The Mariners have acquired starting pitcher Aaron Harang from the Colorado Rockies for a minor-league reliever Steven Hensley.
In order to make room on the active roster for Harang, the team designated reliever Kameron Loe for assignment. The Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright Loe’s contract.
Harang began the spring with the Los Angeles Dodgers but was traded to the Rockies for veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez. The Mariners were reportedly interested in Harang at the time.
The move comes after two bad starts by the Mariners’ No. 4 and No. 5 starters against the offensively-challenged Houston Astros. On back-to-back nights, the Astros pounded rookie Brandon Maurer and Blake Beavan.
Maurer won a job this spring despite never having pitched about Double-A. He beat out veteran Jon Garland, who exercised an opt-out option on his contract on March 22. Garland later signed a deal with the Rockies. He won his season debut, 6-3, against the San Diego Padres by pitching six solid innings (two earned runs).
Harang, who has yet to pitch this season and designated for assignment by the Rockies, is an 11-year veteran with stops in Oakland, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego. The 34-year-old has a career record of 105-104 with a 4.19 ERA. He went 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA in 179.2 innings last year with the Dodgers.
Harang will be paid $7 million this season, and has a vesting option for next season that would pay him $7 million in 2014 if he pitches 180.1 innings. If the option does not vest, Harang gets a $2 million buyout.
Maurer, 22, lost his major league debut on April 4 in Oakland after giving up six runs in six innings. On Tuesday, the Astros knocked him out in the first inning after tagging him for six runs on seven hits and a walk. He has a 16.20 ERA.
Beavan hasn’t been much better in his two starts – 7.59 ERA in 10.2 innings after giving up four earned runs to the Astros on Wednesday night. Beavan, who has pitched parts of three years now with the Mariners, has a 4.50 career ERA and a 16-18 record in 260 innings.
Hensley, 26, has played six minor league seasons in the Seattle organization, compiling a 30-30 record with a 4.48 ERA. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. Hensely is 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 2.2 innings with the Rainiers this season.
Loe, in four games this season, was 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA. He was signed as a free agent after spending eight seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers.