Mariners Bolster Bullpen, Acquire Sam Tuivailala From Cardinals For Prospect
The Mariners are beefing up their bullpen for the stretch run.
Seattle acquired righthanded reliever Sam Tuivailala from the Cardinals on Friday, trading relief prospect Seth Elledge to St. Louis in return.
Tuivailala joins a Mariners bullpen that ranked 13th in MLB with a 3.84 ERA entering Friday. The M’s are currently clinging to a one-game lead over the Athletics in the race for the second American League wild card spot.
Seth Elledge, RHP
The Mariners drafted Elledge in the fourth round last year after he set Dallas Baptist’s career saves record with 26. He quickly advanced to high Class A Modesto in his first full season this year, was named a California League all-star and was ranked the Mariners' No. 10 prospect at midseason. Elledge touched 97 mph in college, but in his first full year has sat at 93 mph and touched 95. His fastball comes out hot and has some late life and carry on it at the end, helping it play up. Elledge’s 83-84 mph slider is his main secondary pitch and is sharp at its best, but it gets loopy at times and he doesn’t throw it for strikes consistently. He also has a rarely-used changeup. Elledge has the potential to be a middle reliever with his arm strength and fastball-slider combo, but his control and command both need improvement. He will begin his Cardinals career at Double-A Springfield.
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Sam Tuivailala, RHP
Tuivailala spent much of his first three seasons riding the Memphis-St. Louis shuttle as he bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the majors, but in the last two years he’s established himself firmly as a big leaguer, posting 3.04 ERA in 68 appearances. Tuivailala specializes in facing same-side hitters. He’s held righties to a .230/.247/.284 slash line this year (compared to .333/.446/.556 vs. lefties), and overall he has held righties to a .647 OPS in his career. His acquisition better prepares the Mariners to face division foes loaded with impact righthanded hitters (Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, George Springer, Khris Davis, Matt Chapman, Mike Trout, Justin Upton) and gives the bullpen a firmer base as Seattle chases its first playoff appearance since 2001.