5:29PM: Brash will pitch out of the bullpen at Triple-A, as reported by The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish and other media members. Relief work could give Brash a quicker path back to the majors and allow him to better help the Mariners in 2022, even if the team still sees him as a longer-term starting pitcher.
2:47PM: The Mariners announced six roster moves, including the news that right-hander Matt Brash has been optioned to Triple-A. Left-hander Nick Margevicius was designated for assignment, and righty Matt Festa was placed on the 15-day injured list with right elbow tendinitis. Joining the roster from Triple-A Tacoma are right-hander Riley O’Brien and left-hander Danny Young, with Young’s contract being officially selected. In addition, recently-designated right-hander Matt Koch has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A.
Brash has never pitched at the Triple-A level before, as the Mariners made the aggressive move of adding him to the Opening Day roster after an impressive Spring Training. A rather lightly-regarded prospect who was acquired from the Padres in 2020, Brash exploded into top-100 notoriety with a very impressive 2021 season with the Mariners’ high-A and Double-A affiliates.
Results were far more mixed for Brash in his first taste of the bigs, however. Brash has a 7.65 ERA over five starts and 20 innings, with almost as many walks (17) as strikeouts (19). Yesterday’s start against the Astros saw Brash allow four runs over three innings, walking four batters and striking out three.
With Brash heading to Triple-A for more seasoning, Seattle has a hole to fill in the rotation. The M’s have a few days remaining to figure out their plans, whether they’ll go with a bullpen game for Brash’s next scheduled start or whether another Triple-A call-up could be in the works. Asher Wojciechowski, Daniel Ponce de Leon, and Darren McCaughan are all getting starts for the Rainiers but none have pitched particularly well, and Margevicius is now headed to the DFA wire.
Margevicius has also struggled, posting a 12.75 ERA over four starts and 12 innings at the Triple-A level. A veteran of three MLB seasons, Margevicius is trying to work his way back from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, and it isn’t surprising that the southpaw is still getting on track following that major procedure. With this recent surgery in mind, teams might not claim Margevicius, allowing Seattle to slip him through waivers and outright him off the 40-man roster.
Festa is also no stranger to health issues, as he missed all of the 2020 season and most of 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. With this past procedure in mind, any sort of elbow problem is especially concerning, though tendinitis is usually a relatively minor problem. After tossing 30 2/3 innings for the M’s in 2018-19, Festa made it all the way back to the Show this season, but had only a 5.25 ERA over 12 relief innings.
Though O’Brien has only worked as a reliever over six Triple-A appearances this season, he might also factor into the Mariners’ rotation picture given his track record as a minor league starter. Acquired from the Reds back on April 17, O’Brien has a 3.36 ERA over 353 1/3 innings in the minors, mostly in the Rays organization from 2017-19. O’Brien made his big league debut in cup-of-coffee fashion last season, tossing 1 1/3 innings in a single game for Cincinnati.
Now in his seventh pro season, Young is lined up to make his first MLB appearance. Young was an eighth-round pick for the Blue Jays in the 2015 draft, and has worked almost exclusively as a reliever over his 280 1/3 innings in the Toronto, Cleveland, and Seattle farm systems. While mostly a grounder specialist during his career, Young has boosted his strikeout numbers since the canceled 2020 minor league seasons, and has a 26.1% strikeout rate over 70 Triple-A frames (though also with a 5.14 ERA in Triple-A ball). Anthony Misiewicz is the only other left-hander in the Mariners’ bullpen, so Young should get some looks against lefty batters.