Mariners’ Paul Sewald details how he handles potential of being traded

Jul 23, 2023, 1:51 PM

Seattle Mariners Paul Sewald...

Paul Sewald of the Seattle Mariners takes the field on July 17, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

There may not be a player who has been more reliable for the Seattle Mariners over the past three seasons than Paul Sewald.

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In fact, the 33-year-old right-hander has been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball since he surprisingly took off for the Mariners early on during the 2021 season.

After struggling in four MLB seasons with the New York Mets, Sewald joined Seattle on a minor league contract following the 2020 campaign and earned a May call-up from Triple-A Tacoma (coincidentally at the same time as then-prospects Logan Gilbert and Jarred Kelenic).

Sewald has been nails for the Mariners ever since, putting together a 2.89 ERA, 0.921 WHIP, 50 saves, a rate of 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings and a 4.33 strikeouts per walk ratio over 168 appearances combined in his three seasons with Seattle.

As good as Sewald has been, though, his age, track record of success and contract status make him a viable candidate to be dealt before MLB’s Aug. 1 trade deadline. With the Mariners hovering around .500, there’s a convincing argument to be made that what Seattle could net by trading Sewald to a contending team with a need for bullpen help would be more valuable to the team’s long-term future than what Sewald could provide the M’s before becoming a free agent after the 2024 season.

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None of this is lost on Sewald.

“This isn’t my first trade deadline, this isn’t my first season. I know how these things work,” he told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob when he joined the show Friday afternoon at Edgar’s Cantina inside T-Mobile Park.

“I feel like I understand the system as well as anybody, and I understand what somebody might want a closer for on July 31. They seem to seem to attract a lot of prospects and players for the next year.”

If the Mariners decide to sell before the deadline, Sewald would be one of the best closers on the trade market. In 2023, he has a 2.95 ERA, 1.008 WHIP, 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings and a career-best 4.46 strikeouts to walk ratio, and his 19 saves are already just one short of his career-high mark. Sewald knows those numbers could garner serious offers from contenders for Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto and general manager Justin Hollander to chew on.

“This is just one of those things (where) Jerry and Justin are gonna have to make that decision, and I have to pitch well until then and I have to pitch well after that,” he said. “They’re going to do what’s best for the Seattle Mariners and that’s their job, and my job is to pitch. That’s all I can worry about.”

If it were up to Sewald, though, it seems he would rather the Mariners just win enough before the trade deadline to give the front office good reason to buy rather than sell – and, of course, keep him in Seattle.

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“We’re just gonna battle every day until the trade deadline and we’re gonna see what happens, and then we’re gonna go to battle on Aug. 1 against the Red Sox, and I might be in a Mariners uniform, I might not. That’s not for me to decide,” he said. “I’m looking forward to these two weeks being over so that I just know exactly what’s going to happen. I hope to be in a Mariners uniform. If I’m not, I’m very thankful for everything. And if I am, then great. Let’s make a playoff push down the stretch and finish really hot and see what happens, because we know once you’re in there, anything can happen.

“… Let’s just win every game until the trade deadline, buy, and then we just win every game the rest of the year and win the World Series.”

Sounds like a plan.

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with Seattle Mariners pitcher Paul Sewald in the middle segment of the podcast at this link or in the audio player near the top of this post.

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