The Seattle Mariners have been busy this off-season. With the acquisitions the club has made, the Mariners have propelled themselves into the conversation of who will win what could be the toughest division in all of baseball. The American League West will surely be a back and forth between all five times. Seattle has a lineup worth talking about. Their rotation, however, may end up hurting them.
- Felix Hernandez
King Felix has been the pride and joy of the Seattle Mariners. The seven-time All-Star didn’t have his best season in 2016. He finished the season with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.324 WHIP. In those two categories, it was his worst performance in several years. With that being said, Felix Hernandez has had a remarkable career. However, at 30 years old, he very well may be starting to decline. He’s most certainly not the same King Felix the fans have come to know and love. As it stands, he is the clear ace in this rotation.
- Hisashi Iwakuma
Who remembers 2012? Hisashi Iwakuma was the talk of baseball writers and fans everywhere. Getting him into Major League Baseball was a must. He finally made it, and in 2013 he had one incredible season. People who didn’t even keep up with the Seattle Mariners were talking about how awesome he was. In 2016, Iwakuma went 16-12, with a 4.12 ERA. He also posted a WHIP of 1.327 and had 147 K’s over 199 innings pitched. Injuries and his age are keeping him from being who he once was. Unfortunately for Mariners fans, he’s the best option at the No. 2 slot.
- James Paxton
Paxton is the last remaining member of Seattle’s much-hyped starting pitching prospect trio that also included Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker. He has had his moments and needs to live up to his expectations in 2017 if the Seattle Mariners plan to make the postseason. Some mild inconsistencies and injury trouble have held James Paxton back. 2017 could be the year that he finally finds a rhythm that works. If he pans out, Paxton could easily find himself as the No. 2 pitcher, pulling ahead of Iwakuma.
- Drew Smyly
If anyone is hoping for a bounce-back season, it’s Drew Smyly. The left-handed pitcher had a bad year last season, for the Tampa Bay Rays. He went 7-12 with a career-worst 4.88 ERA in 2016. Smyly also gave up 67 extra-base hits, including 32 home runs. One positive, he was able to strike out 167 batters in 175.1 innings. Like James Paxton, Smyly had his flashes of dominance. He is more than capable of being a reliable pitcher, just not one that is likely to find himself higher than third or fourth in a rotation.
- Ariel Miranda
Honestly, Ariel Miranda might better serve the Seattle Mariners from the bullpen. The problem is, Seattle doesn’t have many pitching options. Miranda officially exceeded his rookie limits in 2016. At 28 years old, he hasn’t accomplished what scouts and managers would typically expect from a solid starting pitcher. With about 600 innings pitched under his belt, Miranda has a lot of room to grow. 2017 could be good for this Cuban defector, as a means to get innings on his arm and let him learn his own style. Don’t expect him to be a breakout star, but he can handle the back end of a rotation (for now).
- Yovani Gallardo
Frankly, Yovani Gallardo has been less than impressive the last four years of his career. The Seattle Mariners acquired Gallardo from the Baltimore Orioles. The deal sent outfielder Seth Smith to the O’s. Yovani Gallardo definitely brings another veteran presence to the club. He wasn’t the worst pitcher on the market when the Mariners made their move. He is a comfortable option at the end of a rotation, but with no expectations to be great. 2016 was a bad year for Gallardo, as injuries plagued the 30-year-old. Before that, he was worth about an extra two wins in the WAR stat line. Overall, it was a good move for the Mariners, as they needed a proven No. 5.
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