In a move that appears to bolster organizational depth, the Seattle Mariners acquired right-handed pitcher Joe Wieland on Tuesday from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade for minor-league infielder Erick Mejia.
The Mariners cleared space for Wieland, 25, on their 40-man roster by designating right-handed pitcher A.J. Schugel for assignment. They previously obtained Schugel in a Dec. 16 waiver claim from Arizona.
Wieland spent most of last season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he was 10-5 with a 4.59 ERA in 22 games, including 21 starts. He made two big-league starts last season for the Dodgers.
The Mariners signed Mejia, 21, as a non-drafted free agent in 2012. He spent most of last season at Short-A Everett, where he batted .282 with a .361 on-base percentage in 36 games.
Mejia was 1 for 5 in three July games at Triple-A Tacoma.
Schugel, 26, made his big-league debut last season at Arizona by allowing five earned runs in nine innings over five relief outings at Arizona. He was 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA in 21 starts at Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno.
Wieland avoided arbitration last month by agreeing to a one-year deal for $590,000, but he has one option remaining, which makes him a likely fit to open the season at Tacoma.
Texas drafted Wieland in the fourth round of the 2008 draft but traded him to San Diego on July 31, 2011. The Dodgers acquired him in a trade on Dec. 18, 2014.
Wieland made five starts for the Padres in 2012 and had four appearances for them in 2014. He is 1-5 with a 5.85 ERA overall in 11 big-league games, including nine starts, over parts of three seasons.
CARAVAN TO SOUTH SOUND
The Mariners Caravan rolls into Tacoma and surrounding areas on Jan. 20 with private stops at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and the Boys and Girls Club in Lakewood before a public autograph stop in Lacey.
Pitchers Nathan Karns and Tony Zych are tentatively scheduled to appear at each stop along with former catcher Dan Wilson and broadcaster Rick Rizzs.
Karns projects as a member of this season’s rotation after arriving in a Nov. 5 trade from Tampa Bay. Zych compiled a 2.45 ERA last season in 13 relief appearances following his Sept. 1 promotion from Tacoma.
The schedule calls for the Caravan to conduct a Get Well Tour from 1:15-2:15 p.m. at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital before a stop from 3-4 p.m. at the Lakewood Boys and Girls Club.
Both of those events are closed to the public.
The stop in Lacey is open to the public and free of charge. It will be from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Worthington Center on the Saint Martin’s University campus.
The stats mavens at Fangraphs.com are projecting an eight-game improvement this season for the Mariners and a possible end to their 14-year postseason drought.
Fangraphs projects the Mariners to finish in second place in the American League West Division at 84-78. That’s two games behind Houston but puts the Mariners in a tie with Toronto for the final wild-card spot.
Such an occurrence would force a one-game playoff between the Mariners and Blue Jays for the AL’s final postseason spot. The winner projects to play the New York Yankees in the wild-card game.
Fangraphs projects Boston, Cleveland and Houston as division winners. World Series champion Kansas City projects to finish 79-83 and just one game out of last place in the AL Central.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners