After 3 trades, Dipoto and Mariners add major depth help to bullpen
The Seattle Mariners will go into August with a new-look bullpen after adding three relievers in three separate trades. An addition to the offense could still be coming, too.
After picking up Adam Warren, Zach Duke and Sam Tuivailala in recent days, it appears general manager Jerry Dipoto is set on the bullpen for now. As for the market on position players, Dipoto told reporters Monday that the Mariners still have an “ear to the street.” Less likely, however, is bringing in a new starting pitcher before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
“I wouldn’t say we’re hopeful that something is going to happen,” Dipoto said about the possibility of acquiring a starter.
While there may not be much change to the rotation coming outside of Erasmo Ramirez’s expected return from injury, the Mariners have gone a long way in just a few short days in adding strength to the relief corps. And if you consider that Dipoto’s first major trade of the year brought over setup man and one-time All-Star closer Alex Colomé, it is clear there has been much importance put on the bullpen as Seattle pursues ending its long postseason drought.
“Now with Duke and Adam Warren and Sam Tuivailala and even Alex Colomé, to add that kind of depth to your bullpen in-season is something we’re pretty happy with,” Dipoto told reporters on Monday. “The combination of Duke and (James) Pazos, Warren and Tuivailala with the group that we already have down there I think gives (manager Scott Servais) really anything he wants to do once the fifth inning comes around. We have the ability to do that now and not burden anybody with too much workload. That’s part of this, too – just trying to make sure that each guy we send out there does his job and maybe taking the burden off the next guy.”
With the recent trades, the Mariners give themselves multiple ways to take on hitters on either side of the plate before the ball gets handed off to Colomé and closer Edwin Díaz.
“Tui and Adam Warren gives us guys who really have neutralized right-handed hitters very well who are also capable of throwing multiple innings through the course of an outing. … Zach Duke does just the opposite. He wipes out the left-hand side, and he has done it for playoff-caliber clubs and he’s done it for a number of years.”
Duke gives the Mariners a different way to get left-handed hitters out than how the hard-throwing Pazos goes about it.
“(Duke) varies his arm angles, throws mostly from a low three-quarter, almost sidearm slot,” Dipoto said. “The velocity is going to be considerably lower than James on his good days, but he gets a very high dose of ground balls and generally throws strikes. He’s been productive – like I said, the lefties have struggled with him for a long time, and knock on wood, he generally has kept the ball in the ballpark.”
Warren, meanwhile, has the third-most scoreless relief appearances of at least 1 1/3 innings in the MLB since 2014, and he’s apparently been on Dipoto’s radar for a long time.
“It’s not the first time we’ve tried to acquire him, it’s just the first time we’ve been successful,” Dipoto said. “Adam is a multi-inning guy. That’s been his M.O. throughout the course of his career. Same with Sam Tuivailala. He’s more than a one-inning guy when needed.”
So just like that, three new pitchers have found their way to Seattle’s bullpen, and it leaves a bit of a roster mess for Dipoto and his team to sort out once everybody arrives at Safeco Field. As 710 ESPN Seattle’s Shannon Drayer put it to Dipoto, it seems a bit extreme, doesn’t it?
“Extreme is what we do,” Dipoto responded with a laugh.