Seattle Mariners Comeback Players Giving a Chance

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Taijuan Walker #44 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 5-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Taijuan Walker #44 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 5-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

General Manager Jerry Dipoto said during the off-season the Mariners are going to play the youngsters this coming season. But it didn’t stop him from bringing in some veteran players as well. Veteran players who want to make a comeback.

The youngsters the Mariners are planning to play are primarily the position players, but we shouldn’t be surprised by a few on the pitching staff as well. The Mariners starting rotation coming back from the end of last season are Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, and Justus Sheffield.

So the Mariners still have the fourth and fifth rotation spots to fill. Dipoto decided to go out and get a couple of veterans to fill those spots. He did so with pitchers who had injuries for the past couple years, figuring there was an upside for this coming season.

Dipoto signed former Oakland A’s starter Kendall Graveman as a free agent and just before spring training, former Mariner Taijuan Walker was signed by the ball club. The Mariners had traded Walker to Arizona.

In 2018, Walker only pitched in three games for the Diamondbacks, going on the 10-day injured list on April 15. However, on May 4 he was transferred to the 60-day injured list as he was going to have Tommy John surgery. He missed that season, plus 2019, but did come back for one game at the end of September.

When Graveman was signed as a free agent, he became the Mariners 4th starter, however, when Walker became available they signed him to compete for the 5th spot with Justin Dunn. Neither Graveman or Walker are high priced free agents, so Mariners signed them as comeback pitchers who could end up having an upside if things work out.

If Taijuan Walker ends up as the 5th starter, then Justin Dunn could end up starting in triple-A Tacoma or being in the Mariner bullpen. This all depends on how well he pitches along with Walker. It is hard to tell who will get the starting nod. This gives added depth to the rotation depending on the health of the other four starters.

On December 4, 2019, the Mariners signed reliever Carl Edwards a free agent. Last year, Edwards Jr had a riddled injured season but nothing like Graveman or Walker went through. Early on in the 2019 season, the Chicago Cubs, who he had pitched well for two and a half seasons, sent him to triple-A for a period of time in April where he came down with an injury.

After his recovery Edwards Jr. was recalled to the Cubs at the beginning of May. He pitched for the Cubs until the middle of June when he got hurt once again, going on the disabled list. After some rehabilitation time in triple-A, he went back and forth a couple of times between triple-A and the Cubs. The Cubs ended up trading Edwards Jr. to the San Diego Padres at the trading deadline. The Padres sent him to triple-A on a couple of occasions as well as on the injured list. He only pitched in two games for the Padres after 20 with the Cubs.

During the off-season, the Padres outrighted Edwards Jr to triple-A, but he decided to take free agency instead, and the Mariners signed him.

In Edwards Jr.’s first full season in the major leagues in 2017, he pitched in 73 games for the Cubs with an era of 2.98 with 25 holds striking out 94 batters. In 2018 he pitched in 58 games with an era of 2.60 with 23 holds along with 67 strikeouts.

The Mariners are hoping that Edwards Jr. will pitch as he did for the Cubs in those two seasons. If so, he will be a success in the Mariners bullpen. The Mariners could trade him to a contender for prospects at the trading deadline. He’s most likely be seen pitching in the 7th and 8th innings for the most part.

Yoshihisa Hirano, a right-handed reliever the Mariners signed as a free agent at the end of January 2020, pitched two years with Arizona Diamondbacks after coming over from Japan. Hirano had an outstanding season in 2018 with Arizona, pitching 75 games with an era of 2.44 with 32 holds. But in 2019 he pitched in 62 games posting an ERA of 4.75 and only 15 holds. Again, the Mariners are hoping he will have a comeback year. He could be traded at the deadline.

Jerry Dipoto signed starters Cody Anderson, formerly of the Cleveland Indians, and Wei-Yin Chen of the Miami Marlins to minor league deals both looking at comebacks too. They are long shots who might begin in triple-A or make their way onto another major league team.

In the meantime, the Mariners signed veteran outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to a minor league deal just in case some of the youth are not ready to go. Also, does he have anything left after a good career with the Colorado Rockies?

Last year, Gonalez was invited to Cleveland Indians camp but was released in late May after spending time in triple-A. He was picked up by the Chicago Cubs where he played some triple-A ball as well, before being called up to Chicago but played only in a handful of games there too. He signed with the Mariners right at the beginning of training camp.

The Mariners signed outfielder Collin Cowgill to a minor league deal as well. The Mariners are familiar with Cowgill for his time with the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A’s. His last time in the major leagues was 2016 when he played in nine games with the Cleveland Indians. Since then, he has been playing in the minor leagues last year with the Fresno Grizzlies. He certainly would be a comeback player if he were to make the Mariners out of spring training.

Read. Mariners Players We’d Like To See In Spring Training Games. light

So those are the players that the Mariners signed who are hoping to make a comeback to the major leagues this year. Kendall Graveman, Taijuan Walker, Carl Edwards Jr., and Yoshihisa Hirano are the four the Mariners are counting on the most for comebacks along with of course Mitch Haniger. Go M’s.