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Mariners Activate Justin Dunn, Kendall Graveman; Option Keynan Middleton, DFA Yacksel Rios

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Pitching moves!

Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Mariners had a busy morning in Cleveland, as they made a series of moves to realign their pitching staff.

The players returning are certainly a big deal: Graveman is the Mariners’ unquestioned relief ace, and Dunn—the subject of fierce debate in our comments regarding his ethereal ability to escape troubles, evidenced by his 3.18/4.44/5.53 ERA/FIP/xFIP split—stabilizes a rotation that yet again had been reduced from a full 6-man slate by injuries. Dunn will start tonight in Cleveland, a nice way to be eased back into things against one of the league’s lesser offenses.

Keynan Middleton’s optioning is at least a mild surprise to me, since I didn’t actually realize he had options remaining. That said, he has had two rough outings in a row, failing to record an out in Anaheim in a non-save opportunity and then yielding a two-run bomb to Detroit on Wednesday. Ordinarily, one wouldn’t think a couple of poor outings would banish a man to Tacoma when he’s otherwise been a stable and veteran presence in the bullpen, so the automatic suspicion is that the Mariners see something else troubling here that they want him to work through in a less pressure-filled situation.

Yacksel Ríos on the other hand is not such a surprise. He was, well, bad in Seattle since being selected, with more runs (3) than strikeouts (2). He threw very hard but not much else, showing a lack of command that doomed him to ride the DFA train. Perhaps Seattle thinks they can sneak him through waivers right now, but the nearly 28-year-old Ríos seems like to end up with another club who thinks they can harness the velocity and turn him into something serviceable.