Last Updated on October 2, 2020 by Jason A. Churchill
The Seattle Mariners gave the Houston Astros a bit of a scare for the No. 2 spot in the American League West, but came up short and finished 27-33 in what was Year 2 of a total rebuild of the franchise.
Again this season, we saw a lot of players arrive, a lot of players depart, and some came and went so fast we didn’t get much of a look.
As one way to get ready for the offseason, here’s a look at every player on the 40-man roster as of October 2 with their roster, contract status, and service time.
For hitters, click here.
Marco Gonzales, LHP
SERVICE TIME: 3.102
CONTRACT: Owed $30 million over the next four seasons, including $5.25 million in 2021.
ROSTER: Gonzales is the easiest arm on the roster to project for 2021. He’s a proven, consistent performer with almost no risk of falling off a cliff anytime soon.
The trade front isn’t likely to sweep away the left-hander anytime soon, either, despite the chance the league starts valuing command-and-feel starter more.
Justus Sheffield, LHP
SERVICE TIME: 1.053
CONTRACT: Club controlled through 2025. Scheduled to become arbitration eligible following the 2022 season. Not in line for Super 2 status after 2021. Two options remaining.
ROSTER: Sheffield is a sure thing for the Opening Day roster next spring and has earned a spot in the rotation for the foreseeable future. Where he’s slotted depends on what the club does over the winter with regard to starting pitching.
Yusei Kikuchi, LHP
ROSTER: Kikuchi has improved his status as a starter for 2021 and likely to start 2022 as well, but if the rotation gets full in ’22 all bets are off.
SERVICE TIME: 2.000
CONTRACT: Owed $31 million over the next two seasons. Through third day after 2021 World Series, Seattle has the right to exercise four one-year options at $16.5 million per. If they decline, player has two days to exercise a $13 million option for 2022.
The club is not picking up those options unless Kikuchi dazzles in ’21, and while I like the left-hander, it’s tough to see that level of production from him after the 41 MLB starts we’ve seen.
Justin Dunn, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 1.020
CONTRACT: Club controlled through 2025. Scheduled to become arbitration eligible following the 2022 season. Not in line for potential Super 2 status after 2021. Three options remaining.
ROSTER: Dunn carries high probability to open the 2021 season in the club’s rotation but it’s not out of the question they deem time in Triple-A Tacoma necessary, whether it be at the outset of the season or after showing more signs of struggle.
Command needs to improve, but the changeup is also a key for Dunn if he wishes to remain a viable rotation candidate. I do wonder if he might get back some velocity in ’21; Last summer he was 92-93 and touched 94-95 most starts in Double-A Arkansas.
Nick Margevicius, LHP
SERVICE TIME: 1.100
CONTRACT: Club controlled through 2025. Scheduled to become arbitration eligible following the 2022 season. Two options remaining.
ROSTER: Margevicius’ 40-man roster spot is safe, but his 26-man spot depends on what GM Jerry Dipoto decides to do this offseason and how the club plans to move forward with their pitching staff.
The step forward taken by Margevicius in 2020 makes him more than interesting moving forward, however, especially since the fastball and slider both took large steps forward, and at 24 years of age and built like Cliff Lee, maybe there’s more in the thank than the back-end arm we’ve seen so far.
Ljay Newsome, RHP
ROSTER: Much like Margevicius but with less of a big-league resume, Newsome will have to battle for a 26-man spot next spring, and even if he makes it out of Peoria the young guns will be coming after his job in no time.
The stuff is rather ordinary on the surface — 89-92 mph four-seam fastball, curveball, changeup — but he’s thrown a cutter in the past and some kind of cutter-slider could help him pitch inside to left-handed batters and even steal a strike versus righties.
SERVICE TIME: 0.106
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2026. Earliest arbitration eligible: after the 2023 season. Three options remaining.
Anthony Misiewicz, LHP
SERVICE TIME: 1.000
CONTRACT: Club controlled through 2025. Scheduled to become arbitration eligible following the 2022 season.
ROSTER: Misiewicz was my Mariners Reliever of the Year for being the most reliable from start to finish. But he didn’t lack impact, posting a 1.84 +WPA and a 30% strikeout rate.
The southpaw held LHBs to a .216/.256/.243 triple-slash and just one extra-base hit, but righties lit him up to the tune of .308/.386/.590 and seven extra-base hits. Misiewicz, however, is still learning how to use his cutter in on RHBs.
He’ll enter spring training with a great shot to break camp with the big club after his 2020 performance, but I’d like to see him get more value out of his curveball, a potential plus pitch that could help him versus hitters from both sides of the plate.
Kendall Graveman, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 5.078
CONTRACT: Club has $3.5 million option for 2021 that comes with a $500,000 buyout. Also arbitration eligible for the third time. One option remaining.
There are a handful of scenarios here for Graveman, and a few of them involve the Mariners. Seattle could pick up the option and be OK paying a reliever $3.5 million. They could pick up the option and try Graveman again in the rotation — which is where I think he belongs., just not in Seattle next season. The club also could decline the option and work out something else with Graveman via the arbitration process, presumably for a salary that better fits a relief pitcher with injury concerns.
ROSTER: If Graveman returns as a starting pitcher, it likely means the club doesn’t go out and look for another buy-low arm similar to the signing of Taijuan Walker over this past winter. With Gonzales, Kikuchi, Margevicius, Dunn, Newsome and eventually Logan Gilbert to fill up the rotation, adding Graveman to that group creates a bit of a crowd, which likely lends us some insight into the chances Graveman returns as a candidate for the rotation.
In relief, Graveman is a middle-innings arm — he is not a bona fide closer by any stretch. He gets some fastball value at 94-99 thanks to arm side run and sink , and he has a four-seam version in his back pocket if he’s looking to miss bats with velocity at the top of the zone.
The changeup is useful, though it may be too firm to be anything more than that. His cutter-slider is fringe-average as is his 79-82 mph curveball. It’s a lot of fringey stuff, despite the velocity, and the command is below average.
While 99 mph looks good out of the pen, there’s no swing-and-miss pitch to put away hitters, and the combo of stuff and command don’t bode well for consistency, suggesting a lot of ups and downs where he looks great one outing and not-so-great the next. The stuff is just too hittable, especially considering he’s using the sinker 72% of the time in relief outings.
As a starter he’s more inclined to use a mix, his ground ball tendencies are a lot more valuable, and having a short run where he gets hit hard is forgivable for a No. 4 starter looking to go five or six frames.
Yohan Ramirez, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 1.000
CONTRACT: Club controlled through 2025. Schedule to hit arbitration after the 2022 season. Three options remaining.
ROSTER: Ramirez pitched well enough to be among those with a legitimate chance to again break camp with the big club next spring.
The stuff is undeniable — 94-97 mph with late life and a 60-grade slider. He also has a 60-grade curveball at 75-78 mph if he ever wants to give hitters a bigger velocity differential.
Batters have a tough time squaring him up consistently, but he hasn’t thrown strikes to a level ever acceptable in the majors, and he’s yet to learn how to pitch to left-handed batters, which was his biggest problem all year.
He’ll be in the mix come spring training, but he has all three options left and the Mariners’ brass are likely to want to see him earn his spot now that the Rule 5 status has been lifted.
Perfect World, Ramirez turns into world beater Edwin Diaz 2.0. Most likely outcome? He’s a middle-relief arm that sometimes looks like that world beater, but just as often shows up doing a great rendition of the bad Fernando Rodney.
Brandon Brennan, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 2.000
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2024. Schedule for arbitration eligibility following the 2021 season. Three options remaining.
ROSTER: Brennan is an “in the mix” reliever with no guarantees..
The raw stuff is solid, including a sinker at 93-96 mph and a plus changeup, but his control has been poor and he’s had two extended stints on the IL — one each in 2019 and 2020. He also has a slider he rarely uses but began to bring out a bit more in five appearances this season.
While Seattle is still in “find answers to questions” mode, there are a lot of arms that need time and at some point — perhaps in 2021 — the experiments will begin to narrow down a bit as the Mariners path to winning nears and becomes clearer. When that happens, arms like Brennan will be out of chances.
Joey Gerber, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 0.154
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2026. Not arbitration eligible until after the 2023 season, at the soonest.
ROSTER: Gerber is in the same boat as the rest of the relievers this season, but he has an advantage over Brennan and Ramirez, among others; he throws strikes.
His track record of pounding the zone dates back to college when he closed at Illinois, and he’s been up to 97 mph with deception.
Gerber’s slider hasn’t been very good this year, flattening out a lot and he seems to have lost some feel, but hitters aren’t lifting the ball much against him and there’s more velocity in the fastball than what we’ve seen so far (93 mph).
Gerber has a leg up on the other relievers who remain unproven in the show, with more room to grow and control and command that already plays. But he’s going to have to miss more bats and the slider is likely key to that lock.
Yoshihisa Hirano, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 3.000
CONTRACT: Free agent
ROSTER: Hirano signed a one-year deal with Seattle and missed half of the 60-game schedule. But he was more than serviceable, picking up two saves and getting through a scoreless outing in 7 of 9 appearances.
He doesn’t throw hard, but he finds the plate and the splitter is above average.
There’s a chance Hirano interests Seattle enough on another one-year deal, but likely only s a last resort.
Brady Lail, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 0.116
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2026. Not arbitration eligible until after 2023 at the soonest. Three options remaining.
ROSTER: Lail, 27, is among several middle relief options Seattle will have next spring. Typically, he pounds the zone with below-average velocity but some arm side movement and a plus curveball.
Lail’s issues with the long ball need to be addressed if he’s to break camp with a 26-man roster spot, and like so many others will have to throw more strikes.
Walker Lockett, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 0.134
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2026. Arbitration eligible after 2023 at the soonest. Out of options.
ROSTER: Lockett throws strikes but has rather ordinary stuff and if he makes it through the winter on the 40-man will have an uphill climb to make the club next spring.
Erik Swanson, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 1.098
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2024. Arbitration eligible as early as 2023. Two options remaining.
ROSTER: Swanson’s increased velocity help his case in 2021 — he went from 92-93 mph to averaging 95.6 and touching 99. He throws his changeup less in a relief role and his slider must improve if he’s to be more than up-and-down fodder.
He’ll likely enter camp with a real shot at a spot in the bullpen.
Casey Sadler, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 2.000
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2024. Needs one more years of service to become arbitration eligible. Out of options.
ROSTER: Sadler, 30, has solid stuff, sitting 94-96 with the fastball and complementing with a cutter and curveball to give him three big-league pitches. He has a decent track record of throwing strikes, but struggled with control in New York and wasn’t a lot better with the Mariners.
If he remains on the 40-man he’ll get some looks in Peoria, but the club is going to add some proven veteran talent which may limit the open spots.
Matt Magill, RHP (60-IL)
SERVICE TIME: 3.031
CONTRACT: ARB1, out of options
ROSTER: Magill started the season strong and served as the most reliable arm in the club’s bullpen, despite some bouts with control problems. It all caught up with him in the form of too many walks and too many long balls, but the makings of a legitimate middle reliever are there.
But he’s first-year arbitration eligible, which generally requires a raise into the seven-figure range. He ended the season on the IL with a shoulder problem, and then had surgery September 16, clouding the club’s decision to tender, despite the expectation he’ll be ready for spring training. At this point, I’d put it at 50-50, largely dependent on updated medicals, but a roster crunch could come into play as well.
Art Warren, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 0.020
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2026. Not arbitration eligible until at least 2023. Has two options remaining.
ROSTER: Warren didn’t pitch in the majors in 2020 after making his debut last summer, throwing six games and posting a 2.46 FIP over 5.1 innings.
The 27-year-old has a plus fastball up to 97 mph, a slider and power curveball, but none of the pitches stand out and he has yet to show he can command them well enough to suggest he might be a consistent go-to anytime soon.
As a result, Warren’s 40-man spot is not secure, especially considering the slew of arms pushing toward the majors, including Sam Delaplane, Wyatt Mills, Ian McKInney, Penn Murfee, Logan Gilbert, and others.
Taylor Guilbeau, LHP (60-IL)
SERVICE TIME: 1.028
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2025. Arbitration eligible as early as 2022. He has two options remaining.
ROSTER: Guilbeau looked like an entirely different pitcher this season versus last. After the trade last summer, Guilbeau sat 93-97 mph with a plus changeup. He struggled to touch 91 this season and the changeup, and a slider he used more in 2020 than last season, were fringy at best.
When he’s right, the lefty is a legit option in the bullpen for 2021. We’ll see which version shows up in February, but he ended the season on the 60-day IL.
CJ Edwards, RHP (60-IL)
SERVICE TIME: 4.098
ROSTER: Edwards ended the 2020 season on the IL with a forearm issue, but if the prognosis remains promising, tendering the right-hander isn’t out of the question. After making a pro-rated $950,000 this past season, Edwards could earn seven figures next season, which will be a factor in the club’s decision.
Seth Frankoff, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 0.058
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2026. Earliest arbitration eligibility is 2023. Two options remaining.
ROSTER: Frankoff isn’t likely to last the winter on the 40-man roster, but may earn an NRI next spring.
Aaron Fletcher, LHP
SERVICE TIME: 0.050
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2026. Not arbitration eligible until at least 2023. Two options remaining.
ROSTER: Fletcher’s 40-man spot is probably fairly safe, being a 24-year-old with two options left.
Nestor Cortes Jr., LHP (60-IL)
SERVICE TIME: 1.139
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2025. May be Super two eligible after 2021. Two options remaining.
ROSTER: Cortes struggled in his few appearances in 2020 but may have value as a long reliever and swing starter if healthy. He spent the final month of the season on the IL with an elbow issue, however, suggesting his roster status is anything but safe.
Gerson Bautista, RHP (60-IL)
SERVICE TIME: 0.120
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2026. Not arbitration eligible until after the 2023 season at the soonest. Two options remaining.
ROSTER: Bautista, now 25, struggled in 2019 — both at Triple-A Tacoma and in eight appearances in the majors — and spent 2020 on the IL with an elbow issue.
Bautista could very well be among those exposed to waivers as the club adds players to the organization over the next six months, and as early as November.
Andres Munoz, RHP (60-IL)
SERVICE TIME: 0.080
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2026. Not arbitration eligible until after the 2023 season as the soonest. Three options remaining.
ROSTER: Munoz, who came over in the August 31 trade with the San Diego Padres in exchange for Austin Nola, is rehabbing from March Tommy John surgery, which may mean he’s unable to pitch until as late as June, 2021.
But his roster spot is safe, thanks to relatively high upside as a high-leverage reliever. When healthy, the 21-year-old lives 98-101 mph and has touched as high as 104 mph. He also has a slider and has been known to alter grips on the heater to generate horizontal run to both sides of the plate.
Ian Hamilton, RHP
SERVICE TIME: 0.089
CONTRACT: Club controlled through at least 2026. Not arbitration eligible until after the 2023 season at the soonest. Two option remaining.
ROSTER: Skyview High School’s Hamilton, 25, made his MLB debut in 2018 and has 14 games — 12 innings — of big-league experience. His entire pro career has come in a relief role after he made 15 starts for Washington State in 2016.
He’s a fastball (93-96 mph), slider, changeup right-hander and the slider is his best offering. In his limited time in the majors he’s had problems with the base on balls and his minor league record is spotty. But he’s athletic and the live arm give him a shot.
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