The Seattle Mariners, like every other MLB team, had to comply with the rules MLB established before the season: the 28-man rosters to start the season would be trimmed to 26 on May 2.
That’s why they had to option a couple of players to the minor leagues to make it happen.
“#Mariners announce LHP Justus Sheffield and infielder Donovan Walton have been optioned to Triple-A, in order to comply with 26-player roster limit,” MLB insider Jon Morosi tweeted on Monday afternoon.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) May 2, 2022
Sheffield is a former top prospect in the Cleveland Guardians’ system.
He was traded to the New York Yankees a few years ago, and then he was flipped to the Mariners in the James Paxton deal.
An Inconsistent Career
The 25-year-old left-hander has disappointed to this point, at least as a starter.
While he was extremely solid in 2020 with a 3.58 ERA in the shortened season, his mark increased to a ghastly 6.83 last year, in 80.1 innings.
The Mariners had him in their bullpen to open the season, because their rotation was full.
The southpaw did well to pitch 4.2 scoreless innings in the early going, with a 0.64 WHIP and a 2/2 K/BB ratio.
However, the Mariners need him in the rotation for depth purposes.
That’s why they are sending him to the minors at the time: to work as a starter and stretch out his left arm.
There are tons of injuries, demotions, and role changes in MLB to think he won’t get another chance in the MLB roster soon.
He will need to prove he can make it as a starter, though.
If not, there appears to be a future as an MLB reliever for him, but we will need to see more until we reach that conclusion.