Not quite there yet
On paper, the 2014 Seattle Mariners look to be a very deep team at the majority of the positions on the field, with the exception of the starting rotation.
All it takes is taking a look at that one spot in the middle that is missing to find your answer.
For the past two weeks the Mariners have been linked to two free agent starting pitchers, one of which came off the market Monday when the Baltimore Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez, leaving what most of us thought was only Ervin Santana left to be our savior.
But lo and behold, reports came out Tuesday that the M’s were in talks with another free agent pitcher; Chris Capuano. This surprise should have Mariners fans feeling a bit more optimistic for the upcoming year.
Here is a look at both Santana and Capuano side-by-side, plus my pros and cons with each potential signing.
The Dominican born Santana had some very effective years in Los Angeles where he had a vital role with some really good Angels clubs.
Even though his best year professionally was six years ago, and he hasn’t registered a winning season since 2010, Santana would be a perfect fit in the three slot in the M’s rotation.
Only four times in his nine-year career has he failed to reach the golden plateau of 200 innings or more.
With the work horses of Felix and Kuma paired with the capability Santana going deep into ballgames three days in a row, the M’s bullpen, with all their question marks, would reap the benefits of this.
Santana is a lifetime 105-90, with an ERA of 4.19. Nothing spectacular by any means, but it sure beats what the M’s have ready and waiting to take over that third spot.
He did continue his decline in dominance last season once again going 9-10 in the win/loss department, he did register the best ERA of his career, 3.24, and was only eight strikeouts off his career average of 169 per year.
Once again, not the greatest numbers when looking to spend a lot of money on an aging pitcher who wants a multi-year contract, but I think he is worth the risk personally.
Bringing him in now will not only shore up the missing link to what could be a winning season finally, but also alleviates the pressure of Kuma rushing to come back prematurely as well.
Capuano is another nine-year vet looking to catch on with a team at the onset of Spring Training.
Right off the bat I’m throwing a con out there on this guy. He is a lifetime National League guy. He doesn’t know these ballparks or players nearly as well as Santana does, giving Santana the edge in my book.
Over his nine-year career, Capuano has a 73-83 record with a 4.27 ERA, with his best, and only winning, season coming back in 2005 in Milwaukee where he went 18-12 with a 3.99 ERA.
Spending time most recently with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he went 16-19 over two seasons where there was some pretty good offense to back him up.
That may, or may not be the case in Seattle. There are a lot of uncertainty’s here with all of the new faces that will be filling up the field and lineup card.
But, with that being said, Capuano couldn’t deliver in a warm weather stadium with an All-Star caliber lineup behind him, what makes any of us think he will be able to do any better in the damp, dank air of Seattle?
It’s Ervin Santana or bust for me. Let’s hope the M’s see things the same way I do.