Our final spring training preview group is the relief pitchers, and there is a huge group of possible Rainiers relievers.
The Mariners bullpen figures to include right-handers Edwin Diaz, Evan Scribner, Nick Vincent and Steve Cishek (if healthy by opening day). Lefthander Marc Rzepczynski will likely be joined by another southpaw – maybe Ariel Miranda, if the Mariners don’t want him starting games.
That’s six relievers, and there will be a seventh – so that’s going to be a competition. Dan Altavilla pitched well as a rookie at the end of last season, he figures to make a push for the big league club.
Here are some names of potential Tacoma relief pitchers, in no particular order:
RHP Ryan Weber – made MLB debut with Atlanta last year.
LHP Dean Kiekhefer – has been very effective against left-handed batters in Triple-A.
RHP Peter Tago – hard thrower trying to improve command.
LHP Nick Hagadone – former major leaguer from Sumner who has not pitched in two years due to arm woes; reportedly healthy now.
SHP Pat Venditte – the switch-pitcher is still in the mix.
RHP Jonathan Aro – was very good at times for Tacoma last year before getting hurt.
LHP Zac Curtis – former Diamondbacks reliever holds a spot on the M’s 40-man roster
RHP Casey Fien – ex-Twins reliever was signed as a free agent, has an option remaining.
LHP Paul Fry – improved in second half of Rainiers 2016 season, which was his first at the Triple-A level.
RHP Tony Zych – if healthy can help the major league team.
LHP James Pazos – made major league debut with Yankees last year; acquired in a trade.
RHP Shae Simmons – Hard thrower has legit chance to make Mariners roster; we’ll take him if he doesn’t.
RHP Emilio Pagan – should return to Tacoma after promising Triple-A debut last year.
RHP Guido Knudsen – mid-season acquisition finished last year at Double-A but has plenty of Triple-A and a bit of MLB experience.
RHP Matt Anderson – a 3.65 ERA with 56-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Double-A last year looks pretty good.
LHP Brandon Sisk – 31-year-old was recently re-signed; he helped Double-A Jackson down the stretch last year.
RHP Josh Judy – former Indians reliever was recently signed out of the independent Atlantic League.
As you can see, that is a ton of relievers – and I may have missed a name or two. Pat Listach ain’t going with an 18-man bullpen, so we’ll have to wait and see how this shakes out during spring training.
- Felix Hernandez reported to camp in shape and focused.
- Hisashi Iwakuma skipped the World Baseball Classic to prepare for the Mariners season.
- The battle to be the Mariners utility infielder is one of the biggest competitions in spring training.
- Relievers Steve Cishek and Tony Zych will be limited early in camp as they recover from offseason surgeries.
- Starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo is healthy and hoping for a bounce-back season with the Mariners in 2017.
- Mariners 2016 first round draft pick Kyle Lewis is making progress as he recovers from knee surgery.
- The Mariners are using nets with targets painted on them during pitchers fielding practice.