Could the Mariners' top reliever start 2024 on the shelf?

Less than stellar reports are coming out of Peoria with Mariners star reliever Matt Brash possibly missing extensive time.
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Counting on relievers to stack dominant seasons is a tough ask, especially when they threw a ton of high-leverage innings and served up some of the best spins in the game. Matt Brash had one of history's most dominant seasons for a Mariners' reliever. In 2023, he made 78 appearances and struck out 107 batters, amounting to a bullpen-leading 2.1 WAR. Brash put the league on notice last season, and rightfully so.

Unfortunately, reports from the Mariners' camp show Brash is injured coming out banged up after his first camp bullpen. When questioned about the severity by Seattle Sports' morning duo, Brock and Salk manager Scott Servais offered this vague answer.

"We will hear more in the next couple of days…he felt some soreness the other day. Asked multiple times about the location of the soreness, he said "arm"; repeatedly and wouldn't specify where it was."

Scott Servais on injured Matt Brash

Just a few weeks ago, national media was lauding President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto and General Manager Justin Hollander for building what looked like a three-headed monster at the back end of the bullpen. In a division as tight as the American League West, where three teams finished within three games of first place, having a lockdown bullpen or, in this case, losing a key piece could mean the difference between making the playoffs and sitting at home in September.

Industry sources say Brash could miss extensive time this season, which isn't a good sign. Servais expects to hear more about the severity of Brash's injury in the coming days, so the team has the 25-year-old reliever scheduled for an MRI.

A certain level of pessimism comes with following this team, but this is one of those situations we all should hope for in the best-case scenario. If not, we'll be looking for the Mariners' pitching lab to create lightening in a bottle yet again.