Mark Mulder last pitched in the majors in 2008, but is looking to make a comeback in 2014 and I believe the Seattle Mariners should take a look at him.
The two-time All-Star with the Oakland Athletics made only three appearances in both 2007 and 2008 before retiring after two shoulder surgeries drastically reduced his effectiveness.
He has been working as an analyst for ESPN since 2011 and seemed pretty happy with the gig. But according to the article on ESPN.com by Jerry Crasnick:
But things changed in October when Mulder watched Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez on TV and found something in Rodriguez’s delivery that he could emulate. Mulder spent the month of November working himself into shape at a Phoenix-area facility run by former big-league catcher Chad Moeller, and recently threw off the mound for three unspecified teams near his home in Scottsdale.
He said scouts clocked his fastball at 89-90 mph. Now he’s hoping to audition for more clubs and land an invitation to a spring training camp.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am,” Mulder said by phone Tuesday. “To be honest with you, I never anticipated this five or six weeks ago. It was just a flat-out fluke that came from me trying to imitate Paco Rodriguez in my living room.”
A fluke viewing of Rodriguez on TV apparently changed that. Mulder had always separated his hands at his delivery at his midsection, but tried raising them near his head similar to the way Rodriguez does. He became convinced he was onto something after playing catch with former Cardinals teammate Kyle Lohse on Oct. 27, when they were hanging out at a birthday party for their daughters. The two pitchers threw from a distance of 150-200 feet, and Mulder was encouraged when Lohse told him he looked like his former self.
So the question is: Should the Mariners try to sign Mulder?
The answer should be a resounding YES!
Why not? Sign Mulder to a minor-league deal with a Spring Training invite and see what he’s got. Worst case scenario, you are out some money and still looking for another lefty starter.
Best case? Mulder has figured out this new delivery style and is effective in facing major league hitters, makes the rotation, throws 150 innings (because he’d be presumably on an innings limit), wins 12 or 13 games and solidifies the back end of the rotation.
When Mulder was at his best, he averaged 17 wins a year with an ERA just over 4.00 and a WAR of around 4.0.
So why not? It’s the ultimate low-risk / high-reward move. And one that the Mariners should be watching VERY closely.