This week, I had the opportunity to talk to Seattle Mariners pitcher Roenis Elías and ask him a few questions.
Elías grew up in Cuba and played there until 2010 when he defected from Cubs in hopes of signing an MLB contract.
In 2011, Elías signed a contract with the Seattle Mariners. He rose through the minors and made his debut in the majors in 2014.
In 2016, Elías was traded to the Red Sox. Between injuries and being in the minors, he only appeared in four games with the major league club.
In 2018, Elías was traded back to the Mariners. He was primarily used as a reliever and later in the year as the team’s primary closer. He recorded 14 saves with the team.
In 2019, Elías was traded to the Nationals. He appeared in four games but was released before the playoffs.
In 2021, Elías signed a minor league contract with the Mariners, his third stint with the team. Unfortunately, Elías was forced to receive Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2021 season. Before the 2022 season, he was re-signed by the Mariners. Elías is playing with the Tacoma Rainiers in AAA. He is still recovering from his surgery, and although he is not on the Mariners’ 40-man roster, he will likely make his return to the majors sometime this year.
Elías’ pitch arsenal consists of a 4-Seam Fastball (50.8%), a changeup (29.3%), a curveball (13.4%), and a sinker (6.5%).
In his major league career, Elías is 22-24 with a 3.97 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 7.5 K/9 with a single shoutout to go along with his 14 saves.
Here’s the interview:
Q: When you were growing up and when you were playing in Cuba, was the goal to always play Major League Baseball?
A: Major League Baseball is the best in the world that has no comparison. Cuba was a good school but the majors have no comparison.
Q: What’s the biggest difference in style of play between Cuban baseball and Major League Baseball? Or is baseball just baseball?
A: Well brother, I think the difference is the conditions and baseball here is better in Cuba. There were no conditions to play here, we have everything that is needed.
Q: In the first half of your career, you were a starter. But, in the second half of your career, you have been primarily used as a receiver as well as a closer at times. Which do you prefer? Which do you think you are better at?
A: I think I like all three of the roles. I think I can be good at all three roles there is no difference all you have to do is throw the ball in the middle.
Q: Was it a goal to end up with the Mariners for the 3rd time? How have you found a home with the Mariners?
A: It is always difficult to leave a team because of your teammates, because of the fans, and to leave a team that gave me the opportunity to be who I am right now. The Mariners have always believed in my talent.
Q: You have been traded multiple times. Luckily to good cities and good baseball cities. Do you ever feel like you are just getting bounced around the league?
A: This is a business you can’t get attached to any team wherever I go I try to give my best and do my best and thank God things have turned out well for me
Thank you so much to Roenis Elías for these fantastic responses. I encourage all fans to support the minor leagues and try to attend games because the talent there is truly remarkable.