Mariners trade reliever Paul Sewald to D-backs for 3 players

Jul 31, 2023, 2:52 PM | Updated: 5:57 pm

Seattle Mariners trade Paul Sewald...

Paul Sewald of the Seattle Mariners gestures after a game against the Yankees in 2022. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The first significant Seattle Mariners trade of the 2023 MLB trade deadline season has arrived, and it’s a big one.

Sunday: Castillo, Crawford lead Mariners to 4-0 win over D-backs

The Mariners are sending veteran reliever Paul Sewald to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three young players: infielder/outfielder Josh Rojas, outfielder/first baseman Dominic Canzone, and infield prospect Ryan Bliss.

Shortly after news of the deal broke came reports of another Mariners deal, with outfielder AJ Pollock and minor league utility player Mark Mathias heading to the San Francisco Giants. For more on that trade, click here.

Sewald was seen as a likely sell-high trade candidate for the Mariners. He’s excelled in three seasons with Seattle and isn’t set to hit free agency until after the 2024 season, but the right-hander is 33 years old and the Mariners have shown a proficiency for identifying under-the-radar relievers who can succeed in their system.

What They Said: Sewald, Servais after Mariners trade

In 2023, Sewald has a career-high 21 saves, the most recent of which coincidentally came Friday in Arizona against his new team.

He owns a 2.93 ERA and 1.02 WHIP this year, and has struck out 60 batters compared to 14 walks over 43 innings (45 appearances).

In his three years with Seattle, Sewald has been one of the best high-leverage bullpen arms in baseball despite struggling in parts of four prior seasons with the New York Mets. Over 172 appearances for the Mariners, he owns a 2.88 ERA, 0.926 WHIP, 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 4.29 strikeouts per walk ratio.

The trade likely won’t take Sewald by surprise, as he told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on July 21 he knew the possibility of playing in a different uniform in August.

“This isn’t my first trade deadline, this isn’t my first season. I know how these things work,” Sewald told hosts Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton. “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 attract a lot of prospects and players for the next year. … (The Mariners front office is) 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.”

More: Mariners’ Sewald details how he handles potential of being traded

The Mariners recalled right-handed reliever Juan Then from Triple-A Tacoma prior to their 6:40 p.m. Monday game against the Boston Red Sox to fill Sewald’s roster spot.

Who the Mariners get

Canzone, who will turn 26 next month, appears to be the centerpiece of the return for the Mariners. An eighth-round pick in 2019 out of Ohio State, the lefty-handed hitter is the No. 19 prospect in the Arizona farm system according to MLB’s rankings. He made his MLB debut on July 8 for the D-backs, and is 9 for 38 (.237) with a home run and two doubles in 15 games.

In 71 games at Triple-A Reno this season, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Canzone slashed .354/.431/.634 for a 1.065 OPS with 16 home runs. Canzone has some positional flexibility, having made 41 appearances at first base in the minor leagues.

Rojas, 29, debuted for the Diamondbacks in 2019. This season, the left-handed hitter owns a .228/.292/.296 slash for a .589 OPS with no home runs in 59 games. He hit nine home runs in 125 games in 2022, and 11 homers in 139 games in 2021. Rojas, who checks in at 6-1 and 207 pounds, has experience playing third base, second base, shortstop, and the corner outfield positions.

Bliss, 23, was a second-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft by Arizona. The 5-6, 165-pound middle infielder is the D-backs’ No. 29 prospect per MLB, and he played in the MLB Futures Game this month at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park as part of the All-Star festivities. He recently was promoted to Triple-A from Double-A Amarillo, where he had slashed .358/.414/.594 for a 1.008 OPS with 12 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 68 games.

More on the Seattle Mariners trade deadline

Mariners Trade Deadline Update: Rumors hint at selling
Drayer: What’s at stake in this Seattle Mariners trade deadline
What Dipoto says Mariners are looking to do at trade deadline

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