Okay Mariners Nation, I’m back with Part 2 of my five-part series: GM for a day. In Part One, I talked about how there may be a organizational flaw that is preventing these top prospects from developing to their potential while they are in the Mariners farm system. My solution was to let go of Chris Gwynn as the Director of Player Development and to hire former M’s catcher Dan Wilson as his replacement.
In Part Two, we are going to look at a big problem the team had in 2013. One that hadn’t been a problem over the past few seasons.
In 2013, the Mariners bullpen was one of the worst in the American League. The 15 Seattle relievers posted a collective 4.58 ERA, which was second-worst behind Houston at 4.92.
They issued the second-most walks (224), allowed the second-highest OPS (.724), gave up the third-highest batting average (.253) and blew the fourth-most saves (23).
The M’s endured 13 walk-off losses, lost on the opponent’s final at-bat 27 times and lost a franchise-record 15 extra-inning games.
Stephen Pryor pitched in seven games for Seattle in 2013, allowing only three hits in 7.1 IP and looked like he was set to be a bright spot in the bullpen. But an injury to his right lat put him on the 60-day DL, after a start in Everett (Class-A Short) and four in Tacoma (Triple-A) he had surgery to repair a torn triceps muscle.
So who is out there that the M’s could add? Are you happy with Danny Farquhar (0-3, 4.20 ERA, 16/20 SV) as the closer? Outside of Yoervis Medina (setup man) and Oliver Perez (lefty specialist), anyone is expendable. So what the M’s really need in the bullpen is a long-relief guy and a closer.
First thing is first, I would re-sign Perez who is a free agent this year. He will probably cost the M’s 2-3 years and $4-$5 million/year.
As for a long-relief guy, I would go out and make an offer to Chad Qualls. His ERA over the years almost seems to be directly affected by his innings pitched. The more innings we works in a season, the more effective he is.
He had a great year for Miami in 2013, posting a 5-2 record with a 2.61 ERA in 62 IP. He only walked 19 and seven of those were intentional. He’s the guy the M’s need to eat up innings between the young starters and the closer. Should be able to sign him to a 2-3 year deal for about $2 million/year.
Finally, the closer. There are some intriguing options on the market this year. Grnat Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Joe Nathan (has an option he may void), Fernando Rodney and Brian Wilson just to name a few. It would be fun to see Rodney pull an arrow from the quiver and shoot it into the Seattle night as he locks down another save.
I personally, would love to bring in Brian Wilson. His antics would get the stadium and the city buzzing. Plus, there is no doubt he has recovered from this injury. He has been absolutely fantastic for the Dodgers since being called up. Problem is, I doubt he would sign in Seattle over L.A. I think he likes the bright lights of Hollywood.
Balfour will likely seek $5-$6 million per year. Oakland won’t pay that but I’m not sure Seattle would either. As GM for a Day, I want to make the right moves, not go for broke. I would try to sign Joel Hanrahan. The Hammer was hurt in 2013 and had Tommy John surgery in May, so pending a physical of course.
Hanrahan will be looking to prove he can pitch AND the M’s will get him for far cheaper than his previous asking price because of the injury. If The Hammer can duplicate his 2011 and 2012 numbers (combined 2.24 ERA and 76 saves) and at two years for $3 million/year, it will be worth it.
So to recap, in my 24-hours as Mariners GM I would make the following moves:
1- Hire Dan Wilson as Director of Player Development
2- Resign Oliver Perez, then sign free agents Chad Qualls and Joel Hanrahan to bolster the bullpen.
Money spent for 2014: $9-$10 million
Next time, in Part Three: We replace a revolving door, with a fixture.