AL Notes: Mariners, Graveman, Rotation, Rays, Arozarena

4 weeks ago
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Kendall Graveman signed back with the Mariners with the expectation of sticking in the bullpen, he said on the Extra Innings Podcast. Graveman pitched out the bullpen consistently for the first time in his career last season for the Mariners, emerging as an option for high-leverage opportunities. The former Oakland Athletic spent 2018 with the Cubs while recovering from Tommy John. He signed with the Mariners and made a couple of starts in 2020, but the bulk of his outings came out of the bullpen. Heading into 2021, he’s fully committed to a bullpen role. He’ll the 30-years-old in December, and though he’s new to the bullpen, Graveman spoke confidently about his ability to adjust and let his stuff play up during shorter outings. The right-hander also spoke about shortening his arsenal. He plans on focusing on what works best and sticking with a couple of his strongest pitches, probably a heater, change, and curve primarily, though he also spoke about working in a two-seamer on occasion as a way to vary the look from the fastball.

  • Even with Graveman firmly in the bullpen, the Mariners plan on use of a six-man rotation in 2021 to help keep starters healthy, per Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. With that in mind, they’re likely to at least explore the starting pitching market in free agency. Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield, and Justin Dunn figure to return to the rotation in 2021, while Nick Margevicius and Ljay Newsome are the other holdovers. Logan Gilbert could also emerge as a potential option at some point in 2021, if not by Opening Day. Gilbert will turn 24 early in 2021. He finished 2019 with 9 starts in Double-A with a 2.88 ERA.
  • Randy Arozarena’s playoff performance was a dramatic enough affair to spark a feature film. Wonderfilm Media has begun working on an Arozarena biopic with plans for release in 2022 or 2023, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The film, of course, won’t solely portray the postseason. Rather, the film will focus on Arozarena’s journey to MLB from Cuba. Wonderfilm co-founder Bret Saxon said (per Topkin), “We feel like the heart of this movie is his journey, and the people around him, how he was inspiring and helping the family back home. But, for sure, some of those big payoff moments are on the field, so there will be plenty of actual baseball in stadiums.”

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