SEATTLE, Wash. — Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto announced today that the club has signed left-handed pitcher Marc Rzepczynski (pronounced “zep-CHIN-ski”) to a two-year contract. The Mariners have also signed right-handed pitcher Casey Fien to a Major League contract.
In order to make room on the 40-man roster, Seattle has designated for assignment left-handed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer and right-handed pitcher Zach Lee.
With today’s roster moves, the Mariners Major League, 40-man, roster remains at 40 players.
Rzepczynski, 31, combined for a record of 1-0 with a 2.64 ERA (14 ER, 47.2 IP) with 46 strikeouts and 29 walks in 70 appearances with Oakland and Washington last season. He allowed 1 or fewer walks in 66 of his 70 outings, T10th-most such games by a left-handed reliever in 2016. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound left-hander began the season with the Athletics, where he went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA (12 ER, 36.0 IP) with 37 strikeouts and 24 walks in 56 games. He was acquired by the Nationals on Aug. 4 in exchange for infielder Max Schrock. In 14 outings with Washington, he posted a 1.54 ERA (2 ER, 11.2 IP) with 9 strikeouts and 5 walks. Rzepczynski made 3 relief appearances with the Nationals in the 2016 National League Division Series vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers. He went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA (1 ER, 2.0 IP) with 3 strikeouts and 4 walks.
Since 2011, Rzepczynski has made 394 relief appearances, 4th-most among left-handed pitchers during the span. He has made at least 70 appearances in 5 of the last 6 seasons (2011-16), including the last 3 consecutive. Rzepczynski joins Joe Smith and Mark Melancon as the only pitchers to appear in 70 or more games in 5 of the last 6 seasons.
The native of Oak Lawn, IL., was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of California-Riverside. In parts of 8 Major League seasons with Toronto (2009-2011), St. Louis (2011-2013), Cleveland (2013-2015), San Diego (2015), Oakland (2016) and Washington (2016), Rzepczynski has compiled a career record of 12-24 with a 3.80 ERA (166 ER, 393.0 IP) with 373 strikeouts and 175 walks in 419 career games (23 starts).
Fien, 33, combined to go 1-1 with a 5.49 ERA (24 ER, 39.1 IP) with 35 strikeouts and 10 walks in 39 relief appearances last season with Minnesota and Los Angeles – NL. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound right-hander began the season with the Twins, where he went 1-0 with a 7.90 ERA (12 ER, 13.2 IP) with 12 strikeouts and 3 walks in 14 games. After being claimed off waivers from the Twins by the Dodgers on May 7, Fien went 0-1 with a 4.21 ERA (12 ER, 25.2 IP) with 23 strikeouts and 7 walks in 25 relief appearances with Los Angeles – NL. In 39 games last season, Fien recorded 1 or fewer walks in 38 appearances, including 30 outings with 0 free passes.
The native of Santa Rosa, CA, was selected by Detroit in the 20th round of the 2006 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He made his Major League debut with the Tigers on July 26, 2009 vs. Chicago-AL. After making 23 relief appearances in the Houston Astros minor league system in 2011, Fien signed as a free agent with Minnesota on Jan. 3, 2012. In parts of 7 Major League seasons with the Tigers (2009-2010), Twins (2012-2016) and Dodgers (2016), Fien has compiled a career record of 17-17 with a 4.06 ERA (125 ER, 277.0 IP) with 241 strikeouts and 55 walks in 293 career relief appearances.
Kiekhefer, 27, was claimed off waivers by the Mariners from St. Louis on Nov. 4. He made 26 relief appearances with St. Louis after making his Major League debut with the Cardinals on May 14 at Los Angeles-NL. Over 5 stints with the Cardinals (5/13-6/18, 7/20, 7/26-8/2, 8/3-5 & 8/29-end of season) he held opponents scoreless in 20 of 26 appearances, going 0-0 with a 5.32 ERA (13 ER, 22.0 IP), while walking 7 and striking out 14. The 6-0, 175-pound left-handed reliever limited opponents to a .273 (24×88) average, including a .209 (9×43) average vs. left-handed batters. Kiekhefer also appeared in 29 games with AAA Memphis, going 6-1 with 2 saves and a 2.08 ERA (8 ER, 34.2 IP).
Kiekhefer was originally selected by the Cardinals in the 36th round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Louisville. Over 7 minor league seasons, he is 20-16 with a 2.65 ERA (110 ER, 373.0 IP) in 264 games, 1 start. He has limited opponents to a .251 (359×1429) average, while walking only 55 and striking out 275. Of his 264 appearances, he has tossed at least 2.0 innings or more in 90 games (34%), including not allowing a run in 59 of those 90 appearances. Kiekhefer has posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.00 in his minor league career and has issued only 34 walks over his last 286.1 innings dating back to 2012. During this stretch, dating back to 2012, his 5.82 strikeout-to walk ratio (198 K, 34 BB) is tied for the 2nd-highest in the minor leagues, while his 1.07 walks-per-9.0-innings ratio (34 BB, 286.1 IP) is 2nd-lowest in the minor leagues (min. 250.0 IP).
Lee, 24, was acquired from Los Angeles-NL in exchange for infielder Chris Taylor on June 19. He combined for a record of 7-14 with a 6.14 ERA (101 ER, 148.0 IP) with 107 strikeouts and 39 walks in 27 starts with AAA Oklahoma City and AAA Tacoma last season. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander began the season in the Dodgers organization at AAA Oklahoma City, where he went 7-5 with 4.89 ERA (40 ER, 73.2 IP) with 57 strikeouts and 15 walks in 13 starts. After being acquired by the Mariners, Lee went 0-9 with a 7.39 ERA (61 ER, 74.1 IP) with 50 strikeouts and 24 walks in 14 starts with AAA Tacoma.
The native of Plano, TX., was originally selected by Los Angeles-NL in the 1st round (28th overall) of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of McKinney High School (McKinney, Texas). He made his Major League debut with the Dodgers on July 25, 2015 at New York-NL, and took the loss, allowing 7 runs on 11 hits with 3 strikeouts and 1 walk over 4.2 innings pitched. last season, going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA (7 ER, 4.2 IP) with 3 strikeouts in 1 start. In parts of 6 minor league seasons with the Dodgers (2011-2016) and Mariners organizations, Lee has compiled a career record of 52-55 with a 4.29 ERA (379 ER, 794.1 IP) with 614 strikeouts and 212 walks in 153 career games (149 starts). He was listed as a Baseball America Top-100 prospect prior to the 2011 (#89), 2012 (#62) and 2014 (#95) seasons.