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Mariners play waiver wire roulette; claim RHP Robert Dugger, lose RHPs Walker Lockett and Ian Hamilton

The Mariners make moves, just not the ones you want them to make

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins - Game Two
sport goggles are back, baby
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

In an off-season grinding along with the frenzied pace of a group of senior citizens making their way through a Sizzler buffet, any news is...well, not necessarily good news, but news nonetheless. The Mariners have apparently been plucking the strings of the old waiver-wire guitar, because today they announced the following:

Let’s start off with the losses. Lockett was a September waiver claim from the Mets who was not particularly effective in a small sample size and was a very likely candidate to be cut from the 40 at some point leading up to the Rule 5 Draft. His spot on the 40-man is more valuable to the team than his presence in a Seattle uniform, so off he goes.

Hamilton, a hometown kid, is a more surprising cut, especially considering the Mariners Player Development Twitter account made him a whole “getting to know prospect Ian Hamilton” card and everything. I was just getting invested! Hamilton also offered some big upside, with a fastball that can get up into the high-90s accompanied by a power slider. It was enough of an appealing combo to land the former White Sox prospect on both that club’s Top 30 list and the Mariners’, for his brief stay in the PNW. Fellow WSU grad and Hamilton Supporter Joe Doyle is not pleased by this news, and honestly, that’s the sentiment among those of us non-Cougs on staff, as well.

Instead of the hard-throwing Hamilton, the Mariners will reunite with a much softer-tosser in former Seattle prospect Robert Dugger, who was traded away in the Dee Gordon deal and whose name I have to re-train myself to spell with an “e” not an “a.” (Look, that TV show was very pervasive in mid ‘00s pop culture, okay.) Dugger made it to the majors with the Marlins in 2019, although with less sterling results than other former Mariner-turned-Marlin Pablo López, traded away in the David Phelps deal and now Miami’s staff ace and yes I am still salty about how that all worked out. Anyway, Dugger has less than 50 MLB innings, which isn’t an insignificant sample size, but also his inflated BB% at that level doesn’t really reflect the job he did controlling the zone in the minors. Dugger throws a low-90s sinking fastball that won’t be a big strikeout pitch in the majors, although his above-average slider might be; he also throws an average-to-fringe-average curveball and changeup. While he’s worked as a starter in the minors he profiles more as a swingman/long relief/innings-eater type for the current iteration of the Mariners.

One other key difference: Dugger has an MiLB option, which Hamilton doesn’t, so the Mariners could stash him in Tacoma as long as they have a spot on the 40-man. Speaking of which, the 40-man now has two open slots after today’s moves, standing at 38 three days in advance of the Rule 5. The Mariners will therefore have space to add someone in the draft if they choose; the question is if, having to pick outside of the Top 10, that someone will still be available.