The Mariners need a new closer for 2024. Not because they didn't have one in 2023 or that they had a bad one last season, but because they traded away Paul Sewald at the break in a move with the Arizona Diamondbacks. They've got two great options heading into the upcoming season, and the favorite to be used in that role is likely Andres Munoz.
Personally, I think you should put your best relievers in to face the best hitters, regardless of it being the 7th, 8th, or 9th inning. Matchups could be the case for the Mariners as they look to either Matt Brash or Andres Munoz. Closers do get a bit more value when you are looking at worth, fantasy, WAR, or contract amounts. Part of it is the pressure, part of it is just having a category to hang your hat on.
It's why I figured we would see a bit more WAR for Munoz in 2024. He's had two good seasons in a row for the Mariners, posting sub 3 ERAS. He's even had BABIP agasinst at league average or worse, so it's not like he has lower numbers than he should via luck. With a healthy offseason, we should see Munoz primed and ready when the season starts. Here's what STEAMER sees for Munoz.
64 G, 2.85 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 3.36 BB/9, 25 Saves, 0.9 WAR
They've got him as the primary closer for the Mariners, but with a lower K/9 than we have seen at any other point in his career. The WHIP is a good mix of the last two seasons, as is the BB/9. In fact, the ERA is as well, sitting a bit below where he ended up at last season. I think the part that confuses me is why his WAR would drop by .7 over the average of the last two seasons mark of 1.6.
It's a good season, and if the Mariners can get those numbers from Munoz, I think that the pen will be in a good spot with him. I would be a bit surprised to see the K/9 that low, especially if he is truly healthy. Munoz without injuries and the slider and 101 mph heat on display? Yeah, that sounds like 1 13+ K/9 mark to me.
I like the STEAMER projections for Munoz, and would love to see he and Brash ending games and putting up those kind of numbers. Could be another fun season watching the Mariners bullpen dominate opponents.