Mariners DFA RHP Rafael Montero, reinstate RHP Casey Sadler from IL
The Mariners’ bullpen got a bit of a shakeup on Friday afternoon as struggling right-handed pitcher Rafael Montero was designated for assignment while fellow right-hander Casey Sadler was activated from the injured list.
Montero, 30, has been a weak link of what’s been a very strong bullpen for the Mariners this season. In 40 appearances (43 1/3 innings), Montero has a 5-3 record and seven saves, but he posted a 7.27 ERA and a WHIP of 1.638.
Sadler, 31, hasn’t pitched since late April due to a shoulder impingement, but he was pitching well before the injury. In 11 innings, Sadler had a 1.64 ERA with 10 strikeouts.
Seattle was fairly quiet last offseason, but one of the more notable moves that the team made was acquiring Montero from the Texas Rangers for 18-year old pitching prospect Jose Corniell and a player to be named later, which was revealed to be minor league shortstop Andres Mesa in June.
Entering the 2021 season, Montero was someone that figured to be a key member of a Mariners bullpen that had a lot of question marks. Montero was used in many high-leverage spots to start the year, such as on opening day when he blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants. That trend unfortunately continued with Montero throughout the year, and he blew six saves in 13 opportunities.
Luckily for the Mariners, Kendall Graveman, Paul Sewald, Drew Steckenrider and JT Chargois have emerged as shutdown relievers for manager Scott Servais to turn to in key late-inning situations., though Montero still saw late innings on a semi-regular basis throughout the season.
The month of July has been especially rough for Montero. In 8 2/3 innings in five appearances, Montero allowed nine runs. All nine of those runs came in his last four outings, and he allowed at least two runs in each of those appearances, including two runs in the eighth inning with the Mariners down 2-1 against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday. Over his last 30 appearances (since April 28), Montero is 3-3 with four saves and an 8.73 ERA (32 earned runs in 33 innings).
With Montero designated for assignment, he is removed from the Mariners’ 40-man roster and the team has seven days to either place him on waivers or find a trade partner. If Montero is placed on waivers and goes unclaimed, the Mariners can outright him to the minor leagues or release him. If Montero is claimed, he must be added to that team’s 40-man roster.