5 Non-tendered targets the Seattle Mariners should pursue

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Taijuan Walker #44 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 5-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Taijuan Walker #44 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 5-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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4. Jimmy Nelson

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – JUNE 20: Jimmy Nelson #52 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park on June 20, 2019, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – JUNE 20: Jimmy Nelson #52 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park on June 20, 2019, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Two years ago, it was laughable to assume Jimmy Nelson would be non-tendered in the winter of 2019. But after missing all of 2018 and most of 2019 with injury, that has been the case. It is a real shame too, since the last time we saw a healthy Nelson, he was pitching like an All-Star.

In his last full season in 2017, Nelson posted a 3.05 FIP, a 10.21 K/9, a 2.46 BB/9, with a 50.3% groundball rate, all on his way to a 4.8 fWAR. Unfortunately for Nelson, the shoulder is what plagues him, not his elbow. Shoulder injuries are now much worse than Tommy John surgeries and many careers have been seriously diminished by similar injuries.

However, the same logic applied to Gausman also fits here. The Mariners have a rotation spot open, at least for part of 2020. Seattle is a good place to pitch and their track record of developing pitchers is quickly earning a great reputation around the game.

Nelson’s fastball and curveball spin rates are still well-above-average. There is still upside in his game and if the shoulder injury checks out, he is worth the gamble. Nelson has #2 starter upside and while a contract like the one given to Graveman may be wishful thinking, it is something worth exploring.

(Quick side note, Travis Shaw is super interesting as well. Not a great fit, but the bat is hard to ignore.)

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