Mariners sign former division rival to bolster bullpen for 2024 season

The Mariners made a surprising move Friday morning, signing a former division rival's key piece to bolster their bullpen for the 2024 season
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Four
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Four / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

On paper, the Seattle Mariners bullpen is primed to be one of the best in baseball, a consistent theme the past few seasons under Jerry Dipoto’s post-rebuild vision. The Mariners appeared to have dodged a bullet with Matt Brash’s health scare, but there are still health concerns and inconsistencies from the unit so far this spring.

With Brash and Gregory Santos looking like they won't be back until late April, the Mariners decided to add some protection to their pen. This morning, Mark Feinsand reported that the Mariners were signing former Astros reliever Ryne Stanek to a 1 year deal with their big league club.

The Mariners have added Ryne Stanek to their bullpen

The 32-year-old Stanek is a former first round pick turned reliever who has had some absolutely dominant years in Tampa and Houston. In 2022, Stanek was utterly dominant. In 59 appearances for the World Series champs*, Stanek posted a 1.15 ERA, 62K’s, and an ERA+ of 333.

While 2023 was not as impressive of a season, his fastball velocity (predominantly a fastball pitcher, with a slider and a change-up mixed in) was still in the 96th percentile and his whiff percentage (30.7%) in the 82nd percentile.

If he's healthy and put into the Mariners' pitching lab, I think there's a strong chance Stanek will see some high-leverage situations in April. The team wants Andres Munoz to be a traditional closer, and with Brash and Santos sidelined until late April or early May, the ball will be in Stanek’s hand early this season.

When the gang does all come together, look out. A bullpen featuring the talent of Munoz, Brash, Santos, and Stanek is lethal, and that doesn't even include what we saw last year in Gabe Speier, Tayler Saucedo, and the potential oozing from Carlos Vargas. A guy with the postseason experience of a Ryne Stanek pitching in the 6th inning is the sign of a legitimate World Series bullpen and should provide constant relief for a young starting rotation.

The addition of Stanek not only bolsters a potentially special bullpen but also keeps Stanek from returning to Houston, where they need bullpen help. These are the double-wins Seattle will need if they want to make the jump over Houston and Texas.

This could be a deal we look back on in October as a sneaky addition to fuel a special season. TridentsUp, and Go Mariners!