All offseason, Mariners fans have been trying to figure out who is going to be added to the bullpen. We know that they need someone who pitches well against left-handed batters. The likelihood is that person will be left-handed themselves. Many fans have been clamoring for Andrew Chafin… but is he the right choice?
Chafin has been in the bigs for a while, and has locked down a role as one of the better relievers and most consistent in baseball. This isn’t one of the situations where a reliever bounces around because they can’t hold a job. It’s a situation where everyone wants him, so he keeps getting traded and paid.
Andrew Chafin would be an excellent fit for the Mariners bullpen
Chafin only threw 9.2 innings in 2020, so I’m throwing that out. Outside of that, Andrew Chafin has put together a very impressive 2.93 ERA since 2017 over 279.1 innings. He’s even been getting the walks down a bit, with just 2.7 per 9 over the last two seasons. From 2017-2019, he was at 3.8. The flip side is that his K rate has decreased slightly, from 10.7 to 9.4. Still, a trade that you would take every time.
The bigger question that needs to be answered is how he does against lefties. It’s what the Mariners needed greatly last season in the playoffs. Now that Erik Swanson is gone, they need someone who can take over that role and ACTUALLY be used for it. Chafin’s splits may surprise you.
- RHB – .214/.268/.318
- LHB – .226/.325/.368
Even though he is a lefty, he actually does better against righties than lefties. Well, at least in 2022. Things are a bit different when you look at his career as a whole, and even his numbers from 2021.
- 2021 vs RHB – .196/.247/.304
- 2021 vs LHB – .170/.250/.223
- career vs RHB – .231/.308/.347
- career vs LHB – .222/.300/.308
I don’t think there is any doubt that the Mariners could use someone like that. He dominates everybody and does it consistently. He would also be a nice change from the heat that Munoz and Brash bring. Chafin is a “junk” pitcher by today’s standards.
- Sinker – 91.6 mph – 39.3%
- Slider – 82.9 mph – 31.9%
- 4-seamer – 91.6 mph – 28.5%
- Changeup – 84.7 mph – 0.3%
It’s a great sinker-slider combination that works wonders to keep hitters off balance and sets up his fastball to jump on people more than you would expect. Since he’s not a closer, he gets mid-tier reliever money and would make for a high-efficiency cost addition for the Mariners.
The Mariners could sign Andrew Chafin to a 2YR/16M deal
Chafin isn’t a guy who would be considered a specialist against lefties, but that’s because he dominates everybody. Lefties, righties, it doesn’t matter. He’s going to come in and pitch well. If the Mariners want to spend a bit of money on that last spot in the bullpen, then Chafin would be one of the best options out there.