There are dozens of free agents who could be Seattle Mariners next year, but which one fits the team best? There’s one that might just be too good to be true.The Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto is on record saying that the Mariners are going to be buyers this offseason, not sellers. While this may not have been a surprise, it is certainly exciting for the Mariners who have been rebuilding and making trades for the future since the offseason between the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
So how will the Mariners spend their newfound extra cash in free agency after the departures of Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez, and Dee Strange-Gordon? Dipoto says the bullpen is the answer.
"“I’d like to add three or four guys (to the bullpen) that can stabilize the group and give us some certainty as we move toward the end of a game. I don’t know if they’re going to be marquee names. That’s not how generally bullpens work.” -Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto"
The Mariners had some exciting debuts and encouraging appearances from young bullpen pitchers like Yohan Ramirez and Joey Gerber, but the bullpen as a whole last year was horrible. The unit had a 5.92 ERA which was third-worst in the entire MLB.
So if relief pitchers are what the Mariners are looking to go after in free agency, and they are not going after “Marquee names,” which one fits the team best and should be one of those 3-4 guys that Dipoto signs?
The Mariners need to go after relief pitcher Trevor May because he is a perfect fit.
Trevor May is just what the Seattle bullpen needs. He had a 2.94 ERA and a 3.73 FIP in 64.1 innings pitched during 2019. May had a 3.86 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched this past season, which was not as good as 2019 but still gave him an impressive 114 ERA+.
During his 6 year career with the Twins he had a 4.44 ERA but what was insanely impressive was his 3.65 FIP. His Baseball Savant page, which breaks down some more advanced stats and ranks them against the rest of the league, shows May had a great 2020 with 77th percentile xERA and a 98th percentile strikeout percentage.
He is also a pitcher with a perfect match in style for what Dipoto likes. Dipoto tends to trade for and favor pitchers with a fastball 95+ mph that they partner with a hard slider. May’s 2 best pitches in 2020 were his fastball (4 seamer and sinker) which averaged 96.3 mph and his slider which he threw on 33% of his pitches.
All of his stats are terrific and would lead any general manager to want to add Trevor May to their bullpen, but May is special for Seattle as he grew up a Mariners fan. May grew up in Washington state and now currently resides in Seattle. He has said before how much he enjoys pitching in Seattle and that he always has family and friends in the crowd when he pitches at T-Mobile Park. He also described how cool it was to meet Ken Griffey Jr in 2019.
If Dipoto were to pursue May this offseason he would not be alone, as May will be one of the best bullpen arms on the open market, but because of his fondness for Seattle, and the perfect matching style that Dipoto likes, May could like the Mariners more than other teams if the money is right.