M's Recent Acquisitions: What To Expect

The Mariners acquired three players in the last two days, who all have been sent to Tacoma. Who are these guys, and what does their acquisition mean to the organization? Read on to find out.

The Mariners acquired veteran Craig Wilson from the Pirates for a player to be named later on Thursday. Wilson has played in seven major league season, mostly with the Pirates, but had been exclusively at AAA Indianapolis this season. Wilson will join the Tacoma Rainiers for their weekend series in Las Vegas. Wilson has a career .826 OPS in the big leagues, which is pretty good for a guy who seems to have never caught on as a major-league regular. Wilson was only an every-day guy for the Pirates for one season, and in that season (2004) he hit 29 home runs.

The Mariners are Wilson's fifth employer in the last three years. While it may seem curious to acquire Wilson, he can play first base for the Rainiers if the Mariners want to promote Bryan LaHair. But to dismiss Wilson entirely from the major-league equation is a bit unfair. There's no risk to the acquisition (the player to be named is not likely to be missed) and there's some upside if Wilson can get back to what made him an above-average major-leaguer. He's only 31, so he's not too old to succeed.

The Mariners also signed left-handed reliever Jason Kershner on Thursday. Kershner is a 31-year-old veteran who has made 89 major league appearances. He has a 4.22 career ERA at the big-league level. He hasn't pitched in the majors since 2004, when he made 22 appearances for the Blue Jays. Kershner was recently released by the Phillies. He was pitching for AA Reading this season. Kershner's an experienced lefty who can give the Rainiers good innings. Tacoma has four pitchers on the DL right now, and with Cesar Jimenez and Jared Wells recently being promoted, there were some slots to fill on the staff. Kershner's signing allows the M's to keep younger arms at the lower levels.

The M's also have acquired big righty Randy Messenger. I have not yet been able to locate if this was in trade or if the Giants released him. The 26-year-old Messenger has pitched in three seasons in the bigs, mostly with Florida. He did make 37 appearances with the Giants last year after being acquired from the Marlins for Armando Benitez. In 161 2/3 innings, he has a 5.01 ERA. Messenger spent all of this season with the Fresno Grizzlies of the PCL, where he put up a 4.83 ERA in 41 innings. He's now listed at 270 pounds on his mlb.com profile, which may be why he's had trouble making it back to the majors. He was at closer to 245 pounds when he first came to the bigs. Again, Messenger's acquisition seems to be more about having a body available for the Rainiers than about being a key piece of the Mariner bullpen going forward.

There were a few other small roster changes in the organization. RHP Johnny DuRocher was placed on the disabled list by Wisconsin, and RHP Jeff Dunbar was called up from Pulaski to take his place. And yesterday, RHP Kyle Brown was called up from Pulaski to High Desert to replace RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who was placed on the DL.


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