3 Under the Radar Pitchers for the Mariners to Consider

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 20, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 20, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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It is July, which means it is officially time to be crazy about the trade deadline. The Mariners have already been linked to several pitchers, including Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ. But could there be options we aren’t talking enough about?

Today, we will be looking at some of these names that Mariners fans might want to pay some attention to. While not the big names like Cole Hamels or Chris Archer, these pitchers can, none the less, help the rotation down the stretch.

Finding these names aren’t as easy as you might think. All come with some degree of baggage. Some of it is inconsistent performance, some of it could be a team situation. Or some could just be too difficult to ever materialize.

But the Mariners are just .5 games back of Houston, and as unbelievable as it might seem, the division could very well be up for grabs. Adding to the rotation will be absolutely necessary if the Mariners want to win the division.

Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto doesn’t have much to work with, so creativity will be the key for him. Either eating large portions of a salary or finding his way into a 3-team deal are both possibilities. But now that the groundwork has been laid down, let’s take a look at these arms.

Michael Wacha, SP St. Louis Cardinals

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Let’s just start with the potential hang-ups before we dive into Michael Wacha’s numbers. Perhaps the biggest hang-up is his health. Wacha was placed on the 10 day DL with a strained oblique. He has already been ruled out of action until after the All-Star break. Oblique injuries tend to linger for starters, so Seattle has to be sure on the medical side of things.

Second, nobody is really sure if the Cardinals are going to buy or sell at the deadline. With the team linked to Mike Moustakas, it seems like they wouldn’t sell, but Moustakas has a reasonably fair mutual option for 2019. Perhaps the Cards believe he will activate the option, making him more than a 2-month rental.

Wacha is a 27-year-old right-handed pitcher, who has 1 1/2 years of club control remaining. He is currently an Arb2 player and is earning $5.6 million in 2018.

For his career, Wacha has steadily been a solid but unspectacular arm. He owns a 3.86 career xFIP, averaging just under 8 K/9. In addition, he also has average control (career 2.99 B/9) and groundball rate (45.5%).

Wacha’s stuff suggests there could be upside left. He has a 94 mph sinking fastball to go along with a good changeup and cutter.

Because of the factors listed above, Wacha’s trade value is difficult to gauge. If the Cardinals want to sell this year, moving Wacha now should net them a better package than what they would get in 2019 when Wacha will be nothing more than a rental. St. Louis also has an embarrassment of riches in young starting pitchers.

Thankfully, Dipoto and the Cardinals should have a good working relationship, after the teams worked both the Mike Leake and Marco Gonzales trades in a 6-week span last season.

Because of the current injury and shorter than preferred club-control, the Mariners likely would not have to give Kyle Lewis. However, Dipoto would likely have to part with a prominent prospect (or 2) with upside, something the Mariners system lacks. Juan Querecuto may be the right guy to get these talks rolling.

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