The Mariners sign their second former Cubs pitcher in as many days.
Seattle’s ‘mystery pitcher’ has been revealed, but it’s not a starter as initially reported. Instead, the Mariners have signed right-handed reliever Carl Edwards Jr. The 28-year-old won a World Series title with the Chicago Cubs in 2016 and was worth 1.2 fWAR in the last full season he pitched. The Mariners will have Edwards under club control through the 2022 season.
Last season was an absolute disaster for Edwards; injuries limited him to just 17 innings pitched all year, and in those 17 innings he greatly struggled with some legit command issues. Edwards was traded to the Padres at the trade deadline this past July and wound up on the Injured List just two weeks later.
What we’re gonna do with his 2019 campaign is simply ball it up and throw it in the trash, because all signs point to that simply being an anomaly. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at his 2018 numbers, in which he posted a 2.60 ERA with an 11.60 K/9 in 52 innings pitched. Edwards also had the second-highest spin rate on his mid 90s fastball that season, which helped him record a 25.3% strikeout rate and 30% whiff rate with the pitch.
The underlying problem for Edwards for the entirety of his career, however, has been the walks. Outside of a 36-inning 2016 season, Edwards has never put up a BB/9 under 5.00, going 5.16 in 2017, 5.54 in 2018, and 6.88 last year (in limited action, of course). Edwards has done a fine job in escaping trouble thus far in his career, but he’ll need to find the zone more consistently to find success again at the Major League level.
This is a really solid deal for the Mariners, though. Over the last few years, they’ve been successful in fixing mechanical issues for some of their pitchers, so it’ll be really intriguing to see what they do with Edwards this spring.