Tuesday was a pretty busy day in baseball. Several players had their options exercised, while others had their options declined, were released, or designated for assignment. Here are a few players that became available today and what their role could be with the Mariners.
Dallas Braden was released by the A’s. He didn’t pitch this year thanks to yet another arm issue (the same one that limited him to 3 starts in 2011). When he has pitched, he has been effective. He would be fun to look at for a no or low risk deal. You can’t count on him to pitch, but it would be a nice arm to bring into spring training. Joey Devine is another Athletics pitcher that was released after not pitching in 2012. He is a reliever, but he has also been really effective when he has pitched. He shouldn’t cost much at all, so we will see if the Mariners are interested.
Kevin Youkilis, who had his option declined, still creams left-handed pitching, but struggled against right-handed pitching this year. If you are going to platoon with Smoak, you need a left-handed hitter that hits right-handed pitching better. He really isn’t a third baseman anymore (he shouldn’t be at least), and Kyle Seager isn’t someone you are looking to replace at 3rd base. DH for the Mariners is also full, so a look at him means that you are looking at him to play 1st base. I don’t think he is an everyday player at this point (a vast majority of his success came in hitter friendly parks), he is more of a platoon player, and not the platoon you need. He still looks to be rather pricey, so you have to pass if you are the Mariners.
Matt Downs was designated for assignment by the Astros today. He is sort of a poor man utility player, as he isn’t very good defensively so he has had to play a lot of positions, sort of like Alex Liddi. He was downright dreadful with the bat this year, getting sent to AAA a couple of different times. He doesn’t have a big platoon split (it was basically non existent this year), but he is okay (just below league average) against left-handed pitching. Again, this isn’t the platoon split the Mariners need, but he should be cheap (you should be able to get him on a non roster deal, he was claimed on waivers by the Astros from the Giants a couple of years ago). Alex Liddi does make Downs sort of redundant.
Brett Myers also had his option declined. His move back to the bullpen went predictably poor. As a starter with the Astros, he was at the very least an innings eater and had a really good season in 2010. I have no idea what Myers wants to do, but he clearly has more value as a starter. If he wants to be a starter, I would take a serious look at Myers if I were the Mariners. If he wants to remain a reliever, I would look elsewhere.
Scott Feldman of the Rangers is somewhat of a puzzle, and Texas cut ties with him by declining his option. He has been extremely effective in spurts and seasons, and then really poor in other stretches. He doesn’t have swing and miss stuff, but can break quite a bit of bats (though he hasn’t been a guy that has sported a low BABIP in his career). He seems to be best in a long-man/swing role than a starter. He doesn’t have a platoon split thanks to the cutter, but was downright miserable as a starter this year. This is most likely because he lacks of a good assortment breaking pitches. However, the cutter does give him some value. I am not sure where he fits in on the Mariners, if he does at all thanks to a pretty strong bullpen. However, as they say, you never can have enough pitching.
I was interested in Jose Molina as a defensive catcher (he is basically the catcher that replaced John Jaso in Tampa Bay), but he had his option picked up. His arm isn’t great, and lacks ability at the plate and on the bases, but he has really good receiving skills that the Mariners haven’t seen in a long time. Perhaps the Mariners can convince the Rays to take a reliever for him (he will make just 1.8 million dollars) in a trade. I am not sure I would give up Chance Ruffin for him, and I doubt they would take someone like Josh Kinney. I would at least make a phone call if I were the Mariners.