Jerry Dipoto signed a free agent. Surprised, right? No, of course not. The Seattle Mariners GM signs free agents all the time. He followed up this signing with another free agent signing, and then followed that by acquiring a player to complete a trade everyone probably forgot he even made in the first place. Busy guy. Famously busy guy.
Let’s start with the big one: Steve Cishek, former standout Miami Marlins closer. That was his thing as recently as the start of 2015, though he lost his job and roster spot during a disaster season. He went to St. Louis after washing out in Miami, then found himself non-tendered. He’s now property of the Mariners for two years and $10 million.
Cishek spent four full seasons with the Marlins, and each of them was awesome. He was truly elite in each of 2013 and 2014, reaching some pretty incredible heights. He struck out the world, limited walks, and kept the long balls well within reason. While he still limited homers in 2015, he was worse in that regard than he’d ever been before. His strikeout rate collapsed, and he allowed more walks than ever before, too.
Add it all up and what do you have? A classic Jerry buy low guy. Cishek has spent the last few years as an “untouchable” reliever on a non-contender. He was a widely sought-after piece who simply couldn’t be had, despite the fact that he wasn’t needed on a crappy Miami team. For so long, everyone wanted Cishek, and the Marlins refused to deal him. They ended up giving him away mere months after his value peaked. And now he’s a Mariner.
His contract includes incentives for games finished, and so maybe it’s even likely that Cishek’s the closer now. If 2015 hadn’t happened he’d easily be the best reliever in the ‘pen. But it happened, and it was gross. Same story stands true for Danny Farquhar, who now plays in Tampa Bay. One bad year can quickly change the long-term outlook of a relief asset. We’ve seen that a whole bunch these last many months.
If Cishek regains form then he’s a huge bargain and the Mariners probably don’t regret trading Seth Smith (and everyone else). If he doesn’t, hey, it’s only ten million dollars. With Miami last year, Cishek had a high ERA but a decent FIP. With St. Louis he had a high FIP, but kept runs off the board. Who knows what we’re in for. All we know is that whatever Cishek is now, he’s probably going to get the nod to close over Joaquin Benoit. Which is fine.
Also now a Mariner: Ed Lucas. Another former Marlin, Lucas is a utility type who will never excite you. He’s been an alright hitter in the high minors, and plays nice defense all over the infield. Steamer projects him for one plate appearance in 2016, which sounds a little bullish. But who knows, maybe he beats out Luis Sardinas, Chris Taylor, and company and gets to break camp as the team’s 25th man. Who knows. Who even knows.
Also also now a Mariner: Ryne Harper, acquired from Atlanta to complete a week-old trade that sent somebody named Jose Ramirez to the Braves. Ramirez, I’m told, contributed to the Mariners bullpen last season. How about that! The more you know.
Harper is 26 and has never appeared above AA. He almost didn’t get a blurb in this post, but here we are, plugging through our second straight paragraph of strictly Ryne Harper-Related Content. We’ll probably never talk about him again, so I’ll say this here and now: he’s been fine at AA and should probably open the season with Tacoma. He’s probably nothing, but I like his name and so it’s cool that he’s here, I guess.
Steve Cishek is a Mariner, and other guys are Rainiers, probably. This Jerry Dipoto fella, I tell ya. He never quits. Not one ounce of quit in him. Tomorrow he’s going to make a move, and then the day after he’ll do the same. It’s all he knows.
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