Everyone said the Mariners needed some good bats, especially right handed power, in their lineup and while Kendrys Morales helps that need, people have forgotten the Mariners pitching rotation needs some work. With Justin Vargas now an Angel and Kevin Millwood gone, there are two openings.
Last season they hoped Hector Noesi, coming from the Yankess with Jesus Montero in the trade for Michael Pineda would fill Pineda’s spot, but he bombed, going 2-12, 5.82. He is still around, as is Erasmo Ramirez, 1-3, 3.36. And they have added, Pasco, Washington, native, 30 year-old Jeremy Bonderman, who signed a minor league contract. He has not pitched since 2010 with the Tigers where he finished 8-12, 5.53.
I don’t see a lot of help there, but the Mariners only need one of the three to do well this spring.
Besides they need a lefty to replace Vargas. They could move Charlie Furbush into the rotation. He did not fare well there in 2011, but was brilliant in relief in 2012, going 5-2, 2.72, and proved tough to hit against. He might be better suited for relief.
Seattle has two promising young lefties, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen, that could take a spot. Paxton, 24, was 9-4, 3.05, for the Jackson Generals striking out 110 in 106 innings. He also walked 54 and while he started out the season on fire, he struggled as the summer wore on. Hultzen is considered a better prospect. He is 23, and with Jackson was 8-3, 1.19. In Tacoma after a promotion he was 1-4, 5.92 and had control problems. Whether he had a tired arm or was overmatched, or a combination thereof, he is still considered a better pitcher than Paxton at this point in time.
That is what the Mariner have to choose from. At least for the moment. They have said they want to add a veteran pitcher, but with a dwindling free agent pool, they might be in trade discussions. Jack Zduriencik, Mariners GM, likes to get value for value. I would rather have a GM who likes to swindle other teams in trades now and then. Who wants a nice guy GM?
So look around at teams with strong pitching who can afford to give up one for a prospect or two, look at contracts, and take a guess. Everyone else does. I will sit on the dock of the bay, just wasting time until Jack makes a move.