Mariners Trade For Ruggiano; Bawcom In Baseball Limbo

The Mariners made a trade today, and two current or former Tacoma Rainiers players will be affected by the deal.

The M’s traded Double-A reliever Matt Brazis to the Chicago Cubs in order to get 32-year-old outfielder Justin Ruggiano.

You can see Ruggiano’s stats right here – he’s a right-handed hitter who usually wallops left-handed pitchers, but isn’t nearly as good against right-handers. He’s a perfect platoon outfielder.

The acquisition of Ruggiano is bad news for Stefen Romero, who now is going to have a much more difficult time cracking the Mariners opening day roster. If that means Romero starts the season in Tacoma, well… we could certainly use his bat in the lineup!

It’s also bad news for Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom. The Mariners had to make space on their 40-man roster for Ruggiano, so they designated Bawcom for assignment.

That means Bawcom is on waivers and any other team can claim him as long as they put him on their own 40-man roster. So for the next few days, Bawcom has to sit around down there in Dallas and wait for the phone to ring. He’s in baseball limbo.

If no team claims Bawcom off waivers, he will be assigned a minor league contract with the Mariners and will likely return to the Tacoma bullpen in 2015.

Bawcom had an excellent season for Tacoma in 2013, saving 21 games and posting a 2.91 ERA – he earned his spot on the 40-man roster after that campaign. But in 2014 he had trouble getting into a groove, he landed on the disabled list for the first time in his career, and his ERA went up to 4.93.

I never now what to root for in these situations. It would be good for Bawcom’s career if he was claimed by another club and got to stay on a 40-man roster. On the other hand, Bawcom has been a valuable member of the Rainiers both on and off the field – he even shared the 2014 Rainiers Community Award with Forrest Snow.

All we can do is wait and see how it plays out.

Links:

  • Here’s more from the Seattle Times on the Justin Ruggiano acquisition, and here we have Baseball America’s run-down on the deal.
  • Ruggiano is a useful player who provides a lot of roster flexibility, Jeff Sullivan writes as only he can.
  • From Baseball America’s latest batch of minor league transactions, we learn the Mariners signed Carlos Rivero to a minor league deal. Rivero was originally claimed off waivers from Boston, then was non-tendered and became a free agent. Now the M’s have signed him on a minor league deal and Rivero is a candidate to hit in the middle of the lineup for your 2015 Tacoma Rainiers. He’s currently leading the Venezuelan Winter League with 14 home runs.
  • The Mariners are still looking for outfield help – Ryan Divish runs through a litany of uninspiring choices.
  • Bob Dutton explored the possibility of the Mariners trading for Justin Upton.
  • Old pal Mike Morse inked a two-year contract with the Miami Marlins. I think Morse still lives in Florida – if so, that may have been a factor in his decision.
  • Matt Tuiasosopo is going to spring training with Baltimore on a minor league contract.
  • Former Rainiers and Mariners pitcher Brandon Morrow will try to get healthy with a new team: the San Diego Padres.
  • Larry Stone has a column on Rod Belcher, the longtime Seattle sports broadcaster who passed away last weekend.
  • In the PCL, the Salt Lake Bees announced their coaching staff led by new manager Dave Anderson.

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