Over the weekend when the Houston Astros swept the Mariners outscoring them 22-3 in the three games. The Astros showed the Mariners bullpen no mercy scoring 12 runs against them in 14 innings.
Meanwhile, Houston’s bullpen gave up only one hit in the series over nine innings. This included Saturday when they were part of a combined no-hitter with newly acquired starter Aaron Sanchez. This shows the Mariners have a ways to go, and a standard to meet over the next few years.
Right now, the Mariners bullpen is in audition mode for next season. They don’t play the Astros again until September 5-8th in a four-game series in Houston. When they take on the Astros, it will be interesting to see who is still around pitching out of the bullpen.
Right now, the Mariners have nine relievers in the bullpen. This could change when the rosters expand in September and the Mariners might go to a six-man starting rotation. Arms will be added to the bullpen as well.
Cory Gearrin is the only reliever who has pitched out of the bullpen all season long. He signed a one-year contract before this season so he can become a free agent. He is 33 years old and has had an ok season pitching after getting off to a poor start.
Gearrin is probably gone after 2019. The Mariners may look to go with one of the younger guys who are ready to step up or sign another reliever who might have a bigger upside.
Gerson Bautista, Zack Grotz, and Reggie McClain, who were promoted after the trade deadline, will get more opportunities to see what they can do. The Astros didn’t give any of the three any mercy over the weekend. The Mariners brass has to see whether they are ready to have an important place on next year’s team.
Taylor Guilbeau, who the Mariners picked up as one of the two minor league pitchers for Roenis Elias from the Washington Nationals is pitching for the Tacoma Rainiers right now. He is the closest of the three pitchers picked up in the Elias and Hunter Strickland trades from the Nationals at the age of 26.
He was drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2015 in the 10th round. The Mariners right now have no left-handed reliever so the Mariners may see him up in Seattle before August is over. How he does may decide where the Mariners may go for signing or trading for a lefty during the off-season.
Anthony Bass and Sam Tuivailala are now the Mariners top two relief-options late in games since the departure of Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland. Bass has pitched well, giving up no runs in his last seven games along with only three hits, no walks, and 10 strikeouts.
Sam Tuivailala returned to the Mariners making his first appearance on July 15 after being out all season. He has appeared in five games including being the opener on Sunday against the Astros. He went one-plus innings before Tommy Milone came into the game with no one out in the second inning after walking two batters. Tuivialala control right now is his biggest issue.
Matt Magill and Matt Wisler are two relievers the Mariners picked up recently. Magill was acquired on July 21 from the Minnesota Twins for cash when they DFA’d him. Magill has appeared in four games for the Mariners with mix reviews.
Wisler was acquired earlier in July from the San Diego Padres in the same manner. He has pitched on occasion and has an ERA of 3.68. He has done well, not walking a batter and struck out 11 batters in seven and one-thirds innings.
Depending on how both do the rest of the way will decide whether the Mariners will invite them both back for spring training.
Austin Adams and Brandon Brennan are both on the 10-day injured list. The Mariners should see them soon, especially Brennan who is on a rehab assignment. Both these guys should be given an opportunity to be on next year’s roster since they did well before being injured.
One last guy maybe Erik Swanson, who spent early on for the Mariners when coming from Tacoma as a starter is probably going to come out of the bullpen with the option to be used as the Opener or a spot starter. I would call him the right-handed version of Roenis Elias. His future in Seattle could be good or they may trade him to another team who could use a fifth starter.
We can see the Mariners do need help in the bullpen this off-season. But they could have some players who could play a nice role as well. The next 48 games will determine who will be invited next year. Go M’s.