Apparently 29 of the league’s 30 GMs have simply been lying dormant unless prodded by Jerry Dipoto of the Mariners, who has been involved in literally every multi-team transaction of the still young offseason. This time, he’s acquired right-handed reliever Nick Rumbelow from the Yankees in exchange for two minor-league arms: lefty JP Spears and righty Juan Then.
Rumeblow tossed 152⁄3 nondescript major-league innings for the Yanks in 2015; he pitched just one AAA inning in 2016 before undergoing Tommy John surgery that kept him out until June of this past season. He returned in dominant fashion, allowing just five earned runs in 402⁄3 frames, striking out 45 against just eleven walks. He didn’t allow a single home run.
Rumbelow will compete for a spot in a Mariners bullpen that’s very much in flux behind closer Edwin Diaz and top setup man Nick Vincent; David Phelps underwent season-ending surgery in mid-September that could keep him out for the start of the 2018 season, Mark Rzepczynski faded down the stretch, and the rest of the team’s options are in the same boat as Rumbelow: young and inexperienced with their share of struggles and/or injury.
From the Yankees' side of things, they’re able to clear a 40-man spot ahead of December’s Rule 5 draft while picking up two lottery ticket arms in the process. Spears, 21, dominated between Hi-A and A-ball after being drafted in the 11th round of the most recent draft: he allowed just two earned runs in 272⁄3 innings pitched, striking out a staggering 51 batters. The Dominican-born Then, who is just nineteen years of age, is also coming off of his first season; he posted a 2.68 ERA in 13 starts, averaging nearly five innings per start.