Mariners add veteran reliever Yoshihisa Hirano to bullpen
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto can cross one of the final items off of his offseason shopping list. The Mariners announced Thursday they have signed veteran reliever Yoshihisa Hirano to a one-year contract.
To make room for Hirano on the 40-man roster, left-handed starter Ricardo Sanchez has been DFA’d.
“We’re glad to have Yoshi on board,” Dipoto said in the press release. “We believe his combination of experience and bat-missing ability brings needed stability to our bullpen.”
According to MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal, Hirano’s deal with Seattle is worth $1.6 million plus performance bonuses.
Hirano has spent the past two seasons with Arizona, where he threw 119.1 innings, putting up a 3.47 ERA while striking out 120 and walking 45. Prior to coming to the Diamondbacks, he enjoyed an 11-year career in Japan’s NPB playing for the Orix Buffaloes.
While his spot in the bullpen is secure, Hirano comes to Seattle as a bit of a bounceback candidate. After a stellar first year for the Diamondbacks in which he finished with a 2.44 ERA and did not allow a run in 27 consecutive games, the 35 year old struggled in his sophomore season. On Aug. 17, he was placed on the injured list with elbow inflammation and missed nearly a month of action. If the elbow is a concern, it is worth noting that new Mariners head trainer Kyle Torgerson was previously the Diamondbacks’ assistant trainer and is no doubt very familiar with the situation.
Sanchez, 22, spent 2019 with Double-A Arkansas, going 8-12 with a 4.75 ERA in 146 innings pitched. Acquired from Atlanta in November 2019, he was second in the Texas League with 135 strikeouts last season.
With less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers report, the Mariners’ 40-man roster is full.