Seattle Mariners LHP Joe Beimel is a 37-year-old journeyman bullpen pitcher who looks like he may have spent some time marooned on a desert island. That prospect may be fitting, because Beimel is definitely a survivor.
He entered the league in 2001 with the NL‘s Pittsburgh Pirates. Never finding much early success as a starter, he was moved to the bullpen. The Mariners are the seventh MLB club Beimel has suited up for. He had to fight his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2012 and is no stranger to logging innings in the minors despite his veteran status in the league.
Beimel endured the entirety of his 2013 season in Triple-A for the Gwinnett Braves without getting called upon to make a big league appearance. Perhaps his entrance song, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” By Johnny Cash, best describes Beimel’s grit, humility and attitude towards the game of baseball. His appreciation for it goes hand in hand with knowing that he should not take any opportunity for granted, something he certainly has not done in 2014 so far with the Mariners.
Beimel was signed in January by Seattle to a minor league contract. He made the 25-man roster out of Spring Training and has not looked back. He is one of the the most reliable relievers for manager Lloyd McClendon to call on late in games. He carries with him the second-best ERA on the Mariners at 1.61 across 24 appearances and 22.1 innings pitched, behind only RHP Dominic Leone. When it comes to protecting a lead in ballgames, Beimel has been lights out. He is yet to allow an earned run in the 6th, 7th or 8th inning of a game this year. He is tied for third on the team with five holds.
In last night’s 5-1 win over the San Diego Padres, Beimel pitched another scoreless inning for the Mariners. For a team that does not score a lot of runs, Seattle is getting by with their above average rotation and McClendon playing situational matchups properly when he calls on his bullpen. Outside of Leone and closer Fernando Rodney, there is not a more reliable arm that the Mariners can turn to in a pinch these days than No. 97.