Seattle Mariners Rumors: Santana, Jimenez and the Waiting Game


Sep 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (30) delivers in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners continue to be linked to free agent pitchers. In particular, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez keep coming up, and the Mariners are not the only teams that have been rumored to contact these free agent hurlers.

Now we wait. This is essentially a game of chicken. We are waiting for one side to blink or flinch. Teams need pitching. Pitchers need jobs. Offers have most likely been made. All that is missing is a middle ground.

If only it were that easy.

You understand the dilemma. A pitcher like Ervin Santana might be able to help the Seattle Mariners, particularly in the short term. Unfortunately, Santana has had some bad years in the past. In addition, he could cost the team $40-50 million over the next 3-4 years.

What happens if Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and other youngster emerge as viable starters? Do you want a declining Santana on the roster at $12-15 million per year?

Do the Mariners desperately need a pitcher? Not necessarily. After all, Santana and Jimenez may not do drastically better than Walker, Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez or Brandon Maurer.

Still, free agent pitchers have a bit more time to be picky. All they have to do is wait for a pitcher to get hurt in camp and be lost for the year. Look what happened to Mark Mulder in Los Angeles Angels camp. He didn’t make it through a workout. Granted, he had a five-year layoff but players get hurt all the time.

As the season opener approaches, the pressure will build on the pitchers, and agents will need to consider lowering their contract expectations. There may be multiple teams that are “interested” in these players, but the fact that they remain unsigned does say something.

Either the price is still too high or teams are not yet feeling desperate. Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez may soon find jobs with the Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays or some “mystery” team.

Then again, both pitchers could remains unemployed for quite some time. In some cases, neither side blinks during negotiations. Sometimes both parties just walk away.

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