Sep 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (30) delivers in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Mariners Out On Tanaka? Who Is Left?


July 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Chris Capuano (35) pitches during the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Masahiro Tanaka was in the states and has already flown back to Japan. But at this point, there is no indication that he met with the Mariners. This would go along with a report from Jason Churchill that Tanaka does not seem to be interest in signing with the Mariners.

Now, let me say that I do not believe this means the M’s are out of the Tanaka running. This front office has always been tight lipped, with very few of their impending moves being reported until they happen. That seemed to change a bit this year, but most of that was speculation from writers than it was actual insider information.

On top of that, while I respect his writing as well as radio work, Churchill is not always known as a credible source as far as rumors go. It doesn’t mean he hasn’t heard anything, but it also far from guarantees anything. How many people knew the Michael Morse trade was coming last year? Or the Kendrys Morales trade?

And how many times did we hear “Robinson Cano will not sign with Seattle?” Too many to count, and they were all wrong. Call me a skeptic, but I just have a hard time buying anything until it is official, or at least heavily confirmed by multiple media sources. Too many people jump to conclusions in their haste to have a story, and end up having bad information.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the Mariners do swing and miss on Tanaka. There is still a hole in the middle of the rotation, that has to be filled somehow.

One option would be to run with what they current have, and let the kids compete. Those kids being Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez and Brandon Maurer. The first two figure to hold a spot already, but Ramirez and Maurer could have to battle, especially if the M’s go the free agency route.

All of the names above have enough potential to possibly form a solid 3-5. But if this team wants to compete now, it may not be smart to count on three of them to hold down the slots behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.

Good teams have depth, and that is the ideal role for both Ramirez and Maurer at this point. I don’t completely count either out, especially Erasmo. But both would look much better as long guys or spot starters than full time starters.

So that brings us to free agency, where there are still three other big name starters available. Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana could all fit into the #3 spot in the rotation, and will likely be cheaper than Tanaka. However, that is because they don’t project as well as Tanaka does.

It all comes down to price. I personally would not go more than 4 years and $60 million for any of them, as they all have various flaws. Jimenez has lost velocity, and was terrible just a couple seasons ago. Garza struggles with injuries, and is slightly overrated in my book. And Santana seems like a bust candidate after having his best year in a while, after being below replacement level in 2012.

They all have upside and would be welcome additions to the rotation. But if the price is too high, it may make more sense to stick with what they have.

But perhaps my favorite option is to go after Chris Capuano to add another back end veteran to the competition. He spent time in the rotation and bullpen last year, posting a 4.26 ERA and 3.55 FIP in 105.2 innings. He isn’t as flashy — and maybe not as good — as the three I discussed above, but he likely gives you the most bang for your buck.

The M’s have a lot of options if Tanaka goes elsewhere, its just about finding the best move, both on the field and in the wallet.

Tags: Seattle Mariners

  • maqman

    I agree pretty much across the board, over four years or $60 is probably lose some money. Arroyo would cost less and Capuano less than Arroyo. I also like Yoon, the Korean free agent., I figure they need two new arms to provide some depth. Not having any killed the team this past season. Texas might get into the market now they have lost Holland for the first couple of months.

  • Weighed Wade

    Trades… Still some gems left.

    • JJ Allen Keller

      Yeah, I’m just not big on moving Walker, Paxton, Zunino, or Miller, and thats what the likes of Price and Shark will cost.

      • Weighed Wade

        I would prefer to make moves for lesser known names. Tyson Ross. Rick Porcello. Brandon Morrow (again).

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  • Troy Bannish

    I know over the past few off seasons that the market for Starting Pitching has become absurd. Just look at the Deals the Twins handed out this off season! 4 years $49 Million for a Yankees throw away! Or even the Oakland A’s & the Two Year $22 Million they just gave Scott Kazmir!! REALLY!?! Scott Kazmir is worth $22 Million over 2!?! Soon to be 41 year old Bartolo Colon gets 2 years $20 Million +!
    That said, of the Three names, other than Tanaka, They all have their flaws. I think Garza is overrated, but the Best option of the Three. Ubaldo Jiminez is a Complete Bust! He hasn’t had ONE Solid season to date. Even in Colorado, when he was the Starter in the All Star Game, he had HALF a Season. After the All Star Break, Jiminez did precisely Squat! Santana is interesting, but like Jiminez, he doesn’t seem to put all together in One Full Season. Santana is Streaky at best. Garza gets dinged up throughout the Year, almost every year. That is disturbing when you only have to take the ball every Five Days & the rest of the Guys play in 150-162 Games.
    I still think that Matt Garza is the Best Option of the Three. There is No Draft Pick Compensation when signing him. Not that it should stop any Team from signing a Quality ball player when there is. Seattle already lost their #1 when they got Cano. So even in signing one of the others, Santana is 2nd on my list, the Mariners would be giving up a 2nd rounder or worse. Sign someone to take the Mound every 5th Day, whom can go 6+ dang near every time, & you got a Good Deal!

  • Jesse Oglesby

    Why don’t they go for David Price?