The Mariners have a strong track record and a reputation for helping intriguing arms reinvent and sometimes revive their careers. They always add five to ten non-roster invitees ahead of spring training. However, this offseason, we've seen more additions than normal. The latest reliever to join the organization is Collin Snider, who could be the next Justin Topa, barring a few tweaks by the renowned Mariner's pitching lab.
Snider spent the past six years with the Kansas City Royals, an organization not necessarily known for developing pitching talent. We will never mistake the 28-year-old for your typical high-leverage flamethrower, as his fastball tops out at 95 miles per hour. Still, the fastball combines well with Snider's outpitch, the slider. The former Royal used two variations of the slider 25.6% of the time in 2023, offering high spin (2780 rpm) and holding batters to a .067 average. That profile is eerily similar to former Mariner, Justin Topa.
With the recent addition of Gregory Santos and other high-leverage arms, Andres Munoz, Matt Brash, and Gabe Speier, Snider will likely compete for a bridge role at spring training. His main competition are probably off-season waiver claims, Joey Krehbiel and Ty Buttrey, and a 2023 in-season addition, Trent Thornton. One thing that Snider has going for him is his pitch mix, which is different than the so-called locks for the 2024 roster. Pulling six pitches out of his bag gives manager Scott Servais plenty of options against both left and right-hand batters.
Eight spots will make up the Mariner pen this season if Servais keeps the roster construction status quo. At least five spots are virtual locks before seeing a spring training bullpen session. Andres Munoz, Matt Brash, Gregory Santos, Gabe Speier, and Taylor Saucedo should be the front runners coming into and out of Peoria. That leaves three spots for the Mariner reliever pile to battle for this spring. Snider could put his name in the hunt with a few solid outings. Either way, the battle for bullpen spots looks enticing to follow this spring.