Key Mariners reliever could face lengthy absence

key mariners reliever could face lengthy absence

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Matt Brash.

Mariners setup men Matt Brash and Gregory Santos were both shut down due to arm troubles, and while it appears there’s good news on one, the outlook on the other is ominous.

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that Santos played catch Tuesday and is beginning a throwing progression, but Brash is potentially facing an “extensive” absence. There’s some concern that Brash’s entire 2024 season may be in jeopardy, per Divish.

An absence of even moderate length for Brash would be a critical blow for the Mariners, who acquired the hard-throwing righty in a heist of a trade with the Padres and have since watched him blossom into a top prospect and potentially elite reliever. Brash’s 3.06 ERA in 70 2/3 innings last season is an impressive mark on its own, but that number doesn’t appropriately highlight some off-the-charts secondary metrics and a sensational four-month finish to close out the 2023 season.

Even as Brash posted a pedestrian 4.28 ERA through the season’s first two months, he was striking out a staggering 39.8% of his opponents against a respectable 8.9% walk rate. Fielding-independent metrics like FIP (1.92) and SIERA (2.34) were far, far more bullish on his work than his more rudimentary ERA.

Those numbers indeed proved a portent for a breakout. From Memorial Day weekend through season’s end, Brash turned in a sensational 2.36 ERA. His strikeout rate in that time clocked in at 32.4% against a 9.7% walk rate. Brash averaged a blistering 98.2 mph on his heater, generated swinging strikes at a hefty 15.4% clip and induced chases off the plate at a 33.6% rate — all while keeping the ball on the ground at a solid 44.4% clip. He finished the season with four saves and another 24 holds. Skeptics may want to see him sustain that over a full season or two, but that overpowering stretch had all the characteristics of one of MLB’s best relievers.

Unfortunately, it seems Brash might not get the opportunity to prove he can sustain that breakout for some time. Neither the team nor the player himself has provided any specifics as to the nature of the arm injury with which he’s dealing. Brash downplayed the issue last week, telling Divish and others that he’s simply “banged up,” while GM Justin Hollander merely stated that the hope was for Brash to return to a throwing program sooner than later. The lack of any real detail on the injury seemed foreboding at the time.

If the 25-year-old Brash is indeed going to be sidelined for a substantial portion — or, far worse, the entirety — of the 2024 campaign, a strong Mariners bullpen will take an unequivocal hit. Seattle relievers were fourth in the Majors with a 3.48 ERA last season and led the big leagues with a 3.64 SIERA. Brash played a major part, as did the since-traded Justin Topa, who went to the Twins as part of the Jorge Polanco deal.

The surprise acquisition of Santos late in the offseason helped to compensate for Topa’s departure, but a major injury for Brash would be difficult to overcome. His production throughout the summer and down the stretch in 2023 simply isn’t the type of performance that can be readily replaced.

The Mariners would still have one of the game’s best relievers, Andres Munoz, closing out games. Santos would headline a setup corps also featuring Gabe Speier, Trent Thornton and Tayler Saucedo — all of whom posted solid numbers in 2023 but have minimal big league track records.

There’s also still at least one notable reliever in free agency (Ryne Stanek), and the Mariners have had perhaps more success than any team in MLB at converting unheralded waiver pickups and minor league signees into impact relievers in recent years.

Flamethrower Carlos Vargas, acquired in the Eugenio Suarez trade, is one power-armed candidate for such a breakout in Seattle. None of that takes away from the magnitude of a notable Brash injury, and at this stage of the offseason, the options to make a move to counteract such a significant loss are limited.

Want more articles like this? Follow MLB Trade Rumors on MSN to see more of our exclusive MLB content.

More must-reads:

    News Related


    Jimmy Carter and all living former first ladies to attend Rosalynn Carter’s memorial service

    Former President Jimmy Carter is expected to attend the Tuesday memorial service for his late wife, Rosalynn Carter, in Atlanta, his grandson told CNN – a tribute that will also be ... Read more »

    Rob Reiner to Film ‘This Is Spinal Tap' Sequel in February, Says Paul McCartney and Elton John Will Appear

    Rob Reiner to Film ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ Sequel in February, Says Paul McCartney and Elton John Will Appear Forty years after making his directorial debut with the 1984 cult ... Read more »

    Best Buy's Biggest Cyber Monday Deals on Samsung TVs, Sony Headphones, and Dyson Vacuums

    Plus laptops and more last-minute deals you don’t want to miss People / Jaclyn Mastropasqua We have reached Cyber Monday is officially here, and there are loads of great deals ... Read more »

    The Joffre Lakes surge returns north of Pemberton

    The Joffre Lakes surge is back, much to the dismay of Pemberton and Mount Currie locals. Video footage shared with Pique shows a long line of cars illegally parked on ... Read more »

    Activists calling for Gaza ceasefire begin hunger strike outside White House

    Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images Leftwing activists including the actor Cynthia Nixon, famous for her role in Sex and the City, have begun a hunger strike outside the White House aimed ... Read more »

    We just got a first look at McDonald's secretive new spinoff restaurant CosMc's

    A construction site in Bolingbrook, Illinois, presumed to be the first location of CosMc’s. Scott Fredrickson McDonald’s has been reluctant to share many details about its planned new restaurant concept ... Read more »

    Conor McGregor’s The Black Forge posts more than $2 million in losses since 2021 opening

    Conor McGregor’s The Black Forge posts more than $2 million in losses since 2021 opening Conor McGregor made around a $2 million investment when he purchased the Dublin bar he ... Read more »
    Top List in the World