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Padres sign Tom Wilhelmsen to minor-league deal

The former Mariners closer will look to win a job in San Diego’s bullpen.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

The Padres have signed right-handed reliever Tom Wilhelmsen to a minor-league deal with an invitation to major-league spring training, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal first reported on Tuesday.

Wilhelmsen, 34, served as the Mariners’ closer for parts of the 2012, 2013, and 2015 seasons but has seen his career go downhill in a major way over the past two seasons. After posting a 6.80 ERA and 1.71 WHIP over 50 appearances split between the Rangers and Mariners in 2016, Wilhelmsen was forced to settle for a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks last offseason, and though he made the Opening Day roster with an impressive spring training, he was designated for assignment in June after posting a 4.44 ERA and 1.41 WHIP with 17 strikeouts and 12 walks in 26.1 innings. After getting cut by the Diamondbacks, Wilhelmsen joined the Brewers on a minor-league deal in late June and posted an alarming 13.15 ERA and 2.62 WHIP with 11 strikeouts and seven walks through 13 innings at Triple-A Colorado Springs. He was released from the Milwaukee organization on August 5.

Wilhelmsen will look for yet another fresh start in San Diego, where he’ll compete for a spot in a Padres bullpen that has become surprisingly deep this offseason. Beyond steadily-effective closer Brad Hand, the Padres will hope for an impressive rookie season from Japanese submariner Kazuhisa Makita, a bounce-back campaign from Carter Capps, who was dominant with the Marlins in 2015 before suffering a pair of injuries, and another strong season from veteran Craig Stammen, who will be 34 this season. San Diego also figures to carry at least a pair of left-handers in the ‘pen, so Wilhelmsen will likely be competing with pitchers like Kirby Yates, Phil Maton, Miguel Diaz, and any starters who land outside the rotation for one of the bullpen’s final spots.