The sudden waiver wire bonanza in MLB has come and gone, and the Seattle Mariners aren’t coming out of it empty handed.
Veteran right-handed relief pitcher Dominic Leone has been claimed by the M’s after he was waived by the Los Angeles Angels earlier this week.
The Mariners have designated right-hander Devin Sweet for assignment to make room for Leone on the 40-man roster.
Leone, 31, returns to the Mariners organization where he began his career. Seattle drafted Leone in the 16th round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Clemson, and he broke into the big leagues with the Mariners in 2014. He pitched 67 combined games for Seattle in 2014 and 2015, and has since played for Arizona, Toronto, St. Louis, Cleveland, San Francisco, and finally both the New York Mets and Angels this year.
In 2023 with the Mets and Angels, Leone has a 4.74 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with 44 strikeouts to 20 walks over 42 appearances (43 2/3 innings). He also has three holds and one save this year.
Leone was dealt by New York to Los Angeles at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. The Angels placed six players on waivers Tuesday, likely to shed salary after they dropped out of the playoff race despite acting as “buyers” during the trade deadline.
The Leone claim isn’t the only bit of good news for the Mariners from the waiver wire, as none of the other notable names waived by the Angels or New York Yankees this week landed with their competition for the AL West title. Cincinnati claimed outfielders Hunter Renfroe (Angels) and Harrison Bader (Yankees), and Cleveland picked up three arms from the Angels: Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Matt Moore.
Here are a couple more updates on the Mariners.
Jarred Kelenic’s return begins
The Mariners expect to get Kelenic, a 24-year-old outfielder, back sometime in September from a broken foot, but first he’ll need a substantial rehab assignment in the minor leagues. That will begin when the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers host the Sugar Land Space Cowboys at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, as Kelenic was officially sent to Tacoma on Wednesday, per the transactions page at MLB.com.
During Seattle Sports’ weekly Jerry Dipoto Show on Thursday (listen here), the Mariners president of baseball operations said the plan is for Kelenic to start Thursday’s game as the designated hitter for Tacoma.
Jerry Dipoto on @SeattleSports with the latest on Jarred Kelenic
“JK is expected to DH tonight in Tacoma. We’ll see how many reps or at bats it takes for him to get ready.”
— Maura Dooley (@Maura_Dool) August 31, 2023
Kelenic last played on July 19 when he injured himself kicking a cooler following a strikeout to end a loss to the Minnesota Twins. He had been one of Seattle’s more productive hitters this season in addition to an above-average defender in left field and reliable stolen base option. For the year, Kelenic owns a slash line of .252/.320/.439 for a .759 OPS with 11 home runs, 24 doubles, two triples and 12 stolen bases on 16 attempts.
Mariners general manager Justin Hollander told reporters last Friday that Kelenic would need a “real rehab assignment” in Triple-A Rainiers after missing a significant amount of time.
Seattle Mariners not too concerned about Julio
The big question this week for the Mariners has been the condition of star center fielder Julio Rodríguez, who hasn’t played since being scratched from the lineup Tuesday due to a nerve issue in his left foot.
Dipoto provided a positive outlook Thursday on a day off for the team before beginning a 10-game road trip Friday in New York against the Mets.
“Nothing new other than we don’t think it’s a major issue,” Dipoto said when asked for an update on Rodríguez’s status. “… I do think that the Julio situation should be resolved in days, hopefully by tomorrow, but really won’t know until I check in with the medical people.”
Rodríguez is the likely American League Player of the Month after a record-setting August. Rodríguez has a .286/.346/.482 slash for an .828 OPS with 24 homers, 31 doubles, a triple and 35 steals on 44 attempts in 126 games this season, and his August (.429/.474/.724, 1.198 OPS, seven homers, 10 doubles, 11 of 15 steals) has raised all of those numbers by a considerable amount.
More on the Seattle Mariners
• Why ESPN’s Olney thinks Mariners are favorites to win AL West
• Servais provides Mariners injury updates on Julio, France and Kirby
• The unsung player during Mariners’ hot streak? Teoscar Hernández
• Passan: What about Seattle Mariners’ rise is and isn’t sustainable?
• How good is the Seattle Mariners’ pitching? It has the Astros worried