Seattle Mariners

Mariners add to thin bullpen, sign lefty reliever from Oregon

Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Zac Rosscup calls for a new ball after giving up a two-run home run to Colorado Rockies’ Ryan McMahon during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Zac Rosscup calls for a new ball after giving up a two-run home run to Colorado Rockies’ Ryan McMahon during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) AP

The Seattle Mariners added to their thinned-out bullpen on Thursday, signing 30-year-old left-hander Zac Rosscup to a one-year deal.

So no Edwin Diaz, Alex Colome, Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, Adam Warren, Zach Duke, James Pazos or David Phelps next year. But they do finally have a lefty arm to go with Roenis Elias, who could very well begin the season in the starting rotation as opposed to the bullpen.

Yes, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto knows there’s still a lot of work to be done to have something that resembles a functioning bullpen.

“When healthy, Zac has swing-and-miss stuff, which has translated at all levels,” Dipoto said in a press release, less than a week after he was released from a Las Vegas hospital and was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs.

“We look forward to seeing what he can do with good health and a real opportunity.”

Rosscup, who is from Clackamas, Oregon, made 17 appearances with the Dodgers this season, allowing six runs in 11 1/3 innings (4.76 ERA) and holding opponents to a .209 (9-for-43) average.

He was with the Rockies to start the 2018 season before Rosscup was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers on July 11. He then headed to the disabled list on three separate occasions because of a blister on his left middle finger, left middle finger inflammation and a left calf strain. He missed all of 2016 with shoulder surgery.

He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 28th round in 2009 out of Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon.

Rosscup would join a Mariners bullpen that to this point also includes right-hander Anthony Swarzak, who was acquired from the Mets when they traded Robinson Cano and Diaz there. Others expected to return are right-handers Dan Altavilla, Shawn Armstrong, Chasen Bradford and Nick Rumbelow. Sam Tuivailala isn’t expected to recover from a torn Achilles tendon until June.

Who the Mariners pin as their closer for 2019 to replace Diaz, who saved 57 games this year, is anyone’s guess.

“Probably similar to what we did when we first moved Eddie into the closer role or when we got here and signed Steve Cishek – it’s having multiple guys who have some experience doing it,” Dipoto told reporters at MLB’s winter meetings last week. “Anthony Swarzak does have some experience. Just have guys with experience.”

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TJ Cotterill is the Seattle Mariners and MLB writer for The News Tribune. He started covering MLB full-time in 2018, but before that covered Ken Griffey Jr.’s Hall of Fame induction in Cooperstown, the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and spent seven years writing about high schools, including four as TNT’s prep sports coordinator. Born and raised in Washington.


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