SEATTLE -- Hours after general manager Jerry Dipoto explained the logic behind trading away clubhouse leader Kendall Graveman in the middle of a postseason chase, the Mariners' strategy came into clearer focus ahead of Friday's 1 p.m. PT Trade Deadline.
The Mariners acquired veteran left-handed starter Tyler Anderson from the Pirates on Tuesday night in exchange for catcher Carter Bins and right-hander Joaquin Tejada.
Mariners get: LHP Tyler Anderson
Pirates get: C Carter Bins, RHP Joaquin Tejada
“I think it's a really good pickup for us as we're trying to get our guys healthy,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We needed somebody to step in that fifth starter spot, and I think he can give us very competitive outings, using his stuff like he has. He's been around the league a little bit. He knows how to pitch.”
Anderson is on a one-year, $2.5 million deal and will be a free agent at season’s end. Though Dipoto has publicly expressed hesitancy to “rental” acquisitions in this Deadline market, sources said that logic has shifted in recent days due to the dearth of available starters and the club’s ascent in the standings. The Mariners entered Tuesday one game back of the second American League Wild Card spot.
Anderson was in the process of being traded to the Phillies earlier Tuesday before negotiations fell through over medical reports on one of the Phillies’ mid-level prospects who was heading to Pittsburgh in return.
Anderson, 31, has been solid for a Pirates team that has been among the worst in baseball. He’s 5-8 with a 4.35 ERA and 95 ERA+ (MLB average is 100) with 86 strikeouts and 25 walks in 103 1/3 innings over 18 starts.
Anderson's best attribute -- at least in the context of a beleaguered Mariners rotation -- is that he consistently eats innings. Anderson has pitched at least five frames in every start this season, and he's gone at least six innings eight times. He was also brought up as a ground-ball-heavy pitcher by Colorado, which should serve him well in front of a strong Seattle infield.
Anderson fills a major hole for a Mariners pitching staff that currently has four healthy starters: Yusei Kikuchi, Logan Gilbert, Marco Gonzales and Chris Flexen. Justin Dunn (right shoulder) and Justus Sheffield (left forearm) are recovering from injuries, and while the Mariners are optimistic that both could return, they’re still weeks away at the earliest.
Another interesting note on Anderson, a 2011 first-round Draft pick by the Rockies: He joins a Seattle organization that employs many former members of the Colorado organization on its player development staff, including director of player development Andy McKay.
Anderson pitched his home games at hitter-friendly Coors Field from 2016-19, and mostly thrived despite the environment. He had a 4.69 ERA and 103 ERA+ in 73 outings (71 starts) over four seasons, including making the postseason in ‘17 and ’18.
Bins, 22, is a prospect who was just outside of the Mariners' Top 30 list, per MLB Pipeline. He was playing for Double-A Arkansas after starting the year at High-A Everett, where he hit .284/.422/.493 in 40 games. He was also in his first big league Spring Training earlier this year. Tejada, 18, was pitching for the Mariners’ Dominican Summer League team before the deal.
Earlier Tuesday, Dipoto sent Graveman and reliever Rafael Montero to the Astros -- and across the field to the visiting dugout -- in exchange for infielder Abraham Toro and reliever Joe Smith ahead of the second game between the teams at T-Mobile Park. Dipoto alluded after that deal that it would be the first “in what should be a succession” of moves ahead of the Trade Deadline.
It’s likely that Dipoto isn’t done. The Mariners still have a need for a second baseman after falling short on an offer for the Pirates’ Adam Frazier, who instead was dealt to the Padres. Seattle would preferably like a right-handed bat for that spot, and Kansas City's Whit Merrifield is a player it has had interest in.
Toro fills an infield need, but not exactly for a postseason contender. Many in scouting circles admire the 24-year-old’s profile, but it’s possible that he could be flipped.