Doolittle, do late

The trade deadline may have come and gone, but the Mariners nevertheless acquired a new reliever today. Former Oakland A and Washington National southpaw Sean Doolittle joins the M's on a waiver claim after being designated for assignment by the Cincinnati Reds. To make room, reliever Keynan Middleton has been placed on waivers by the Mariners and may now be claimed by another team.

A two-time All-Star, Doolittle has had a rough go of it the last couple of years. Having missed most of the abbreviated 2020 campaign with injuries (knee and oblique issues), "Obi-Sean Kenobi" signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Reds prior to this season. Expected to be a key piece of the Cincinnati bullpen, the left-hander instead was only sporadically effective, racking up a nearly-4.50 ERA and four blown saves before the DFA hammer came down on him.

Doolittle will be a welcome addition to Seattle's relief corps, however. He adds a second left-handed option for manager Scott Servais, giving a bit more flexibility beyond Anthony Misiewicz, and has proven veteran experience from postseason teams. He has been especially good throughout his ten-year career against lefty batters, holding them to a puny .192 average. Right-handers have hit him hard this season, but most of that damage came in one particularly ugly stretch in June (he surrendered at least one hit in every appearance he made that month). Since the calendar flipped to July, he's held all batters to an aggregate .200 average.

Off the field, Doolittle is an active voice for veterans, refugees, and LGBT rights. While he was with Oakland, the A's held their first "Pride Night" promotion, which was met with vocal backlash among a segment of the Bay Area fan base; Doolittle and and his wife, Eireann Dolan, reacted by packing the Oakland Coliseum that night by way of thousands of tickets donated by fans and purchased by the couple that were given to Bay Area LGBTQ youth organizations (Dolan's open letter announcing the effort is a fun read). Doolittle has been nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award and has been honored with the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award for his work with veterans support organizations. He's also a big reader that seeks out independent bookstores. So, folks over at Elliott Bay Book Company, keep an eye out for a 6'2" guy with a big red beard, tattooed arm, and glasses checking out the sci-fi section during the homestand. It's probably the Mariners' newest pitcher.