Art Warren Pitches His Way Into Seattle's Plans
Righthander Art Warren was involved in many front office discussions throughout the year, with this being the Mariners' final year to add the 26-year-old reliever to their 40-man roster or risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft.
Warren has stuff—he has touched 101 mph and complements his fastball with a good slider—but nagging injury issues have always presented questions.
He answered those questions with a mostly healthy 2019 season at Double-A Arkansas that earned him a September callup. Warren led the Texas League with 15 saves and recorded a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings to make the league's postseason all-star team as closer.
Warren was one of four prospects called up in September, along with righthander Justin Dunn, outfielder Kyle Lewis and shortstop Donnie Walton, so that kept the Mariners quiet when November’s roster deadline came along.
But one more injury for Warren, a 23rd-round pick from Ashland (Ohio) in 2015, nearly jeopardized that chance. He suffered a groin strain that sent him to the injured list on Aug. 19, in the final weeks of Arkansas’ season, after dealing with shoulder injuries that led to extended stints on the injured list the previous two seasons.
He had earned an invitation to big league camp before the 2018 season, but he didn’t get one for 2019 because of those shoulder issues.
Warren was activated from the IL on Sept. 5 and was called up to Seattle less than a week later. He allowed no runs and two hits over his 5.1 innings in the big leagues. His fastball averaging just over 95 mph.
The Mariners see him as one of the vocal leaders among their group of core prospects, with Warren known for leading Arkansas’ raucous postgame victory celebrations that would feature a disco ball, baby powder spewing through a fan and Warren on a table waving a victory flag.
And given his 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame, it’s not difficult for him to stick out.
If he keeps pitching like he did in 2019, he’ll have no problem continuing to do so.
— The Mariners and 23-year-old first baseman Evan White agreed to a six-year contract that guarantees him $24 million, with three additional club option years that could take the deal to as high as $55.5 million. The 2017 first-rounder out of Kentucky spent the season at Double-A Arkansas and with the deal becomes just the fourth player in history to sign a long-term deal before reaching the big leagues, and the first lacking much experience above the Double-A level.
— The Mariners reportedly signed 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Victor Labrada as an international free agent. He was a captain for the 18U Cuban national team last year and hit .350 in seven games in the Pan-American Championship Series.
— Former Mariners utility infielder Kristopher Negron retired following the 2019 season and was hired as Seattle’s assistant to farm director Andy McKay.
— Former Mariners prospect Ryan Costello, a 23-year-old first baseman traded to the Twins following the 2018 season, was found dead in a hotel room in Aukland, New Zealand, on Nov. 18. The Mariners selected him in the 31st round out of Central Connecticut State in 2017 and he was a Midwest League all-star for low Class A Clinton in 2018.