Michael Mariot was claimed off waivers by the Phillies prior to last season. He missed all of spring training and most of the first two months of the regular season with an ankle injury before the Phillies gave him a look in August. Mariot pitched well enough that he worked his way into a late-inning role by the end of the season. He was even used to close out a few games and picked up two saves while also blowing one chance. Mariot generated a 9.55 K/9 in the majors, racking up most of his strikeouts with his slider. He also put a lot of runners on base via the walk, however, and he won't be able to find consistent success in the majors without improvement in that area. Those control issues also make it unlikely that he'll close down the road. Despite holding a high-leverage role in 2016, Mariot will have to compete for his roster spot this spring.
Mariot cleared waivers Tuesday and was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports. Despite logging a couple of saves for the Phillies this past season, there was no room for the 28-year-old on the 40-man roster after they signed Joaquin Benoit. However, Mariot will stick with Philadelphia and move forward as an organizational depth piece, although his major league experience could help him be one of the first callups if the major league bullpen falters.
Mariot was designated for assignment by the Phillies on Tuesday. With Joaquin Benoit coming aboard on a one-year deal, Mariot lost his spot on the 40-man roster, and he will now be subjected to waivers. The 28-year-old's 2016 numbers were marred by one six-run blowup on Aug. 27 (0.2 innings). He pitched fairly well down the stretch and even recorded a couple saves over the final few weeks. While Mariot doesn't have truly dominant stuff, he may appeal to other teams -- especially in this market for relief pitching.
Mariot picked up his second save of the season Saturday despite allowing a solo homer in his inning of work. Manager Pete Mackanin used Hector Neris in the eighth inning Saturday in a non-save situation, but Neris gave up a run creating a save opportunity for Mariot in the ninth. He was a bit shaky, allowing the home and two walks, but managed to get out of the inning.
Manager Pete Mackanin said Mariot, Hector Neris, Joely Rodriguez and Edubray Ramos are in the mix for save chances with Jeanmar Gomez temporarily out of the closer's role, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports. Mackanin said he wants to give Gomez a break for the next couple of save chances. Mariot may be no better than third in the pecking order for save chances, but could be asked to close if Neris and Ramos are unavailable when a save chance comes up.
Mariot got his first save of the season by retiring the only batter he faced Tuesday against the White Sox. Mariot was called upon to retire shortstop Tim Anderson after closer Jeanmar Gomez allowed Chicago to reduce Philadelphia's 7-3 lead to just one run. The 27-year-old right-hander could be in the mix for saves down the stretch if Gomez's poor performance costs him his job.