If Carl Edwards Jr. can harness his mid 90s fastball, re-find the command that disappeared in 2019 and re-establish some confidence in himself as a reliever, the Mariners may have picked up a key late-innings reliever and a potential trade chip in July.
MLB sources confirmed general manager Jerry Dipoto finalized his second free agent acquisition in as many days, signing the veteran right-handed reliever to a one-year, $950,000 contract with $500,000 in possible incentives.
Edwards is coming off a frustrating 2019 season where he battled injuries and inconsistency. He struggled early, making just four appearances for the Cubs and allowing six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings pitched with five walks and two strikeouts. He was optioned to Class AAA Iowa to work on some mechanical issues that 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 pitched, 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.
The Mariners hope that Edwards can regain his prior form with the Cubs. In 2018, he pitched in 58 games, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.60 ERA. In 52 innings pitched, he struck out 67 batters with 32 walks. 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.