Finding the next Paul Sewald

Former All-star and World Series Champion, Matt Barnes is on the market, and the Mariners should take a flyer.
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles / G Fiume/GettyImages

Jerry Dipoto, the Mariner's president of baseball operations, has a propensity to use the trade route to augment the team, which is often a risky business, especially when fan and clubhouse favorites like Paul Sewald are headed out the door. A considerable amount of discourse was tied to the Sewald trade last season, and it is safe to say the bullpen didn't rise to the occasion after the transaction. The refreshing thing is that Dipoto and general manager Justin Hollander see a need to add a proven arm to the pile ahead of spring training. Yes, they've brought in a host of relievers, they always do, but there is one more on the market Dipoto should get on speed dial: Matt Barnes.

First, let's talk about resumes. Barnes has playoff experience. He tossed three scoreless innings in the 2018 October Classic, playing a critical role in the Boston Red Sox's championship run. That year, he hurled 61 innings, striking out 96 batters and holding them to a .227 average. Barnes' curveball was an elite pitch, routinely baffling opposing hitters and allowing him to carve up late-inning lineups.

While the now 33-year-old reliever is far removed from his heyday, he is still an above-average reliever with some analytics the Mariner's stellar pitching lab could transform. According to the Baseball Savant, Barnes is in the 84th percentile in extension, which might not seem like much, but it's a quality the Mariners hone in on (e.g., Gilbert, Kirby, Miller). Additionally, the curveball is still above average (1961 RPM) and effective (.209 BAA). Not to mention, Barnes has recently picked up a splitter, and the results are superb, putting away hitters at a 28.6% rate.

Again, he's not the 2018 version of himself, but you have to believe something is there, and the Mariners can and should help him unlock it. Because if they do, we might stop discussing how this team needs the next Paul Sewald.