Mariners Insider Blog

Mariners acquire reliever Evan Scribner from Athletics

The Mariners are close to acquiring right-handed reliever Evan Scribner from Oakland.
The Mariners are close to acquiring right-handed reliever Evan Scribner from Oakland. AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Add right-hander Evan Scribner to the Mariners’ ever-changing bullpen mix after a Tuesday night trade with the Oakland Athletics for minor-league pitcher Trey Cochran-Gill.

"Evan brings us another experienced major-league reliever," general manager Jerry Dipoto said, "who has exhibited strong control of the strike zone as well as the ability to miss bats.

"He’ll compete for a spot in our major-league bullpen.

Scribner, 30, is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time after going 2-2 with a 4.35 ERA in 54 games before missing the season’s final month because of a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle.

While Scribner had 64 strikeouts and just four walks in 60 innings, he also allowed 14 homers. He is 5-2 with a 4.21 ERA in 125 games over parts of five big-league seasons.

Even so, Scribner comes with four years of club control and fits the Mariners’ new general profile in acquiring relievers: Buying low on pitchers with stuff who are coming off a disappointing season.

The Mariners selected Cochran-Gill, who turns 23 on Thursday, in the 17th round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of last season at Double-A Jackson, where he was 4-3 with a 5.43 ERA in 34 relief appearances.

Because Cochran-Gill isn’t on the 40-man roster, the Athletics cleared a space in advance of the Rule 5 Draft, which is Thursday and closes the Winter Meetings. Oakland has the sixth overall selection.

The Mariners possess the 11th pick but, after adding Scribner, have no openings on their 40-man roster.

FURBUSH UPDATE

The Mariners are cautiously optimistic that lefty reliever Charlie Furbush can regain his form after missing the final three months last season because of biceps tendinitis and a slight tear in his rotator cuff.

"He’s going through his off-season workout programs," Dipoto said, "and all arrows are pointing north. He’s trending in the right direction. That being said, he hasn’t really gotten into his throwing program yet.

"We won’t know for certain until he hops on a mound and starts to throw. But right now, we have no reason to believe he won’t be ready."

Furbush compiled a 2.08 ERA in 33 games last season prior to his injury.

MONTERO’S STATUS

The ongoing search for a first baseman prompts a question: What about Jesus Montero, who is out of options and coming off a dynamic season at Triple-A Tacoma?

Dipoto said Montero "could be" in the picture.

"Certainly as it pertains to a right-handed portion of a platoon," Dipoto said, "he’s an option for us. We have to find out how he handles the defensive duties, but he can swing the bat.

"He is out of options. So he’s going to be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t make our club. One thing I can say is we do believe Jesus can hit. We’re going to find out if that fits for us."

MONTGOMERY IN MIX

Left-hander Mike Montgomery is also out of options and, barring injuries, might have to pitch his way onto the club as a reliever.

"Mike Montgomery will compete (initially) for innings at the back of the rotation," Dipoto said. "If it doesn’t work out for him, the bullpen is an option."

Tampa Bay had converted Montgomery to relief duty a year ago before trading him to the Mariners on March 31 for right-hander Erasmo Ramirez.

"At that point," Dipoto said, "they were seeing velocity of 92-94 (mph) with some good angle and a breaking ball out of the bullpen."

HULTZEN TO THE PEN

Lefty Danny Hultzen’s next comeback will be as a reliever.

"We’re going to try a new avenue," Dipoto said. "He will come to spring training wth the idea that we’re deploy him as a bullpen guy and just see how it works."

Hultzen, 26, was the second overall pick in the 2011 draft but missed most of the last three seasons while undergoing and recovering from shoulder surgery.

The Mariners designated Hultzen for assignment last month in order to clear space on their 40-man roster. When he cleared waivers, he was sent to Tacoma on an outright assignment.

"It’s unfortunate," Dipoto said, "that he’s had to deal with a lot of the physical issues that he’s had. He’s terrifically talented. One of the best college pitchers I ever saw.

"I want to see him pitch in the big leagues. He deserves to. He works so hard. He is so prepared. He is so talented. It would be a shame if he never gets the chance to realize that dream."

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