The Seattle Mariners are now into the offseason and we know a little bit about what they have on their to-do list. Last week at the GM Meetings, Jerry Dipoto met with the media for over an hour and talked about their needs at starting pitcher. Mariners beat writer Ryan Divish shared Dipoto’s remarks about the organization’s pitching plans for the offseason:
The most important part of this tweet is that the Mariners are looking to add two starting pitchers. This would fill in the two rotation spots to go along with Marco Gonzales, Chris Flexen, and Logan Gilbert. The Mariners could look to fill one of those two spots with a lottery ticket pitcher coming off of Tommy John surgery: Justin Verlander.
Justin Verlander is one of the unquestioned best pitchers of all time, arguably the best since 2000. He has not pitched since opening day 2020, and he will be almost a year and a half removed from surgery by spring training, but Verlander could be an absolute home run for the Mariners.
The Mariners should not expect to sign Justin Verlander and pencil him into the opening day rotation and expect him to make 30 starts. The Mariners need to be realistic and know that he is coming off of a major surgery and is 39 years old, so they need to be careful with his workload. If the Mariners signed or traded for a solid starter to count on every time out, they could sign Verlander to be a bonus potential for the season.
If the Mariners get to a point in the offseason where they maybe traded for Luis Castillo or signed Marcus Stroman, the Mariners should look into signing Verlander to give them massive upside potential for the 2022 season. If Verlander starts the season by only going 3 innings or so to build back his arm strength, they could use Matt Brash as a piggy back starter to get work at the Major League level.
The Mariners should offer a 1 or maybe 2 year contract to Verlander for probably about $20 million per year. This would give the Mariners the potential to have a great starting pitcher back by the second half of the season to be making big starts for the Mariners as they make a playoff push. Verlander could be a big boost down the stretch for Seattle as they look to break their long playoff drought.
While Verlander did receive a qualifying offer from the Astros, that should not scare the Mariners. There are reports that Verlander was not welcomed back by teammates after being away recovering from surgery:
There are also reports that Verlander is starting to regain some of his fastball velocity in his recent bullpen sessions, where there have been several teams attending. The Mariners could be one of the teams who have been at his workouts and bullpen sessions.
The Mariners should be interested in signing Justin Verlander as a bonus for their offseason to give them a big boost. A healthy Justin Verlander could be a huge boost to the Mariners as they look to break their 20-year playoff drought. Verlander could come back and help the Mariners in 2022, if they want to take a long shot on someone who could pay off big time.