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Mariners outright 3 relievers off 60-day IL

Magill, Edwards and Cortes all elect free agency
@gregjohnsmlb
October 22, 2020

SEATTLE -- Carl Edwards Jr., Matt Magill and Nestor Cortes, three relievers who began last season as integral parts of the Mariners’ bullpen, were outrighted to the Minors on Thursday and have elected to become free agents as general manager Jerry Dipoto begins his ‘pen makeover. Dipoto would like to

SEATTLE -- Carl Edwards Jr., Matt Magill and Nestor Cortes, three relievers who began last season as integral parts of the Mariners’ bullpen, were outrighted to the Minors on Thursday and have elected to become free agents as general manager Jerry Dipoto begins his ‘pen makeover.

Dipoto would like to bring in three or four veteran relievers to bolster a unit that finished last in the American League with a 5.92 ERA, and he’s moving quickly to open room for those additions. Edwards, Magill and Cortes all finished the season on the 60-day injured list and would have needed to be reinstated to the 40-man roster within five days after the end of the World Series.

Instead, the three are now eligible to sign with any team this offseason.

Those moves leave five players -- catcher Tom Murphy, outfielder Mitch Haniger and relievers Gerson Bautista, Taylor Guilbeau and Andres Muñoz -- on the 60-day IL who are presumably still in Seattle’s plans going forward.

Magill, Edwards and Cortes were all acquired within the last 15 months but ended the 2020 season with health issues as the Mariners cycled through 23 relievers during the 60-game season.

Cortes, acquired in a cash trade with the Yankees in November, pitched in five games for Seattle and posted a 15.26 ERA in 7 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old southpaw made one spot start for the Mariners on Aug. 14 in Houston and allowed eight runs (seven earned) on five hits with two walks while recording just one out in an 11-1 loss, then was placed on the IL the following day with a left elbow impingement.

Edwards Jr. signed a $950,000 contract as a free agent in December and posted a 1.93 ERA in five appearances before being sidelined by a strained right forearm. The 29-year-old is a six-year MLB veteran who pitched five seasons with the Cubs and has a 3.54 ERA in 199 outings.

Magill ended the 2019 season as Seattle’s closer and had five saves after being acquired from the Twins that July. The 30-year-old right-hander opened 2020 in a prominent bullpen role and started the year with eight scoreless outings, but he wound up with a 6.10 ERA after being hit hard in two of his last three appearances before going on the injured list on Aug. 28. He underwent shoulder debridement surgery in September but is expected back by Spring Training.

Magill and Edwards were among the club’s five pending arbitration-eligible players, so the Mariners now have just three -- Haniger, Murphy and shortstop J.P. Crawford -- to work through this offseason.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.