Olivo In, Varvaro Out

Confirmed by Larry Stone and Ryan Divish among others, the contract with Miguel Olivo is finally official. To make room on the 40-man roster, Anthony Varvaro was designated for assignment.

Olivo's been discussed already so here are some thoughts on Varvaro, who I imagine is far more likely to end up back in Tacoma than with anyone else. He couldn't handle the starting rotation thanks to abysmal control and has been a full time reliever for the past two seasons, ranging from High-A to his four Major League innings this past September. Varvaro was better, naturally, in the pen but still mediocre at limiting the walks.

Across West Tennessee, Tacoma and Seattle in 2010, Varvaro struck out 77 and walked or plunked 41 batters out of 308 faced. The Major League average for a reliever is about 10.5% of hitters end up on base via walk or hit by pitch. Varvaro, who is now 26 and was pitching against Double and Triple-A hitters, was over 13%.

Jeff's note: I was unsurprisingly working on a post on the same subject and I hate when words go to waste. So here's duplicate material. Content!

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Over the years, something I've noticed about the Yankees - and it happens with every team, but most consistently the Yankees - is that they'll make some move to sign some guy, and then it won't actually become official for two or three weeks. I don't know if it's because the Yankees require way more paperwork or their physical is way more thorough or what, but it just happened again today with Pedro Feliciano. Feliciano signed in the middle of December. It became official this morning.

So you could say the Mariners just pulled a New York (although I wouldn't because that sounds stupid). Miguel Olivo was locked up on December 9th. Three and a half weeks later, he's finally been placed on the roster. I understand that it was the holiday season and he was out of the country and everything, and I understand that having to wait until signings are official isn't really that big of an issue in the grand scheme of things, but it sure seems like this could've been worked out a little quicker.

Maybe they just didn't want to give Anthony Varvaro a lousy Christmas present. In making room for Olivo on the 40-man roster, Varvaro is the roster casualty, as the 26-year-old righty has been designated for assignment. The team had few options for guys to dump, and it's possible that Varvaro remains with the organization anyway, but if this is the end, he probably won't be much of a loss. While the stuff is there to strike hitters out, he's never really thrown strikes. His strike rate between Tacoma and Seattle a year ago was lower than Jesus Colome's.

So the Mariners are now perhaps down one bullpen candidate, and up one veteran catcher on a two-year contract with a third-year option. May this work out better than so many of you seem to be fearing.

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