Seattle Mariners Acquire Rafael Montero For Two Minor Leaguers

Rafael Montero

The Seattle Mariners have acquired a new reliever. They have traded two players to the Texas Rangers for Rafael Montero. This is the first trade of the offseason for Seattle, but the Rangers have been active already signing players and making trades. Jeff Passan of ESPN announced the deal Tuesday afternoon.

Mariners Acquire Rafael Montero

Montero was an average pitcher in the shortened 2020 campaign. He threw 17 and two-thirds innings with a 4.08 ERA and 19 strikeouts compared with six walks. A FIP of 3.70 could indicate that there was some bad luck with defense behind the mound. He may not have provided much value for the Rangers, but he didn’t hurt them much either. Overall, Montero has 239 innings across 97 games. The former international signing from the Dominican Republic has a career 4.93 ERA, 242 strikeouts and .3 WAR.

The Rangers definitely helped Montero unlock something that he was missing with the New York Mets. His fastball averaged over 95 MPH since joining Texas and he swapped out his slider in favor of the changeup. He still throws a slider for his third pitch, but it’s fallen off significantly compared to the off-speed offering. The pitching adjustment is one to watch as he joins his third franchise.

Where Montero Fits in Seattle

The Mariners need every little bit of help they can get in the bullpen. They had the worst WAR in the major leagues at -1.5, so Montero is an obvious upgrade even if he isn’t a dominant star in relief. He’s at least one piece that helps Seattle move back towards the postseason.

General Manager Jerry Dipoto is quickly trying to build a better roster for 2021. He claimed Will Vest from the Detroit Tigers in last week’s Rule 5 draft, signed former Mets and KBO pitcher Chris Flexen, and claimed two other pitchers from other teams last week. The Mariners probably aren’t playoff-caliber next year, but they are certainly moving in a positive direction with their recent moves. In the trade the Rangers received pitcher Jose Corniell and a player to be named later.

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