It’s been a busy morning for the Mariners, as they’ve reportedly acquired another bullpen arm and made a potential IL move. First, the signing:
Reliever Anthony Bass is expected to sign with the Seattle Mariners after exercising an out clause on his deal with the Cincinnati Reds, a source familiar with the situation tells ESPN. Bass posted a 2.21 ERA in 19 games in Louisville this season, logging a AAA-best nine saves.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 21, 2019
If the name Anthony Bass rings a bell, it’s because our man Tony was acquired in one the Dipoto era’s first trades, nabbing Bass and Leonys Martín from the Rangers for James Jones, Tom Wilhelmsen, and a PTBNL that became Patrick Kivlehan. That deal worked out quite nicely for Seattle, with Jones now a reliever in the low minors, Kivlehan still bouncing around various farm systems, and The Bartender serving as a spectacular sleeper agent before returning for a serviceable second half in 2016.
Bass did little to contribute to that success, in fairness. Less than two months after his acquisition, the M’s granted him release so that he could sign with the Nippon Ham Fighters. As Shohei Ohtani’s teammate, Bass put up a respectable season in the NPB before returning to Texas and bouncing to the Cubs and Reds over the past couple seasons. He’s picked up his sinker usage in recent years, with both that and his four-seam averaging 94-95 mph, and using an upper-80s slider as well to get grounders and whiffs. He’d been successful for the Reds this year, with a 2.21/3.29 ERA/FIP in 20.1 IP and 19 appearances in AAA, making their choice not to select him mildly surprising. It’s not clear that much has changed from years past for the 31-year-old, but if he makes an appearance at the MLB level for the M’s they’ll be his fifth notch on the bedpost of big league clubs.
It is not clear yet whether this move is an MLB deal (requiring a 40-man roster spot) or not, but we’ll update this post as that info comes through.
In similar straits of uncertainty is the second move of the day - Shed Long being recalled to spell an ailing Ryon Healy.
Shed Long is rejoining the Mariners after Ryon Healy left Monday's game with a tight back following his third at-bat.— Corey Brock (@CoreyBrockMLB) May 21, 2019
Long was hitless in his first 11 plate appearances earlier this month.
With a night game in Texas, it’ll be at least a few hours until we hear the deets on this move. The likeliest interpretation is that Healy will hit the IL, clearing a spot for Ryon, but the M’s could send down a reliever and hope to return Healy sooner than the 10-day minimum. Unlike earlier this season, with Zac Rosscup DFA’d, Hunter Strickland IL’d, and Anthony Swarzak traded’d, the Mariners have a few arms that are flexible as they play roster Tetris. Austin Adams, Parker Markel, David McKay, and Ryan Garton can all be optioned if they so choose. As an added bit of fun, Seattle has ~48 hours remaining to activate new LHP Jesse Biddle (who already counts on their 40-man but is not yet part of the 25-man), and they’ll also need to make ANOTHER move to select and activate today’s starter LHP Tommy Milone. At the moment, the M’s 40-man roster rests at 39 players.
So, today’s shenanigans may look something like this (or nothing like it!):
To 10-day IL: Ryon Healy Promoted: Shed Long Activated: Tommy Milone (pushing the 40-man to 40 players) To 60-day IL: Sam Tuivailala (dropping the 40-man to 39 players) Signed: Anthony Bass (pushing the 40-man to 40 players) Demoted: Ryan Garton
Again, we’ll update this as we learn more.
11:50 PM PT UPDATE:
Yikes. Mariners place Dee Gordon (bruised wrist) and Ryon Healy (lower back inflammation) on 10-day IL.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) May 21, 2019
Shed Long recalled from Tacoma and Dylan Moore activated off 10-day IL to take their spots.
Tommy Milone promoted from Tacoma to start tonight. Parker Markel back to Tacoma.
After an HBP that initially seemed very serious a week and a half ago, Dee Gordon was surprisingly and thankfully not diagnosed with a broken bone, and only needed a few days of rest before returning to the lineup. Now, potentially with an aggravation, he’ll take his turn on the IL, joining Healy. We’ll also see Dylan Moore return from the IL in addition to Shed Long, and Parker Markel returns to Tacoma after some thankless yeoman’s mop-up work to make space for Tommy Milone.