M’s Add To Bullpen & Triple-A Depth

Over the weekend the Mariners made a few more moves to bolster the major league & Tacoma bullpens, and they added a veteran Triple-A infielder to the spring training mix.

The biggest move was officially announced this morning: the team signed submarining reliever Steve Cishek to a two-year major league contract.

Cishek is a former closer for the Miami Marlins who has 95 saves, including consecutive seasons of 34 and 39 saves in 2013-2014. Last season he struggled with Miami but then pitched quite well for St. Louis (2.31 ERA) after a trade deadline deal.

Mariners broadcasters can breathe a sigh of relief: the team doesn’t play San Francisco this season, so they are unlikely to have to deal with the Steve Cishek vs. Andrew Susac tongue twisting match-up.

To make room for Cishek on the 40-man roster, lefthander Rob Rasmussen was designated for assignment.

The Mariners announced that right-handed reliever Ryne Harper was the “player to be named later” they received from the Braves when they shipped Jose Ramirez to Atlanta.

Harper is a likely Tacoma Rainiers bullpen man this year: he posted a 1.87 ERA in 33 innings of relief for the Braves Double-A team last year. Harper was drafted in 2011 out of Austin Peay University – for you longtime fans, that’s the same school that produced George Sherrill, a very good Tacoma reliever who went on to have success in the big leagues.

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto told the Mariners press corps at the Winter Meetings last week that he is signing some Triple-A veterans to help Tacoma and provide major league roster depth. One of them is infielder Ed Lucas.

Lucas is a 33-year-old utility infielder out of Dartmouth. He’s played in 163 major league games, all with Miami in 2013 and 2014 (he was a 31-year-old rookie when he got his first call-up). Last year Lucas spent the entire season with Round Rock, batting .316 with a .390 OBP.

Ed Lucas is a veteran of the PCL wars: he’s been playing at this level since 2008, donning the uniforms of Omaha, Salt Lake, New Orleans, Round Rock, and now probably Tacoma.

There will be more Ed Lucas types signed by Seattle. Quality depth on the Triple-A roster seems to be a concern of the new regime.

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