The Mariners are rebuilding their team after a disappointing 2008 season with 101 losses, while spending well over $100 million on their payroll. Here's a look at their pitchers.
The Mariners made two moves, traded J.J. Putz, Sean Green, Jeremy Reed to the Mets, Luis Valbuena to the Indians and also signed Tyler Walker.
Trading Putz is big deal, especially if the Mariners only got four minor-league prospects, Endy Chavez, Franklin Gutierrez, and Aaron Heilman. I thought the Mariners could get better than this, like Matt Joyce. But Jack Zduriencik couldn't trigger it. Heilman may be the new closer for the Mariners, but he won't do too much of a job.
Signing Walker wasn't so bad. Walker is a tough pitcher, but he needs to keep his ERA down. Walker will be the new closer candidate, but I'm projecting that he will be a set-up man.
The Mariners' starting rotation doesn't look different from end of last season. It will be Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Brandon Morrow, Ryan Rowland-Smith, and either Jarrod Washburn or Carlos Silva.
Key for the Mariners starting rotation is Erik Bedard. He got hurt and went on to DL twice last season, and finished season 6-4 record. But if Bedard can stay healthy, he is very talented starting pitcher who can strike batters out.
Also, it is questioning whether Washburn or Silva will start. Next year will be final year for Washburn's big contract. He might be motivated trying to get nice contract, but he hasn't proved anything good for the Mariners. Silva signed big contract as well, but he wasn't in form like he was with the Twins.
Only good starters the Mariners have are Hernandez, Morrow, and Rowland-Smith. Felix only won nine games last season, but he proved everything that he is the ace of the Mariners. He has a potential of getting Cy Young award in the future.
Morrow almost no-hit the Yankees, with a high strike-out rate, and Rowland-Smith has pitching form which confuses some batters and he has commands. I'm thinking that Morrow will win 12 games, and 11 games for Rowland-Smith.
For the relievers, the Mariners don't have a guy who is really good. Sean Green is now gone, and losing George Sherill prior to 2008 season hurt the Mariners bullpen a lot now.
The Mariners will have Roy Corcoran, Tyler Walker, Mark Lowe, Justin Thomas, Miguel Batista, Cesar Jimenez, Aaron Heilman, Randy Messanger, and Gaby Hernandez. I think that Batista is a good fit for the Mariners' new closer.
Batista has experience as a closer for the Blue Jays several years ago, and he had good stats while in the bullpen last season, so he might just close. Other candidates are Corcoran, Walker, and Heilman.
Don't expect a lot of out of the Mariners next season. But if the pitching goes real well, the Mariners might have a shot playing in October. But the chances are very slight.