Mariners’ Dipoto on replacing Erik Swanson, possible target Kodai Senga

The Mariners addressed a giant space of ​​want with the addition of slugging outfielder Teoscar Hernándeznevertheless it got here at the price of an excellent MLB reliever in Erik Swanson.

Dipoto: What Teoscar Hernández brings that the Mariners’ lineup wants

Swanson was one in all two gamers that Seattle despatched to Toronto Hernández (the opposite being lefty pitching prospect Adam Macko), and the deal comes on the heels of Swanson’s greatest yr within the large leagues.

Swanson, 28, posted a 1.68 ERA and sub-1,000 WHIP in 53 2/3 innings in an excellent Mariners bullpen in 2022, his fourth MLB season.

So what are the Mariners dropping with Swanson? And how will they go about replacing him within the bullpen? President of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto mentioned that in his Thursday present on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“Right now we’re making an attempt to view the open spots that we’ve got, (and ask) how can we maximize our outcomes inside these areas?” Dipoto mentioned. “And on this deal, we hated giving up Erik Swanson. Swanny was an enormous contributor for us and some extent of power, however we felt like (the bullpen) was an space of ​​depth that if it might assist us enhance in one other space of ​​lesser high quality, then we might try this.”

As far as replacing Swanson goes, there are a number of elements at play.

First off, Dipoto thinks the M’s bullpen continues to be in nice form even with out Swanson, which is a part of why Swanson was traded.

“We’ve talked about regardless of the future holds for Matt Brash, however assuming Matt Brash is part of our bullpen with Andrés Muñoz and Paul Sewald and Diego Castillo and Matt Festa, Penn Murfee, we nonetheless really feel like we’re in a reasonably great spot,” he mentioned. “Our bullpen has been a power of ours for fairly a while, and, once more, the muse is robust.”

If the chance arises, Dipoto mentioned the Mariners will add to the bullpen, particularly if they will get a left-handed pitcher. That’s as a result of Swanson, regardless of being right-handed, was Seattle’s foremost aid possibility for going through left-handed hitters due to his elite splitter. Now the Mariners do not have a transparent go-to man for going through lefties in particular conditions.

“That now goes away and we’ll want to interchange that not directly, whether or not that could be a true left-handed pitcher or one other right-hander who excels in that space,” Dipoto mentioned. “But it is one thing we’ll take a look at. I do not assume it is a dire want or a giant concern of ours, nevertheless it’s one thing we’ll take a look at.”

Are there any in-house choices who might fill that position going ahead? Dipoto mentioned that since MLB’s implementation of a three-batter minimal for relievers, it is made it tougher to hold a “situational pitcher.” That being mentioned, Seattle has two lefties who might be within the combine in Brennan Bernardino and Gabe Speier, the latter of whom was just lately added through waivers.

“Both Gabe Speier and Brennan Bernardino are good at getting the lefties they usually’ve obtained the bodily stuff to excel in that position,” Dipoto mentioned. “Whether they will excel in a multi-hitter position, I’m unsure. We must see what that appears like as we get into the season. We see a number of pitchers on the market each in commerce and smaller free agent targets that we really feel like might be advantageous there, however you then’re opened as much as competing with 29 different groups for his or her companies.”

Is Kodai Senga and his “ghost” forkball a Mariners’ target?

It’s unclear what the Mariners will do with the fifth and ultimate spot of their beginning rotation.

Currently, Seattle has 4 starters penned in to the opening day rotation in Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, Logan Gilbert and George Kirby. After that, although, is a query mark.

The M’s have two veteran starters on the roster in Marco Gonzales and Chris Flexen, however each have been the topic of commerce rumors. Seattle additionally has a handful of pitching prospects closing in on their MLB debuts together with Emerson Hancock, Taylor Dollard, Bryce Miller and Prelander Berroa.

But as MLB Network’s Jon Morosi mentioned this week, the Mariners are reportedly excited about one of many high free-agent right-handed beginning pitchers. That pitcher is Kodai Senga of the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball league’s Orix Buffaloes, who’s now accessible to signal with all 30 MLB groups.

Brock Howard introduced up Senga not essentially due to Morosi’s report, however as a result of the 29 yr previous has what’s been described as a “ghost” forkball. Has Dipoto ever heard about or seen a “ghost” forkball?

“I do not assume anyone sees it judging by the outcomes that the opponents have skilled,” Dipoto mentioned, laughing.

That then led to Dipoto sharing his ideas and observations on the three-time NPB All-Star.

“Kodai is among the many most gifted pitchers on this planet. In the draft room we usually seek advice from arm expertise, and Kodai is an excessive arm expertise,” he mentioned. “He sits round 100 mph – higher 90s, routinely touching 100 – as a starter carrying a deep workload. And his main out pitch is a ‘ghost’ forkball or a split-finger that simply disappears.”

Not too many MLB pitchers use a splitter or forkball, however Dipoto mentioned there’s sufficient on the market to find out who throws the higher ones. It is a quite common secondary pitch in Japan, although.

“And we expect his is about the very best on this planet,” he mentioned. “… Senga’s is a particular pitch and it offers him an opportunity to be a particular pitcher in our league.”

The Jerry Dipoto Show airs dwell at 8:30 am each Thursday on Seattle Sports 710 AM throughout Brock and Salk. You can hearken to this week’s version within the participant beneath.

Mariners commerce Kyle Lewis to D-Backs for C/OF Cooper Hummel

Leave a Comment