The Mariners are signing reliever Kyle Tyler to a minor league deal, MLBTR has learned. The Nello Gamberdino client hit free agency last summer after being released by the Giants.
Tyler’s name frequented the MLBTR pages last offseason. The right-hander bounced around to a number of teams in rapid succession, essentially serving as the 41st man on a handful of clubs’ rosters. A career-long member of the Angels through the lockout, he lost his 40-man spot with Anaheim during Spring Training. Within a few weeks, he’d go to the Red Sox, Padres, back to the Angels and then back to the Padres via waivers.
While Tyler held a 40-man spot in San Diego into early June, he was again designated for assignment at that point. He finally cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. The Padres re-selected him onto the roster within a few days, then waived him again a couple weeks thereafter. Tyler cleared and became a minor league free agent (as was his right after a second career outright assignment) and signed a non-roster deal with the Giants. He made only four Triple-A appearances in the San Francisco organization before being released.
It was a circuitous route, one Tyler acknowledged at the time wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience. The 26-year-old got into just two MLB games last year, both with San Diego. He spent the majority of the season with the Friars’ top affiliate in El Paso, posting a 4.98 ERA through 21 2/3 innings of relief. He struck out 29% of batters faced with an excellent 58.7% grounder percentage for the Chihuahuas, though he also walked over 20% of opponents.
The free passes were uncharacteristic, as Tyler had never previously walked more than 8.6% of batters faced at a minor league stop. Prospect evaluators had pointed to his above-average control in pegging him as a potential depth starter, though he’s settled into a relief role for the past couple seasons.
Tyler joins Taylor Williams, Casey Sadler, Riley O’Brien and José Rodríguez as righty relievers with MLB experience who’ll serve as non-roster depth options for the Mariners. The M’s have a very deep bullpen that isn’t likely to afford many early opportunities to that group. Tyler will likely start the year at Triple-A Tacoma and try to vie for a midseason job. He still has two option years remaining, so the M’s could shuttle him between Seattle and Tacoma if he secures a 40-man roster spot.