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Mariners trade for relief help

Mariner General Manager Jerry Dipoto struck another deal today, trading minor-league pitcher Seth Elledge to St. Louis for right-handed reliever Sam Tuivailala.

While not a high-profile trade, the acquisition does fit Dipoto's pattern of hunting down players in controllable contracts that fit specific needs. In this case, the 25-year-old Tuivailala slots into the Mariners' relief corps as a righty-batter specialist, though he has had full- and multi-inning appearances this year for the Cardinals and could be used that way here as well.

Drafted by the Cardinals in 2010, Tuivailala is a converted shortstop with a power arm. His fastball is typically in the upper-90s, but has been clocked at 100mph from time to time. He also throws a sinker, curveball, and a slider. All pitches are generally effective (the slider somewhat less so), but control has been an issue for him; his WHIP is uncomfortably high this year at 1.45.

Tuivailala has had significantly more success facing right-handed batters than lefties—this year with the Cardinals, right-handers hit .230/.247/.284 against him, while left-handers hit .333/.446/.556; over his Major League career, the split is RHB .243/.298/.349, LHB .279/.380/.461.

Going the other way in the deal, Elledge will get a promotion from Class-A, where he was pitching for the Mariners' Modesto affiliate, to Double-A, as he has been assigned to the Cardinals' Springfield, MO, affiliate. Elledge was 5-1 with a 1.17 ERA with Modesto after splitting last season between the Mariners' Everett and Clinton Class-A clubs.


Sam Tuivailala


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