Acquired from the Giants as part of the Robbie Ray trade, DeSclafani is still trying to recreate the magic of his outstanding 2021 season. After posting a 3.17 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 167 ⅔ innings, he's yet to pitch more than 100 innings in a season since. Over the combined 118 ⅔ innings he did pitch, he averaged a lukewarm 5.16 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, steep declines from just two years ago.
Much of that missed time is due to injury, after receiving right ankle surgery in 2022 and a right elbow flexor strain in 2023. He'll be right around 34 years old by opening day so there's not telling how much toll back-to-back season-ending injuries will have taken on his ability to reach peak condition. Even if he ready to pitch on opening day, how many starts would he be able to make before hitting the injured list again? With a $12 million salary, his expected production just doesn't make financial or baseball sense given the circumstances.
While there may still be life in his pitching career, there doesn't really seem to be room for him in the Mariners rotation. As things currently stand, there may not even be room for promising #6 ranked prospect Emerson Hancock. With more incentive to retain and develop their young nucleus of pitching talent, it seems unlikely that DeSclafani fits in the Mariners pitcher picture.