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Mariners send Aoki and Wilhelmsen to Tacoma, add Donn Roach, David Rollins, and Wade LeBlanc to the 25-man roster

The Mariners make a bunch of moves to shake things up because hey why not nothing else seems to be working. Also so many of their pitchers are broken/tired/ineffective, wheeeeeeeee!

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

After injuries to Taijuan Walker and Adrian Sampson, we all knew some roster moves were coming. We just weren't sure exactly what that shakeup would look like. Now we do:

In a moderately surprising move, the M's have decided to option Norichika Aoki to Tacoma and roll with a short bench in order to add an extra arm to their bullpen. This is probably a good idea because the Mariners relief corps has been leaned on pretty heavily as of late. Over the last week, M's relievers have pitched 45% of the team's innings and thrown 46% of the team's pitches. (For comparison, their bullpen has thrown just 35% of the innings/pitches on the season; this is a pretty significant increase.) At this juncture, with so many relievers on the DL and so much uncertainty re: M's pitchers in general, it's probably a good idea to make sure they don't overuse and/or break anyone. It'll be interesting to see if Seattle decides to stick with an eight-man 'pen for an extended period of time or if they'll make some more moves in the near future.

So what does this mean?

  • Wade LeBlanc will immediately slot into the M's rotation. He's getting the start tonight. If you're unfamiliar with LeBlanc, I suggest that you go read this thing that Kate wrote.
  • By adding Rollins, the M's now have three lefties in their bullpen. This will give Servais even more flexibility when it comes to trying to mix and match pitchers/batters late in ballgames. (I don't know that he will necessarily use this flexibility in a good/smart way, but I guess it's always nice to have more options.)
  • Donn Roach joins MiMo and Nuno in the M's bullpen as a guy who could start an MLB game, but maybe it wouldn't be the best? In the short-term, he'll probably be used mostly in relief. However, depending on the severity of Tai's injury, he may stick around for awhile and make some spot starts. We'll see!
  • With the departure of Aoki, we will be seeing more of Guti and O'Malley in the outfield. Maybe we'll even see Cruz out there more, with Dae-ho Lee getting some starts at DH? Overall, this change will almost certainly benefit the M's bats without costing them much/anything on defense. It will, however, limit their ability to call for a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner late in games.
Go Mariners and, as the kids say, let the biztimes roll.