Sign Bullpen Lottery Tickets
We have now reached the free-agent signing section of our plan. The bullpen will likely still be an issue in 2020 and that’s okay. But the bullpen does need to be better to help raise the floor of the 2020 roster. This leads us to sign 2 relievers to free-agent deals.
First, we are signing Hector Rondon to a 1-year, $6 million deal. Mariners fans may be familiar with Rondon, who was a part of the Houston Astros bullpen the past 2 years and did a nice job in the middle innings for Houston.
In his two seasons in the AL, Rondon posted a 3.89 FIP, an 8.6 K/9, a 3.0 BB/9, a 1.29 WHIP, and a 127 ERA+ (100 is average). He’s not a star and probably shouldn’t be your first choice in high-leverage situations, but he is a solid arm that should be reasonably cheap and could retain value for a July trade if necessary.
Second, we are signing Arodys Vizcaino to a 1-year, $5 million contract. Vizcaino, who was technically a Seattle Mariners this year, never through a pitch for the club and was acquired as a counterbalance to the contract of Anthony Swarzak in the early season trade.
The health of Vizcaino’s shoulder will be a major question mark, but when healthy, he is a solid reliever. From 2015-2018, Vizcaino posted a 2.79 ERA, a 10.2 K/9, a 4.0 BB/9, a 3.47 FIP, and a 150 ERA+.
Again, Vizcaino shouldn’t be your first high leverage option but is a solid middle-inning guy in a good bullpen. The actual names aren’t all that important, but spending a little bit of money on relatively good and safe relievers is.
2020 is about letting young guys play and raising the floor of the MLB roster. One of the best ways to raise the floor is to fix the bullpen. So taking these low-risk fliers on whichever reliever is your favorite, is an underrated goal for the Mariners hot stove season.