Kendall Graveman back with the Mariners

The Seattle Mariners sure didn’t wait long to make their first “big” move of the 2020-2021 off-season, bringing back veteran pitcher Kendall Graveman.

Some fans were bummed to see the Seattle Mariners decline the $3.25 million option on right-handed pitcher Kendall Graveman. After all, his loud velocity and relative likability made him a fun player to watch in 2020 and his teammates seem to absolutely love the guy. Well, those fans didn’t have to wait long to be excited by the return of Graveman, who returned to Seattle after signing a 1-year, $1.25 million deal.

Graveman’s deal also includes $2.5 million in incentives, including a $1 million bonus if he finishes 40 games. If he can activate all the incentives, Graveman could make $3.75 million, presenting a win-win scenario for both sides.

Graveman is returning as a reliever and he is happy with that role. In nine relief appearances in September, Graveman held opponents to a .182 batting average and featured a sinker that sat 97 MPH and a four-seam fastball that touched 100 MPH. Graveman doesn’t have the plus secondary offering required to be an above-average reliever, but Graveman said to reporters that he is changing his off-season workouts, working on a slider, and buying a rapsodo machine.

Graveman also spoke to the positives happening in the Mariners organization.

“It’s been a drought in Seattle going to the postseason for a long time… If we want to win, we’re going to need everybody pulling in the same direction. Toward the end of the year, I saw that trend going up. I think the win column showed that. Moving forward, that’s what I’m telling all the guys: ‘Let’s go win. That’s the only thing that matters.’

Graveman feels at home in Seattle and he’ll be a fascinating case to watch this spring training. If he can develop an above-average slider, Graveman could be a nice middle reliever in what should be an improved bullpen entering 2021.

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