A ‘Pen Addition Might Do The Trick For The Mariners
By Adam Levi
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has taken his time deciding which starting pitcher he might want to add to bolster the M’s rotation. If he’s having such a hard time choosing the best starting option, maybe he should look at availabilities for the bullpen.
There are few starting pitchers that the M’s haven’t been linked to this off-season. That’s largely because Dipoto floated the idea of shaking up the Mariners rotation right before the winter meetings -a time when there is an abundance of swapping and signing.
However, as we noted yesterday, an entire month has passed since Dipoto’s declaration, and that pitcher still hasn’t arrived in Seattle.
Could it be that no one is interested in signing with the M’s? Or could it be that Dipoto hasn’t found the right fit for the team? Maybe he’s just looking in the wrong basket of available players?
If there isn’t a starter that would work for the Mariners, is it possible that bringing in another arm for the bullpen would do trick? And if so, who could it be?
With so many questions, we can unfortunately only answer of few of them, unless during this writing we find a way to get inside Dipoto’s head, then we can figure out why any deal hasn’t come to fruition.
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Until then, we can at least speculate possible bullpen options that Dipoto could or should be looking into.
There are still a few dozen unrestricted relief pitching free agents left on the market, with only a handful of them or under thirty. That’s not to say that the Mariners need another young long-term option for the ‘pen; half of their current projected pen is under thirty. In fact, adding experience to the bullpen to Join Marc Rzepczynski
That’s not to say that the Mariners need another young long-term option for the ‘pen; half of their current projected pen is already under thirty.
In fact, adding experience to the bullpen to Join Marc Rzepczynski, Casey Fien, and others could help the youngsters blossom into better players. So who’s out there?
For one, there’s the thirty-two-year-old, Boone Logan. His career 4.45 ERA might seem a little steep, but his ERA has usually been lower when he pitches more than sixty games.
When he’s reached that threshold -he’s done so five times- he’s had an ERA under four on four occasions. Overall in his eleven years in the league, he’s had an ERA under four, five times.
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Another option could be the Pirates, Neftali Feliz. The Mariners missed out on another Pirates free agent in Ivan Nova, so there might be some incentive to sign Feliz so not to miss out on two of Pittsburgh’s best arms in one off-season.
Feliz has been fairly dominant throughout his eight-year career, excluding 2015. Aside from that outlier season two years ago, Feliz has never had an ERA above 3.55.
Furthermore, he has an ERA below three four times, including the 2009 and 2014 seasons where he had an ERA below two. At just twenty-eight years of age, with nearly a decade of experience in the MLB already, Feliz may be the Mariners best-remaining bullpen option.
If the Mariners didn’t want to pursue these men, they could go after other relievers such as Luke Hochevar, Jonathan Neise, Kevin Jepsen or Matt Belisle to name a few.
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So for Dipoto, if the starting options aren’t looking rich enough to sign, he has more than enough options to continue to bolster the bullpen.