Mariners make 'under-the-radar' moves at Deadline

Seattle acquires INF/OF Lamb from Dodgers, LHP Boyd and C Casali from Giants

August 3rd, 2022

NEW YORK -- Anxiety was high on Tuesday in the Mariners’ clubhouse at Yankee Stadium, and it lingered into manager Scott Servais’ pregame media session and throughout batting practice as the 3 p.m. PT Trade Deadline loomed one hour before first pitch.

Players regularly checked their phones, intently observed MLB Network and even asked reporters what they were hearing.

Yet after the dust settled, and Seattle made three “under-the-radar” acquisitions, per president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto, nobody on Seattle’s 26-man roster was dealt. The club made deals with the Giants and Dodgers to acquire three veteran depth pieces, and Dipoto didn’t part with any big leaguers or Top 30 Prospects.

Mariners acquire: INF/OF Jake Lamb
Dodgers acquire: Cash considerations or player to be named later

Mariners acquire: LHP Matthew Boyd and C Curt Casali
Giants acquire: Minors RHP Michael Stryffeler and Minors C Andy Thomas

“[These] moves have a chance to really improve the depth of our roster as we head into these next couple of weeks,” Dipoto said. “We’ll see what we can do with the final two months of this season.”

Here’s a breakdown of the three players acquired:

Once considered one of the AL’s better starters with Detroit, Boyd will fill a valuable lefty presence in the bullpen that the Mariners have needed all season. He’s been on the injured list all year with a left elbow strain, but he recently threw a 40-pitch bullpen session and will complete a simulated game on Wednesday with Triple-A Tacoma. If all goes well, he could begin a rehab assignment early next week and join the big league team soon.

“Very likely in the role of a multi-inning reliever,” Dipoto said. “And that’s something that we were looking to acquire.”

Before signing with the Giants on March 20, Boyd, 31, spent most of his big league career with the Tigers. Before suffering the injury last August, he had a 3.89 ERA and 112 ERA+ (league average is 100). At arguably his peak in 2019, he was one of the game’s top strikeout specialists, with a 30.2 K%, the AL’s fifth highest among starters. But by transitioning him to the bullpen, the hope is that he’ll be durable through the end of the year.

With Tom Murphy out for the year and Luis Torrens’ glaring offensive limitations, the Mariners needed a backstop to pair with Cal Raleigh, preferably a veteran. Enter Casali, who like Boyd is on the IL but expected back soon. Casali will also join Tacoma to continue a rehab assignment that he recently began related to a right oblique strain that shelved him on July 5, and he’s expected to contribute soon.

“He works very well with pitchers,” Dipoto said. “He's got some know-how. He's played in the postseason. He fits what we do and how we do it.”

Another significant contribution he brings is a rapport with Luis Castillo, who he caught 27 times in Cincinnati from 2018-20. Castillo had a 2.61 ERA and held opposing hitters to a slash line of .191/.269/.302 (.571 OPS) in those outings, by far the best among any of his catchers.

The former University of Washington standout grew up in Seattle and resides there in the offseason. He’s played in 25 games for the Dodgers as a bench bat, a role that he’ll continue in Seattle, with the chance to contribute at corner-infield positions occasionally. The 31-year-old has hit .239/.338/.433 (.770 OPS) in 77 plate appearances this year, with an .808 OPS against righties, after signing a Minors contract with an invite to Spring Training in March.

Because Kyle Lewis won’t play every day, Dylan Moore will need consistent reps and Mitch Haniger will be back soon and will work into the DH rotation -- and they all hit righty -- Lamb is a lefty complement.

“That’s where we see him fitting in our club,” Dipoto said. “He can play the corners, DH. He has performed very well against right-handed pitching this year, so it gives us a nice offset with the right-handed bats as Mitch comes back, with Kyle Lewis, as an offset for Dylan Moore and his right-handedness. We feel like [Lamb] fits in that type of matchup role.”