Seattle Mariners: The 5 Most Disappointing Acquisitions of 2018
By Ty Gonzalez
RHP JUAN NICASIO
Honestly, Juan Nicasio‘s season probably wasn’t as bad as it may have seemed. In fact, the four-point divide between his ERA (6.00) and FIP (2.99) indicates that he was an extraordinarily unlucky pitcher. But that still doesn’t make his season any less of a disappointment.
Nicasio signed a two-year, $17 million contract with the Mariners shortly after the team missed out on Shohei Ohtani. The deal was not a consolation prize by any means, but it did seem to elevate Seattle’s bullpen near elite status.
At the time, Nicasio had been one of the MLB’s most underrated and dominant relievers since making the full-time switch to the bullpen. He appeared to be the powerful bridge to Edwin Díaz that Seattle so desperately desired, which allowed them to delegate David Phelps and Nick Vincent to more middle relief roles.
Unfortunately, Phelps’ season abruptly ended with a torn UCL in Spring Training, and the aforementioned bad luck stayed with Nicasio from beginning to end. That led to Seattle acquiring Álex Colomé in an early season deal with the Rays, and Colomé succeeded in fulfilling the role Nicasio was supposed to.
Nicasio wound up on the disabled list twice; the second of which, due to right knee inflammation, ultimately ended his season. Seattle will have Nicasio back in its bullpen for 2019, and fans should expect a bounce-back season out of him. 2018 may have been a disaster for him, but it’s probably not an accurate reflection of the kind of positive impact Nicasio can have on this bullpen.