One of the biggest questions that have been on Seattle Mariners fans' minds this offseason and Spring Training is what should the club do with Chris Flexen? There are many different options for what to do with him, but it is probably not something that will be decided soon. With Flexen not starting the season in the rotation, he will fill the traditional long reliever role to start the season.
The Mariners have positioned themselves well when it comes to the depth of their pitching staff, and Chris Flexen is a part of that. If any of the five starting pitchers in the Mariners rotation goes down with injury, Flexen is right there to take their place. With him in the bullpen, his largest role currently is most likely to come in if a starter struggles and gets shelled early in a start and pitch three to four innings if needed. With his experience as a starter, he can come in for "mop-up duty".
What should the Mariners do with Chris Flexen?
Having an experienced pitcher in the long relief role means that Manager Scott Servais does not have to worry about leaving a struggling or fatigued starter on the mound. Bringing Flexen in will give the Mariners the flexibility to not overuse their starters and it will save them from being fatigued throughout the season. Having a solid long reliever should help the M's out this season. There is one other large reason that the Mariners have held onto the right-hander.
Keeping Chris Flexen into the season gives the Mariners all of the leverage in trade negotiations. Throughout the season there will be numerous injuries to starting pitchers. We saw it on Opening Day when Braves lefty Max Fried went down with a leg injury. Once a team gets desperate enough later in the season, they will have to give up something valuable to acquire him. Maybe the Mariners could get an interesting prospect in return for him or a contributor to the big league team.
They could trade Flexen for a reliever if the Mariners need bullpen help, or possibly a platoon or bench player who can help boost the offense. No matter what happens during the season, the Mariners should be able to use Chris Flexen well and make him very effective for them or they should be able to trade him for something else that is valuable to the organization.