With the agreement coming just a day before Thanksgiving, it took a few days after the holiday weekend to get everything finalized and signed, but Carl Edwards Jr. is now officially a member of the Mariners.
After news of the agreement with the hard-throwing reliever appeared last Wednesday, the club was finally able to announce the official roster move a week later. Sources confirmed that Edwards agreed to a one-year, $950,000 contract with $500,000 in incentives. He’s in his first year of arbitration eligibility, meaning that he has two more years of club control.
“Carl has a great arm,” Dipoto said. “It’s big velocity with big spin on the breaking ball. In 2017 and 2018, he really did a great job in a leverage position for a playoff team. Obviously 2019 wasn’t a good season for him, but he’s going to pitch this season at age 28 and he still has a lot of those same ingredients that led him to what he was able to do over those two good seasons.”
Those 2017 and 2018 seasons came with the Chicago Cubs, where he was a late-innings reliever. In 2018, he pitched in 58 games, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.60 ERA. In 52 innings, he struck out 67 batters and walked 32. In 2017, he made a career-high 73 appearances, posing a 2.98 ERA. In 66 1/3 innings, he struck out 94 batters with 38 walks.
But the 2019 season was forgettable. Edwards battled injuries and inconsistency. He struggled early, making just four appearances for the Cubs and allowing six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings with five walks and two strikeouts. He was optioned to Class AAA Iowa to work on some mechanical issues that had led to erratic command. Edwards was recalled a month later and appeared in 15 games, posting a 2.03 ERA with just three walks and 15 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings, including a four holds and a blown save. It appeared he had figured out his issues, but a left thoracic strain halted the process and sent him to the injured list on June 13.
After being activated from the injured list and making one appearance, Edwards was optioned back to Iowa on July 22 and traded to the Padres nine days later for lefty Brad Wieck. Edwards made two appearances for the Padres in August, allowing six runs in 1 2/3 innings with four walks and two strikeouts, before being placed on the injured list with a shoulder strain. Edwards refused on an outright assignment to the Padres’ minor-league system after clearing waivers and elected free agency.
“Since his MLB debut, he’s among the top 12 pitchers in baseball in strikeout percentages (32.8%),” Dipoto said. “He’s a pretty interesting bounce-back candidate for us. We think he has a lot of good things to offer us.”
The Mariners will try to add at least one more experienced reliever to the bullpen on a major-league contract via free agency. But that signing isn’t expected till January. They now have 39 players on the 40-man roster with the addition of Edwards.
Dipoto discussed the recent signing of veteran infielder Patrick Wisdom, who can play first or third base and blasted 31 homers last year for Class AAA Nashville.
“Patrick can play all the corner positions and is a first baseman by trade,” Dipoto said. “And that’s not an area in the upper levels of our organizations where we’ve had any depth at all. While we appreciate the job that has been done in the past to fill in for the short term by guys like Tim Lopes and Dylan Moore, but to consider what we do if our first baseman or third baseman went down with an injury for a considerable time, we want a longer-term option. We feel like Patrick fits that with his combination of power, and it’s real power with his exposure in the big leagues, and his makeup. He’s a really strong makeup guy.”
Dipoto said Wisdom could make the Mariners’ opening-day roster out of spring training, with rosters being expanded to 26 players this season, but if he doesn’t, he’ll go to Class AAA Tacoma as a depth option.