Monday, October 11, 2010

Two possible Mariner pitching targets

I have absolutely no insider knowledge whatsoever, but I read things.  I read a lot of things.  Then I read things like this and think, Chris Young, for all his hurt-shoulder-ness, is better than 80% of the current Mariner rotation, and therefore someone in blue should be interested.

So some quick thoughts about Chris Young.  Yes, he gets hurt.  A lot.  When he's good, he can be very good (3.4 and 3.7 WAR in 2005, 2007) and when he's hurt, he's still better than Doug Fister and Ryan Rowland Smith as long as he can get on the field.

He's an extreme-extreme flyball pitcher and has benefited greatly from playing in San Diego where his home/road splits almost make you want to platoon him only at Petco.  But for that reason, he should probably only play in San Diego, Seattle, and maybe Detroit.  He would be a good fit for the Safe though, for sure.  He's usually a good strikeout guy, not because he throws particularly hard, but because he's delivering not from 60 feet 6 inches, but probably closer to 50 feet 6 inches since the dude is a toothpick from 7 feet tall.

He signed a 4 year, 14.5 million dollar deal with SD in 2007 and if you didn't follow the link above, they're turning down his 8.5 mil option in 2011 with hopes of getting him on the cheap going forward, which comes as little surprise to anyone.

The problem of course is the M's would have to overpay.  If the Padres only offer him a one year with incentives and a team option, well maybe the M's could have the benefit of offering him added security in a two year deal or something.  I don't know.  All I know is Chris Young is probably a pretty good risk for a team that is going to be desperate for pitching, and he really shouldn't cost all that much.

Second, is Aaron Harang who will be a free agent after Cincy almost assuredly buys out his 12-plus mil option at $2 mil.

Surprisingly, Harang is just a a year older than CY and will turn just 33 in May.  It seems like he should be 40 by now. 

Harang gives up a lot of hits, he gives up a lot of homers, and he's become an increasingly fly ball pitcher.  But for a guy who won exactly 6 games in each of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, his xFIP was 4.18 and 3.95, respectively which would be good for 2nd best on the Mariner staff (not including Cliff Lee).  He didn't benefit at all from Great American Ballpark, his strand rate was uncharacteristically low and his BABIP uncharacteristically high in 2010.  I don't know that you could categorically call him a "bounce back candidate" but objectively, he should be a pretty productive pitcher in 2011 for someone - and the bigger the ballpark, the better.

I really don't know what it would take to sign a guy who is coming off three awfully disappointing seasons using wins and ERA as your guide.  Would he take a one year with option in order to try and right the ship and get a multi-year thereafter?  Maybe.  Float the Levinson brothers a $4 mil figure, and tell them that they should be happy they didn't have to pay for Milton Bradley's therapy (who they also represent) and maybe they'll put in a good word with Harang.

What's more, if signed, he would undoubtedly create chaos among opinions about the ugliest Mariner after Jack Wilson reigned as king for two straight years.

I know there has been much said about the offensive needs of the 2011 Mariners, and oh-my-God are those needs great, but going into the season with Jason Vargas as your #2 starter is just damned terrifying.  I'm all for player development, but anyone who thinks Luke French, Doug Fister, or Hyphen are going to develop into front of the rotation type guys are fooling themselves.  The Mariners have a #1 ace and about ten #5 starters as options.  Let's try to creatively pepper in a #3 or #4, shall we?

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