Chris Flexen has had an incredibly interesting career since coming to the majors. He started with the Mets, and things didn’t go very well. He would make his way over to Korea to play there for a while before making his way to the Mariners. During his time here in Seattle, he has been doing pretty good.
Unfortunately, it’s just not good enough. It’s not really his fault either. Flexen seems pulled from the 80s/90s, a starter who is out there to manage the game, going 6 innings or so, walking 1 or 2, and striking out few enough that you can count it on one hand. More often than not, he is going to leave after 5/6 innings having given up 2/3 runs. Ask most teams, and they would take someone like Flexen.
The Mariners, however, are in a much different situation than many teams, and it’s one that happened fairly quickly. Think about the top four pitchers on the Mariners, and how many of them were there when the 2020 season ended. The answer is zero. Even with pitching good enough in 2022, it seemed like Flexen has drawn the short straw in Seattle.
For his 2022 grade, Chris Flexen earns a B
Crazy to think that a pitcher could come in, do exactly what you want from him, have a successful season, and still lose his job. That’s what happened to Flexen this year. He made 21 starts and appeared in 11 more games as a reliever after losing his job, even though he started in his final appearance of the season. During those starts, he had a 3.92 ERA and had been averaging about 5.2 innings per start.
It’s a big part of the reason the Mariners have been getting so many calls about Chris Flexen. It should surprise no one if some news comes out during the offseason that he has been traded. He is a hot commodity, and Jerry Dipoto knows that he has a chance to improve the team by dealing him. Flexen is making $8 million next year, which is a good deal for someone who can give you a 4 ERA and 180 IP. He will be a free agent after 2023 because of his time spent overseas.
Flexen did exactly what the Mariners needed, carrying a starting spot until after the all-star break. I’m pretty confident giving him a B based on his skill profile. I think that’s a big part of these grades. If someone like Castillo had a 4 ERA and was only striking out 6 per 9, he would get a bad grade. Flexen is a back-end starter though and performs the job quite admirably.