Score one for persistence.
The Seattle Mariners tried twice previously to acquire left-hander David Rollins through a draft before finally landing him Thursday from the Houston Astros organization in the Rule 5 Draft.
Rollins, 24, was 3-4 with a 3.81 ERA last season as a swingman at Double-A Corpus Christi in the Astros’ system and projects as a candidate to fill the Mariners’ need for a lefty reliever.
“He’s got a pretty good fastball,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “It’s 94-95 (mph). We think he’s got a breaking ball, and he’s got velocity. He’s a tough kid. We have a history with him.”
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The Mariners selected Rollins in the 23rd round of the 2009 new-player draft and in the 46th round of the 2010 draft. Each time, he chose to remain at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas..
Rollins finally signed when picked by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 24th round of the 2011 draft. He was traded to Houston in 2012.
Players selected in the Rule 5 Draft cost $50,000 and must remain on an active big-league roster for an entire season. They must be offered back to their former club for $25,000 before they can be sent to the minors.
“Our thought is this is a good arm,” Zduriencik said. “When you look at the chances of a guy sticking in the Rule 5, your odds of sticking are better as a pitcher. And a left-hander, it even increases the odds a little bit.”
While the Mariners haven’t ruled out efforts to re-sign Joe Beimel, they now have three candidates on their 40-man roster lined up to compete for his job as the bullpen’s situational lefty: Lucas Luetge, Edgar Olmos and Rollins.
The Mariners did not lose any players in any phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
MORALES TO THE ROYALS
Kendrys Morales finally landed his long-coveted, multi-year contract when he agreed to a two-year deal with Kansas City for $17 million.
Performance bonuses could boost the value each year by another $750,000.
Morales, 31, rejected a qualifying offer of $14.3 million from the Mariners after the 2013 season but didn’t sign as a free agent until June 8, when he agreed to a one-year deal with Minnesota for $7.41 million.
The Mariners reacquired Morales on July 24 in a trade for reliever Stephen Pryor. Morales batted just .218 in 98 games for the Twins and Mariners with eight homers and 42 RBIs.