Seattle Mariners – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-08-16T02:11:35Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 8/15/18]]> 2018-08-16T01:56:59Z 2018-08-16T01:56:40Z Here are Wednesday’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Mariners purchased the contract of former big league lefty David Rollins from the Sussex County Miners of the independent Can-Am League, reports Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto. He’ll join the Mariners’ top affiliate in Tacoma. Rollins was starting for the Miners, having notched a 2.79 ERA, 8.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 through 113 innings, though he worked exclusively as a reliever in 31 Major League appearances with the Mariners back in 2015-16. Rollins has a 7.60 ERA in 34 1/3 innings at the big league level and also owns a 4.03 ERA with 7.6 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 102 2/3 innings of Triple-A work.
  • Catcher Dan Butler cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Red Sox and was outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket, tweets Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. Butler appeared in just two games for the Sox and went 1-for-6 with a single and a sac fly. Between that showing and a brief cameo with the Sox back in 2014, Butler has hit .200/.222/.320 in 27 MLB plate appearances. In 1715 plate appearances at Triple-A across parts of nine seasons, he’s posted a .246/.332/.383 batting line and thrown out 30 percent of would-be base thieves.
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[James Paxton Likely Headed To DL; David Phelps Resumes Throwing]]> 2018-08-15T13:47:08Z 2018-08-15T13:37:16Z We’ll use this post to cover some notable health updates on a pair of Mariners hurlers: starter James Paxton, who has been a huge part of the club’s successes this year, and rehabbing reliever David Phelps.

The club seems to have averted disaster when Paxton was struck in the left arm last night with a comebacker, but that doesn’t mean the injury won’t have an impact. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that the southpaw is likely to require a placement on the disabled list despite the fact that an x-ray did not reveal structural damage.

Paxton, 29, has given up a few more home runs and earned runs than he did last year, but has otherwise turned in another stellar campaign. He owns a 3.68 ERA with 11.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 on the season. Paxton still has yet to make more than 24 starts or reach 140 innings in a single campaign, though he has already set high-water marks in both regards this year and will surpass those levels when he returns.

Meanwhile, Phelps has marked a notable step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. As Corey Brock of The Athletic tweets, Phelps has now thrown a baseball for the first time since going under the knife in March.

Of course, it’d be exceedingly optimistic to think Phelps will again pitch in the majors before reaching the open market at season’s end. But it’s certainly notable that he seems to be on a fast track to return. Last year, newly acquired Seattle reliever Zach Duke made it back after about a nine-month recovery period. Phelps still isn’t quite five months removed from his procedure.

Phelps’s market situation will certainly be improved if he’s able to get back up to full speed before camp opens next February. The 31-year-old has been a highly productive pitcher since moving into a full-time relief role at the start of a breakout 2016 season, but only made ten appearances in Seattle after being picked up in a trade with the Marlins last summer.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Reinstate Robinson Cano]]> 2018-08-14T19:00:26Z 2018-08-14T18:55:12Z The Mariners announced Tuesday that infielder Robinson Cano has been reinstated from his 80-game suspension and added to the active roster. In a pair of corresponding moves, Seattle optioned right-hander Casey Lawrence to Triple-A Tacoma and transferred right-hander Sam Tuivailala from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL. Tuivailala was already known to be out for the season following surgery to repair an injured Achilles tendon.

Cano, 35, batted .287/.385/.441 with four homers and 10 doubles through 169 plate appearances before the bombshell announcement that he’d been hit with an 80-game suspension following a failed PED test. Cano was on the disabled list due to a fractured finger at the time, though that injury is well behind him given the length of his ban. In his absence, the Mariners moved Dee Gordon from center field to second base and supplemented their outfield mix with acquisitions of Denard Span and Cameron Maybin.

The plan in Seattle has been for Cano to return in a multi-position role. He’s seen some work at third base while playing on an unpaid minor league assignment to get back up to speed, and he’s also likely to see time at first base and his customary second base slot as well. The Mariners, though, have plenty of reason to continue keeping Gordon sharp at second base, though. Gordon is, after all, a markedly better defender at second base than he is in center field, making Seattle a better defensive unit when he’s playing on the infield. Beyond that, Cano will be ineligible for postseason play having been suspended, so if the Mariners are able retake the second Wild Card spot away from the surging A’s (or, more improbably, steal the division away from the two teams ahead of them), it’d be Gordon receiving all of the team’s reps at second base in the playoffs.

At the time of the news, Cano’s suspension was viewed as a potentially critical blow to a surprisingly strong start to Seattle’s season. However, in his absence, the Mariners actually have a slightly better winning percentage than they’d enjoyed with Cano on the roster and producing rather well. Whether one considers the Mariners’ success in one-run games to be a sustainable means of winning, the fact remains that they’re now firmly within striking distance of ending their playoff drought. The return of Cano should only make them a more formidable team down the stretch, even if he’ll be a nonfactor should they earn a postseason berth.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 8/14/18]]> 2018-08-14T04:10:06Z 2018-08-14T04:10:06Z There are quite a few minor moves to cover, with Baseball America’s Matt Eddy releasing several weeks’ worth of transactions. We’ll use this post to cover the most notable ones that haven’t yet featured on MLBTR:

  • The Angels released outfielder Ben Revere, who could perhaps be an interesting player to target for contending clubs that like the idea of adding a good defender and baserunning threat to their system. Revere, 30, hasn’t seen the majors this year after seven-straight seasons of action at the game’s highest level. He’s slashing .277/.319/.406 with a pair of steals through 166 plate appearances at Triple-A.
  • Ending a relationship that never seemed to work out, the Dodgers have cut loose infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena. Now 28, the former international signee hadn’t played much in the club’s system since he was suspended in May of 2016.
  • The Phillies have released a pair of former big leaguers: infielder Danny Espinosa and outfielder Adron Chambers. Espinosa’s always fickle bat has not yet recovered from a 2017 nosedive. In 240 Triple-A plate appearances with three organizations this year, he owns a .295/.239/.312 slash. Chambers, meanwhile, hasn’t seen the majors since 2013 and last played affiliated ball in 2015, but came back from an indy stint to produce a .278/.328/.437 batting line in 138 Triple-A plate appearances.
  • A host of players received their walking papers from the Diamondbacks. Righty Brian Ellington is among them; the flamethrower struggled badly with his command in limited minor-league action. Southpaw Anthony Vasquez was also released after after 85 2/3 innings of 5.04 ERA ball in the upper minors. The club also dropped several outfielders. Cesar Puello (.317/.426/.454) and Dan Robertson (.263/.361/.407) are both former big leaguers who were getting on base at Reno, but will now seek other opportunities.
  • The Giants released two notable players in righty Chris Heston and backstop Ryan Hanigan. Heston, 30, only made nine appearances in the minors this year owing to injury. Hanigan, who’s closing in on his 38th birthday, is still looking to crack the majors for the 12th-straight season but did not help his cause with a .175/.254/.193 batting line in 63 plate appearances at Triple-A.
  • The Cubs parted with Ryan Webb after he made just 11 appearances at the Rookie ball level. It is not immediately clear why the 32-year-old did not get a shot in the upper minors, or what’s next for him In eight seasons of MLB pitching, from 2009 through 2016, Webb owns a 3.43 ERA through 393 1/3 innings.
  • A variety of other former major-league relief pitchers were also on the move. Among them: The White Sox signed once-promising Braves reliever Mauricio Cabrera. Righty Dallas Beeler was released by the Royals. A trio of former MLB lefties are back in free agency after being cut free: Elvis Araujo (Orioles); Paco Rodriguez (Twins); and Dario Alvarez (Mariners).
  • Meanwhile, the Mariners parted with outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis and the Nationals did the same with Alejandro De Aza. One-time Rule 5 pick Taylor Featherston landed with the Reds.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Are On Jay Bruce's No-Trade List]]> 2018-08-13T17:42:07Z 2018-08-13T17:42:07Z The emergence of Brandon Nimmo has left Jay Bruce as something of an odd man out with the Mets, opines Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman notes that the Mets’ outfield in 2019 and beyond is likely to include Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes, making it more difficult for Bruce to secure regular at-bats (barring a move to first base, which would come at the expense of the younger Dominic Smith). According to Sherman, Bruce can block trades to the Orioles, Mariners, Blue Jays, Rays and Athletics, but he can be shipped anywhere else without his consent. Sherman runs through some speculative possibilities in which Bruce, who is owed $28MM from 2019-20, could be swapped out for a player earning at a comparable rate. Of course, it’s also worth noting that Nimmo’s bat has declined in each month of the season since a torrid start, while Cespedes and (to a lesser extent) Conforto come with injury question marks.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners Activate Erasmo Ramirez From Disabled List]]> 2018-08-12T14:59:28Z 2018-08-12T14:59:28Z
  • The Mariners have activated right-hander Erasmo Ramirez from the disabled list, with right-hander Nick Rumbelow going to Triple-A in the corresponding move.  Ramirez will start for Seattle today against Houston and will be pitching in just his third game of an injury-plagued 2018 season.  He opened the season on the DL due to a lat strain, and then has been sidelined since April 27 due to a teres major strain.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners’ Sam Tuivailala To Undergo Season-Ending Surgery]]> 2018-08-12T06:20:55Z 2018-08-11T20:46:35Z Mariners reliever Sam Tuivailala will undergo season-ending surgery on his right Achilles, manager Scott Servais announced Saturday (via Greg Johns of, on Twitter).

    Tuivailala exited his outing against the Rangers on Wednesday with an Achilles injury, and it’ll prove to be his last time on the mound for a while. He only threw 5 1/3 innings this year with Seattle, which acquired him from St. Louis two weeks ago in a surprising trade. Between the two teams in 2018, the 25-year-old Tuivailila registered a 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP with 7.3 K/9, 2.92 BB/9 and a 49.2 percent groundball rate in 37 innings.

    It’s not yet clear if Tuivailala will be ready to go in spring training, but the good news for the Mariners is that he’s controllable through the 2022 campaign. Tuivailala played this year on a relatively minimal salary and will do the same in 2019, which is slated to be his final pre-arb season. In the meantime, the playoff-contending Mariners will have to make do without a capable reliever as they try to erase the division-rival A’s 1 1/2-game lead on the AL’s second wild-card spot.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Why Didn't The Mariners Block The Fiers Trade?]]> 2018-08-10T17:27:25Z 2018-08-10T17:27:25Z
  • The Athletics added some needed starting pitching by acquiring Mike Fiers from the Tigers this week, though Heyman wonders why the Mariners didn’t block their divisional and wild card rivals by putting a waiver claim on Fiers themselves.  The A’s were already known to have interest in Fiers prior to the trade deadline, and since Seattle was behind Oakland in the standings when Fiers was on waivers, the M’s had first dibs on claiming the right-hander.  Heyman wonders if the Mariners simply weren’t interested in Fiers actually ending up on their roster, if Detroit had let the claim stand in order to get his remaining salary off their payroll.  Of course, an extra arm might look pretty good to the Mariners right about now, given how the team is without a stable fifth starter now that Felix Hernandez is out of the rotation.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners Move Felix Hernandez To The Bullpen]]> 2018-08-10T13:08:42Z 2018-08-10T13:08:42Z Longtime Mariners rotation fixture Felix Hernandez has lost his job in the starting five, manager Scott Servais told reporters (including’s Greg Johns) after last night’s game.  Hernandez will be moved to the bullpen, and while Servais left open the possibility that the former ace could become a starter again this season, the focus is clearly on Hernandez getting back any of his old form.

    The decision comes on the heels of one of the worst outings of Hernandez’s 14-year career; the right-hander allowed 11 runs (seven earned) over six innings against the Rangers last Tuesday.  That start underlined just what a rough season it has been for Hernandez, who has a 5.73 ERA, 7.19 K/9, 2.15 K/BB rate, and a hefty 1.5 HR/9 in 124 innings.  Advanced metrics (5.03 FIP, 4.72 xFIP, 4.66 SIERA) paint only a slightly better picture of his performance this year, while Hernandez’s 39.5% hard-hit ball rate is by far the highest of his career and well beyond his 27.7% career average.

    Hernandez is a completely unknown quantity as a relief pitcher, as he has started all 398 of his career Major League games, and last appeared as a reliever when he was a 19-year-old phenom pitching at the Triple-A level in 2005.  It also remains to be seen how he’ll adjust to the role change on an emotional level — Hernandez simply told reporters “I’ve got nothing to say,” when asked to comment yesterday.

    After several years as one of the game’s best and more durable pitchers, Hernandez’s effectiveness began to dip in 2015, and injuries limited him to just 240 total innings and 1.4 fWAR in 2016-17.  Aside from a brief DL stint for back soreness in July, health doesn’t seem to be the problem for Hernandez this year, as he simply may have hit a wall at age 32 after all these years and all those innings (an average of 218 IP per season from 2006-15).

    Unfortunately for Hernandez and the Mariners, the bulk of the veteran righty’s downturn has mostly coincided with the length of the seven-year, $175MM extension he signed prior to the 2013 season.  Hernandez is still owed $29MM in 2019, a number that now looks like a sunk cost for the team.  Between Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Dee Gordon, and Mike Leake, Seattle has over $100MM in salary committed next season towards five players who have combined for just 5.5 fWAR in 2018 (with the slight caveat of Cano’s 80-game absence due to a PED suspension).

    With Hernandez now in the pen, that leaves the quartet of James Paxton, Leake, Marco Gonzales, and Wade LeBlanc as Seattle’s top four starters.  Swingman Erasmo Ramirez has spent much of the season on the DL and is still rehabbing, so Casey Lawrence, Christian Bergman, or Robert Whalen could step in as the fifth starter on at least a temporary basis.  Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto is no stranger to the trade market, so with the M’s still battling in the wild card race, the team can’t be counted out to make a move for a starter, if they can work out a deal through the August waiver period.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Notes: Felix, Erasmo, Tuivailala, Scouts]]> 2018-08-08T21:51:38Z 2018-08-08T20:59:49Z Once among the game’s elite pitchers, former Mariners ace Felix Hernandez has reached a point where he’s so ineffective that he may not continue to keep his spot in the team’s rotation. Hernandez allowed 11 runs (seven earned) on eight hits, including three home runs, in six innings in a loss to lowly Texas on Tuesday, and after the game, manager Scott Servais wasn’t willing to guarantee the 32-year-old would make his scheduled start Sunday in Houston. “We’ll see,” Servais said (via “You have to take a look at where we’re at going forward here. The next time that spot [in the rotation] comes around, we’ll be over in Houston. They’ve also got a good club.” Hernandez, who’s in the penultimate guaranteed season of a seven-year, $175MM contract, has thrown 124 innings (23 starts) in 2018 and logged a career-worst ERA (5.73), FIP (5.03) and xFIP (4.71).

    More from Seattle, which is two games out of a wild-card spot and trying to break a 16-year playoff drought…

    • While the Mariners don’t seem sure if Hernandez will make his next start, it’s fair to say fellow righty Erasmo Ramirez won’t serve as an immediate replacement. Ramirez, who has missed most of the season with lat and shoulder injuries, isn’t quite ready to return, Servais told Greg Johns of and other reporters. According to Servais, Ramirez “wasn’t that sharp” and “was off a little mechanically”  in his latest Triple-A rehab outing Sunday, in which he gave up four runs (three earned) in as many innings. With Ramirez still not ready to rejoin the club, it could turn to Robert Whalen, Casey Lawrence or Christian Bergman if it doesn’t want to start Hernandez against the Astros, Johns notes.
    • Reliever Sam Tuivailala left his outing Wednesday with a strained right Achilles tendon, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times was among those to tweet. There’s no word on how much time Tuivailala will miss, but it’s fair to expect a lengthy absence in this case. The Mariners just acquired the 25-year-old from the Cardinals on July 27, when they dealt minor league righty Seth Elledge to St. Louis in a one-for-one swap. Since then, Tuivailala has thrown 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball in Seattle, which – combined with his Cardinals numbers – gives him a 3.47 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 32 frames this year. [Update: Tuivailala is in a walking boot and will require a DL stint, Divish tweets.]
    • One more Mariners note: The club has laid off 10 scouts – five on the amateur side, five in the professional ranks – Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Robinson Cano Could See Time At Third Base]]> 2018-08-06T04:25:44Z 2018-08-06T04:25:44Z
  • Robinson Cano has been working out as a third baseman in his preparations to return from his PED suspension, which Mariners manager Scott Servais tells reporters (including the Tacoma News Tribune’s TJ Cotterill) is indicative of how Cano’s “just wants to help any way he can.  If that means giving Kyle [Seager] a day off at third, or helping at first base, playing a game at second base, he’s going to play wherever we need him to play.”  Cano has only played 16 games at third base in his pro career, and none since 2005 when he was in the Yankees’ minor league system.  With Dee Gordon stepping in at second base and Nelson Cruz locked into DH duties, the assumption was that Cano would mostly take time away from first baseman Ryon Healy, who has struggled to consistently hit in his first season in Seattle.  Seager, however, is actually going through a rougher season at the plate, hitting only .231/.280/.421 with 18 homers (including two today) over 447 plate appearances.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[M's Expected To Active Erasmo Ramirez This Week]]> 2018-08-05T23:54:41Z 2018-08-05T23:54:41Z
  • Speaking of Altuve, he won’t return from the disabled list after the 10-day minimum, as he’ll instead head to Houston to have his right knee re-examined by team doctors (the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome was among those who reported the news).  The star second baseman hit the DL on July 28, with a backdated placement of July 26, due to knee soreness.  “I don’t know that we can consider it a setback other than we can consider that he needs more time to heal,” A.J. Hinch said, while GM Jeff Luhnow said the team saw the re-examination as a “checkpoint on where [Altuve is] at.”  The absolute earliest Altuve could return is on Thursday for the start of the Astros’ series with the Mariners.
  • Erasmo Ramirez is slated for a rehab outing today and is expected to rejoin the Mariners sometime this week, the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish writes.  Ramirez has been sidelined since April recovering from a teres major strain, and has only made two appearances this season after another DL stint (lat strain) to begin the 2018 campaign.  It isn’t yet clear if Ramirez will work as a starter or reliever when he is activated, as his role could hinge on whether the struggling Felix Hernandez can get on track.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Deal Medicals, Matz, Devenski, Nicasio, Kinsler]]> 2018-08-04T02:59:05Z 2018-08-04T02:59:05Z’s Rob Bradford took an interesting look at changes that have been made to the process of assessing health in trades. The 2016 Drew Pomeranz swap, and more particularly the fallout from it, sparked the development of a much more robust system for documenting and assessing medical matters. While thee’s obviously an advantage in enhancing the scrutiny, it also leads to what Bradford calls a “tremendously tedious process.”

    Here’s the latest on some injury situations around the league:

    • The Mets announced today that they have placed lefty Steven Matz on the 10-day disabled list with a flexor pronator strain. That sounds a bit frightening, though indications are that it’s not a terribly concerning injury situation. Still, any arm troubles are somewhat more worrisome for a young hurler that has experienced so many already since his 2015 debut. Matz, who will be replaced on the active roster by right-hander Corey Oswalt, joins Phillip Evans on the shelf. The 25-year-old infielder suffered a non-displaced fracture of his tibia, though it is perhaps still possible he’ll be able to return to action this season.
    • The Astros have placed reliever Chris Devenski on the 10-day disabled list with left hamstring tightness, the club announced. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by southpaw Cionel Perez. Devenski had been cruising through another dominant season before he imploded very recently. Devenski had a 1.32 ERA as of July 1st, but has since allowed 13 earned runs in seven outings — including eight without recording an out over his past two appearances. Clearly, something isn’t quite right, so the ’Stros will give him a chance to get back to full health before the stretch run.
    • Also heading to the DL is Mariners righty Juan Nicasio, the team announced. He’ll be replaced by reliever Chasen Bradford. Knee problems have been an issue for the 31-year-old Nicasio this year. He’s now sporting a 6.00 ERA through 42 frames on the season, though he’s also carrying a sparkling 53:5 K/BB ratio.
    • Just-acquired Red Sox second baseman Ian Kinsler is likewise set to hit the DL after leaving tonight’s game with a tight hamstring, Bradford tweets. The seriousness isn’t yet apparent, but it doesn’t appear to be a major source of concern. Kinsler will be replaced for the time being by infielder Tony Renda.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Release Kirk Nieuwenhuis]]> 2018-08-03T13:37:11Z 2018-08-03T13:37:11Z The Mariners have released veteran outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis from their Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma, as tweeted by Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto,

    Nieuwenhuis, 31 next week, has had a tough season in spite of an outstanding 14.8 percent walk rate, hitting just .214/.336/.336 in 324 trips to the plate. While he’s appeared at all three outfield positions with the Rainiers in 2018, the vast majority of his time has been spent in right field. The longtime Mets outfielder has seen his strikeout rates in the upper minors climb at an alarming rate over the past few seasons, culminating in this year’s career-worst 30.6 percent mark.

    That said, Nieuwenhuis has a lifetime .253/.348/.441 mark in parts of eight seasons at the Triple-A level and comes with plenty of MLB experience as well. He’s logged just over 1100 plate appearances between the Mets, Brewers and Angels, hitting at a .221/.311/.384 clip. He averaged 80 games and 217 PAs per year at the MLB level from 2012-16 and appeared in 16 games with 31 PAs as a member of the Brewers organization in 2017. He’ll probably latch on elsewhere as a depth option for a club that’s thin on outfield depth, with the hopes of returning the bigs for a seventh consecutive season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 8/2/18]]> 2018-08-02T21:55:39Z 2018-08-02T21:55:39Z Here are Thursday’s minor moves from around the league…

    • The Mariners announced that veteran infielder Gordon Beckham cleared waivers and was outrighted off the 40-man roster to Triple-A Tacoma. He’d been designated for assignment Monday after Seattle acquired right-hander Adam Warren from the Yankees. Beckham, 31, appeared in 13 games with Seattle this season and batted just .200/.263/.229 in 40 trips to the plate. At the time of his DFA, he was playing with the team’s Tacoma affiliate, where he’d delivered a productive .305/.406/.469 slash through 315 plate appearances. Beckham has more than enough service time to reject the outright in favor of free agency. Seattle’s announcement didn’t indicate whether he’d accepted, though he’s stuck around with the Mariners on the heels of a DFA multiple times over the past two seasons.