3 Black Friday Bargins for the Seattle Mariners
Entering this off-season, he Seattle Mariners probably needed to add at least 1 veteran arm to its bullpen, if not 2. Now with the trades of Emilio Pagan and Thyago Vieira, the need is only intensifying.
What doesn’t make much sense for the Mariners is spending substantial money on the likes of Wade Davis or Greg Holland. What could make sense is buying 2 solid relievers for the price of 1 elite one.
One possibility is veteran reliever Tommy Hunter. Always a solid middle inning’s guy, Hunter did something he had never done before: he struck guys out. The career 5.97 K/9 is abysmal for a high leverage reliever. But in 2017, Hunter posted a whopping 9.82 k/9 without substantially raising his BB/9.
Hunter’s 3.29 xFIP is thanks in large part to an adjustment he made in 2017. After using a cutter as a 3rd pitch for most of his career, he doubled its usage in 2017, making him more of a cutter/curveball pitcher than a straight fastball type.
The adjustment has turned Hunter from a journey men 6th inning guy to a legitimate high leverage reliever, something the Mariners desperately need.