Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is trying hard to re-imagine the team for a brighter future by sacrificing this season as the team stockpiles talent while trying to stay as competitive as possible. It’ll be hard to stay as competitive as possible, though, without a bullpen, which Dipoto has dismantled by trades since the end of the season.
This team needs relievers and our own Ty Gonzalez mentioned some potential fits in his article last week; however, one intriguing name that was not mentioned was former Arizona Diamondbacks closer Brad Boxberger.
Boxberger struggled a bit last year as he registered a -0.7 WAR while issuing 32 walks, a number too high for high leverage relievers, but he still managed 32 saves and 71 strikeouts in just over 53 innings of work. While these aren’t Edwin Diaz numbers, Boxberger could fit in the back-end of the Mariners bullpen.
Boxberger was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks and would fit the mold of what Dipoto is looking for: a player coming off of a sub par year that would accept a one year deal at a small base salary. A strong first half could also make Boxberger valuable to contenders at the deadline and he could bring back a useful piece for the future.
Boxberger has less club control than alternatives like Hunter Strickland as he’s a free agent after this season, but if he’s willing to sign for something in the neighborhood of what Blake Parker got from the Twins he might be a risk worth taking.
In 2015, while with the Tampa Bay Rays, Boxberger delivered an All-Star season with 41 saves. Getting that production out of Boxberger might be asking a bit much, but relievers are the most volatile position in baseball, so it’s not hard to image a solid bounce back season from Boxberger.