Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
The opening says it all. We all know by now that the Mariners are interested in any free agent with a pulse this offseason. But a recent post by ESPN’s Buster Olney states even more obviously what we all are suspecting:
"One of the three most prominent free-agent starting pitchers–Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza–seems bound to wind up w/Seattle."
Now, that statement alone seems to be as speculative as anything else out there. But the fact the Olney is saying it seems to add a bit of truth to it, in the eyes of most.
Obviously, Garza would be the most attractive fit, if only because he – unlike Santana and Jimenez – was not extended a qualifying offer, thus the Mariners would not lose a draft pick if they signed him.
Garza dominated with the Chicago Cubs (6-1, 3.17) before being traded to the Texas Rangers (4-5, 4.38) in 2013. That would worry me if I was the Mariners GM.
Santana has asked for a 5-year deal worth $80 million. Despite an ERA of 3.24 in 2013, he won only nine games. His last winning season was 2010 (17-10). I don’t think he is worth $16 million per season, but the Mariners might.
Jimenez led the American League in losses in 2012 (17). Last year was his first year since 2010 with a winning record. I would pass on him.
Truth be told, I’m not sold on any of them. I would rather try for Masahiro Tanaka, but with the posting process in limbo, he may not be available this year.
Phil Hughes has always pitched well in Safeco and I know we’ve made the case against him before. But either of those may be better suited for a No. 3 starter in Seattle than any of the “Big 3” available.
But, the Mariners are in a holding pattern. Or they are working behind the scenes in silence, working on something big?
The wait continues.