It appears the final move for the Mariners, as Friday’s Major League Baseball trade deadline looms, didn’t come Wednesday. MLB sources said the Mariners and general manager Jerry Dipoto were engaged in multiple conversations with teams, hoping to acquire an established hitter, preferably right-handed, and at least one reliever if not more.
“They are very active,” a MLB source from a National League organization said. “When Jerry says he’s going to make a deal, he usually makes two.”
Following a surreal and emotional Tuesday afternoon that saw Mariners closer Kendall Graveman move across the diamond to join the Astros along with right-hander Rafael Montero in a trade that sent infielder Abraham Toro and veteran right-hander Joe Smith from the visitors’ clubhouse to the home clubhouse, life returned to somewhat normal Wednesday morning.
The anger and frustration from Mariners players upon hearing the news that their closer had been traded to their most hated division rival had at least simmered down from the boiling point.
“Oh, it’s still there,” a player said.
Manager Scott Servais tried to downplay the players’ negative reaction to the trade, saying it was “dramatized” by the media and “blown it out of proportion a little bit.”
But multiple sources in the organization didn’t agree with his assessment of the situation, still stunned at the intense emotional reaction from players.
In a gathering with the media after the Graveman trade, Dipoto said that it wasn’t a stand-alone move and that angry players would see the sum of their expected activity after Friday’s 1 p.m. deadline.
In the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game, the Mariners completed a deal to acquire left-handed starting pitcher Tyler Anderson from the Pirates for a pair of minor league players. Anderson is slated to start one of the three games against the Rangers at GlobeLife Field. He was scheduled to start Tuesday but was scratched when it became apparent that he would be traded.
“I’m not sure exactly when he’s going to pitch in the Texas series,” Servais said. “I don’t know which day for sure. We’ll get a chance to sit down and talk with him. I don’t even know his exact travel schedule — if he’s headed here or if he’s meeting us in Texas.”
With an off day Thursday, the Mariners can reconfigure the outings of Marco Gonzales and Logan Gilbert if needed in that Texas series.
All three pitchers will be buoyed by the fact that left-handed masher Joey Gallo will no longer be in the Rangers lineup. Texas traded the big slugger to the Yankees, who apparently are lacking power despite having Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Luke Voit already. The Rangers also are apparently sending lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez in exchange for four minor league prospects.
Meanwhile Toro was in the starting lineup at second base for Seattle, a position he’s expected to play often in the future. The switch-hitting Toro hit a homer against the Mariners on Monday, then homered as a pinch-hitter for the Mariners on Tuesday night against his former team and then hit a two-run homer in Wednesday’s loss.
Toro, who has been a third baseman for most of his career and had only started one game at second base at the MLB level, was working extensively pregame with infield guru Perry Hill.
“There’s only one way to get experience, you’ve got to go out and play it,” Servais said before the game. “Perry, he’ll be keeping a very close eye on him today, trying to help him out any way you can. We like the bat, certainly it’s a switch hitter. He’s always hit at the minor league levels. We will give him an opportunity and see if he can take and run with it here at the big-league level.”
With no Graveman to close out games, the Mariners will look to right-handers Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider to fit in that spot. Sources have said that the Mariners are looking for potential closers from teams in sell mode, including Washington’s Daniel Hudson and have even inquired about Chicago’s Craig Kimbrel.
Servais also expects Dipoto to trade for a reliever.
“You’ve guys been around the trading deadline,” he said. “At the 11th hour is when relievers kind of get moved around, typically is what happens there. We’ll just have to wait and see. But I feel good about our bullpen. They’ve been the strength of our ballclub all year long. The guys we have down there have been very resilient, they bounce back pretty quick. And I think we’ve done a good job of managing them to try to keep them strong. But you never have enough pitching so maybe we can grab one or two more guys that are still out there.”
- In an effort to get some starting pitching depth, the Mariners have reportedly signed right-handed pitcher Asher Wojciechowski to a minor league contract. He was designated for assignment a week ago by the Yankees and then refused an outright assignment to the minor leagues, opting for free agency.
With several starting pitchers on the injured list and not much MLB experience with the Rainiers, Wojciechowski would serve an emergency spot starter. Over parts of five seasons, Wojciechowski has made 58 appearances and 35 starts. He has career 5.93 ERA.
- Jake Fraley, who has been on the COVID-19 injured list after testing positive, played for Tacoma on a rehab assignment Tuesday night. He went 0-for-3 with two walks and a strikeout. After being quarantined in a hotel for 10 days, Fraley needs more game reps.