Mariners Should Take A Flyer on Ian Krol, Pursue RA Dickey
Ian Krol and R.A. Dickey are no longer Atlanta Braves. The Braves declined the $8 million option on Dickey, and the young veteran lefty refused outright assignment to Triple A, becoming a free agent. The Seattle Mariners should be all over the opportunity to add him to their bullpen.
Ian Krol is a 26-year-old left-handed pitcher who has already pitched in the A’s, Nationals, Tigers and Braves organization. He had a breakout season in 2016. Krol appeared in 63 games for the Braves, while maintaining a 3.18 ERA and averaging 9.88 K/9.
Krol fell back down to earth in 2017. He appeared in 51 games with a 5.33 ERA and his K/9 dropped to just over 8.1. Krol also missed time with an oblique injury in 2017. So why should the Mariners be interested in a mediocre bullpen arm? Upside. Pure upside.
Krol has a unique ability to get ground ball outs. In 2016, Krol ranked 31st in all of baseball with a 56% ground ball rate. He throws a hard sinker (93 mph) and good but not great slider. He throws a standard 4 seam baseball at 94 mph as well.
R.A. Dickey is probably the more interesting of the two names. It seems odd that the Braves would not pick up a very reasonable $8 million option. At the very least, the Braves might have gotten a decent prospect for him in trade. The master of the knuckleball has hinted that he may retire, and this could be a signal to that possibility.
If Dickey wants to continue to pitch, the Mariners should pursue the soon to be 43-year-old pitcher. Dickey is nowhere near the pitcher he was in 2012, when he won the N.L. Cy Young Award, but has remained a solid back-of-the-rotation starter since.
Over the past 5 seasons, Dickey has averaged 32 starts a season of 4.09 ERA baseball. His 1.27 WHIP and 6.5 K/9 show that he can still be an effective #4 or #5 starter type for a good team.
With the Mariners current rotation in flux, adding a stabilizing arm at the back-end of the rotation gives Jerry Dipoto more flexibility this off-season, to add and subtract as he sees fit. It also gives Scott Servais a dependable arm who can hand him 6+ innings on a regular basis (22 of Dickey’s 31 starts went at least 6 innings).
Next: LoMo Reunion in the Works?
The Braves have let 2 arms go. Both could help the Mariners in 2018. Will either happen? Well, only time will tell.