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Mariners Sign Casey Lawrence, Sean Poppen To Minor League Deals

The Mariners announced their non-roster invitees to Spring Training this evening. A trio of players with MLB experience have joined the organization on deals not previously covered at MLBTR: right-handers Casey Lawrence and Sean Poppen and catcher/first baseman Michael Papierski.

Lawrence is a familiar face for Seattle fans. The righty has logged multiple stints in the organization as a swingman. He made 34 appearances as a Mariner between 2017-18, accounting for a little over half his big league experience. The 36-year-old has also pitched for the Blue Jays and Cardinals, logging 15 appearances in St. Louis a year ago.

In 27 1/3 innings of mostly low-leverage relief for the Cards, Lawrence posted a 6.59 ERA. He struck out a below-average 16.4% of opponents while averaging 90 MPH on his fastball. Lawrence had better results working as rotation depth in Triple-A. He started 21 games at the top minor league level, allowing 4.76 earned runs per nine through 104 innings. Lawrence fanned just under 20% of opponents while limiting his walks to a 6.8% clip.

Poppen, 30 in March, is a pure reliever. He compiled a 5.08 ERA in 63 appearances divided with four teams between 2019-22. The Harvard product spent last year at Triple-A with the Padres. He struggled with the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League setting, allowing a 6.33 ERA through 58 1/3 frames. Poppen had a subpar 17.6% strikeout percentage against a slightly elevated 10.3% walk rate. He has shown better swing-and-miss potential at the MLB level, where he owns a serviceable 22.3% strikeout rate for his career.

Papierski is a right-handed hitting backstop who had a brief MLB look with the Giants and Reds two seasons ago. He played the ’23 campaign in Triple-A as a member of the Tigers. Papierski had a solid offensive performance, hitting .266/.370/.422 with eight homers in 77 contests. He walked at a strong 13.8% clip across 305 plate appearances.

Seattle also said that right-hander Darren McCaughan is in camp as a non-roster player. According to his transactions log at MLB.com, he went unclaimed on outright waivers. The M’s announced that he was designated for assignment this afternoon as the corresponding move for their waiver claim of outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba. They’d apparently placed McCaughan on waivers before officially revealing his DFA. While the 6’1″ hurler had the right to elect free agency, it seems he decided to stick in the organization with the understanding he’d get a look in MLB camp.

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