Consider this your midterm grade, Mariners. Spring Training is less than two months away, but with big names like Prince Fielder still on the market, the offseason is far from over. So, pull up a chair and let’s have a chat about your progress so far.
John Jaso: B+
Technically, this is the only trade you’ve made all season. The others have just been acquisitions. Jaso, a left-handed catcher from Tampa Bay, was exchanged for Josh Lueke. He’s maintained a .992 FP over the past two seasons, which almost makes up for his .224 average. If his numbers hold up, he’ll be a slight improvement over Adam Moore, Chris Gimenez, and Miguel Olivo.
I really, really want to believe in Hisashi’s 2.42 ERA and .462 winning percentage. I want to believe that these numbers he racked up in the Japan Pacific League will translate perfectly to Mariner baseball. So, until he proves me otherwise, he has an A in my book.
This may be the best thing you’ve done all offseason, Mariners. Not only does Sherrill fit the bill for lefty reliever, but his stats (major league ones!) show that he’s pretty good. I’ll take the .750 winning percentage, the 1.25 WHIP, and the 12 earned runs in 36.0 IP.
Darren Ford: A
Okay, I can admit to a little bias on this one. After watching him in San Francisco, Ford’s superhuman speed lends him credit, although his major league numbers leave a lot to be desired. However, he’s accepted a minor league deal and an invitation to Spring Training, so things can only go up from here.
Steve Garrison: B-
Just kidding, kind of. The thing is, Garrison has only played once in the majors. That’s it. He helped the Yankees blow out the Mariners 10-3 after facing 2 batters for 0.2 innings, allowing no hits or walks. Still, I just can’t get excited about his skills because he hasn’t shown any yet.
Josh Kinney: B-
A right-handed reliever from the Chicago White Sox, Kinney holds promise as long as he holds his minor league 2.27 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. This is yet another “wait-and-see” player, but with 13 runs relinquished over 17.2 major league innings, I’m not holding my breath.
Jeff Marquez: B
I’m starting to sense a pattern of stockpiling pitchers rather than hitters. Marquez, also a right-handed reliever from the White Sox, brings decent (if insignificant) numbers from his major and minor league service. Whether he can maintain an ERA under 3.50 with more playing time will, as always, remain to be seen.
I’m not gonna lie — I’d rather see shortstop depth in the majors rather than the minors, but with Kawasaki’s numbers, I can’t imagine he’ll be stuck in Tacoma for very long.
Overall grade: B
Don’t be disheartened, Seattle. To get an A, you simply need to check off everything on your offseason list, and that includes a veteran starting pitcher (Hisashi Iwakuma), catching depth (John Jaso), a lefty reliever (George Sherrill), backup shortstop (Munenori Kawasaki), and a bat. I’m still reserving a higher grade for the day you sign an offense. Hint: A+++ if you land Fielder.