SEATTLE – Marc Rzepczynski had one job to do as a member of the Mariners’ bullpen – get out left-handed hitters. It was a small, but definable role and the reason he was signed to a two-year, $11 million contract before the 2017 season.
When it appeared that Rzepczynski was no longer trusted to do that, the Mariners decided to move on.
On Friday, Seattle recalled left-handed pitcher Roenis Elias from Triple-A Tacoma and Rzepczynski was designated for assignment, basically ending his tenure with the organization.
Seattle has seven days to trade, outright or release Rzepczynski. Given what’s left on his contract, approximately half of the $5.5 million owed, he will likely clear waivers and be a free to sign with any team.
Seattle would pay the contract in full if that happens. Even with his struggles, he probably won’t stay unemployed for long given his past track record in the big leagues.
“We made the decision after the ballgame yesterday,” M’s manager Scott Servais said. “It was a tough call. But he’s been struggling to get the results that he or we were looking for. This is a do-good league. You do good, you stay.”
Rzepczynski, 32, was 0-1 with a 9.39 ERA (eight earned runs in 7 2/3 innings pitched) with 10 strikeouts and nine walks in 18 relief appearances with the Mariners this season. Opposing batters were hitting .342 (13 for 38) against him this season. Even worse, when he was brought into face lefties, he often allowed them to reach base via walk or hit.
“When we put the team together in the offseason, he certainly had a role on this team,” Servais said. “His was to get the left-handers out and he’s been struggling to do that.”
Rzepczynski went 2-2 with a save and a 4.02 ERA with 25 strikeouts and 20 walks in 64 relief appearances with Seattle in 2017.
He’s pitched at the MLB level of parts of 10 seasons with stops in Toronto (2009-11), St. Louis (2011-13), Cleveland (2013-15), San Diego (2015), Oakland (2016), Washington (2016) and Seattle (2017-18). Rzepczynski has a career 3.92 ERA in 501 appearances.
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