When the Seattle Mariners traded for David Aardsma, I first looked at his 5.55 ERA and thought that he was not going to be anywhere near what the Mariners lost in JJ Putz and Sean Green.
But after looking over his stats and reading a few articles, I realized that he was a bargain in a stellar bullpen.
In his last 9.1 innings he had a groin injury, so his ERA flew to the sky; before that, his ERA was 2.75. His other numbers were also stellar, such as his 41 strikeouts in only 39 innings before his groin injury.
But Aardsma is only one part of the Mariners' bullpen. The Mariners still have Roy Corcoran, who is one of the best relievers in all of baseball, and plenty of other pitchers to show off their talent.
Aardsma is still young enough to improve his control and become a great hand in the bullpen. Aardsma and Corcoran put together one of the best 1-2 punches in any bullpen in the majors.
But then there is that closer role. The Mariners have plenty of guys who can save games, including Miguel Batista, Tyler Walker, and Aaron Heilman. As sad as it would be, Brandon Morrow is always an in-house option if neither Walker, Heilman, nor Batista pan out.
Heilman isn't quite as consistent, but when you play in a park where all the fans hate you and the players don't like you for killing what they had done, it gets hard to play how you should.
Heilman had one absolutely amazing month. In June, he had a 0.64 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 14 innings. Can anyone else compare to that? I know he won't do that all year long, but I am expecting something better than he was in New York.
Batista hopefully will be motivated by trying to get a new contract after the season, since he's a free agent after 2009. But don't expect big things from him.
Don't give up on the Mariners. Have a little faith; your team is extraordinary this year for once!