The rebuilding Mariners have largely stayed away from making noteworthy acquisitions this offseason. To this point, starter Kendall Graveman and reliever Carl Edwards Jr. – two low-cost signings – have been their most recognizable pickups of the winter. It’s possible that will change soon, however, with general manager Jerry Dipoto planning to further address the team’s starting staff and bullpen imminently. Dipoto said Thursday afternoon that the Mariners could make signings within 48 to 72 hours or by sometime next week, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports.
It’s unclear whom the Mariners are targeting, but with most high-quality arms off the free-agent market, any signing is likely to be of the buy-low variety. While Mariners rumors have been scarce since the offseason began, the team did show interest in Jimmy Nelson before he signed a cheap pact with the Dodgers. The M’s have also been in on Taijuan Walker, an ex-top prospect and former starter of theirs who remains available after two seasons ruined by arm problems. As inexpensive hurlers with some upside whose careers have been derailed by injuries over the past couple years, Graveman, Nelson and Walker are all cut from the same cloth.
In the Mariners’ non-contending position, it seems logical to vie for lottery tickets on the open market, perhaps in hopes the pitchers they land will rebuild their stock and wind up as in-season trade chips. Speculatively, Matt Harvey and Shelby Miller stand out as other free-agent starters who might interest the club. Regardless, the M’s rotation could use the help. Among their starters, only Marco Gonzales looks like a strong bet to put up above-average production in 2020.
Questions also abound in Seattle’s bullpen, a unit that had a hard time keeping runs off the board last season and hasn’t welcomed many new faces since then. The bullpen market – where someone like Collin McHugh may be a fit (again, just my speculation) – contains far more options than the starting class, so the Mariners could be deciding among a host of different relievers right now.