You may have noticed that recently the Mariners' bullpen has not been up to its previous level of quality. With back to back blown saves against the Angels over the weekend, a combination of a injury-laden 'pen and overdue regression finally bit the team in the tookus.
What the Mariners needed after the weekend was some time to rest their arms, and to get some more arms back healthy. Well yesterday (and possibly today, if Baltimore's weather continues to Seattle on everything) took care of the former, and after watching Joaquin Benoit throw this afternoon, Jerry and Co. say the team is clear to bring in the latter:
Looks like Benoit will be activated and Guaipe will be optioned to Tacoma— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) May 17, 2016
I think I speak for all of us when I say, emphatically, "whew". The Mariners have been handing off high leverage innings to Joel Peralta far too often for my liking in the early season, and Benoit could go a long ways to helping the bullpen pecking order shake itself out to something resembling what the team envisioned in Spring.
If he's healthy, Benoit represents a big upgrade for the team. We've barely seen him throw as a Mariner but this is a player that has toiled away as one of the better setup men in baseball for almost the entire decade. He instantly becomes the team's second-best reliever, and, hopefully coupled with some more high leverage usage for Mike Montgomery, should keep replays of Friday and Saturday from becoming a trend.
To make way for Benoit the team has sent Mayckol Guaipe down to Tacoma. I remain more bullish on Guaipe than the team appears, albeit it only slightly. His stuff flashed in a way in Spring I had not seen before, and for a bullpen so short on velocity I'm hesitant to casually disregard an arm capable of throwing in the mid-90's. But it's clear he was only here to serve in mop up relief, and if that's the case, much like Luis Sardinas, the best thing for the organization and the player is for Guaipe to play regularly.
This means that Steve Johnson and his 64 MPH "Curphus" remain on the roster. I don't really see any particular reason for Steve Johnson to be on this team, but I'm happy for him, and right until the very second that looping curve gets the Kenji Johjima-Dolphin treatment I will cackle like a maniac whenever he throws it.
It's a good bit of news, and with the Mariners getting ready to face one of the best hitting team's in the American League, it could not have happened soon enough.