Samuel Johnathan Tuivailala
Height: 6'3" Weight: 225
Bats/Throws: Right / Right
Born: 10/19/1992 in San Mateo, California
Acquired: In trade from the St. Louis Cardinals, for Seth Elledge (07/27/2018)
MLB Debut: 09/09/2014
Free Agent after: 2022 season
Twitter handle: @stuivailala
Seeking help for a troubled bullpen (looking at you, Juan), GM Jerry Dipoto traded for three new relievers before the July 31 trading deadline hit. The first of those deals netted Tuivailala, a power right-hander that had been rated best reliever of the Pacific Coast League in 2015 and who'd struck out eight batters every nine innings in his brief Major League career.
Drafted as a shortstop in 2010, Tuivailala played his first two years as a professional as a position player, seeing time at third base and the outfield as well as at short. When his bat wasn't cutting it (.219 BA, 3 HR, 24 RBI over 287 ABs), he switched to pitching in 2012, and by 2014 he had shot up the Cardinals' development ladder on the strength of a 2.80 ERA, 110 strikeout season between four minor-league stops. Last year was his first playing mostly in the Majors, and he was impressive, throwing 421⁄3 innings for St. Louis (2.55 ERA).
Tui did a nice job in five appearances for the Mariners (1-0, 1.69 ERA), but hurt his Achilles tendon and required season-ending surgery. He'll be back in action next year, but for now he makes the best of being a cheerleader for the team on Twitter:
Tui is raising money to aid the impoverished village of La Cuñeta in the Dominican Republic, pledging $50 for each strikeout he records this season to the cause. Anyone wishing to contribute to Tui's campaign to bring clean water and sustainable farming to the village can pledge at https://pledgeit.org/tui.