The Mariners have dealt Mike Sweeney to the Philadelphia Phillies for either a player to be named or cash considerations. Philadelphia put in a waiver claim for Sweeney and then worked out the deal with the M’s.
Sweeney had been on the disabled list with back spasms since June 27 and had completed his rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Tacoma. The Mariners had to activate him, as per MLB rules.
“Mike is a true pro and was a contributor to our organization in many ways, both on and off the field,” Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said in a release. “This is a great opportunity for Mike and we are pulling for him to succeed in Philadelphia.”
Sweeney appeared in only 30 games for the M’s this season, hitting .263 with a team-best six homers at the time, while also notching 18 runs batted in. He’d bewen bothered by back spasms off and on prior to being put on the DL.
But that decision may have been more the result of a lack of room for him on the squad than anything else. Right before he went on the DL, Sweeney told me his back was feeling better and that he could play.
At the time, the team classified it as more of a precautionary move than anything else. But as the weeks carried on, it became clear it was more of a numbers issue than anything else. The Mariners found themselves in a logjam at first base and DH with the acquisition of Russell Branyan and then Justin Smoak.
There simply was no room left on the squad for Sweeney, who only made the team out of spring training because the Mariners were deeply worried about Ken Griffey Jr. and the overall strength of their offense. Sweeney beat out Ryan Garko for the final roster spot, then spent most of the first month on the bench as Griffey tried in vain to get his bat going.
Once given regular playing time, Sweeney’s bat went on a power tear in mid-May and carried the squad through the rest of the month.
But his back problems began to slow him down in June, culminating with the decision to put him on the DL.
The Phillies give Sweeney his best shot at making the post-season since he broke into the majors 15 years ago. He flirted with contention with the 2003 Royals, but that club fell out of the race by early September.