Mariners bolster starting pitching depth by adding Kendall Graveman
In his end-of-the-year press gathering, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told the assembled media that in comparison to the previous offseason, winter 2019 would be a little more subdued when it comes to roster transactions.
“I would say the likelihood is we’ll shop early and we’ll shop late and you won’t hear a lot from us around the holidays,” he said.
Perhaps Dipoto meant on the exact days of holidays, or maybe he just isn’t a fan of Thanksgiving in general, as on Tuesday he made his third move of the week by adding free agent starting pitcher Kendall Graveman. A source confirms the Ken Rosenthal report of an agreement between the Mariners and Graveman on a one-year, $1.5 million contract with a club option for 2021.
The Mariners announced the signing of the 28-year-old right-hander Tuesday afternoon.
Graveman spent 2019 with the Chicago Cubs while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery that he underwent on July 24, 2018. He spent the previous four seasons with the A’s, accumulating a record of 23-29 with a 4.38 ERA. A sinkerballer, he generates a large number of ground balls and has shown good velocity with the pitch able when healthy, sitting from 92-96 mph with it and actually getting up to 97-98 mph in 2017.
“Kendall is a great bounce back candidate,” Dipoto said in a press release. “His makeup is off the charts, and we’ve done a fair bit of homework on him from his time in Oakland and more recently in Chicago. He was a work horse, ground ball-oriented pitcher, with whom we saw a velocity spike prior to his Tommy John surgery.
“We really trust him and his ability to consistently throw strikes. At 28 years old, he has the ability to stay in our system for a period of time and gives us something to look forward to.”
If Graveman shows promise, the club can pick up a $3.5 million option ($500,000 buyout) for 2021. The need for now, however, is arms to fill out the 2020 rotation.
Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi and – barring a spring disaster – Justus Sheffield should be sure-things in the top spots of Seattle’s rotation, with the hope being that Justin Dunn will show he is ready to start the season in the fourth spot. Then there is the matter of Logan Gilbert, the Mariners’ 2018 first-round pick who they are confident will make his debut in 2020. How soon? You can check out this week’s Mariners Talk video which will be posted Tuesday afternoon for bullpen coach Brian DeLunas’ surprising estimate.
With youth comes uncertainty, however, and as such the need for insurance arms. Another starter is expected to be added shortly.
With the Graveman addition, the Mariners’ 40-man roster will be at 38.