Seattle Mariners: 5 Free Agent Relief Pitching Targets

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 21: Relief pitcher Carter Capps #22 of the Miami Marlins reacts after pitching against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game at Chase Field on July 21, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 21: Relief pitcher Carter Capps #22 of the Miami Marlins reacts after pitching against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game at Chase Field on July 21, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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LHP JAKE DIEKMAN

PHOENIX, AZ – SEPTEMBER 09: Jake Diekman #41 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning of an MLB game at Chase Field on September 9, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ – SEPTEMBER 09: Jake Diekman #41 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning of an MLB game at Chase Field on September 9, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

When the Mariners were in search of a secondary left-handed option for their bullpen last year, we were pounding the table for Jake Diekman. Instead, they acquired Zach Duke. Both players wound up being busts for their respective new teams, but perhaps a move back to the AL West would help get Diekman back on track.

Diekman had a very strange 2018 season. The Rangers fell well short of expectations, featuring a young, constantly fluctuating bullpen that Diekman was awkwardly put in the middle of. This came off of a 2017 campaign Diekman missed most of following surgery to remove his colon.

The 31-year-old reliever bounced back well enough in 2018 to earn himself a trade to a playoff contender in the Diamondbacks, but struggled with command issues and a bit of bad luck.

The weirdest aspect of his year were his splits. Known for normally being a well-balanced pitcher against both right-handed and left-handed hitters, Diekman was awful against lefties and dominant against righties, which is the complete opposite of expectations for a modern day left-handed reliever.

Against left-handed hitters, Diekman was torched for a .329/.443/.438 line. Meanwhile, right-handed opponents struggled to the tune of .188/.303/.321. Simply put, Diekman is not a LOOGY.

Career-wise, Diekman has fared a lot better against lefties, who’ve slashed just .233/.329/.309 against him over the years. That gives me more confidence in saying that his balanced ability to get hitters out on both sides of the plate, as well as his high strikeout numbers, would translate extremely well to a closer’s role, something he’s never had the opportunity to fulfill.

Next. Mariners could buy low (and early) on this young pitcher. dark

Diekman could be a dominant closer in the right opportunity, and that very well may be in Seattle. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not a problem for the Mariners in a year they aim to take a step back in.

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