Though the trade deadline has come and gone, the Seattle Mariners and every other team in MLB can still work the waiver wire to acquire new and interesting talents.
One such name may be available to the Mariners after he was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks, RHP Zack Godley. A 29-year-old pitcher, Godley has been nothing short of disastrous in 2019, posting a -0.1 fWAR in 27 appearances.
He also has a 6.39 ERA, a 5.28 FIP, a 4.14 BB/9, and is striking out just 6.87 batters per nine innings. He has, in short, not been an MLB quality pitcher this season. But with all these ugly numbers, why should Seattle be interested.
Well, there is a pretty basic principle for re-building teams that seems to work often: take a proven player coming off a bad year and see what you can do with him. In 2018, Godley was quite good, posting a 3.82 FIP, a 9.34 K/9, and a 48.4% groundball percentage in 178.1 innings.
In 2017, he was even better, posting a 3.41 FIP, a 9.58 K/9, and a 55.3% groundball percentage, on his way to a 3.4 fWAR season in 155 innings. So for two years, Godley was at least a serviceable #3 starter or a very good #4.
On top of the past track record of success, Godley has one of Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto‘s favorite things: club control. While he is in fact out of options, he is still arbitration-eligible until after the 2022 season.
He’s cheap, has 3 more years of club control, and was a solid starting pitcher as recently as 2018. The Mariners have an obvious gap in their rotation this season will need to add at least one starter this off-season (unless they are planning rush jobs on Ricardo Sanchez and Justin Dunn), and have no 40-man roster issues to speak of.
Claiming Godley and giving your MLB staff 2 months to work with him now and at least a shot in Spring Training 2020 cost the Mariners absolutely nothing. If he can return to 2017 or 2018 form, you have, at the very least, a solid stopgap option to start 2020 and a decent trade chip going forward.
And who knows? Perhaps this player development staff can find another gear in Godley, as they have already done with a few players, and unlock more potential, giving Dipoto and his crew more ammunition to use as they build up the stockpile of talent needed to end the 18-year playoff drought.