Seattle Mariners: 10 Starters the Team Should Lure To Pitching-Friendly Safeco

Adam StangContributor IFebruary 9, 2011

Seattle Mariners: 10 Starters the Team Should Lure To Pitching-Friendly Safeco

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez #38 of the Colorado Rockies works against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on September 25, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Jiimenez failed to earn his 20th win of the season as the Dodgers defeated
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Pitchers in hitter-friendly ballparks or tough divisions may benefit from being traded. The same applies to struggling pitchers in search of redemption.

    The Seattle Mariners would be a good destination for such pitchers. The home of the Mariners, Safeco Field, is the most pitching-friendly venue in the American League and the AL West division isn't too frightening.

    The following ten pitchers would benefit from moving to Seattle. Interested to find out who they are? Read on.

10. Armando Galarraga

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    DETROIT - APRIL 10:  Armando Galarraga #58 of the Detroit Tigers throws a fourth inning pitch while playing the Texas Rangers during Opening Day on April 10, 2009 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 15-2.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics: 4-9, 4.49 ERA

    Outside of his near perfect game, Galarraga is not well known.

    People forget that he finished fifth in AL Rookie of the Year balloting in 2008, turning in a solid 13-7, 3.73 ERA campaign. His stats have declined since then, but the near perfect game shows the potential for greatness is still there.

    At the very least, Galarraga has shown himself to be a classy individual and would make a fine addition to any clubhouse.

9. Daisuke Matsuzaka

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26:  Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch in the first-inning against the New York Yankees on September 26, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics: 9-6, 4.69 ERA

    Matsuzaka could use a fresh start.

    He hasn't been bad, but has failed to live up to the hype.

    Fenway and the AL East don't help Matsuzaka's cause; he regularly pitches against top-tier lineups in the shadow of the Green Monster.

    In Seattle, perhaps Matsuzaka would live up to his enormous potential. For one, he wouldn't be facing the great lineups on such a consistent basis and would have more room for error in the pitcher-friendly confines of Safeco Field. Most importantly, he would largely be out of the public eye in Seattle in comparison to Boston.

    It couldn't hurt being on the coast nearest to his native Japan.

8. Carlos Zambrano

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    CHICAGO - MAY 14: Carlos Zambrano #38 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on May 14, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 10-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics: 11-6, 3.33 ERA

    Yes, Zambrano has issues. Last June, he had a meltdown and was subsequently suspended.

    However, Zambrano has handled himself well since the incident. He pitched well too, going 8-0 over his final 11 starts.

    In his ten-year tenure with Chicago, Zambrano has a 116-74 record and 3.50 ERA. At Wrigley, those totals are impressive.

    In all likelihood, Big Z would void a trade to Seattle (or anywhere else for that matter) but stranger things have happened.

7. Aaron Cook

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 08:  Starting pitcher Aaron Cook #28 of the Colorado Rockies is jeered by the fans as he walks back to the dugout after being taken out in the bottom of the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Two of the NLDS duri
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics: 6-8, 5.08 ERA

    Cook is not oft-mentioned, but has put up respectable stats in his career. 69-58, 4.41 ERA is nothing to scoff at for regular appearances at Coors Field.

    He did struggle in 2010 but has the ability to bounce back. A move to Seattle away from the Rockies could help Cook rejuvenate his career.

6. Jeremy Guthrie

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    ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 19:  Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie #46 of the Baltimore Orioles throws against the Texas Rangers on May 19, 2010 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics: 11-14, 3.83 ERA

    His stats don't look like much but when you consider the stiff AL East competition and hitter-friendly Oriole Park, they are rock solid.

    Guthrie has put up decent numbers for a few years now. In Seattle away from the AL East, he could really flourish.

5. Randy Wells

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 19:  Starting pitcher Randy Wells #36 of the Chicago Cubs deals a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets on April 19, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Players from both t
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics: 8-14, 4.26 ERA

    In 2009, his first full season, Wells sported a 12-10 record and 3.05 ERA. He did take a step back in 2010, something which Wells attributes to lack of focus. Then again, it could just be the sophomore slump victimizing another player.

    A stint in Seattle would be beneficial for Wells and the Mariners. In relative public obscurity, Wells could regain his focus and go back to 2009 form. A more pitching-friendly environment is a plus.

    Wells is just 28 years old and entering the prime of his career. He is still relatively affordable ($427,000 annual salary) and wouldn't break the bank.

4. Joe Saunders

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 23:  Pitcher Joe Saunders #51 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws against the Texas Rangers on July 23, 2010 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics: 9-17, 4.47 ERA

    Saunders just gets the job done. He doesn't get much fanfare but can be counted on to eat ~200 innings every year, making him a valuable commodity.

    Being traded to Arizona probably won't help out his career. He now pitches in the fairly competitive NL West in a hitter-friendly park; Chase Field ranked No. 2 in terms of runs in the 2009 season and has ranked highly in that statistic every year since 2006.

    A move back to the West Coast would be beneficial for Saunders. He is familiar with the AL West and pitching at Safeco could make him a lock for 15-plus wins every year.

3. Josh Beckett

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    SEATTLE - JULY 23: Starting pitcher Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 23, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics: 6-6, 5.78 ERA

    A back injury hampered Beckett in a miserable 2010 season.

    Now would be as good a time as ever for Seattle to pursue Beckett. Despite his poor showing last year, he is only 30 years old and has good stuff; over the last month of the season, Beckett lowered his ERA nearly a full run.

    Beckett would also bring a winning attitude to Seattle. In addition to winning 112 games over the course of his career, he is a two-time World Series champion; in the 2003 World Series, he pitched a complete game shutout in decisive Game 6.

    That kind of leadership would be welcome on any team including Seattle.

2. James Shields

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    ATLANTA - JUNE 17:  Pitcher James Shields #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 17, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics: 13-15, 5.18 ERA

    Shields has regressed the past couple of seasons from his 2008 form.

    This is most likely due to pitching in the ultra-competitive AL East. The loaded lineups that Shields faces on a consistent basis have developed familiarity with his pitching style, making him more predictable and easier to hit.

    A move to Seattle could be just what Shields needs to get on track. In addition to facing easier competition, he would move to a more pitching-friendly venue. Tropicana Field admittedly favors pitchers but he wouldn't have to deal with the infamous catwalk in Seattle.

    Shields also seems to be looking out for his teammates; in a 2008 game against Boston, he hit Coco Crisp in retaliation for a perceived offense. Despite possible repercussions, this kind of behavior makes players popular in the clubhouse.

1. Ubaldo Jimenez

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez #38 of the Colorado Rockies delivers against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on September 25, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics: 19-8, 2.88 ERA

    For the first half of the 2010 season, no one was hotter than Jimenez. Despite cooling off, he still mustered 19 wins and a sub-3.00 ERA playing at Coors Field, the most hitter-friendly park in baseball. Sub-3.00 ERA at Coors. That has to be some sort of record.

    His 2010 season wasn't an anomaly, either; he has demonstrated continual improvement over the past four years.

    Can you imagine Jimenez pitching regularly at Safeco? He might have an ERA from the dead-ball era.

    A move to Seattle would bring a partnership with Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez. The "Dominican Duo" (I know Hernandez is from Venezuela but "Dominican Duo" sounds good) would give Seattle perhaps the best 1-2 punch in baseball.

    The idea has to have Seattle fans drooling.