Mariners Profiles of Free Agency: Yu Darvish
The 2017 Seattle Mariners season was derailed by injuries to their starting pitching. The team needs not only more depth, but more impact arms. While not a particularly robust market, there are a few of these types available in free agency. None of these arms make as much sense as Yu Darvish.
Mariners general manager, Jerry Dipoto, recently declared that the Mariners were going a different direction with regards to how to handle the workload of their starting staff. The new plan appears to be rooted in a new baseball analytical trend known as “bullpenning”. However; the team still needs a viable number to type of starting pitcher to make this work. Enter Yu Darvish.
While no longer a true ace, the former Texas Rangers and current Los Angeles Dodger, is still a borderline number one type of arm. The 32-year-old starting pitcher has posted a career 3.42 era as well as a 3.24 xFIP.
Darvish is also one of the more well-known strikeout artist in all of MLB. He boasts a career 11.04 k / 9 along with a solid 1.19 WHIP. Unlike some big-time strikeout pitchers, Darvish possesses good command of his pitches, as evident by his 3.22 BB/9
After spending most of his career with the rival Texas Rangers, Darvish is more than familiar with the American League. This is a major plus for the Seattle Mariners. Darvish would slot into the number 2/3 spot in the rotation, depending on how the Mariners wish to handle Hernandez.
While it is nearly impossible for the Seattle Mariners to compete with the Houston Astros and their rotation, a starting 4 of James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish, and Mike Leake would, in theory, give them a much better chance.
Darvish’s ability to control 5 + pitches, to go along with his fantastic stuff and good command, gives the Mariners a true high impact arm that they desperately need.
Because Yu Darvish is arguably the best starting pitcher available on the free-agent Market, the Seattle Mariners will have to win a bidding war with multiple players. It is impossible to estimate the exact cost, but suffice to say, it will cost at least 20 million dollars per year.
With teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Rangers, all still looking for starting pitching, the Mariners must go above and beyond what these other teams can offer in order to land Darvish.
At 32 years old the Mariners must also be wary of the length of the contract they offer to Yu Darvish, as they do not wish to be trapped under the same constraints they are with Felix Hernandez’s contract.
A four-year deal seems ideal for the Seattle Mariners. However; they may need to go to five or even six years to land the prize of the free-agent pitching pool. If that is the case the cost to the Mariners may very well exceed 5 years at $130 million.
Next: Profiles of Free Agency: Eric Hosmer
The team has not reached the playoffs in the last 16 seasons. The fan base continues to grow more impatient. If the Mariners wish to end their playoff drought, they need to add top of the roster talent, like Yu Darvish.