After Trading Paul Sewald, Who Will be the Mariners Next Closer?

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners
Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

Paul Sewald was the Mariners rock at closer for the past three seasons. Now the M's will look to replace him following a trade that sent Sewald to the D-Backs for INF Josh Rojas, OF/1B Dominic Canzone, and INF Ryan Bliss. Fortunately, the bullpen is a strength for the Mariners, so they have relievers currently on their roster who can replace Paul Sewald. Here are three relievers who could replace Sewald as the Mariners next closer.

Mariners Option #1: Matt Brash

Matt Brash has been one of the Mariners best relievers both at the end of the 2022 season and during this season. The second half of 2022 he had an ERA of 2.39, with 38 SO in 26.1 IP. This year he has a 3.35 ERA and 78 SO (second in the MLB among relievers) in 45.2 IP. Not only are Brash's strikeout numbers impressive, he has experience pitching in big situations such as Game 3 of the 2022 ALDS against the Astros. The question is do the Mariners still see Brash as their pivot spot reliever or can they see him as their closer?

Mariners Option #2: Andres Munoz

Andres Munoz earned his third save of the season against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. The Mariners had hoped when they acquired Munoz from the San Diego Padres to turn him into their closer in the future. Could Munoz take over the closer spot for good now that Sewald is gone? Munoz appears to be Sewald's likeliest successor given his exceptional fastball/slider combination and the vision of the Mariners front office. Munoz also earned the first save opportunity after Sewald was traded, which is interesting.

Mariners Option #3: Justin Topa

Justin Topa has done an amazing job this season as a setup man and holding down leads for the Mariners. He has two saves this year in spot closing appearances when Sewald has been unavailable. Topa is having the best season of his career, with a 2.57 ERA, and 38 SO in 42 IP. While Topa likely will not be the Mariners closer long term, there is a good chance he will earn save opportunities during this season while the M's sort out their closer role.

Andres Munoz is likely to be the Mariners long-term solution at closer and receive the bulk of the closing opportunities going forward. Also, expect to see Justin Topa and Matt Brash earn chances to make their cases to be the Mariners closer going forward as well.

*These stats were prepared in advance of the Mariners game against the Angels on Thursday 08/03/2023