Seattle Mariners Add Bullpen Help, Sign Cory Gearrin
It was a busy morning for the Seattle Mariners, who addressed two of the positions of need GM Jerry Dipoto had been discussing openly for the past several weeks.
Mariners fans woke up this morning with the announcement of 2 major league signings to digest. The most noteworthy of the signings is that of Tim Beckham, a former #1 overall pick of the Tampa Bay Rays who appears to be penciled in as the Opening Day Shortstop.
However, the Mariners also added some much needed veteran depth to their bullpen, inking 33-year-old RHP Cory Gearrin to a 1-year contract. Gearrin has pitched in parts of 7 seasons since 2011 and has carved out a nice career as a middle reliever.
In 2018, he bounced around to 3 different teams, posting a 3.77 ERA, an 8.32 K/9, and a 3.32 BB/9. Gearrin struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark this season, which is unusual for him. In 2018, 12.5% of the flyballs he surrendered left the park for home runs, a sharp rise from his 6.9% rate in 2017.
In fact, Gearrin fits into the mold of recent Dipoto acquisitions. A nice player coming off a down season. In 2017, Gearrin threw 68 innings and posted a 1.99 ERA with a 48% groundball rate and an 8.47 K/9 rate.
Stuff-wise, Gearrin is a prototypical sinker/slider reliever. The sinker sits at 92-93 mph with traditional movement. The slider is his true out pitch and flashes plus at times. Gearrin is a true sidearming pitcher, which helps explain why he has a knack for getting out tough righties, with the RHH posting a career slash line of .225/.309/.331.
But Gearrin isn’t terrible against LHH but is better served to face an RH heavy portion of the lineup. These splits prevent him from being a good option to close, something the Mariners are still looking to shore up before the 2019 season.
However, Gearrin is still a useful piece in the bullpen, filling out the 7th inning role, or being used in high leverage situations against the likes of Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, or George Springer.
The exact terms of the contract are unknown and the team has yet to officially announce either signing. But adding a veteran like Gearrin helps fill out the 2019 bullpen and gives Dipoto an extra trade chip this July. These are the types of moves that make sense for a rebuilding club and could pay dividends down the line.