(maybe Sheets can upgrade the M's lineup to?)
It was no surprise the Seattle Mariners were one of 20 teams that were in Louisiana to watch former Brewers ace Ben Sheets throw after suffering a series of injuries that rendered him unable to pitch last season.
The Mariners scout in attendance, John Stearns, gave a strong recommendation:
“I was impressed,” Stearns told the Monroe News Star. “Ben was free and easy, throwing the ball really well with not too much effort. He had good velocity. I was especially impressed with his curve-ball. ...
“It looked to me like he was healthy, and health is the key issue here. I’m going to give him a strong recommendation to our organization.”
Keep in mind Mariners GM Jack Zdureincik was responsible for finding and drafting Sheets while with the Brewers.
Sheets started the 2008 All-Star Game, going 13-9 with a 3.08 ERA that season, he is only one year removed from being one of the National League's best pitchers.
Such a strong recommendation, and the familiarity Zdureincik has with his former draft pick, gives strong indications the Mariners will seriously consider offering him a incentive laden one year deal.
With about $10-12 million left to spend, they could figuratively sign Sheets, and Jarrod Washburn, which would allow them to slide Ryan Rowland Smith into the bullpen.
Doing that gives them the best rotation in baseball:
RHP Felix Hernandez
LHP Cliff Lee
RHP Ben Sheets
LHP Jarrod Washburn
RHP Ian Snell
Another scenario could be the Mariners sign Ben Sheets and opt to add a bat, with the market thinning for Left Fielder Johnny Damon, why not offer him a one year, $5-6 million dollar deal and see if he bites?
The same thing happened last season with Angels OF Bobby Abreu, he misjudged his market and watched it dry up, being forced to take a one year, $5 million dollar offer, after initially looking for up to $14 million per year.
Getting Damon would give us an upgrade in Left Fielder at a discount, allowing us to interchange him and Milton Bradley at Left Field and Designated Hitter.
Regardless of what signings occur, the Mariners have some money to play with and at the very least are going to sign a pitcher who will be in the rotation next spring.
Also, I laugh at the Anaheim Angels for coughing up $16 million for the bipolar Joel Pineiro.
He had three good seasons with Seattle, going 37-20 with a 2.72 ERA in 86 games.
Then three horrible seasons with Seattle, going 21-35 with a 5.83 ERA in 91 games.
Incredibly mediocre, I know the market is thin, so you can't say it doesn't fill a need, but in an offseason in which we have screwed the Angels so bad, I'm glad to see them overpay for our once inconsistent pitcher.
Judging from his performance patterns, he is due to be on another slide, good thing he cashed in. Thank you Aaheim for leaving us Ben sheets, Jarrod Washburn, among others and picking him up instead.