.
As for Murphy, it’s a tough blow for the former Rockies top prospect who enjoyed a breakout with the Mariners in 2019. He’d been expected to begin the year as the team’s starting catcher — his first-ever Opening Day as a primary backstop — but that role will now go to Austin Nola. The converted infielder turned heads in the upper minors with the Marlins after his position change and eventually broke through in the big leagues last year with a .269/.342/.454 showing in 79 games as a 29-year-old rookie.