Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said he would add to the Mariners bullpen and he delivered, but the new additions aren’t pitching as well as we expected in Spring Training. Let’s take a look at how our bullpen options are performing in Peoria.
Mariners bullpen – struggling newcomers
The former Angels reliever has had one of the most disastrous starts to Mariners Spring Training. In five appearances, he has allowed nine runs. To make matters worst, Keynan has allowed five home runs and nine total hits. His five innings come out to a 16.20 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, and .450 batting average allowed.
The Mariners took a chance on the hard-throwing right-hander who had Tommy John Surgery in 2018 and a rough 2020 season. Luckily for Jerry Dipoto, we didn’t invest too much in Middleton who agreed to $800k guaranteed. It’s not the end of the road for Middleton but his current form is not ideal. Let’s hope he can turn things around quickly because when he is at his best, he can shut teams down and the Mariners know first hand.
In mid-December, the Mariners acquired Rafael Montero from the Texas Rangers. Montero revitalized his career after converting to a reliever post-Tommy John surgery. I was pretty excited about adding Rafael Montero who is the most likely to be the ninth-inning guy after closing for the Rangers last season.
But, like Middleton, the 30-year-old reliever has struggled in Arizona up to this point. Montero has thrown four innings and allowed four earned runs. He’s allowed five hits, one home run, and one walk which comes out as a 9.00 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.
The Mariners selected Will Vest in the 2020 MLB Rule 5 Draft, a former member of the Detroit Tigers organization. I was intrigued by Vest after reading about him and watching videos because he’s got a hard fastball with an electric changeup. But, he hasn’t been able to perform in Spring Training.
In 7.2 innings, he’s allowed seven earned runs on ten hits, two home runs, and three walks. His Spring stat line: 8.22 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, and .357 opposing batters average. On the positive side, he has struck out eight batters. Since he is a Rule 5 pick, he needs to be on the 2021 26-man roster or he will be returned to the Tigers.
Paul Sewald was one of three minor league deals agreed to on January 7th. Roenis Elias and Jantzen Witte were the other two. After reading up on the former Mets reliever, I was hyped to bring him to Seattle. Sewald hasn’t had any success in the MLB, but his advanced metrics were decent, he has a funky delivery, and a nasty frisbee slider.
Although he is on a minor league deal, Sewald has been given a decent amount of time on the mound. But, in those four innings, he has allowed five earned runs on nine hits and one walk. But he has struck out eight batters, averaging two K’s an inning. At the moment, it doesn’t look like he will be making the bullpen unless he can turn the ship around quickly.
Now, let’s move onto struggling returners.