The Seattle Mariners added three relief pitchers during the MLB winter meetings on Wednesday.
The headliner would be right-handed free agent Juan Nicasio. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that he signed a two-year contract, pending a physical.
The Mariners haven’t confirmed the deal.
It came just hours after Seattle completed a trade with the Cleveland Indians for right-hander Shawn Armstrong, and also acquired minor-league left-hander Anthony Misiewicz from the Tampa Bay Rays, with the Mariners dumping international slot money in both deals.
This international slot money became more expendable when the Mariners lost out on the sweepstakes for Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani to their division rival, the Los Angeles Angels, last week.
But Nicasio checks off what Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto had signaled as the club’s greatest remaining need — an “impact” pitcher out of the bullpen.
Nicaisio, 31, spent last season with the Pirates, Phillies and Cardinals, putting up an aggregate 2.61 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 72 1/3 innings. He appeared in 76 games, leading the National League.
Dipoto said he has spoken with numerous free-agent pitchers in the past week and all signs pointed to an imminent deal with at least one.
Armstrong, 27, split this past season between the Indians and Triple-A Columbus.
In 21 big-league relief appearances (21 2/3 innings), he had a 4.38 ERA with 20 strikeouts and in 28 Triple-A appearances (29 1/3 innings) Armstrong had 19 saves, a 3.07 ERA and 36 strikeouts. He bounced between Cleveland and Columbus nine times last season.
He was Cleveland’s 18th-round selection in 2011 out of East Carolina University and made his big-league debut in 2015.
Earlier in the day, the Mariners picked up Misiewicz, who made 28 starts between High-A Modesto, Double-A Arkansas and Double-A Montgomery in 2017. He rejoins the Mariners after they sent him and infielder Luis Rengifo to Tampa Bay for right-hander Ryan Garton and catcher Mike Marjama.
It’s been a busy winter meetings for the Mariners. On Monday, they claimed outfielder Cameron Perkins off waivers from the Phillies. Seattle’s major league roster is now at 39 players.