It's that time of year when Jerry Dipoto thrives—when non-roster invites flow like water in Puget Sound when the team takes a flyer on pitchers with unique qualities and looks to optimize them through a stellar pitching development program. The track record is there, and now Joey Krehbiel and Ty Buttrey enter the fold.
Ty Buttrey was a lockdown reliever for the Los Angeles Angels in his first two major league seasons (2018-2019). His three-pitch mix consisted of a fastball up to 98 mph, a changeup, and, you guessed it, a slider. He would run double-digit strikeout per nine rates, holding opposing batters to a .240 average over the two years. The COVID season was a disaster for Buttrey as his walk rate ballooned to 11%, and batters barrelled him up consistently (.275 BAA). His last season in the league was with the Los Angeles Angels, and shortly after, he retired at 27.
Joey Krehbiel is a 31-year-old reliever who's bounced around the league since 2018. Last year, he made five appearances with Baltimore and 35 with Triple-A Norfolk. Throwing out the MLB numbers due to the small sample size, Krehbiel performed well in the minors, striking out 32 batters in 37 innings. The problem is the walks (25); as you know, the organization doesn't put up with free passes. One thing Krehbiel has going for him is he is different than the other Mariner relievers. The delivery is clunky in a deceptive sense, but when Krehbiel is on, he flashes an elite changeup.
Buttrey could be a serious reclamation project a la Paul Sewald due to a deceptive delivery and a late-life heater. Krehbiel has an option left, meaning he probably starts in Tacoma, barring an injury to other relievers on the depth chart. Relievers are volatile, and with these two, there's a chance we get good versions in 2024; a stellar pitching development team behind them surely doesn't hurt the cause.