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Mariners select RHP Brandon Brennan in Rule 5 Draft, lose three players in minor-league portion

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Mariners practice “take one, leave one” system but screw it up; take one, but lose three

Chicago White Sox Photo Day Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

As expected, the Mariners did indeed select a player in the Major League phase of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, plucking RHP Brandon Brennan out of the Colorado Rockies farm system. He had signed a minor league deal with the Rockies on November 13 after previously spending his entire career in the White Sox organization.

After being selected in the 4th round of the 2012 draft out of Orange Coast College—he transferred there after redshirting one season at the University of Oregon—Brennan continued to see work as a starter through the first four years of his professional career before beginning the transition to a relief role upon a midseason promotion to Double-A in 2016. After consistently running sub-7.5 K/9’s through the lower minors as a starter, he saw his stuff take off out of the bullpen, topping out at 9.0 K/9 while posting just 2.7 BB/9 and a slash line of 3.10/3.09/3.19 through 69.2 innings (1.2 IP/A) at Double-A last year; however, it was his third season pitching at the level. Brennan pitched in the AFL in 2015 and there’s some video of him there floating around on YouTube, but not a ton that’s recent.

Now 27, the 6’4” 220-pounder works with a four-pitch arsenal consisting a 93-97 mph heater, a heavy sinker, plus changeup, and below-average breaking ball. He had Tommy John surgery in 2013 and dealt with a strained chest muscle in 2015, but has avoided missing significant time in any season since then. The Mariners have apparently had their eye on Brennan for a while, but he has seemingly not returned their loving gaze:

We promise you’ll like pitching in Safeco better than Coors, BraBren.

The Mariners didn’t lose anyone in the major-league portion of the Rule 5 draft, meaning Ian Miller and Art Warren, among others, will still be in the system come next year. Hooray! Warren, in particular, had popped up on several lists of players who might be taken in the draft, but a recent shoulder injury might have scared some clubs off (Warren tells us the MRI shows no structural damage, and he’s back to throwing now, happy and healthy).

The Mariners didn’t select anyone in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 but they did lose three players: OF Chuck Taylor, formerly a Traveler and likely slated for Tacoma this year, to the Nationals; RHP Adonis De La Cruz, who had just posted his best season ever in Clinton, to the Yankees; and late-season signee RHP Chris Mazza, formerly with the Travelers, to the Mets. In the minor-league Rule 5 draft, there are no limitations like in the major-league selections—a player doesn’t have to be rostered at any particular level, and there are no take-backsies, so these players are gone from Seattle’s system. Of these, the selection of De La Cruz might sting the most; a 23-year-old reliever who posted a K/9 of almost 12 for Clinton this season and a 2.80 FIP, De La Cruz really seemed to unlock something this year after being signed as an international free agent in 2015 as an outfielder.

The Mariners also lost OF Chuck Taylor, who was drafted by the Diamondbacks and struggled in their system before being picked up by the Mariners in the MiLB portion of the Rule 5 in 2016. Taylor went on to post a wRC+ of 117 and 112 for each of his two seasons with Seattle thanks in part to excellent plate discipline that he refined even further as a Mariner, and was a Texas League All-Star this season for Double-A Arkansas, in addition to nabbing Player of the Week honors. He also did this really fun interview with Ben last year. Aw, we will miss you, Chuck. Hopefully Nats twitter will lay off the shoe puns you hate.