Seattle Mariners begin bullpen overhaul with trade

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Rafael Montero #48 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Oakland Athletics in the ninth inning at Globe Life Field on September 12, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Rafael Montero #48 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Oakland Athletics in the ninth inning at Globe Life Field on September 12, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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The Seattle Mariners have begun their bullpen overhaul as they have acquired Rafael Montero from the Texas Rangers.

It was a matter of time before the Seattle Mariners made a deal or three. General manager Jerry Dipoto stressed that the team wanted to upgrade their bullpen as part of their quest to return to the postseason. As this is the same person that made a deal while in the hospital, Dipoto would not rest until he found a trade he liked.

He struck on Tuesday afternoon. In what is likely to be the first of several moves to address the Mariners’ bullpen, he acquired Rafael Montero from the Rangers in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers.

In exchange, the Rangers are getting pitching prospect Jose Corniell and a player to be named later. Corniell is a 17 year old who has yet to make his professional debut due to the minor league season shut down, but is considered to have a solid three pitch mix including a mid 90s fastball and a power curve.

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A one time top prospect, Montero failed to develop as the Mets had hoped. Injuries and being constantly shuffled between the majors and minors hindered his career, with the Mets eventually letting him go after he missed the 2018 campaign due to Tommy John surgery.

Montero signed with the Rangers, where he moved to a full time relief role. That move not only unlocked his dormant potential, but also led to an increase in velocity. He eventually emerged as the Rangers’ closer last season, posting a combined 3.09 ERA and a 0.986 WHiP in his 46.2 innings, striking out 53 batters with 11 walks.

At this point, Montero is presumably the favorite to take over the ninth inning, at least for the start of the year. Andres Munoz, the theoretical closer of the future, will likely be back from his own Tommy John surgery at some point in 2021. However, regardless of his role, Montero makes the Mariners’ bullpen better.

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The Seattle Mariners have broken out of their quiet offseason as they have acquired Rafael Montero. This may be the first of several moves to upgrade their bullpen.