Mariners acquire pitchers Misiewicz, Armstrong

Dipoto sends international bonus pool money to Rays, Indians

December 14th, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto made his first trades of the Winter Meetings on Wednesday, reacquiring lefty Anthony Misiewicz from the Rays and then dealing for hard-throwing Indians reliever in exchange for international bonus pool money.

According to sources, the Mariners sent $500,000 in international pool money to the Indians for Armstrong and $1 million to the Rays, which puts their remaining total at just over $2 million.

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Misiewicz has never pitched above Double-A ball, but Armstrong has posted a 3.53 ERA in 39 Major League games over the past three seasons and could compete for a bullpen spot this year.

Armstrong goes on the Mariners' 40-man roster, which now sits at 38. The 27-year-old right-hander is under team control for five more seasons, but he is out of Minor League options.

Dipoto has now made seven trades this offseason, and five have included international slot money as part of the transaction. Two of the previous trades sent hard-throwing reliever to the White Sox for $500,000 in slot money and catching prospect David Banuelos to the Twins for $1 million. Dipoto sees Wednesday's trades as the flip side of those deals.

"The way we were looking at it, we acquired $1.5 million in slot money by trading away a power right-handed reliever and what we thought of as a potential down-the-road catcher," Dipoto said. "And we just replaced it with Misiewicz, who will go out and start for us in Double-A and we feel has the ability to make it to the big leagues.

"And we acquired Shawn Armstrong, who gives us that same level of protection as -- if not a bit more polish than -- Thyago Vieira. You're not going to strike out many more guys than Shawn Armstrong strikes out at the high levels in the Minor Leagues."

Dipoto accumulated $3.55 million in international bonus pool money by trading away several prospects over the past month to position the Mariners for a run at Japanese two-way standout Shohei Ohtani, so Seattle now has until June 15 to either spend their remaining money on other international free agents or trade it to other teams looking to pursue available players.

Many of the top international free agents from the 2017 period are already off the market, but the Mariners are pursuing Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez, as well as other available international players.

Dipoto also has indicated a willingness to deal some of his excess money to other clubs, and he made his first move that way in bringing back Misiewicz, who was drafted by the Mariners in the 18th round in 2015 out of Michigan State.

Seattle swapped Misiewicz to the Rays last August along with Minor League infielder Luis Rengifo for right-hander and catcher .

The 23-year-old southpaw pitched for Class A Advanced Modesto and Double-A Arkansas in the Mariners' system before finishing the season with Double-A Montgomery in the Rays' organization.

"He's our guy," Dipoto said. "We know him as well as anybody. He's got three pitches and throws a ton of strikes. He has a great feel for his changeup and what we thought was one of the better curveballs in our system. He's not going to overpower you with velocity, but he pitches. He can locate, he's got weapons and good secondary stuff."

Misiewicz went a combined 11-6 with a 4.51 ERA, 141 strikeouts and 43 walks in 147 2/3 innings between the three clubs.

Dipoto then added Armstrong, who split last season between the Indians and Triple-A Columbus. Armstrong finished 1-0 with a 4.38 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 21 outings for Cleveland last season and 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA and 10 saves in 28 games for Columbus.