Ahead of Kansas City Royals free agency, let’s take a look at the Seattle Mariners’ upcoming free agents and decide whether or not the team should pursue any.
After winning 89 games in 2018, the Seattle Mariners finished a lot closer to the Kansas City Royals in the American League standings this past season. Posting a record of 68-94, the franchise took a huge step back under fourth-year manager Scott Servais.
With the end of the Felix Hernandez era upon us (more on that later), the 33-year-old is one of five Mariners players expected to hit the market this offseason. Are any of them worth pursuing? Check out the list of names here, and read our case for each of them on whether or not the front office should make an offer.
Felix Hernandez, P
Hernandez’s last three seasons have been plagued by injury. From ages 21 to 29, the righty posted a 127-83 record and an ERA of 3.00. Making the All-Star team six times and even winning a Cy Young award during that span, there weren’t many players more dominant than “King Felix.” Unfortunately, though, those days are long gone.
From 2016 to 2019, Hernandez went 26-35 with an average ERA of 4.89. It’s not just bad luck, either, as his FIP of 5.10 would agree. Once one of the most iconic names in all of baseball, that’s just about the only thing keeping Hernandez in the MLB today. His run in Seattle is apparently over, and there’s legitimate concern he may not ever pitch significant MLB innings again.
Should the Kansas City Royals somehow convince him to come out of the bullpen (doubtful), perhaps Dayton Moore would look like a genius if he took a flyer on Hernandez. But, as mentioned, that’s doubtful.
Verdict: Pass (with the ability to become “potentially”?)
A 28-year-old righty, injuries limited Vizcaino to just four innings pitched in 2019. Over his last two seasons, though, he’s tossed 95.2 innings and averaged an ERA+ of 168. Dayton Moore is notorious for signing veterans on the heels of injury-riddled seasons. On a one-year deal, Vizcaino would make a lot of sense for a reclamation project. With how bad the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen was in 2019, there aren’t many (if any) reasons to say no.
Wade LeBlanc, P
LeBlanc is an 11-year veteran who turned 35 a few months ago. He appeared in 26 games with Seattle last season (8 starts) and posted a 5.71 ERA. Starting 27 games the year before, LeBlanc is a long reliever/starter hybrid at this point in his career. Both his age and his performance last season are red flags for the Royals, though.
Kelby Tomlinson, 2B
Tomlinson did not play in a major league game last season. A 29-year-old infielder, his career average line is 0.265/0.331/0.332. That line was worse in Triple-A in 2019, sitting at 0.242/0.301/0.301. He offers little in terms of upside and the Kansas City Royals already have a fairly crowded infield.
Tommy Milone, P
A left-handed starter/reliever hybrid (much like LeBlanc), Milone will be 33 by the time next season rolls around. Since 2015, he’s played for five different teams and his ERA over that span is 5.08. Enough said.
Overall, there isn’t much to pick from in regards to the Mariners’ 2019 free agent class. Hernandez would be cool to see in a Kansas City Royals uniform and Vizcaino is an intriguing bullpen option but other than that, the team can look elsewhere for its next members of the 2020 club.