Seattle Mariners – MLB Trade Rumors Thu, 19 Apr 2018 23:37:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mariners Release Pat Light Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:48:21 +0000
  • The Mariners have released right-hander Pat Light from Triple-A Tacoma, as Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto tweets. The hard-throwing Light once rated among the better farmhands in the Red Sox system and was traded to the Twins in the 2016 Fernando Abad swap, but his control issues have prevented him from carving out a role in the big leagues. Light logged 16 2/3 innings between Boston and Minnesota in 2016, and while he struck out 16 batters in that time, he also issued 16 walks. Light’s strikeout rate plummeted with the Triple-A affiliates for the Pirates and Mariners last season, and in three innings with Tacoma in 2018, he issued eight walks and hit two batters.
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    Mariners Facing Numerous Roster Decisions Tue, 17 Apr 2018 16:05:47 +0000
  • The Mariners are facing a significant number of roster decisions in the coming days, beginning with the debate over how to clear space on the 25-man roster for fifth starter Ariel Miranda tonight, writes Greg Johns of Seattle also needs to find space to activate Ben Gamel from the disabled list, as he’s now played nine games on his minor league rehab assignment and is largely ready for big league activity. But Gamel’s return presents its own set of issues, as the club will face a decision on struggling 44-year-old Ichiro Suzuki. As Johns examines at much greater length, the team essentially needs to determine whether it’s best to move forth with a seven- or eight-man bullpen while also clearing space for a few returning regulars and making some sort of determination on Ichiro.
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    Injury Notes: Kiermaier, Zunino, Iwakuma, Hosmer, Pomeranz Sun, 15 Apr 2018 22:59:30 +0000 Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier suffered a right thumb sprain during today’s game against the Phillies. He’ll get an MRI on Monday, says manager Kevin Cash (h/t Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). There’s no official word yet as to the severity, but Cash says that “he’s going to be out” and that “there’s a chance he’s going to miss a chunk of time.” On Sunday, Johnny Field replaced Kiermaier after his departure, and could get the lion’s share of the work in center field while the former Gold Glove winner is out.

    More of the latest injury notes from around MLB…

    • Bob Dutton of offers some insight into the return timetable of Mariners catcher Mike Zunino, who’s been sidelined the entire season thus far with an oblique strain. On Monday, he’ll begin a rehab assignment at the Class A Advanced level. “I’m really close,” said Zunino. “I think I’m ready now. I’ve had a couple of days of full swings in batting practice, but they’re just being really cautious.” As Dutton notes, that probably means the assignment will last at least two or three games. Meanwhile, 37-year-old right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma has been throwing bullpen sessions and could begin a rehab assignment himself in a few weeks. He had shoulder surgery on September 27th of last year after spending the bulk of the season on the DL.
    • Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer missed his second consecutive game today with what’s being described as lower back tightness, AJ Cassavell of reports. A club spokesman has apparently called the injury “minor”. The Friars gave Hosmer an eight-year, $144MM contract that represents a significant investment in both their present and future, and he’s off to a solid start so far this season, hitting .288/.364/.458 in 15 games.
    • Lefty Drew Pomeranz of the Red Sox is scheduled to be activated for Friday’s tilt against Oakland, Rob Bradford of reports (via Ryan Hannable of the same publication). it’ll be his first start of the season. Pomeranz has been sidelined with a flexor tendon strain all season, and his return should further improve a Red Sox ballclub that’s currently 13-2 and sits high atop the AL East.
    Nelson Cruz Returns From DL Sun, 15 Apr 2018 00:37:36 +0000
  • The Mariners activated designated hitter Nelson Cruz prior to Saturday’s game against Oakland, sending right-hander Casey Lawrence to Triple-A to clear roster space, the team announced. Cruz went on the DL on April 3 with an ankle sprain, before which he opened the year with two home runs in just six at-bats.
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    Miranda To Stay In Rotation For Now Wed, 11 Apr 2018 02:53:55 +0000
  • Lefty Ariel Miranda will remain the Mariners’ fifth starter for the time being, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. He’ll take the ball on April 17 when the fifth spot in the rotation next comes up, Divish notes, rather than right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who is working his way back from a lat strain. However, the team doesn’t want to rush Ramirez back and will keep him on a slower progression while entrusting Miranda with a larger role. The 29-year-old Miranda is no stranger to the Seattle rotation, having made 39 starts for the M’s over the past two seasons after being acquired in a one-for-one swap that sent Wade Miley to Baltimore.
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    Mariners Expect Cruz, Zunino, Gamel Back Shortly Tue, 10 Apr 2018 16:29:51 +0000
  • Likewise, the Mariners are seeing positive signs from a variety of key players, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports (Twitter links). DH Nelson Cruz, catcher, Mike Zunino, and outfielder Ben Gamel could also be on the active roster by the end of the coming weekend, with the former seemingly furthest along. That’s certainly good news for the M’s, who have watched the division-rival Astros and Angels set a fast pace to open the new season.
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    Mariners Place Ryon Healy On DL, Recall Chasen Bradford Mon, 09 Apr 2018 18:42:11 +0000 The Mariners announced today that they’ve placed first baseman Ryon Healy on the 10-day disabled list due to a sprained right ankle. The move is retroactive to yesterday, so Healy will be eligible to return from the DL in nine days’ time, though no specific timeline was given for his rehab. Right-hander Chasen Bradford, an offseason waiver claim from the Mets, has been recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to take his place on the roster.

    Healy, 26, is off to just a 2-for-22 start to his Mariners career and has now been dealt a pair of injuries early in his Seattle tenure, as he also missed several weeks of Spring Training following surgery on his right hand. He did knock in three runs with a double on Saturday, though he’ll now have to wait more than a week (at least) to try to build on that momentum. In his absence, the Mariners can turn to Daniel Vogelbach to line up at first base or go with utility options such as Taylor Motter or Andrew Romine at first base, leaving Vogelbach to DH in place of the also-injured Nelson Cruz.

    Injury Notes: Healy, Sheriff, Rizzo, J.C. Ramirez Sun, 08 Apr 2018 18:49:06 +0000 Mariners first baseman Ryon Healy showed up to the team’s clubhouse today in a walking boot; he twisted his ankle in a postgame workout, says Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s been described as a “pretty bad sprain”, and Healy will have an MRI soon. The expectation seems to be that he will require a DL stint, though the severity of the injury is unclear at this time. Healy provided the heroics in last night’s win; it seems likely that Dan Vogelbach will receive everyday at-bats in his absence.

    More injury items from around the league…

    • Cardinals left-hander Ryan Sheriff has been placed on the DL with a toe injury; the team has recalled right-hander John Brebbia from Triple-A Memphis in a related move. Sheriff was added to the roster with the news that Brett Cecil would be out for an extended period of time; he allowed one earned run in his 2 2/3 innings of work this season. Sheriff also managed a 3.14 ERA last season in 14 1/3 innings of work for the Cardinals.
    • Anthony Rizzo has missed a couple of games for the Cubs due to back tightness, says Carrie Muskat of The first baseman’s back has evidently been bothering him ever since the club’s trip to Cincinnati. Rizzo has just three hits (including one home run) in 32 plate appearances to begin the season.
    • J.C. Ramirez is officially headed to the DL with forearm issues, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets. We noted earlier that the righty had been experiencing forearm tightness; he now joins fellow Angels starters Matt Shoemaker and Andrew Heaney on the disabled list, leaving the club incredibly thin in the rotation beyond Garrett Richards, Shohei Ohtani and Tyler Skaggs. Parker Bridwell and Nick Tropeano seem to be the likeliest candidates to get rotation attention, but for the time being the club has recalled relievers Felix Pena and Eduardo Paredes (righty reliever Akeel Morris was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake).
    Mariners Sign Chris Herrmann To Minors Deal Sat, 07 Apr 2018 23:27:14 +0000 The Mariners have signed catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann to a minor league contract, Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto reports.  Curto broke the news yesterday that Herrmann was working out with the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, and it may be a couple of days before Herrmann is officially activated in order to give him time to get fully ramped up.

    Herrmann will take over from the just-released Tuffy Gosewisch as the primary Triple-A depth catcher for the Mariners, as Curto notes.  The M’s are thin at the position at the big league level, with Mike Marjama and David Freitas handling duties behind the plate while Mike Zunino is on the DL with an oblique injury, so there’s a chance Herrmann could get a promotion sooner rather than later.  (Especially since Seattle is being cautious with Zunino’s recovery.)

    The Diamondbacks designated Herrmann for assignment and ultimately released him prior to Opening Day, thus saving themselves three-quarters of the $1.3MM owed to Herrmann in an arbitration-avoiding deal over the winter.  Herrmann is coming off a rough .181/.273/.345 performance over 256 plate appearances with Arizona last season, a major dropoff from the impressive .284/.352/.493 slash line he posted over 166 PA in 2016.  Herrmann can also fill in at first base and in the corner outfield, giving him more versatility than the average backup catcher.

    Mariners Notes: Catchers, Injuries, Cano, Diaz Sat, 07 Apr 2018 15:56:39 +0000 The Mariners cut ties with veteran catcher Tuffy Gosewisch on Thursday, but Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto noted after reporting the move that the decision is tied to the fact that the organization is likely to bring another veteran catcher on board. It’s not immediately clear whether the Mariners are in talks with a free agent or chatting with other clubs about a possible minor swap, though it’s worth noting that the Angels (Juan Graterol) recently designated a catcher for assignment. The free-agent market is thin but includes the likes of Chris Herrmann, Ryan Hanigan, Derek Norris, Geovany Soto and former Mariner Carlos Ruiz.

    A bit more on the Mariners…

    • Speaking of Seattle catchers, Mike Zunino’s 10-day minimum DL stint is up today but he won’t be immediately rejoining the team, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes.  Zunino is on the DL with a mild oblique strain, though the organization expressed confidence at the time of the injury that Zunino wouldn’t require the type of month-long absence that is commonly associated with oblique issues.  There had been some hope that he could be ready for the second game in Minnesota, but manager Scott Servais now says the team plans to “slow Zunino down a little.”  The skipper was insistent that there’s been no setback for his catcher, though, characterizing the decision as largely cautious in nature.  Meanwhile, Divish also notes that outfielder Ben Gamel is set to embark on a minor league rehab assignment for his own oblique strain, and he gives some positive news on slugger Nelson Cruz as well.
    • After seeing how veteran players struggled to find long-term contracts in free agency this winter, Robinson Cano is relieved to have his future spoken for, the second baseman told the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner during Spring Training.  Cano’s ten-year, $240MM deal runs through the 2023 season, giving him both security but also added motivation to keep living up to that hefty salary.  “I want to earn every penny that I get here.  I don’t want to be like those guys that, two or three years into their contract, they do really good and then they don’t care. I do care,” Cano said.  “I love this game so much, this is what I dreamed when I was a kid….If you keep working hard, you tell your body that you’re ready to go — not like guys that start sitting down, they’re gaining weight, they don’t care.  I have fans out there, I have my son, I have to be a good example.  I feel comfortable now because I got the money, but money’s not everything.”  It remains to be seen if Cano can successfully fend off the normal decline process as he enters his age-35 season, though it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t delivered for the M’s, hitting .295/.351/.472 with 97 homers over his first four years in Seattle.
    • Despite Edwin Diaz’s early-career success, he is still something of a work in progress, TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune writes.  To this end, Juan Nicasio has already become a veteran mentor to the M’s closer.  “He knows how to pitch,” Diaz said. “So I talk to him a lot, how he can teach me how to pitch, too, how to attack hitters to get an out.”  Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. believes Nicasio’s influence will further help Diaz “train his thought process and his mindset,” which is a particularly key facet to the game for Diaz considering that “slowing the game down” helps him better control his mechanics.
    Minor MLB Transactions: 4/5/18 Thu, 05 Apr 2018 23:45:42 +0000 Here are Thursday’s minor moves from around the game…

    • The Braves outrighted reliever Miguel Socolovich to Triple-A Gwinnett following his recent DFA, and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that he accepted the assignment. As a player who’d previously been outrighted off a 40-man roster, Socolovich could’ve rejected the assignment in favor of free agency but will instead remain with the club. Socolovich appeared in one game with the Braves, during which he tossed two perfect innings with a pair of punchouts. Prior to this abbreviated Atlanta stint, the 31-year-old spent three seasons in the Cardinals organization, totaling 66 1/3 innings of relief. With the Cards, Socolovich logged a 3.80 ERA with 7.7 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 44.1 percent ground-ball rate.
    • The Mariners released veteran backstop Tuffy Gosewisch from their roster at Triple-A Tacoma, as Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto reports (Twitter link). The 34-year-old Gosewisch went just 2-for-28 with the Mariners last season, though one of those two hits was a homer. He’s a career .190/.228/.271 hitter in 447 MLB plate appearances, though he’s also slashed a drastically superior .258/.318/.406 in his Triple-A career.
    Mariners Place Cruz On 10-Day DL; Zunino Ahead Of Schedule Tue, 03 Apr 2018 23:47:04 +0000
  • The Mariners have placed slugger Nelson Cruz on the 10-day DL with an ankle sprain, the club announced. The move was backdated to April 1st. As Ryan Divish of the Seattle notes (links to Twitter), with two upcoming tilts with National League foes, it was fairly painless for the team to put Cruz on the shelf for a bit. And manager Scott Servais believes Cruz won’t miss more than the minimum, if that. Clearly, the M’s can ill afford any kind of extended absence from Cruz, who has raked since coming to the club on a four-year deal that expires after the present season. In other M’s news, Mike Zunino could be headed in the other direction, as Servais says his top catcher isn’t likely to require an extended absence for his oblique strain (also via Divish, on Twitter). Indeed, the skipper indicated that he believes Zunino will be ready to join the team at some point during its eight-game road swing.
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    Mariners Mulling DL Stint For Cruz Mon, 02 Apr 2018 20:10:00 +0000
  • The Mariners are leaning toward placing Nelson Cruz on the 10-day disabled list so they can have a full bench for their upcoming interleague series, manager Scott Servais said today in an appearance on Brock & Salk on 710 ESPN in Seattle (Twitter link via 710’s Brent Stecker). Cruz suffered an ankle injury when slipping on the dugout steps after a two-run homer over the weekend and had an MRI, though the results of that test haven’t been announced yet.
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    Mariners Outright Cameron Perkins Mon, 02 Apr 2018 19:26:18 +0000 The Mariners announced on Monday that outfielder Cameron Perkins has cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Tacoma, thus reducing the team’s 40-man roster count to a total of 38 players.

    Seattle claimed the 27-year-old Perkins off waivers from the Phillies back in December. A former sixth-round pick in Philadelphia (2012), Perkins made his big league debut in 2017 but struggled through 97 plate appearances, hitting .182/.237/.273 with a homer, five doubles and 23 strikeouts against five walks. Perkins is a career .270/.323/.393 hitter in parts of three Triple-A seasons, and he has nearly 900 innings of experience in center field — in addition to more than 1300 innings at each corner slot.

    Ben Gamel Nearing Return From Oblique Strain Sun, 01 Apr 2018 21:39:03 +0000
  • Mariners corner outfielder Ben Gamel is recovering nicely from the strained right oblique he suffered March 2, manager Scott Servais informed Greg Johns of and other reporters Sunday. Gamel is on track to be in Triple-A Tacoma’s lineup when its season begins on Thursday. Once he completes his rehab in the minors, he’ll be part of a Mariners outfield mix that also includes future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, who has started all three of their games in left in place of Gamel. Ichiro’s playing time figures to decrease upon Gamel’s return, though Servais didn’t want to discuss that Sunday, per Johns.
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    Offseason In Review: Seattle Mariners Sun, 01 Apr 2018 19:56:00 +0000 This is the latest entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason In Review series.  Click here to read the other completed reviews from around the league.

    Looking to break the Mariners’ 16-year playoff drought, trade-happy general manager Jerry Dipoto swung a couple of noteworthy deals in the offseason.

    Major League Signings

    Trades And Claims

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Notable Losses

    [Mariners Depth Chart; Mariners Payroll Information]

    Needs Addressed

    For the most part, the Mariners’ cast of position players was effective in 2017. Catcher Mike Zunino, second baseman Robinson Cano, shortstop Jean Segura, third baseman Kyle Seager, right fielder Mitch Haniger and designated hitter Nelson Cruz each turned in above-average seasons, and all six are reprising their roles this year (though Zunino’s currently on the DL, and Cruz has an ankle issue). There’s a new face at first base, on the other hand, after the Mariners received bottom-feeding production there a season ago. They were in especially poor shape at the position before the late-season addition of Yonder Alonso from the Athletics. Alonso was much steadier than Danny Valencia, but both players are now elsewhere after leaving in free agency.

    Enter Ryon Healy, who – like Alonso – came over from Oakland. The Mariners moved to acquire Healy shortly after the offseason began in November, surrendering intriguing reliever Emilio Pagan in the deal. Whether it was the right call is up for debate, especially with so many other first basemen having ended up with reasonable contracts in free agency. And it doesn’t help that the Mariners’ bullpen took multiple hits toward the tail end of spring training, including standout reliever David Phelps’ season-ending UCL tear. The M’s Phelps-less relief corps could certainly use Pagan now after he worked to a 3.22 ERA/3.28 FIP in a 50 1/3-inning showing last year, his rookie season.

    The 26-year-old Pagan is under control for the next half-decade, as is Healy. Also 26, Healy burst on the scene with the A’s two years ago in hitting .305/.337/.524 in 283 plate appearances. There were troubling signs along the way, though, in the form of a 4.2 percent walk rate and an unsustainable-looking .352 batting average on balls in play. Healy’s lack of patience continued last season, when he drew a free pass just 3.8 percent of the time, and his BABIP dropped to .319. Thanks in part to those factors, his production plummeted over the course of a full season (.271/.302/.451 in 605 PAs). Projection systems such as Steamer and ZiPS are forecasting even worse numbers this year for Healy.

    If the righty-hitting Healy does indeed fail to live up to expectations this season, the Mariners could turn to lefty Dan Vogelbach, who was the favorite to emerge as their first baseman entering last year. But Vogelbach had a miserable spring, lost out to Valencia and ultimately totaled just 13 major league PAs. This spring was a different story for the 25-year-old, who led the league in OPS (an astounding 1.455) over a small sample of at-bats (54), leading to hope that he’s finally ready to deliver on the promise he had as a Cubs prospect.

    A few weeks after the Mariners welcomed Healy, they sent three prospects to the Marlins for speedy second baseman Dee Gordon and took on his entire four-year, $38MM guarantee in the process. With the expensive, potentially Hall of Fame-caliber Cano occupying the keystone for the foreseeable future in Seattle, the Gordon trade was a head-scratching move upon first sight. However, it quickly became clear the Mariners were going to employ some out-of-the-box thinking and shift Gordon to center field to replace last year’s starter, Jarrod Dyson, who later departed in free agency. Reviews of Gordon’s defense were positive during the spring, and Dipoto is confident the 29-year-old is amid a smooth transition after spending the first seven seasons of his career in the middle infield.

    “We’re not worried about [Dee Gordon in center field],” Dipoto told FanGraphs’ David Laurila last month. “We looked at his athletic ability. We looked at the Statcast information we have and did an overlay of what kind of ground Dee would be able to cover. We imagined him playing center field, and with the naked eye it looks awesome. He’s going to make mistakes in games — there’s no question — but we’re going to live through that. He’s such a baseball guy. It looks natural for him right out of the chute.”

    Dipoto mentioned Gordon’s athleticism, which is the key to his success in all aspects of the game. He brings almost no power to the table, evidenced by 11 home runs and an .073 ISO in 3,012 lifetime plate appearances, instead relying on his game-changing speed to make an impact offensively.

    Gordon’s wheels helped him bat a passable .293/.329/.367 entering this season, and when he has gotten on base, he has terrorized opposing teams. Gordon has stolen 58-plus bags three times, including a major league-high 60 in 2017, along with consistently netting excellent marks in FanGraphs’ BsR metric. His baserunning prowess should be quite a boon for the Mariners, who were subpar in that department last year (per BsR) and have since lost Dyson’s team-high 28 steals.

    While the Gordon acquisition was a bit costly from a financial standpoint, the Mariners avoided extravagant spending in free agency. Their largest guarantee (two years, $17MM) went to reliever Juan Nicasio, a failed starter who’s coming off his first full season in the bullpen. The 31-year-old divided 2017 among three teams (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and St. Louis) and held his own over 76 appearances and 72 1/3 innings, with a 2.61 ERA/2.98 FIP and 8.96 K/9 against 2.49 BB/9. He also induced ground balls at a respectable clip (45.6 percent), which wasn’t the case with Pagan (22.3 percent). Notably, Dipoto revealed in his previously linked discussion with Laurila that building a more grounder-heavy staff has been a focus recently.

    “We’ve been a little more aggressive in trying to find more neutral pitchers,” Dipoto said. “In 2016, we were extremely fly-ball oriented. We needed to become a little more balanced.”

    At 40.3 percent, Mariners pitchers recorded the majors’ second-lowest grounder rate in 2017. Although, recently signed reliever Wade LeBlanc may not help them improve in that aspect, as he registered a meager 36.7 grounder percentage prior to this season. Nevertheless, the Mariners brought in the lefty-throwing LeBlanc in the wake of the right-handed Phelps’ injury, though it’s unrealistic to expect the former’s production to approach the latter’s. LeBlanc, 33, has been a mediocre option throughout his career, including during a 2017 campaign in which he compiled a 4.50 ERA/4.28 FIP with 7.15 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, and an uncharacteristically solid GB percentage (45.9) in 68 innings with the Pirates. The former starter did collect more than three outs in 19 of 50 appearances, so he could help make up for the losses of Pagan and Phelps in that regard.

    The Nicasio and LeBlanc signings didn’t exactly make for enticing headlines, but the Mariners’ reunion in free agency with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki certainly did. Ichiro is one of the greatest Mariners of all-time, of course, as he previously thrived with the franchise from 2001-12 after emigrating from Japan. Now the game’s oldest position player at 44, Ichiro is no longer the all-world performer he was for most of his initial Seattle stint. Ichiro generated below-replacement level numbers twice during his tenure with the Marlins from 2015-17, though he wedged a valuable 2016 between those years (.291/.356/.376, 1.4 fWAR in 365 PAs). It would make for a great story to see Ichiro return to that form now that he’s back with the club whose hat he’ll wear into Cooperstown. And hey, he’s off to a pretty nice start so far.

    Read more

    Mariners Notes: Cruz, Zunino Sun, 01 Apr 2018 00:46:15 +0000
  • Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz sprained his right ankle Saturday, causing him to leave their game against Cleveland early, and was in a walking boot afterward, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times relays. It doesn’t appear to be a major injury, however, as Divish writes that Cruz may only miss “a few days.” The designated hitter suffered the injury when he slipped on a step in the dugout, which came immediately after he belted his second home run of the season. X-rays came back negative, but Cruz will undergo an MRI on Sunday to make sure it’s nothing serious.
  • Meanwhile in Seattle, it seems the left oblique injury that sent catcher Mike Zunino to the disabled list on Friday is fairly minor. Zunino suffered the least severe type of sprain (Grade 1), Mariners manager Scott Servais told Greg Johns of and other reporters Saturday. The hope is that Zunino will be able to return next weekend. In the meantime, the Mariners will continue to go with Mike Marjama and David Freitas behind the plate.
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    Mike Zunino Placed On DL With Oblique Strain Sat, 31 Mar 2018 02:22:14 +0000 The Mariners have elected to place catcher Mike Zunino on the 10-day DL with a left oblique strain, per a club announcement. David Freitas was recalled to take his spot on the active roster.

    Per the club, the injury occurred during a workout on Wednesday. The initial hope, though, had been that the it wouldn’t require a DL stint. It’s still unclear how long Zunino will be down.

    Clearly, the M’s were not anticipating opening the year without their top backstop. Zunino turned in a big 2017 season — .251/.331/.509 with 25 home runs — and is expected to be a key component of Seattle’s hopes in 2018. Hopefully this muscle injury will not prove to be a major obstacle.

    Mariners Select Casey Lawrence, Option Taylor Motter Thu, 29 Mar 2018 01:46:13 +0000
  • The Mariners made the DL placements of Erasmo Ramirez, Ben Gamel and David Phelps official, and they also announced that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Casey Lawrence, who will return to the team after spending parts of the 2017 campaign on Seattle’s big league roster. The M’s also optioned infielder/outfielder Taylor Motter to Triple-A Tacoma.
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    Ichiro May Begin Season On 10-Day DL Wed, 28 Mar 2018 04:55:40 +0000
  • Ichiro Suzuki may begin the season on the DL to give him more time to fully recover from a right calf strain, with Mariners manager Scott Servais telling the Associated Press and other media that a decision will be made tomorrow when the team sees how Suzuki is feeling after playing seven innings today.  Utilityman Taylor Motter looks to make the Opening Day roster if Ichiro isn’t available.
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    Mariners To Sign Jayson Werth Tue, 27 Mar 2018 17:59:06 +0000 The Mariners have agreed to a minor-league deal with outfielder Jayson Werth, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). Potential salary terms are not yet known.

    Werth will open his time with the Seattle organization in extended spring camp, per Divish. It seems likely he’ll report to Triple-A Tacoma from there.

    The 38-year-old, 15-season MLB veteran, found little interest on the market this winter. It’s still a bit curious that he waited until camp finished to take a deal, though that’s perhaps subject to multiple possible interpretations.

    It has been a few years since Werth was a productive major-league hitter. He turned in a quality three-year stretch for the Nationals between 2012 and 2014, but has been a .233/.322/.402 hitter ever since. While he still runs the bases rather well, Werth isn’t much of a defender at this stage.

    Werth has also dealt with quite a few injuries in recent seasons. Perhaps, though, he could still provide some value in a part-time role. There isn’t a terribly clear path even to a bench spot at the moment with the M’s, but the club already made a late move to add the ageless Ichiro Suzuki and does have some potential uncertainty in the outfield mix.

    Mariners Sign Gordon Beckham Tue, 27 Mar 2018 02:58:50 +0000
  • Also re-signing after being released was infielder Gordon Beckham, who’ll head to the minors with the Mariners, per Cotillo (via Twitter). The 31-year-old had a torrid spring but, like De Aza, has generally been on the downswing of late after receiving quite a lot of opportunities earlier in his career. Until last year, Beckham had played in at least 88 MLB contests annually since cracking the majors (despite minimal minor-league seasoning) in 2009. But his chances, which were already on the decline, largely petered out in 2017, as he made it into just 11 games in the majors. In his 355 plate appearances at Triple-A in the Mariners organization, Beckham posted a .262/.313/.393 batting line.
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    Mariners Re-Sign Hisashi Iwakuma To New Minor League Deal Mon, 26 Mar 2018 16:38:36 +0000 The Mariners released right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma from the minor league contract he signed over the winter and immediately re-signed him to a new one, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The club made the move to avoid paying Iwakuma, an Article XX(B) free agent, a $100K retention bonus. As was the case with his previous pact, Iwakuma’s new deal comes with a $2.5MM salary if he makes the majors and a chance at $6MM in incentives.

    The 36-year-old Iwakuma has spent his entire major league career with the Mariners since leaving his native Japan prior to the 2012 season. Iwakuma has enjoyed a terrific career in Seattle, where he has pitched to a 3.42 ERA/3.87 FIP across 883 2/3 innings, but whether he’ll continue to be effective is in question. Right shoulder problems limited Iwakuma to six starts in 2017, when he posted a 4.35 ERA/6.42 FIP in 31 innings, leading the Mariners to decline his $10MM club option in favor of a $1MM buyout early in the offseason.

    Iwakuma’s still on the mend from the arthroscopic shoulder surgery he underwent in September, so there’s no chance he’ll make it back to a big league mound during the first month of the season. When the Mariners re-signed Iwakuma in late November, the hope was that he’d be healthy enough to return to the majors by May or June. He’s seemingly on track to do that, as TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune wrote over the weekend.

    “This guy is far from done,” pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre told Cotterill.

    If Iwakuma ultimately does rejoin the Mariners and perform well, it would be a significant gain for a team with some question marks in its rotation. Ace James Paxton, former ace Felix Hernandez and the steady Mike Leake represent a capable trio (though durability issues have beset Paxton and Hernandez in recent years), but the M’s don’t have any other proven MLB starters on their 40-man roster.

    Mariners Sign Wade LeBlanc Sun, 25 Mar 2018 16:49:41 +0000 SUNDAY: Seattle has announced the signing. LeBlanc’s deal is worth $650K, and he’ll have a chance at an additional $50K in incentives, Crasnick tweets.

    SATURDAY: The Mariners have agreed to a major league contract with left-hander Wade LeBlanc, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. LeBlanc was released by the Yankees just yesterday. Terms of his new pact with Seattle are currently unknown.

    It’s certainly a lucky break for LeBlanc, who settled for a minors deal with the Yankees in mid-January. Less than 24 hours after his release, he was able to secure a superior contract. As Crasnick notes, a season-ending injury likely created an opening for LeBlanc in Seattle, who actually comes with reverse platoon splits for his career. That makes him a viable matchup against right-handers in Phelps’ stead.

    Across 68 innings with the Pirates last season, the southpaw posted a 4.50 ERA (though his xFIP places his true talent close that of a 4.00 ERA pitcher), with a respectable 3.18 K/BB ratio. He carried a 45.9% ground ball rate, which was a vast improvement upon his 36.7% lifetime mark.

    This will be LeBlanc’s second bout with the Mariners, for whom he tossed 50 innings of 4.50 ERA ball back in 2016. He’s also pitched for the Padres, Angels, Astros, Marlins, Yankees and Pirates over the course of his ten year MLB career.

    Mariners Return Rule 5 Pick Mike Ford to Yankees Sat, 24 Mar 2018 21:48:27 +0000 The Yankees have announced that the Mariners returned first baseman Mike Ford to them. Ford was the 11th pick in this offseason’s Rule 5 Draft.

    Ford was part of a vulnerable Yankees system when the Rule 5 Draft came around. Indeed, Bombers’ farm system was raided for three of its young players they weren’t able to fit onto the 40-man roster by the November deadline.

    Ford has an elite track record of getting on base in the minors. He owns an 18.4% walk rate at the Double-A level, and a 15.7% walk rate even at Triple-A. Last season, he slashed .266/.383/.543 for the Rail Riders, despite a .247 BABIP. During spring training with the Mariners, the 25-year-old mashed the baseball to the tune of a .885 OPS.

    All this considered, it seems a bit surprising on the surface that he wasn’t able to crack the big league roster. But considering the scorching spring performance of Dan Vogelbach (who crushed six homers and posted an OPS of 1.385) and the return to health of Ryon Healy, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious spot for Ford on the roster.

    Minor MLB Transactions: 3/23/18 Fri, 23 Mar 2018 18:48:15 +0000 The latest moves from around the baseball world…

    • The Mariners announced that infielder Gordon Beckham has been released from his minor league contract.  Beckham had an opt-out clause in his contract for tomorrow, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets, and since the veteran wasn’t going to make the M’s roster, the release gives him some extra time to catch on with a new team.  Beckham re-signed with the Mariners on a minor league deal this winter after spending 2017 in the organization, hitting .262/.313/.393 in 355 PA for Triple-A Tacoma and also appearing in 11 games at the Major League level.
    Dipoto: Pagan Move Was "Probably The Most Painful Trade We've Made" Fri, 23 Mar 2018 16:34:00 +0000
  • The Mariners thought so highly of Emilio Pagan as both a player and a person that GM Jerry Dipoto described the swap that sent Pagan and minor leaguer Alexander Campos to the Athletics for Ryon Healy as “probably the most painful trade we’ve made,” Dipoto tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “In a group that’s not unused to changing bodies, a lot of guys were crushed we traded Emilio.  He’s an unbelievable guy, a tremendous human being, he does all the right things,” Dipoto said.  Pagan made his MLB debut in 2017 and immediately became a key cog in Seattle’s bullpen, posting a 3.22 ERA over 50 1/3 innings and recording 56 strikeouts against just eight walks.  Pagan has continued to hone his game this spring, telling Slusser that he has increased usage of his changeup and also been throwing more inside fastballs to hitters.
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    Mariners Looking For Pitching Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:41:02 +0000
  • While none of these teams were specifically cited as being interested in McHugh, Heyman listed the Reds, Brewers, Mariners, and Rangers as teams that are looking for pitching.  All four of the clubs have dealt with some injury setbacks in Spring Training, so further additions could be more akin to fill-in options rather than major acquisitions.  Texas, however, does seem to be at least considering making a higher-priced add, given how the Rangers showed some recent interest in Cobb and Greg Holland.

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    Jerry Dipoto Discusses Loss Of David Phelps Thu, 22 Mar 2018 04:51:35 +0000
  • General manager Jerry Dipoto admitted to Greg Johns of and other reporters Wednesday that David Phelpsseason-ending injury is a serious blow to the Mariners’ bullpen. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it. He’s a big piece of what we’re doing here, and it’s a big loss for us,” said Dipoto, who suggested the Mariners could pick up outside help for their bullpen, which also lost Tony Zych earlier this spring and is currently without the injured Nick Rumbelow. “You know you’ll run into an occasional injury and lose players along the way, but to have three in that time span is tough to deal with,” Dipoto said. “Fortunately were at the time of year when players are a little more accessible.” The Mariners have three open spots on their 40-man roster, Johns points out, giving them room to add relievers.
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    David Phelps To Undergo Tommy John Surgery Thu, 22 Mar 2018 02:47:47 +0000 Mariners right-handed reliever David Phelps suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm and will miss the season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. He’ll need to undergo Tommy John surgery, Greg Johns of adds (Twitter links).

    Phelps suffered the injury on the final pitch of his outing last Saturday, per Johns. It’s yet another significant arm problem in Phelps’ short Mariners career, as he previously underwent season-ending surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. That procedure came after a lengthy absence because of an elbow impingement. Phelps’ issues limited him to just 8 2/3 innings with Seattle last year after it acquired him from Miami in late July.

    As was the case when they traded him for him in 2017, the Mariners were counting on Phelps to play a major role out of their bullpen this season. And for good reason, too, as the 31-year-old was among the majors’ premier relievers from 2016-17. Phelps made 108 appearances during that span, the third-highest total in the league, and pitched to a 2.69 ERA/3.12 FIP with 11.11 K/9, 3.97 BB/9 and a 46.4 percent groundball rate over 133 2/3 innings.

    This injury comes at an especially inopportune time for Phelps, given that he’s in a contract year. He’ll make $5.5MM this season and could have put himself in line for a sizable multiyear deal in free agency next winter. Instead, he’ll head to the open market off a major surgery, and because of the 12- to 15-month recovery time that follows Tommy John surgery, it’s likely he’ll miss at least some of the 2019 campaign.

    The Mariners, meanwhile, will have to go without arguably their best reliever as they attempt to break a league-worst 16-year playoff drought. Seattle still has other proven options on hand (depth chart), including closer Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio and Nick Vincent, yet this is certainly an enormous blow with the season just over a week away.

    With Phelps no longer in the mix, it’s possible general manager Jerry Dipoto will now seek to bolster his bullpen from outside, potentially via trade (his signature route), free agency or the waiver wire (which he utilized earlier Wednesday). There are a few household names remaining on the market, including Greg Holland (he’d come at a high price and would cost the Mariners a draft pick), Chad Qualls, Jason Grilli, Joe Blanton and Huston Street. Unfortunately for the Mariners, though, anyone from that group would have a hard time approaching Phelps’ recent production.

    Mariners Claim Dario Alvarez From Cubs Wed, 21 Mar 2018 20:29:28 +0000 The Mariners have claimed left-hander Dario Alvarez off waivers from the Cubs, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. Alvarez will head to minor league camp with his new organization, and he’ll give the Mariners 38 players on their 40-man roster.

    Alvarez, 29, debuted with the Mets back in 2014 but saw little action with them. He ended up throwing just five innings with the Mets over two seasons. Alvarez then moved on to Atlanta and Texas, where he combined for 43 frames from 2016-17. All told, Alvarez has pitched to a 5.06 ERA/5.07 FIP in the majors and logged 11.44 K/9, 4.13 BB/9 and a 38.2 percent groundball rate. Alvarez has struggled against hitters of either handedness during his short big league career, having allowed a .378 wOBA versus righties and a .356 mark to lefties.

    Despite Alvarez’s subpar production at baseball’s highest level, the Cubs signed him to a major league contract early in the winter. But he wasn’t able to stick in Chicago after allowing six earned runs on seven hits and six walks, with 11 strikeouts, over 7 1/3 spring innings. He’ll try to return to the majors with the Mariners, whose projected season-opening bullpen features fellow lefties Marc Rzepczynski and James Pazos.

    Mariners To Sign Erik Goeddel Tue, 20 Mar 2018 13:00:29 +0000 The Mariners have agreed to a contract with right-hander Erik Goeddel, MLBTR has learned. Terms of the agreement are not known at this time.

    Goeddel was cut loose by the Rangers just yesterday after spending the bulk of camp with the Texas organization. He struck out six and walked two batters in his 5 2/3 Cactus League frames, but also allowed four earned runs on seven hits.

    Clearly, that brief showing isn’t enough to draw any firm conclusions, but the Rangers obviously decided to go with other options after watching Goeddel’s work. For the M’s, it seems likely Goeddel will take up a spot on the depth chart — unless he can make a surprising late-spring run at an active roster spot.

    The 29-year-old hurler has seen a fair bit of action with the Mets over the past several seasons and has shown some promise. In 104 2/3 total MLB frames, he owns a 3.96 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. As that strikeout rate suggests, Goeddel gets his share of whiffs. Last year, indeed, Goeddel ran up a career-high 15.2% swinging-strike rate. But he also allowed home runs on over twenty percent of the balls put in the air against him at both the MLB and Triple-A levels.

    Latest On Hisashi Iwakuma's Recovery Timeline Mon, 19 Mar 2018 03:44:04 +0000
  • Mariners manager Scott Servais is hopeful that Hisashi Iwakuma can throw a bullpen session before the end of Spring Training, Servais told’s Greg Johns (Twitter link) and other reporters.  Iwakuma is roughly expected to return by late May or early June, as the veteran righty continues his recovery from undergoing shoulder surgery last September.  Iwakuma re-signed with Seattle on a minor league deal, giving the M’s a potential extra bit of rotation depth once he is fully healthy.
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    Erasmo Ramirez's Return May Be Pushed Back Sun, 18 Mar 2018 16:07:25 +0000
  • Mariners righty Erasmo Ramirez has been down with a lat strain for nearly a month, and he might not be ready to return by April 11, when the team will first need a No. 5 starter, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. If Ramirez isn’t back by then – manager Scott Servais noted that an April 11 return “would be very aggressive” – the Mariners are likely to go with left-hander Ariel Miranda or righty Robert Whalen, Divish writes.
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    Blue Jays Claim Sam Moll Sat, 17 Mar 2018 19:48:56 +0000 The Blue Jays have claimed lefty reliever Sam Moll off waivers from the Mariners; both teams’ PR accounts have announced the move.

    It’s been a busy year for the 26-year-old Moll, who began last season with the Rockies, end it with the Athletics, and has since been the object of a waiver hot-potato game between Pirates, Mariners and now the Blue Jays. Seattle GM Jerry DiPoto had spoken back in September of plans to convert Moll back to a starter even though he hasn’t pitched in that capacity since his professional debut in 2013. Instead, he’ll join his fourth team of the winter and hope he can earn a shot in Toronto, presumably in the bullpen.

    The Athletics gave Moll his first taste of MLB action last season in the form of a September call-up. He make 11 appearances with the club, although he recorded one or no outs in six of them. Moll ended the season having allowed eight earned runs in 6 2/3 innings, though he did manage to strike out seven hitters. There’s some upside for Moll. He throws a fastball in the mid-nineties, which he mixes with a slider.

    After being selected in the third round of the 2013 draft by the Rockies, Moll rose steadily through the minor league ranks. He managed to exceed a 50% ground ball rate in two consecutive seasons with Colorado’s Triple-A affiliate before the Athletics acquired him in August of 2017 for cash considerations.


    Mariners To Sign Josh Smith Thu, 15 Mar 2018 21:49:58 +0000 The Mariners have reached a minor-league deal with righty Josh Smith, per Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). Details aren’t fully clear, but Divish notes that Smith is ultimately expected to land at the team’s top affiliate.

    Smith, 30, has thrown 127 1/3 total MLB innings of 5.30 ERA ball over the past three seasons with the Reds and Athletics. He was outrighted by the Oakland organization following a 2017 campaign in which he worked to a 4.89 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 over 35 frames.

    Though he hasn’t yet found success at the game’s highest level, Smith has been a solid performer in the minors. He threw 41 1/3 frames at Triple-A last season, his first as a full-time reliever, finishing with a 3.70 ERA with 9.6 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9.

    Mariners Outright Mike Morin Wed, 14 Mar 2018 21:42:41 +0000 The Mariners have outrighted right-hander Mike Morin, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). Evidently, he has already cleared waivers and been removed from the 40-man roster, leaving the organization with two openings.

    It does not seem that Seattle has imminent plans to fill those cleared roster spots, Perhaps the club felt this was an opportune time to put Morin through waivers. Regardless, the M’s will now have some additional flexibility to pursue MLB upgrades or interesting projects as teams make roster moves late in camp.

    Morin, 26, has a lifetime 4.61 ERA in 170 MLB innings. He has managed a solid combination of 8.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, with a strong 12.9% swinging-strike rate, during his time in the big leagues. The results just weren’t there last year, however, leaving Morin to spend much of the year at Triple-A. Morin also showed reduced fastball velocity when he was in the big leagues in 2017.

    The M’s still felt Morin was worth a chance, claiming him from the Royals in December. Clearly, though, the team hasn’t seen enough to think he’ll earn an active roster spot. Morin has been knocked around this spring, coughing up seven earned runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 frames.

    Mariners Injury Notes: Cruz, Romine, Felix Wed, 14 Mar 2018 14:08:20 +0000
  • Nelson Cruz is the latest Mariners player to be hobbled by injury in Spring Training, as he exited yesterday’s game with a strained quadriceps, writes Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. He’ll also likely receive an MRI for further evaluation. Cruz laced a liner into the gap but pulled up on his sprint and eased his way into first base on what should have been a double, as Divish explains. Beyond Cruz, presumptive utilityman Andrew Romine suffered an injury to his left shoulder when lunging to apply a tag at third base in the ninth inning. Manager Scott Servais indicated that the shoulder “might have popped out or something,” and Romine, too, will be sent for further evaluation.
  • In more positive Mariners news, Divish also writes that Felix Hernandez threw more than 20 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday — his first mound work since being hit on the elbow/forearm by a line drive back on Feb. 26 — and reported no issues. Hernandez was originally slated to throw only fastballs but talked his way into throwing a few curveballs and changeups. He’ll likely have another bullpen session before making his return to a game setting with the M’s this weekend. King Felix is hoping to start on Opening Day with the Mariners, though his current trajectory might not make that possible. Even if he’s not the Opening Day starter, though, it seems likely that Hernandez would likely be ready to go at some point in the team’s first turn through the rotation.
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    Mariners Reportedly Offered Jon Jay Three-Year Deal Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:33:54 +0000
  • It’s always worth remembering that free agency is a game that features plenty of variability and would never (theoretically) be played the same way twice. Buster Olney of reports on what might have been for some players. Logan Morrison and Greg Holland both asked for more than was being offered and ended up being bypassed when teams checked down to other targets. The Mariners, says Olney, dangled three years to veteran outfielder Jon Jay before they struck a trade for Dee Gordon. (That rather surprising offer could have had quite a domino effect on the outfield and second base markets had it been accepted.) On the other hand, Olney cites Angels sources that reject the notion the club offered Mike Moustakas a $45MM contract, as had been reported. Of course, had any of those situations developed differently, it’s possible we’d just be talking about different players whose markets collapsed.
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    Robinson Cano Leaves Game With Minor Hamstring Tightness Mon, 12 Mar 2018 01:07:48 +0000
  • Minor left hamstring tightness forced Robinson Cano out during the second inning of today’s Mariners/Reds game, and the second baseman will receive an MRI tomorrow.  Cano told reporters (including the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish) that he doesn’t believe the injury is serious, comparing it a hamstring issue from last season that kept him out of action for just a couple of games.  The Mariners are certainly hopeful they can avoid another spring injury — Ryon Healy (hand) and Ben Gamel (oblique) could miss Opening Day, while the likes of Felix Hernandez, Mitch Haniger, Erasmo Ramirez and Dan Vogelbach have all also missed time with less-lengthy injuries.
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    Mariners Made Three-Year Offer To Jon Jay Mon, 12 Mar 2018 00:09:13 +0000 The Mariners were linked to Jon Jay back in November, and ESPN’s Buster Olney (subscription required) reports that Seattle had enough interest to offer Jay a three-year contract.  The two sides didn’t reach an agreement, however, and Jay’s free agent sojourn only ended last week when he signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the Royals.  It’s easy to second-guess Jay’s decision in hindsight, though of course he (like many other free agents) could hardly have expected the market freeze that left several players settling for contracts that fell well below their initial asking prices.  The M’s ended up going in a more unorthodox direction to solve their center field problem, instead acquiring second baseman Dee Gordon from the Marlins and converting him into an outfield role.

    Mariners Place Tony Zych On Release Waivers Sat, 10 Mar 2018 21:00:08 +0000 The Mariners have placed Tony Zych on waivers for unconditional release, Greg Johns of tweets. It was recently reported that the right-hander was undergoing tests for shoulder discomfort.

    A 2011 early-round pick by the Cubs, Zych was famously traded to the Mariners for exactly $1. He always showed tremendous strikeout upside during his Mariners tenure. Across 32 innings during the 2015-2016 seasons, he owned an impressive 12.66 K/9. However, that fell to a much more average 7.75 K/9 last season in 40 2/3 innings.

    That Zych has only managed 72 2/3 innings since being promoted in September of 2015 might speak more clearly to the reason for his release. The righty has struggled with shoulder and arm injuries throughout his career, and as such he’s had quite a bit of trouble staying on the field.

    If Zych can regain his health, however, it’s not hard to see an MLB team bringing him into the fold. His strikeout upside and ground ball rate (just under 50% for his career) are both reasons to believe that the 27-year-old could contribute at the back end of a major league bullpen again.

    AL West Notes: Holland, Bush, Ohtani, Zych Sat, 10 Mar 2018 15:27:13 +0000 The Rangers don’t appear to have anyone firmly in place as the their closer, though the recently-signed Tim Lincecum is one candidate to win the job. There’s at least a possibility that they could fill the position externally, as Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports in his latest “Inside Baseball” column that the team has considered bringing Greg Holland into the fold. We haven’t heard much other chatter about interest in Holland recently. The outgoing Rockies closer is MLBTR’s third-best free agent remaining, and the odds of him surpassing the offer he reportedly received from the Rockies earlier this winter (something in the three-year, $51MM range) aren’t good. This is particularly true considering the fate of the two Scott Boras clients to sign contracts most recently; Mike Moustakas recently received just a one-year deal at a $6.5MM guarantee from the Royals, while Carlos Gonzalez is said to be finalizing a one-year, $8MM contract with the Rockies.

    Other recent items out of the AL West…

    • Speaking of the Rangers’ bullpen, the team hasn’t yet decided whether to utilize former closer Matt Bush as a starter or reliever this season, according to Evan Grant of SportsDay. By his own admission, Bush had trouble finding consistency in his most recent spring training outing, walking two and allowing a homer on 43 pitches. In 52 1/3 innings with the Rangers last season, Bush pitched to a 3.78 ERA and a 4.57 xFIP. He saved ten games during his brief stint as the club’s closer, but he blew another five save opportunities that came his way.
    • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports provides feedback from some scouts on the bat of Shohei Ohtani, the Angels’ most high-profile offseason acquisition. These eight MLB scouts (seven of whom have seen Ohtani this spring) aren’t high on the Japanese phenom’s chances to produce offensively at the major league level. According to Passan, these scouts believe that “[p]itchers are going to punish him with inside fastballs, his swing contains flaws in balance and mechanics, and he needs at least 500 plate appearances of seasoning in the minor leagues to give him a chance at becoming a productive major league hitter.” One in particular noted that Ohtani did not hit from a balanced base, adding that he needed to “cheat” on inside fastballs, which would theoretically leave him susceptible to other pitches. Of course, it should be noted that Ohtani’s never attempted to hit major league pitching before this spring; one would think he deserves a reasonable adjustment period before jumping to any conclusions about his hitting ability.
    • On the flip side of the coin, Joel Sherman of the New York Post details some concerns about Ohtani’s pitching. Sherman notes that he lacked high-end velocity in his most recent spring training start, mostly throwing between 91-94 MPH with some command issues. Though he generated 17 swings and misses (an extremely impressive number in just a few innings), he also uncorked a triad of wild pitches. Sherman wonders whether this can simply be chalked up to growing pains, or if it’s part of a more serious issue. The obvious caveat to this is that minute spring training sample sizes aren’t entirely indicative of cause for panic.
    • Mariners reliever Tony Zych is undergoing medical tests for what’s being described as shoulder discomfort, according to Greg Johns of Though Seattle’s setup man improved his ERA to an impressive 2.66 in 40 2/3 innings last season, he experienced a steep dropoff in his strikeout rate, down to 7.75 batters per nine innings from a 12.66 career mark prior to 2017. He didn’t make any appearances past August 19th due to arm issues.
    Mariners Outright Shawn Armstrong Thu, 08 Mar 2018 22:15:11 +0000
  • The Mariners announced that righty Shawn Armstrong has been outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers. Armstrong, 27, is out of options and obviously was not seen as likely to win a pen job out of camp. Still, he could be a useful depth piece for the M’s. In 43 1/3 MLB frames over three seasons, Armstrong owns a 3.53 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 as well as an 11.3% swinging-strike rate. Armstrong has posted interesting numbers at Triple-A, where he carries a 2.44 ERA with 13.0 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 133 total innings.
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    Mariners Designate Shawn Armstrong For Assignment Wed, 07 Mar 2018 23:00:07 +0000 The Mariners have designated right-handed reliever Shawn Armstrong for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Ichiro Suzuki, whose return to the organization is now official (Twitter link via’s Greg Johns).

    Seattle acquired Armstrong, 27, in a minor December swap that sent $500K of international bonus allotments to the Indians. Armstrong spent his entire career in the Indians organization prior to that trade, debuting with the big league club in 2015 and going on to pitch 43 1/3 innings out of the Major League bullpen from 2015-17. In that time, he worked to a solid 3.53 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.45 HR/9 and a 41.9 percent ground-ball rate.

    Armstrong, however, was out of minor league options and was not a lock to make a bullpen that figures to be anchored by closer Edwin Diaz and righties Juan Nicasio, David Phelps and Nick Vincent in addition to lefties James Pazos and Marc Rzepczynski. That left just two spots for Armstrong, Mike Morin, Dan Altavilla, Tony Zych, Chasen Bradford and Nick Rumbelow — each of whom is on the 40-man roster and has minor league options remaining.

    The Mariners will have a week to trade Armstrong or place him on outright waivers with the hopes of keeping him in the organization. He’s had a solid spring to date, allowing a run on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.