Most Interesting Mariners Pitcher To Watch This WBC: “The King” Or Gallardo

Sep 30, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo (49) looks for the sign during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo (49) looks for the sign during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Two members of the Mariners starting rotation will play for their respective countries in March during the World Baseball Classic: Mexico’s Yovani Gallardo and Venezuela’s Felix Hernandez. With Gallardo and Hernandez attempting to make triumphant returns to form after down years, is there a player that M’s fans should be more eager to watch?

In less than two weeks the WBC will return and the Mariners will have two keys pieces of their rotation attending the inter-continental competition: Felix Hernandez and Yovani Gallardo. If the USA makes it out of the group stage, Drew Smyly could make it three.

It will be the first time that we will have seen Gallardo or Hernandez participate in a real game since the end of last year, excluding Hernandez’s very minor starts in winter league ball down in Venezuela.

Both men are looking to prove something in 2017 after they both suffered setbacks in 2016.

Gallardo went down within the the first month of play due to a shoulder tendinitis injury while Hernandez simply wasn’t in royal form this past year or even the year before that.

Each hurler has taken it upon themselves to get back to where they want to be.

Gallardo specifically focused on strengthening his previously injured area, making sure that his shoulder felt like it should. All of his work this offseason seems to have paid off.

"“I feel great,” he said. “I feel strong. It’s just a matter of now continuing that.”"

As an expected four or five in the rotation, if Gallardo’s healthy body can give everything it did during his impressive 2011, 2014, and 2015 campaigns, Mariners fans should be very excited to see one of their newest additions.

More from SoDo Mojo

Each of those seasons Gallardo’s ERA was below 3.55 and in 2011 he finished 7th in the National League Cy Young voting with his 17-10 record, 9.0 K/9, 3.51 K/BB over 207.1 IP.

The work that Hernandez has put in has stretched from putting on more weight to working on his mechanics. As we’ve reported here, Hernandez has made it his mission to be as dominate as he was when he won the Cy Young back in 2010. His “angry” mindset that has overcome him is motivating him to

As we’ve reported here, Hernandez has made it his mission to be as dominate as he was when he won the Cy Young back in 2010 and he’s been very vocal about proving to the world that he can still have a sub-3.00 ERA, pitch over 200 innings and strikeout over 200 men.

Seeing the two of these men on their missions will be a joy to watch as the season unfolds but our first taste of what they could bring will come this March.

Many will be hoping to see Hernandez, the prodigal son, return to his kingly ways, but I say if Gallardo can have a year that is Cy Young vote worthy that will be the sign that the Mariners rotation could prove to be one of the best in the league.

Next: Miranda To Start Spring

If the rotation can match the expected dominance of the lineup, there is no doubt that the M’s will make a serious run at the championship. The onus will be on Gallardo and others to step up to provide help to what we also hope is a great bounceback year for Hernandez.