Look At Current Bullpen For Mariners

When we look at the forty man roster you can see that Jerry Dipoto general manager of the Mariners will need to add some pitchers to compete for the bullpen. Not only are they limited with bullpen pitchers right now most of the guys have little experience. So here is a look at who the Mariners show on the roster. 

When we look at the forty man roster you can see that Jerry Dipoto general manager of the Mariners will need to add some pitchers to compete for the bullpen. Not only are they limited with bullpen pitchers right now most of the guys have little experience. So here is a look at who the Mariners show on the roster. 

I will list the bullpen pitchers in alphabet order along with what they did last year. 

Ruben Alaniz: primarily pitched at Durham in the Tampa Bay organization. Could have an outside shot to make the Mariners. He pitched in 20 games with an era of 4.00. He did strike out 35 batters in 27 innings and only gave up one home run. Most likely he will start the season Tacoma. He has had experience as a starting pitcher so likely would be a long reliever if he makes the roster.

Dan Altavilla: a familiar face to the Mariners. He started last season in Seattle however did have injuries keeping his pitching to a limit. 2018 was his third year spending some time in the bullpen he pitched in 22 games with an era of 2.61. He has a fastball known to get up to the high 90s and peak at 100 mph. If he is able to stay healthy he could be the Mariners setup man in the seventh or eighth inning. Also could close in the 9th inning as well. 

Shawn Armstrong: he spent most of last year in Tacoma as the team’s closer. The Mariners could use him in multiple roles this year. He had some previous major league experience with the Cleveland Indians. The Mariners recalled Armstrong in September where he often was the first pitcher out of the bullpen. The Mariners could use him in that role this coming season as well as other times. Like Altavilla, the Mariners could use him as the closer at times too.

Gerson Bautista: he came in the trade where the Mariners traded Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. He is one of the prospects the Mariners picked up. He likely will be invited to training camp but will probably start the season in AA or AAA. He is one of the relievers the Mariners will have as depth this coming season. He is 23 years old so his future is a year or two away. 

Chasen Bradford: he had a solid first half of the season but didn’t pitch as well in the second half as he went up and down between Seattle and Tacoma. He could again be the first pitcher out of the bullpen or pitch later in the game as well. He isn’t known as a fastball pitcher either. He is a solid reliever though. He could pitch more than an inning if needed to be called upon. Since he has more experience than many of the candidates at this point he has a pretty good chance of making the ball club. 

Brandon Brennan: so far a minor league pitcher who was a starter when he began his career but switched to the bullpen in 2016. He is another pitcher likely start in Tacoma as depth in case of injuries. 

Roenis Elias: the Mariners brought back in a trade last May with the Boston Red Sox. He spent most of last year in the Mariner bullpen when he was brought up from Tacoma. He did start four games. The Mariners could use him as the fifth starter or be used in the bullpen. Right now he is the second lefty in the bullpen so the Mariners could use him in a variety of ways. 

Matt Festa: he was the Mariners minor league pitcher of the year spending most of his time in Double-A. Depending on how he does in spring training could begin in either Triple-A or in the Mariners’ bullpen. He could be one of the Mariners setup men or be the closer as well. In the long run, he could be the closer.

Zac Rosscup: the Mariners signed Rosscup as the lefty specialist out of the bullpen. He missed a lot of action because of injuries last year. He was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dipoto will look to sign another pitcher as a left specialist however Rosscup will get his chance anyway.

Nick Rumbelow: another pitcher having limited action in the minor leagues last year both in Double-A and Triple-A for the Mariners. Last time he was in the major leagues was 2015 with the Yankees. Just another guy the Mariners are taking a chance on and likely is used as depth. If he starts the season with the Mariners he will probably take one of the last spots in the bullpen, otherwise, he will be in Tacoma.

Anthony Swarzak: veteran pitcher the Mariners picked up in the Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz trade. The lack of experience the Mariners have in the bullpen he could be the main setup reliever or the closer for that matter. Last year he was injured a good part of the year pitching in only 29 games in relief with an era of 6.15. The previous year 2017 he pitched solidly with the Chicago White Sox than the New York Mets in relief. He pitched in 70 games between both teams with 27 holds. If he pitches anything like that for the Mariners in 2019 I would not be surprised the Mariners trade him by the trading deadline for prospects. 

Sam Tuivailala: the Mariners picked Tuivailala in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals at the trading deadline. However, in August he was injured and he needed to have surgery in the off-season. Likely he won’t be ready for the opening of the season. He will find an important part of the Mariner bullpen when he returns. He is only 26 years old with two good solid seasons in the major leagues. I am sure Dipoto considers him  an important part of the bullpen in the years ahead.

Right now I only see four solid relievers with major league experience right now plus Tuivailala when he returns. Dipoto needs to look at picking up at least two pitchers with major league experience. Not just pitchers we would consider fringe but have someone that is capable. David Phelps who was out all last season hasn’t signed with anyone as a free agent so if he can be signed at a bargain price the Mariners could bring him back. This would be a kind of pitcher the Mariners could use. 

I am sure Dipoto is busy looking for someone to fit in the bullpen. I wouldn’t be surprised something happens real soon. Go M’s. 

I will list the bullpen pitchers in alphabet order along with what they did last year. 

Ruben Alaniz: primarily pitched at Durham in the Tampa Bay organization. Could have an outside shot to make the Mariners. He pitched in 20 games with an era of 4.00. He did strike out 35 batters in 27 innings and only gave up one home run. Most likely he will start the season Tacoma. He has had experience as a starting pitcher so likely would be a long reliever if he makes the roster.

Dan Altavilla: a familiar face to the Mariners. He started last season in Seattle however did have injuries keeping his pitching to a limit. 2018 was his third year spending some time in the bullpen he pitched in 22 games with an era of 2.61. He has a fastball known to get up to the high 90s and peak at 100 mph. If he is able to stay healthy he could be the Mariners setup man in the seventh or eighth inning. Also could close in the 9th inning as well. 

Shawn Armstrong: he spent most of last year in Tacoma as the team’s closer. The Mariners could use him in multiple roles this year. He had some previous major league experience with the Cleveland Indians. The Mariners recalled Armstrong in September where he often was the first pitcher out of the bullpen. The Mariners could use him in that role this coming season as well as other times. Like Altavilla, the Mariners could use him as the closer at times too.

Gerson Bautista: he came in the trade where the Mariners traded Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. He is one of the prospects the Mariners picked up. He likely will be invited to training camp but will probably start the season in AA or AAA. He is one of the relievers the Mariners will have as depth this coming season. He is 23 years old so his future is a year or two away. 

Chasen Bradford: he had a solid first half of the season but didn’t pitch as well in the second half as he went up and down between Seattle and Tacoma. He could again be the first pitcher out of the bullpen or pitch later in the game as well. He isn’t known as a fastball pitcher either. He is a solid reliever though. He could pitch more than an inning if needed to be called upon. Since he has more experience than many of the candidates at this point he has a pretty good chance of making the ball club. 

Brandon Brennan: so far a minor league pitcher who was a starter when he began his career but switched to the bullpen in 2016. He is another pitcher likely start in Tacoma as depth in case of injuries. 

Roenis Elias: the Mariners brought back in a trade last May with the Boston Red Sox. He spent most of last year in the Mariner bullpen when he was brought up from Tacoma. He did start four games. The Mariners could use him as the fifth starter or be used in the bullpen. Right now he is the second lefty in the bullpen so the Mariners could use him in a variety of ways. 

Matt Festa: he was the Mariners minor league pitcher of the year spending most of his time in Double-A. Depending on how he does in spring training could begin in either Triple-A or in the Mariners’ bullpen. He could be one of the Mariners setup men or be the closer as well. In the long run, he could be the closer.

Zac Rosscup: the Mariners signed Rosscup as the lefty specialist out of the bullpen. He missed a lot of action because of injuries last year. He was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dipoto will look to sign another pitcher as a left specialist however Rosscup will get his chance anyway.

Nick Rumbelow: another pitcher having limited action in the minor leagues last year both in Double-A and Triple-A for the Mariners. Last time he was in the major leagues was 2015 with the Yankees. Just another guy the Mariners are taking a chance on and likely is used as depth. If he starts the season with the Mariners he will probably take one of the last spots in the bullpen, otherwise, he will be in Tacoma.

Anthony Swarzak: veteran pitcher the Mariners picked up in the Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz trade. The lack of experience the Mariners have in the bullpen he could be the main setup reliever or the closer for that matter. Last year he was injured a good part of the year pitching in only 29 games in relief with an era of 6.15. The previous year 2017 he pitched solidly with the Chicago White Sox than the New York Mets in relief. He pitched in 70 games between both teams with 27 holds. If he pitches anything like that for the Mariners in 2019 I would not be surprised the Mariners trade him by the trading deadline for prospects. 

Sam Tuivailala: the Mariners picked Tuivailala in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals at the trading deadline. However, in August he was injured and he needed to have surgery in the off-season. Likely he won’t be ready for the opening of the season. He will find an important part of the Mariner bullpen when he returns. He is only 26 years old with two good solid seasons in the major leagues. I am sure Dipoto considers him  an important part of the bullpen in the years ahead.

Right now I only see four solid relievers with major league experience right now plus Tuivailala when he returns. Dipoto needs to look at picking up at least two pitchers with major league experience. Not just pitchers we would consider fringe but have someone that is capable. David Phelps who was out all last season hasn’t signed with anyone as a free agent so if he can be signed at a bargain price the Mariners could bring him back. This would be a kind of pitcher the Mariners could use. 

I am sure Dipoto is busy looking for someone to fit in the bullpen. I wouldn’t be surprised something happens real soon. Go M’s. 

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Dipoto Signs Japanese Pitcher

When we think Jerry Dipoto is taking a break like everyone else we find out he isn’t. 

On Monday afternoon we hear reports the Mariners have signed Japanese left-handed 27-year-old starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to a four-year contract. Actually, it is a 3-yr contract with an option by the player for a fourth year. It is more complicated because the Mariners can add on another 4 years after the three years to make it a total of seven years. 

As far as the contract has been reported the three years will be for $43 million plus $13 million for the option year. If the Mariners decided to add the additional four years on it will be $66 million additional. This sounds like a good deal for both sides. Things don’t work out for the Mariners like they thought would cost them only the $43 million however he does as well or better than expected the Mariners can keep him for at least the seven years. This would make him 34 years old when the contracts are over. 

The Mariners playing the A’s in Tokyo, Japan at the beginning of the season on  March 20 and 21 having Kikuchi starting in either the first or second game of the season they could recoup some of the money in the first year right away. This doesn’t count that Ichiro Suzuki could be on the roster at the beginning of next season as well. The Mariners can have two additional roster spots and likely Ichiro will take one of those spots even if he doesn’t play beyond the two games. Actually, he may not get into any action unless he is used as a pinch hitter. 

The Mariners will be in Seattle to take on the San Diego Padres on March 25 and 26 in exhibition games at T-Mobile Park before facing the World Champion Boston Red Sox in a four-game series from March 28 thru March 31 for opening season at home. We could see Yusei Kikuchi starting the first game then Marco Gonzales in the second game unless they decide to split the two up since they are both lefties. 

Other starting five pitchers when the season starts could be Mike Leake unless Dipoto decides to trade him, Wade LeBlanc, and Felix Hernandez. Right now not sure what the plans the Mariners have for Felix but he may be the fifth starter. At this point, it looks like the Mariners will have three lefties in the rotation. The Mariners could be adding someone else in the rotation as well like Roenis Elias or Justus Sheffield or Erik Swanson they picked up in the trade for James Paxton from the Yankees. I am sure Dipoto isn’t done when coming to the starting rotation.

The Mariners will need to shore up their bullpen as well. Right now not sure who the closer will be with the departure of Edwin Diaz to the New York Mets. 

Nelson Cruz Signs with Twins

Former Mariner’s free agent Nelson Cruz signed a one-year contract on Thursday, December 27 with the Minnesota Twins. The contract is for $14 million plus an option for 2020 as well. I am sure all Mariner fans will miss Cruz. On social media, he thanked the Mariners ownership, management, players and fans for his four years in Seattle. I am sure we all thank Cruz for his time in Seattle as well. 

The Mariners I am sure felt it was time to move on from Cruz along with the other players they traded away or released. They now have Edwin Encarnacion as the designated hitter. In 2019 the Mariners will pay him $16 million then have a buyout of $5 million for 2020. It seems to me the money is about the same so why not bring back Cruz? The answer to that could take place soon or during the season. 

The Mariners may decide to trade Encarnacion before the season begins for some prospects though they may have to pay part of his salary as well. This happens then the Mariners likely won’t have an everyday designated hitter. We could see Jay Bruce who they picked up from the Mets in the trade for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz be at designated hitter well as left field. The Mariners may use Daniel Vogelbach as the DH against right-handed pitchers.  Several different options when facing a left-handed pitcher. They could use one of their regulars at DH to rest them in the field on occasion as well. This is true especially if they have some nagging injuries. 

I hope they do trade Encarnacion so they can use the money saved to help bring in a starting pitcher and or relief pitcher. I have mentioned before I don’t really like full-time DH’s though Cruz and Edgar Martinez were exceptions to the rule. 

Daniel Vogelbach could be considered a DH only player, however, he can play some first base though he has to work on his range. I want players though they may be at DH three or times a week can still play in the field. This would allow a team to add another player to the roster instead of having a player who can only DH. 

I am sure Dipoto and his staff are working at adding more depth to the pitching staff. The Mariners certainly need another experienced reliever and an experienced starter would help to go a long way as well to improve the team. The Mariners are now about six weeks away from training camp starting so filling out the rest of the roster will be important. Next time on the Mariners I will list who the Mariners have far as pitching goes on the 40-man roster. I hope we have an addition or two by then. 

Merry Christmas To All

I wonder whether Jerry Dipoto will make another trade or signing before Christmas Eve.

It would be nice if Santa Claus can bring the Mariners a starting pitcher or a closer. A starter who can be a number one or two would be great. I am sure there are those who think why do the Mariners need a closer if they don’t win a lot of games this coming season. Who knows they could surprise us. 

The Mariners could win more games than we think in 2019. If they can break even in division play and do a better job beating teams in inter-league play could be around 80 to 84 wins. 

I don’t expect the Angels and the Rangers to be much better than last season. The A’s may not win as many games as last season. I expect the Astros to be about the same. The American league east the Red Sox and Yankees should be about the same if not better. The Toronto Blue Jays probably won’t be as good so the Mariners can beat them at home that would be nice. The Tampa Bay Rays might win the same amount of games at 90 and the Orioles a little better.

In the American League Central, I don’t expect the Cleveland Indians will be as good as last year and the Mariners did fine against them last season. I don’t think the rest of the central will be much better either. So the Mariners might be better than we think. 

It is hard to know of course at this time how many games the Mariners will win but they may surprise us. They had an awesome first half but reality set in after the all-star break.  This was even with four all-star players and Mitch Haniger is the only one will be back. Also, Robinson Cano missed half the season and he isn’t returning either.  A lot will come down to the starting pitching along with the bullpen. Outside of Alex Colome and Edwin Diaz, the rest of the bullpen didn’t do that well.  Whatever the bullpen turns out to be we may see a better one. I know this would be a surprise too.  We just hope whomever the closer is he won’t blow too many games. The importance is the setup men will be able to keep the lead up to the closer. 

Anyway a toast right now for the coming 2019. Once again Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  

Mariners Sign Lefty; Trade For another Santana

On Thursday the Mariners signed left-handed relief specialist Zach Rosscup to a one-year contract.  Rosscup has been injured most of the last year two years. 

The Mariners had only lefty in the bullpen in Roenis Elias, and he is considered more of a long reliever. Elias could be the fifth starter in the rotation as well. GM Jerry Dipoto was looking to pick up a lefty specialist. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mariners will keep looking for another lefty with more success. Signing Rosscup to a one-year contract isn’t a big risk if things don’t work out with him.

The Mariners announced just minutes ago they had traded outfielder Ben Gamel along with a minor league pitcher to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Domingo Santana. This should be good for Gamel who had become the Mariners fourth outfielder with the trades the Mariners had made over the off-season. Jay Bruce another left-handed hitter was considered the starter in left field so Gamel wouldn’t have played a lot except an occasional start or pinch hitting. 

Santana now can be used platooning with Bruce in left field. He is listed as a right fielder so he could play there as well moving Mitch Haniger to center field to give center fielder Mallix Smith a day off. Santana had off-year in 2018 hitting .265 in 85 games. He had a .328 on-base percentage. In 2017 he had an outstanding season hitting 30 home runs along with 85 runs batted in. He is only 26 years so he will be under team control for two more years so it isn’t a high-risk situation for the Mariners. 

Going to Milwaukee Brewers will be a good thing for Gamel. The Brewers were stacked with right-handed hitting outfielders so picking up Gamel will give him more playing time. Not only will he have a chance to possibly platoon with Milwaukee he can be used as a left-handed hitting pinch hitter. 

Being stacked with right-handed hitting outfielders is the reason the Brewers were willing to trade Santana to the Mariners. Dipoto is hoping Santana can rebound from the poor 2018 season he had. Even if he doesn’t hit 30 home runs next season if he can get around 15 home runs batting around .270 in a platoon situation than be a successful trade for the Mariners. 

Ben Gamel was popular in Seattle even though he played part-time for the Mariners. I know we will miss seeing him but with the Mariners making all these changes to the roster, not a big surprise either. We wish Gamel the very best in Milwaukee. 

T-Mobile Park

Not really anyone’s surprise the Seattle Mariners are now playing in T-Mobile Park. The Mariners made the announcement today, December 19 they have signed a 25-year agreement for the naming rights.


I am sure some of us will continue calling it Safeco Field for a while. T-Mobile may be a cell phone carrier but the name sounds like a place people will go to stay in their RV’s with park at the end of the name, 


Now, this agreement has taken place it is now time to see who Jerry Dipoto will sign or trade for the next six or seven weeks before spring training begins. Recently they have signed a few minor leaguers who probably will be invited to spring training but not someone we can say wow too. These have been players who will add depth in case of injuries but anyone not expected really to be on the roster when the season begins. At least the Mariners are making changes to the AAA roster as well. 


I don’t expect any trades like they have made already unless they plan to move Edwin Encarnacion or Jay Bruce for some other major league player and prospects. Otherwords, reduce salaries. Dipoto may look at doing so during the trading deadline in July as well. We will see, won’t we? 

Mariners Make Moves on Thursday

Jerry Dipoto and the Seattle Mariners haven’t done much this week at the Winter Meetings. On Wednesday he had a cold so he let his management team do the job. The Mariners did make a few minor moves but certainly nothing like he did before meetings. I don’t think many expected to make a big splash. I am sure he talked to a few teams about trades and free agents as well. The Mariners won’t sign any high priced free agents however with Dipoto he could make a surprise move.

Dipoto is interested in Japanese free agent pitcher Yusei Kikuchi. This would be something to sign him with needing another starting pitcher plus the fact the Mariners will start the season against the Oakland A’s in March 2019 in Japan. Signing Kikuchi would make things big back home for him too. Of course, there are other teams interested in him as well.

An interesting move at the beginning of the winter meetings was the Mariners picking up Kaleb Cowart off of waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. Jerry Dipoto said the Mariners would make him into a two-way player. In his pro career, he has played primarily played the infield. When he was drafted by the Angels in 2010 they talked about making him into a pitcher but he wanted to play every day. He isn’t a good hitter batting below .200 in his career but plays good defense and his fastball does reach the mid 90’s. So if he makes the Mariner could see him do both.

During this writing, Jerry Dipoto made a trade with the Cleveland Indians sending Carlos Santana who they had acquired in the trade with the Phillies for Jean Segura. The Mariners acquire designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and a competitive balance Round B pick in 2019 which is the 77th overall pick. The Mariners could move Encarnacion along as well. Dipoto made this trade while being in the hospital. He is expected to be released Thursday and head home to Seattle. 

In the Rule 5 draft, the Mariners took righthanded pitcher Brandon Brennan from the Colorado Rockies organization. Last year he pitched for double-A Birmingham and triple-A Charlotte of the Chicago White Sox organization. Recently the Rockies had signed him to a minor league contract.

Stay tuned to what Dipoto and the Mariners will do further.