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Olney: Mariners appear destined to sign a big-name starting pitcher

Nov 30, 2013, 12:41 PM EDT

We’ve heard all sorts of talk about the Mariners attempting to upgrade their offense this winter, with names like Carlos Beltran and Nelson Cruz in the conversation, but ESPN’s Buster Olney writes that they might be better-positioned to land one of the top free agent starting pitchers on the market:

If the Mariners are truly ready to splurge on free agents, they’d probably have an easier time convincing pitchers to come to Seattle than hitters. While moving in the fences at Safeco Field resulted in increased offense this past season, the park still played slightly pitcher-friendly and continued to limit home runs. Of course, 81 games isn’t a big sample size, but its reputation as a pitchers’ park figures to linger.

The Mariners already have Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma at the top of their rotation and young right-hander Taijuan Walker looked promising during a late-season sneak preview, so their starting pitching could be pretty scary if they are able to sign one of those guys. But they’ll be losing a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games unless they are able to add a bat or two, as well.

  1. djpostl - Nov 30, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Just because they’re the best available pitchers in an exceptionally weak market doesn’t make them a “big-name starting pitcher”.

    • spudchukar - Nov 30, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      Their names might be big but their talent isn’t.

    • churdus - Nov 30, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      agreed, and we’ll probably overpay. but we’re only looking for a number 3 at this point…

    • jayquintana - Nov 30, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Exactly! If I’m a Mariners’ fan, I’m not exactly jumping for joy at this news.

  2. nickg1281 - Nov 30, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    With a pitcher friendly park like Safeco they should have no problem singing those guys

  3. johnnysoda - Nov 30, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Not a good idea. The Mariners have pitching- they need bats.

  4. markofapro - Nov 30, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Rightly said, DJ.

  5. extavernmouse - Nov 30, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    I agree that none of these guys have Cy Young written on them. With the way the young pitchers performed in their tryouts last season, I’d be comfortable with the starters we already have. A bat or two would be much better. That said, if it’s a bat or two and a pitcher, and if they’re not super-expensive, I’d be OK with one of those guys. We’ll see how much ownership is willing to step up this year.

  6. mantleneedsawhiskey - Nov 30, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    The only guy out of that pack I could see doing well in Seattle is Ubaldo. Something tells me only King Felix can fix him at this point.

  7. Black Dog - Nov 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    An underwhelming trio. Their cumulative records over the last three seasons:

    Jimenez: 31-39
    Santana: 29-35
    Garza: 25-23… and he got hurt in two of those seasons.

    That’s the best the free agent pitching market has to offer?
    Buyer beware.

  8. denny65 - Nov 30, 2013 at 6:12 PM


  9. blynch67 - Nov 30, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Corrected: “Mariners appear destined to suck until the end of time”

    Your Welcome :)

  10. Julian Bravo - Nov 30, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Why would a starting pitcher be our top priority? King Felix and Iwakuma are a solid 1-2 and Paxton played well at the end of the season. While Ramirez and Walker are not “stars” yet, I’d much rather give them a shot than invest on someone that forces us to send them back to the minors. It wasn’t our starting pitching that cost us, it was always a lack of run support or our relievers.

    Invest the money on some reliable hitters! I love Ibanez but we can’t expect a 41 year old to be our most reliable source of runs

  11. fearthehoody - Dec 1, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    Oh darn! No more Kevin Millwood, Joe Saunders, Aaron Harang, Ian Snell, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Blake Beavan, or Hector Noesi type studs we can plug in????

  12. thepoolshark - Dec 1, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Hell, Santana only wants 100 million. Ubaldo only sucked for 3 years before deciding to try for a decent contract during the 2nd half. Garza stunk it up for the Rangers, give him 75 million. The price of mediocrity means beers go up to $15 bucks, dogs will be priced like Prime Rib, peanuts like caviar, and bleacher seats could pay your electric bill for a month. Enjoy the game, boys

  13. seahawkswag206 - Dec 1, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Man, I was so excited for the mariners’ offseason. With Jack Z’s job on the line you would think he would’ve made a serious move by now. Looks like we’ll be rebuilding for another 7+ years

  14. sweetnlow44 - Dec 1, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    The Mariners are the model of dysfunction. Hey, our team is disgustingly bad on offense… Let’s go get some more pitchers. Brilliant.

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