Mariners select RHP Chris Clarke from Cubs in Rule 5 Draft

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MAY 05: The hat and glove of Robbie Ray #38 of the Seattle Mariners are seen in the bullpen before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on May 05, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Image

The Seattle Mariners selected right-handed pitcher Chris Clarke from the Chicago Cubs organization in the Rule 5 Draft on Wednesday.

Clarke, 24, a fourth-round pick of the Cubs in the 2019 MLB Draft out of USC, appeared in 26 games last season at the High-A and Double-A levels. In 20 games for the Tennessee Smokies of the Double-A Southern League, Clarke made 17 starts with a 7-5 record and a 4.93 ERA with 20 walks and 87 strikeouts in 96 ⅔ innings pitched.

The Rule 5 Draft is a mechanism that allows minor league players stuck behind established major-leaguers in their organization a chance to find an opportunity with a new team. Any player picked in the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft must be a part of the team's MLB roster the entirety of the following season or he is returned to the organization from which he was drafted.

Here's the full list of conditions placed upon a Rule 5 selection:

A player selected in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft must be kept on the Major League 26-man roster of the drafting team for the entirety of next season, and the selected player must remain active (not on the Injured List) for a minimum of 90 days. If the selecting team wishes to remove the Rule 5 pick from the 26-man roster, the player must first be placed on waivers. If he clears waivers, he must then be offered back to his original team. If the original team declines his return, then he may be optioned to the minors.

Players on an organization's 40-man roster are protected from the Rule 5 Draft. To be eligible for selection, a player must either have spent four seasons in professional baseball after signing at age 19 or older, or spent five seasons in pro ball after signing at 18 or younger.

With a starting rotation mostly set and little chance of breaking into the Mariners' pitching staff as a starter, Seattle is likely viewing Clarke as a relief pitcher heading into spring training.

The Mariners have also signed former Kansas City Royals right-handed Trevor Gott this offseason as they search for a bullpen replacement for Erik Swanson, who was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in the deal that brought outfielder Teoscar Hernández to Seattle.

In the minor league portion of the draft, the Mariners added infielder/outfielder Francisco Tostado from the San Francisco Giants in the first round, and infielder/outfielder Logan Warmoth in the second round from the Blue Jays.

Tostado, 24, was a 19th round pick of the Giants in the 2017 MLB Draft out of Oxnard College. In four minor league seasons, Tostado has hit. 265 with 63 doubles, 11 triples, 46 home runs and 224 RBI in 349 games played. Last season for Double-A Richmond, he hit .284 with 16 doubles, a triple, 11 home runs and 41 RBI.

Warmoth, 27, was a first round pick of the Blue Jays in 2017 out of North Carolina. Last season for Triple-A Buffalo, he hit .229 with 18 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 45 RBI. In five minor league seasons, he's hit .243 with 75 doubles, 11 triples, 22 home runs and 168 RBI in 422 games.

The Mariners also lost left-handed pitcher Max Roberts to the Houston Astros, left-handed pitcher Jose Aquino to the Cubs, and shortstop Riley Unroe to the Los Angeles Angels in the minor league portion of the draft.