Seattle Mariners Season In Review: The Bullpen
We continue our look back at the 2014 Seattle Mariners season with a look at, arguably, the biggest strength of the team this year. I’m talking about the bullpen.
The Mariners had the best bullpen in baseball in 2014. Not just the American League….in ALL of baseball.
The pen had an ERA of 2.59 in 500 innings of relief. They also posted an AL-best .219 batting average against (only San Francisco at .217 was better). They had 503 strikeouts (5th in the AL) and walked 175 (6th lowest in AL).
The pen blew 12 saves (tied with Kansas City for the least in the AL) in 63 opportunities, for a save percentage of 81%, 2nd-best in the league to the Royals.
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Of course, the majority of the saves were completed by the man that made Mariners fans heart race more than a Lou Piniella tirade. He is the man with the slanted hat.
Rodney set a new Mariners franchise record with his Major League-leading 48 saves in 2014. Here is his full line:
1-6, 2.85 ERA, 69 G, 48 SV, 3 BS, 66.1 IP, 61 H, 21 ER, 28 BB, 76 K, .244 BAA, 1.34 WHIP
The last two numbers are why the 9th inning was anything but a sure thing, despite the 48 saves. His batting average against was 107th among all big league relievers. In fact, only Trevor Rosenthal of the Cardinals (1.41) and Joe Nathan of the Tigers (1.53) had a higher WHIP among closers with 30 or more saves.
Yet, Rodney led the majors in saves. He would give up a hit or five, sometimes a run or two, but got the job done.
Here’s a look at some of the other key members of the 2014 bullpen:
[table id=30 /]
Now, I included Carson Smith at the end because of what I think he represents for next season. He was absolutely amazing in his limited time with the Mariners after being called up from Tacoma.
If he doesn’t struggle in Spring Training, I fully expect him to be in the Mariners ‘Pen in 2015 and probably pitching the 8th to Rodney’s 9th. Eventually, after Rodney’s contract expires, I see Smith being the future closer.
Beimel is the only member of the ‘Pen to be a free agent this offseason. Whether the M’s re-sign him or not probably depends on what type of money the club commits to the free agent bats they are looking to acquire.
If he stays or if he goes is for another post. But the 2015 bullpen should be – at least on paper – as solid, if not better, than the 2014 ‘Pen. And that is scary for everyone else in the league.