Seattle Mariners Bolster Bullpen, Add Juan Nicasio
After much hand-ringing from Mariners fans, GM Jerry Dipoto has add a significant piece to the Mariners 25 man roster. It is widely reported that the Mariners have agreed to a 2 year deal with Juan Nicasio.
Nicasio, a former starter turned reliever, will enter the 2018 season at 31 years old. He had a whirlwind season in 2017, pitching for 3 teams, but managed to lead the senior circuit in appearance, 76, while posting an excellent 2.61 ERA.
Nicasio, who has been plagued by control issues in the past, has finally seemed to learn how to control the strike zone. After posting a 4.94 BB/9 in 2015, that number has dropped the past 2 seasons, to 3.43 BB/9 in 2016, all the way down to 2.49 BB/9 in 2017.
Over that period of time, Nicasio has also shown an ability to miss bats. His career 8.13 K/9 is a bit misleading. Over the past 3 season, he has a K/9 of 10.03, 10.53, and 8.96, respectively. When you combine all of these factors, Nicasio has been worth an impressive 2.8 fWAR over the past 2 seasons.
Nicasio’s repertoire includes a fastball between 93-97 mph, a sharp slider at 88.5 MPH, and a rarely used changeup. Nicasio likes to pitch up in the strike zone to induce swings and misses. Despite this, Nicasio’s solid 45.6 GB% helps him keep the ball in the ball park.
Interestingly enough, the right-handed pitcher actually fared much better against lefties than righties in 2017. LHH hit just .202 with a .544 OPS. Righties didn’t fare much better, slashing .225/.296/.378 in 2017.
Adding Nicasio to the back of the bullpen gives the Mariners another multi-inning reliever. He joins David Phelps and Erasmo Ramirez in said role. Much like Phelps, Nicasio has high leverage stuff to close if needed, and could spot start on occasion.
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The terms of the deal are not yet official. Nicasio is set to take a physical in the next few days, which will make the deal official at that time.