Yesterday, some 57 names joined MLB’s free agency pool, including now-former Mariners Tim Beckham and Domingo Santana. Today, we pick through the carnage and see what Seattle can vulture from this mess.
The non-tender deadline is a tough day for a lot of players. 57 more players are unemployed as of 5 o’clock last night. But with these players becoming unrestricted free agents, an opportunity may have arisen for the Seattle Mariners and GM Jerry Dipoto.
Some really interesting names and skillsets are now on the free-agent market and most will be available for rock bottom prices. The Mariners want to play their young guys in 2020, but there are some holes that cannot be filled with the teams’ current roster. But that could change quickly.
Seattle has already dipped into the lower levels of free agency, taking fliers on guys like Patrick Wisdom, Kendall Graveman, and Carl Edwards Jr., but this should not prevent them from continuing to build their floor with more “opportunity buys”.
Today, we will try to identify 5 of the best opportunities(in no particular order) for the Mariners to gain value and raise their 2020 floor. Factors include fit, an opportunity for the player, tradeability (they are rebuilding), and other, less important things like veteran leadership. With that in mind, let’s get started.
5. Kevin Gausman, RHP
In what was perhaps one of the least surprising non-tender decisions, the Cincinnati Reds decided against paying the soon-to-be 29-year-old, former first-round pick an estimated $10 million in 2020. And to be fair, Gausman did appear to be the odd man out in Cincy.
But for a team like the Mariners, who have at least one open rotation spot, money to spend, and an appealing location for a pitcher coming off a “down season”, Gausman makes a lot of sense. While some will look at his 5.72 ERA and career-low groundball rate and run from the hills, Gausman was actually pretty solid in 2019.
He posted a 3.98 FIP, a 10.03 K/9, a sub 3.0 BB/9, and was worth 1.6 wins(fWAR) in just 102.1 innings pitched. Gausman has a history of durability, posting 3 straight 30 start seasons prior to 2019 when he was moved to the bullpen. He has a history of missing bats at a good rate. He doesn’t walk many. And again, he is just 29-years-old.
Gausman may be better suited for the bullpen right now, but in order to lure him to Seattle, offering him a good chance to win a rotation spot should be appealing to him. In addition, Gausman should be able to recoup a nice prospect at the deadline, thanks to his nearly unhittable splitter.
When you talk it out, Gausman makes a lot of sense for Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners make a lot of sense for Gausman. We don’t know if either side is interested in each other, but with a fit this good, it is hard to imagine it isn’t being discussed.