Seattle adds a familiar face to the starting rotation competition.
Early Tuesday morning, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal broke the news that the Seattle Mariners have signed right-handed pitcher Kendall Graveman to a one-year, $1.5 million contract with a 2021 club option for $3.5 million. The option also has a buyout worth $500,000.
Mariners fans should be familiar with Graveman from his time with the Oakland A’s, where he was their Opening Day starter in both 2017 and ’18. Against the Mariners in his career, Graveman struggled in 52.2 innings with a 5.30 ERA. He’s especially struggled when visiting Safeco Field/T-Mobile Park, allowing eight runs in 14 innings pitched.
Graveman is on his way back from Tommy John surgery in July 2018. He had signed a one-year deal with a club option with the Chicago Cubs last offseason, but after pitching just 6 innings in the minors, his option was declined earlier this month. Fortunately for him, he didn’t have to wait too long to find a new home.
This Mariners regime has seen some success, namely with Marco Gonzales, in helping pitchers work their way back from career-altering injuries. This could be the ideal landing spot for Graveman, where he’ll be surrounded by a strong support group and have a clear path to playing time in the Major Leagues.
When Graveman was last healthy, he was touching mid 90s with the sinker and a strong changeup and slider in his back pocket. Graveman doesn’t have a lot of swing-and-miss in his game, but he’s been able to keep the ball on the ground at an above-average rate.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Mariners’ plan is with Graveman. One would assume that, since he’s barely pitched in a professional setting since his injury, the idea is for him to start the 2020 season in Triple-A Tacoma and serve as starting depth for the inevitable injury bug that will surely come the Mariners’ rotation’s way. It’s also possible Graveman could be an interesting middle relief option later in the season, depending on where his velocity is nowadays.
Apparently Graveman isn’t the only pitcher the Mariners have signed this week, as Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times has reported that another deal should be announced as early as Wednesday morning. For now, the pitcher is still unknown, but don’t expect anything too major.