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Monday, December 4, 2023
Dec. 4, 2023

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D-backs add Mariners closer Paul Sewald in exchange for 3 players

Pitcher has a career-high 21 saves this season


PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks have solidified the back of their bullpen ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, acquiring closer Paul Sewald from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for infielder Josh Rojas, outfielder Dominic Canzone and minor leaguer Ryan Bliss.

The teams announced the deal on Monday.

The D-backs opted to be buyers at the trade deadline despite a 7-16 record in July that’s caused their overall record to slide to 56-50. They started Monday four games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and one game back from the final spot of a crowded NL wild-card race.

Sewald has been a mainstay at the back of Seattle’s bullpen for the past three seasons.

He has a career-high 21 saves this season in 45 appearances, after recording 20 saves in 2022 and 11 in 2021. In his three seasons with Seattle, Sewald has an 18-8 record and 2.88 ERA in 172 games.

“Gonna miss this place,” Sewald said. “It was an amazing three years and changed my life, changed my career — personally, professionally. I owe a lot to the people here and feel like I gave them everything I had for three years and it’s going to be tough.

“But the Diamondbacks traded for me which meant they wanted me more and I’m excited to get to Arizona and do what I can.”

Arizona’s bullpen has struggled of late, with a rotating cast of closers like Scott McGough, Andrew Chafin and Miguel Castro. Sewald’s arrival should give the Diamondbacks some certainty on who will handle the ninth inning.

For Seattle, it’s a similar move to two seasons ago when the Mariners dealt then-closer Kendall Graveman to Houston at the deadline in exchange for utilityman Abraham Toro and reliever Joe Smith. At that time, the Mariners were nine game over .500 and ended the season 90-72, barely missing out on a wild-card spot.

This season, the Mariners have been mired in mediocrity hovering around .500 for most of the season, never climbing more than three games above the .500 mark at any point. They started Monday 5½ games back in the AL West and 4½ games behind in the wild-card race.

“It’s a good baseball trade, but it’s one that hurts just because of our relationship with Paul and what Paul’s meant to us,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.

Servais added that the Mariners aren’t necessarily waving the white flag after adding two players — Rojas and Canzone — who are already in the big leagues.

“Players never want to see a guy like (Sewald) walk out the door,” Servais said. “But you have to wait and see what comes in the door. There’s a lot of ways of improving your team and giving your team a better chance maybe to make a run at the playoffs and hopefully the guys we acquired can come in and help us.”

Rojas — a Phoenix-area native — was a mainstay for the Diamondbacks in 2021 and 2022, but has struggled this season. He’s got a .252 career batting average and 22 homers. A change of scenery might be good for the versatile player, who has spent time at third base, second base, shortstop and even the outfield, but admitted it was tough to leave home.

“It’s been an awesome experience being able to play at home, in front of my friends and family,” Rojas said. “So that’s definitely going to be missed.”

Canzone recently made his big-league debut and has a .237 average with a homer and eight RBI in 41 plate appearances. Bliss was batting .358 with 12 homers at Double-A Amarillo. He was drafted in the second round out of Auburn in 2021.

The D-backs and Mariners just completed a three-game series at Chase Field, with Seattle winning two of the three games.

Mariners trade Pollock, Mathias to Giants

The San Francisco Giants acquired outfielder AJ Pollock and utility player Mark Mathias from the Seattle Mariners on Monday in exchange for a player to be named or cash.

Pollock has struggled in his only season with the Mariners, hitting .173 with five homers and 15 RBI in 49 games. Pollock was signed to be part of a platoon in left field with Jarred Kelenic. But Pollock never found consistent playing time after Kelenic’s hot start to the season.

Pollock, 35, is on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hamstring but is eligible to be activated Tuesday. The .273 career hitter has spent most of his career in the National League West with Arizona and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mathias was playing for Triple-A Tacoma after being claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh earlier this month. He was designated for assignment by the Pirates in late June. Mathias appeared in 22 games for the Pirates and hit .231.

Mathias was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.


AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco and AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed to this report.

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