Remember at the trade deadline when the Mariners traded Paul Sewald and many Mariners fans were expecting them to follow it up with a few more moves, me being one of them? Well, the Mariners may have their chance at redemption thanks to a wild move by the Los Angeles of Angels. They waived Lucas Giolito, who could be an interesting arm, but will most likely not make it to Seattle’s waiver choice. We’re going to look at the other 2 guys that were waived, Reynaldo Lopez and Matt Moore, and how they could be huge upgrades for the Mariners looking for a late postseason push.
It has been obvious that the Mariners bullpen has been short 1 or 2 higher leverage arms since the Paul Sewald trade. Guys like Andres Munoz, Matt Brash, Justin Topa and Gabe Speier have been used heavily. They have also called upon guys like Trent Thornton and Taylor Saucedo in higher leverage situations than they probably shouldn’t be in. Adding high leverage arms to give those guys a break and give Scott Servais more options late in games would be huge!
Reynaldo Lopez is one of the arms that the Angels cut and would give this Mariners bullpen another high leverage strikeout arm. He has a 3.86 ERA this year but has an impressive 2.31 ERA since he was traded to the Angels. His strikeout rate also increased from 11.9 K/9 to 14.7 K/9 since the trade. He is also sporting an impressive 84 percentile whiff rate on the year. He sits 97-99 with a hard and nasty slider that would fit right in with the guys the Mariners have stacked up in the bullpen. Getting Lopez would sort of bump everyone down a rung in the pecking order. He could slot in right behind Justin Topa as the 3/4 option out of the pen but gives you another elite strikeout guy. As we have seen in years past, you can never have too much pitching, and adding him to the bullpen and sending down someone like Isaiah Campbell, would make this a lot scarier bullpen heading into October.
The other arm that the Angels waived was Matt Moore. The once top prospect bounced around from team to team, but the last 2 years has really excelled in a bullpen role. He has nearly doubled his curveball usage and is has absolutely worked! Last year he 1.95 ERA with Texas while post nearly elite level 10.1 K/9 from the left side. This year has been more of the same for Moore in the strikeout department as he has averaged 9.8 K/9 out of the Angels bullpen. Maybe more impressively is the fact he has cut his walk rate from 4.6 BB/9 to 2.5 BB/9 this year. The Mariners do have 2 fairly solid lefties in Gabe Speier and Taylor Saucedo, but Matt Moore has actually been more effective this year against righties with nearly twice the strikeout rates versus righties compared to lefties. Matt Moore would again be a significant upgrade over someone like Isaiah Campbell and maybe even Trent Thornton.
The odds that either one of these relievers make it to the Mariners in the waiver order is slim. I would say highly unlikely. The better hope may be that the Rangers, Astros, or Blue Jays don’t get the chance to claim them, as they most likely would if they got to that point. This time of year, everyone fighting for a playoff spot will be ecstatic to add to their pitching depth, so this may be more of a dream to get one of these 2, but it would solidify a rocky spot on the roster.