The Mariners have been rumored to be interested in a handful of different pitchers, but only a couple of them are veterans -an important specification Dipoto is looking for an incoming pitcher to have. As we get deeper into the winter, the options are becoming fewer and fewer, but there a couple of vets still on the market.
There has been a lot of talk about the Mariners wanting to add a middle of the line starter to their rotation since before the winter meetings, but not a lot of action.
Sure the M’s added Chris Heston last week and also acquired Robert Whalen at the end of last month, but they still haven’t gotten their hands on a solid, experienced third or fourth option for the rotation.
As of now, the back half of the starting five look like this: James Paxton at three, Nathan Karns at four and Ariel Miranda rounding out the group. But, the Mariners would like to use a different arm to shake their 2016 rotation to maybe grab the top spot for the lowest team ERA for starters in the American League.
Two men that the Mariners are particularly interested in that could potentially help them do that are: former Mariners starter, and eight-year veteran, Doug Fister, and mini-giant and seven-year veteran, Ivan Nova.
Nova could possibly come at a price tag of under five million dollars, and that could be a bargain if he pitches like he did in his short stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
After the New York Yankees traded him mid-season, the six foot five inch, two hundred and thirty-five-pound right-hander went 5-2 with a career-low ERA 3.06 in eleven games. In all of those starts, he never allowed more than four runs -in fact, he let in exactly one run six times- and gave up just three free passes in 64.2 frames.
Bringing back the familiar face of Doug Fister could be helpful as well, but may cost the Mariners more (between five to eight million per year) unless Fister and his agent agree with the M’s on a “hometown discount”.
Hopefully, Fister can do better than his first two and a half years in Seattle. He had a 4.11 ERA in that time. He gave up a lot of runs – at least one in fifty-five of his sixty appearances- but he did have two outings in 2010 where he threw shutout frames and gave up only a few hits in each start.
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The Mariners would like to get the Fister of 2014 that was voted eighth for the Cy Young award, had a career-low ERA of 2.41, had six scoreless outings, had a twenty-six inning streak without allowing a run and ended the season with a complete game three-hit shutout.
But since that season, Fister’s ERA has risen by more the two full points -it was 4.64 last year- and his WHIP has shot up from 1.078 to 1.425.
Whichever way Dipoto decides to go, maybe he surprises everyone and takes another pitcher or makes a trade, but he has publically voiced his desire for a veteran starter for more than two weeks now
That’s a long time considering that Dipoto went on a trading/waiver pickup/free agency blitz in November. Not to mention his initial overhaul within his first couple months in 2015 when he became the Mariners GM.
Time is running out and so are Dipoto’s options. He needs to make a decision as soon as possible if he doesn’t want to risk being shutout of the veteran starter pitcher market for good.