Mariners trade Trevor Gott, Chris Flexen to New York Mets

Jul 3, 2023, 12:13 PM | Updated: 4:03 pm

Seattle Mariners Trevor Gott...

Seattle Mariners reliever Trevor Gott pitches on April 5, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Two teams that have so far fallen short of their high expectations for 2023, the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets, are swapping relievers.

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The Mariners (40-42) have agreed to trade long reliever Chris Flexen and veteran right-hander Trevor Gott to the Mets (38-46) for left-hander Zach Muckenhirn. Flexen and Muckenhirn were recently designated for assignment by the M’s and Mets, respectively.

Shannon Drayer, Mariners insider for Seattle Sports, reports that Muckenhirn will report to the Tacoma Rainiers, the Triple-A affiliate of the M’s.

Both teams announced the trade, which was first reported by The Athletic, on Monday afternoon.

Seattle made a few other moves Monday, recalling right-handers Matt Festa and Darren McCaughan from Triple-A Tacoma ahead of their three-game series in San Francisco, and placing standout rookie starting pitcher Bryce Miller on the 15-day injured list with a right finger blister that caused him to leave his start on Friday early (click here for more on Miller’s injury). Festa, who was a vital member of the Mariners’ bullpen in 2022 but struggled initially this season and was sent down in April, takes Gott’s spot on the active roster.

Per the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the Mets will pay all of the roughly $4 million left on Flexen’s contract and $600,000 owed to Gott.

The Mets’ bullpen owns a 4.26 ERA, which ranks 21st in the majors. It’s a factor in the disappointing season by a team with a projected $360 million payroll, highest in MLB history.

Mariners relievers are 10th in MLB with a 3.81 ERA and a ratio of 2.75 strikeouts per walk.

Flexen returned to his original MLB team, although perhaps only briefly as the Mets announced they would also designate him for assignment, meaning New York took on Flexen’s salary in order to acquire Gott. There is the possibility Flexen clears waivers and sticks with the Mets as potential depth for either the starting rotation or bullpen.

A 14th-round pick by New York in 2012, Flexen struggled in parts of three big league seasons with the Mets before resurrecting his career in Korea. He signed with the Mariners for the 2021 season and was one of Seattle’s best starting pitchers in both 2021 and 2022, but he ended up being the odd man out of the rotation following the team’s trade deadline acquisition of All-Star Luis Castillo last July. He was designated for assignment last week after posting a 7.71 ERA this season in 17 games, including four starts.

The 29-year-old Flexen pitched enough innings over the previous two seasons for an $8 million option to vest for 2023.

Gott, 30, has been a solid option out of Seattle’s bullpen this season, owning a 4.03 ERA and 3.01 FIP with 32 strikeouts to eight walks over 29 innings (30 appearances). He returned last week from a stint on the 15-day injured list for low back spasms, at which time the M’s DFA’d Flexen to make room on the active roster. The Mets are his sixth MLB team.

Muckenhirn, 28, made his MLB debut with the Mets on May 3 and has appeared in just three big league games. An 11th-round pick by Baltimore in the 2016 MLB Draft out of the University of North Dakota, he has a 6.00 ERA over six innings with the Mets. In 16 games in Triple-A this year (including one start), he owns a 0.88 ERA with 19 strikeouts to 13 walks over 30 2/3 innings pitched.

Muckenhirn was signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training by the Mets last November.

This could signal the start of a busy month for the Mariners on the transaction front as the MLB trade deadline is set for Aug. 1.

The Seattle Mariners are in San Francisco for a 6:45 p.m. Monday game against the Giants, which will kick off a seven-game road trip that takes them into the All-Star break. Radio coverage will be carried on Seattle Sports beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the pregame show. Click here for details on how to stream Mariners broadcasts from Seattle Sports.

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