Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Five reasons why the Mariners should consider signing Luke Hochevar


I took some flak in my last post for suggesting the Mariners should consider signing Luke Hochevar. On the surface his 8-16 record and 5.73 ERA would not be a fit for a team that has not made the playoffs in over a decade. However, looking at some of his stats, Hochevar does make some sense for the Mariners. In my opinion, if he is non-tendered by the Royals, he seems to be a perfect fit for Safeco Field and worth a low priced gamble.

Here’s five things to consider.

  1. Safeco Field is a pitchers park. This is unlikely to change by moving in the fences next season. According to MLBTradeRumors.com’s Non-Tender Candidate series, Hochevar had a 43.6% ground ball rate in 2012. He struck out a league average 6.9 K/9 IP, while averaging 3.0 BB/9 IP.
  2. This would allow the Mariners to protect their investment in the “Big Three”, considering Paxton is not traded and how much credence there is in the trade rumors linking him to the Royals. As fans we should hope not to have Kerry Wood or Mark Prior type injuries to the young core. If they flame out because they can’t get big league hitters out that would be better than never knowing because of injury. Just my thinking.
  3. As a non-tender candidate, Hochevar would come cheap with the possibility of a high reward. No one figured in 1996 that Jamie Moyer would be such a good pick up. In recent history, Oliver Perez was seen as an experiment. He paid off in the M’s bullpen in 2012. My suggestion, pick up Hochevar at a one year incentive laden deal with a 2014 option. If he doesn’t work out then the M’s wouldn’t be out much if they decided to later trade him or designate him for assignment.
  4. As pointed out in the comments to my Letter to Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik , Jason Vargas home/road splits are a point of concern. Vargas is great at Safeco Field. He had good trade value at the deadline last year, but given his splits, will it remain what it was? I’m not necessarily saying Vargas should be traded, but if he could net a young bat with team control it would be worth into at least looking into.
  5. Beyond the “Big Three” there are few pitching options in the organization for the rotation barring a free agent signing and/or trade. The outfield depth could be used as trade options, but the tradability and major league talent of some of them are questionable at best without depleting the outfield for 2013 and beyond.

I’m a hometown fan, but not a disillusioned “homer”. The Mariners are more than a year off from contending again. The “rebuilding by spending” has been tried and failed. Now let the kids develop on the farm and sign some stop gap help for a year before rushing the arms to Seattle.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. What do you think?


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  • mat

    Robb,
    its me again. Just trying to give some good opinion/debate with the Hochever/Vargas senario. Lets start with IF Vargas was moved(not let go as was suggested) for a BAT. He has value! I”d ask for 1 good/young bat and a mid prospect(hitter). That bat absolutly needs to plug an offensive hole; and produce-.280+, 20hr or so, and 80+rbi. But then this player will start costiing more money. Then we have to replace His Innings(200+)? Where? Not in house options yet. Hochever IS NOT a replacement. His replacment can be an endless debate. WHY move a guy starting to give 200+ inning-pay the man. So, Felix is thinking: in 2 years they have traded-Bedard(no big deal), Fister(ouch), Pieneda(so far gotlucky), then if Vargas goes–Felix is thinking “why the $&# should I stick around and lose while these young studs maybe develope around me. I dont want to be the only goto guy-all the time for the next 2+ years”. “Im out of here-goinng to a team that can WIN with ME”.

    So here are 6 reasons NOT to bring Hochever here.

    1. Hocheves road split: 2012=5.70, 2011=4.91, 2010=6.85. so bringing up Vargas road splits doesnt help to make the sell on Hochever.
    2. Erasmo R.-limited starts looks good
    3. Beaven-3runs or less=16x in 2012
    4.Paxton
    5. Hultzen
    6.Walker
    I think that they should look for a vet starter to come in and compete for a spot-but Hoch is not going to all of a sudden turn into a good starter-just by pitching in seattle(safeco).

    IF they bring in some ‘offense’ and plug holes where the productin is lacking(1b, of, utly,) then this is a team that could be about 15 wins higher in the standings. Look at how many games were lost because they couldnt even score 2 or 3 runs. Remember Vargas’s 9inn shut out(dont remember vs.) and lost because pen gave up run in the 10th. To many games of: 1-0, 2-1loses. Got to stay strong with the starting pitching!!!

    Is Hochever on your fantasy team? jsut kidding.

    • RobbSaul

      LOL Mat. No I wouldn’t be that stupid to put Hochevar on my fantasy team.

    • JJ Allen Keller

      Vargas won’t net you a .280, 20 homer guy. He really is no where near as good as Safexo makes him look. He needs to be packaged for a bat if we want to get anything for him.

      Beavan should not be in a major league rotation. Hocheaver>Beavan if he comes cheap.

      He isn’t my favorite option, and think we can afford someone better (out payroll as of now is like 62M), but I wouldn’t mind him as a 5th guy for a year.

  • RobbSaul

    Mat, I see some of your points, especially the ones surrounding a strong pitching staff. That’s the thing I want, and I want DESPERATELY for the M’s to return to contention. The sooner, the better. Jack is crafty when it comes to trades, he may be able to pull something this off season that knocks our socks off and we don’t have to worry about signing an average pitcher and hoping he can get it together.

    One thing I was not very clear on in the Letter to Jack Z post was Hoch as a non-tender candidate for KC. I would not trade for him at any cost. He was a flopped #1 pick and KC would probably want something of value to compensate for him.

    IF… we could get rid of Chone Figgins for him though, THEN I would do the trade.

    Plus, a project (Oliver Perez) sometimes pays off. Most of the time though… not so much (a la Milton Bradley).

    I also want to reiterate that I’m in favor of keeping Vargas, but his road numbers are shaky. But not because he can’t pitch. He definitely has value. I’m trying to get into the heads of MLB scouts as a fan, which can sometimes be a dangerous thing for a fan to do. Plus in this downtime before free agency begins I’m trying to create some discussion.

    I appreciate your comments and arguements. I welcome them and will do my best to give more insight on my perspectives if need be.

    So you want a 1B scenario. I’ll work on one for my next post. Once again, feel free to chime in and give your thoughts.

    Robb

  • disqus_qQLhst7cBF

    Why is everyone forgetting about Carraway and Ramirez and Furbush. All young guys with talent and potential. 2013 is the last year of rebuilding. I say don’t give up the farm until we know what the kids can do.

    • disqus_qQLhst7cBF

      M’s top 3 pitchers are Felix, Vargas and Iwakuma. We should keep all 3. I know peeps don’t like Vargas but he has improved every year, is durable and loves Seattle. Then you had Ramirez who was our Angel killer and should be slotted in as the #4 slot. Then you have Carraway who may compete this spring and Beavan who at times looked lights out. We need bats not pitchers. And for the first time in 8 years we actually have trade bait in Franklin, Ryan, Paxton, Montero and a few others.

    • RobbSaul

      That’s exactly why I’m saying find someone to fill in the back of the rotation for a year at a cheap price. I think .500 or a few games above is attainable in 2013 if the team plays to it’s abilities. But contending is still in the distance, beyond 2013. Keep the young arms, but don’t rush them along, and get some bats to build around.