SEATTLE — The latest tweak in the Mariners’ bullpen mix is the addition of right-handed swingman A.J. Schugel, who arrived Wednesday through a waiver claim from Arizona.
Schugel, 26, is a six-year pro who made his big-league debut last season by making five relief appearances for the Diamondbacks. He allowed five earned runs and 17 hits in nine innings.
"He’s versatile enough to start or relieve," general manager Jerry Dipoto said."He has three average-or-better pitches and good makeup.
"He’s 90-94 (mph) with sink and with nice shape to a curveball in addition to a plus changeup, which I think is his best pitch. It also helps that he's still optionable."
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Since the Mariners had no space for Schugel on their 40-man roster, they made a corresponding move in designating left-hander Tyler Olson for assignment.
Olson, 26, is a three-year pro whom the Mariners selected from Gonzaga in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. He opened last season in the big leagues and was 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA before optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.
Schugel has two options remaining and is likely to open next season at Tacoma. He is 32-34 with a 4.04 ERA in 139 games, including 109 starts, in six minor-league seasons.
Oddly, it was Dipoto who, as the Angels’ general manager, traded Schugel to Arizona in December 2013. Schugel spent four seasons in the Angels’ organization following his selection in the 25th round of the 2010 draft.
The Mariners have 10 days to reach a resolution on Olson, who will likely be sent through waivers. If unclaimed, he can be traded, released or sent to the minors on an outright assignment.
Olson was 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA last season in 25 games, including six starts, at Tacoma. He is 17-17 with a 3.86 ERA in 70 minor-league games, including 41 starts, over his three-year career.
Let’s just say the oddsmakers at www.Bovada.lv, an online gaming service, don’t appear impressed with Dipoto’s efforts to overhaul the Mariners’ roster.
Bovada’s latest odds peg the Mariners at 33/1 to win the World Series. They were a 25/1 shot on Nov. 2.
The Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants are rated as co-favorites at 6/1. The Boston Red Sox rate as the top American League club at 9/1.
The two teams that played in last year’s World Series — the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets — are rated at 14/1.
Five National League clubs share the longest odds at 100/1: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Colorado, Philadelphia and San Diego. Oakland has the longest odds among AL clubs at 75/1.