Mariners Cooler Talk: Matt Brash vs Andres Munoz

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
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Matt Brash
Division Series - Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners - Game Three / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Mariners Matt Brash

Much like Munoz, Brash burst onto the scene by forcing his way into the Opening Day rotation after an epic Spring Training duel with George Kirby. With an electric, unhittable arsenal at his disposal, the key was control for Brash, and it was a rough go.

After 5 starts in the rotation, Brash had an ERA over 7 and walked 17 batters in 20 innings. While he looked great at times, he was quickly sent back to the minors. Shortly after, it was announced that if Brash returned, it would be as a reliever, which was shocking to many fans. On July 9th he returned and was a different pitcher.

Put in the role of an innings eater or 6th inning guy, Brash excelled. Brash walked only 16 batters in 34 appearances, while lowering his ERA from 7.56 to 4.44 during that span. This momentum continued into October as Brash was untouchable in 3 postseason appearances.

It was announced this spring that, with Brash pitching for team Canada in the WBC, Brash will pitch 2023 in the bullpen. With two straight years as a reliever, I believe the bullpen will be his permanent home.

Munoz v Brash: Who will have a better 2023 season?

Much like the Kirby/Gilbert debate, this is an excellent problem to have. The Mariners have a potentially elite quartet in their bullpen, but the ability to throw Munoz and Brash in a game is simply unfair.

Pick one!

Ok! I'm going against the good people and taking Matt Brash. I love Munoz and think his combo of 100 mph fastball and 89 mph slider is deadly. Being able to master those is why Munoz may see more save opportunities in 2023. That being said, I do tend to worry about pitchers that only have two pitches. What happens when you lose one of those pitches for an inning or a week? We saw this happen a few times to Munoz and he wasn't the same pitcher. Having a strong and deep bullpen can cover those bad nights.

I don't think that Brash will suddenly become an elite control guy, but I do believe the combination he possesses of speed, movement, and versatility is more valuable for the Mariners, and could see Brash becoming a bullpen weapon for Seattle, in a way that Andrew Miller was for Cleveland during their World Series run in 2016. Having a guy that can go 3-9 batters an outing, hurl 97 mph, and has some of the absolute best spin in baseball truly makes him the most dangerous man out of that pen.