The Mariners had a rough 2019 season, which resulted in them finishing last in the AL West with a 68-94 record. Seattle will now have to move forward into a new era, as longtime ace Felix Hernandez is now with the Atlanta Braves.
If the Mariners are looking to compete this season, they will need their offense to outperform the preseason projections. They will also need their starting rotation to pitch well above their paygrades.
Here is a look at what the Mariners’ pitching rotation could look like if the season isn’t canceled due to COVID-19.
The rotation will not be a good one, but Marco Gonzales is expected to lead it. He has spent time with the Cardinals and Mariners with a 34-25 career record. To go with the record, Gonzales has a 4.25 ERA and has started 77 career games.
Last season for the Mariners, Gonzales had his best year of his career. He went 16-13 with an ERA of 3.99. Gonzales was also able to pitch 203 innings for the Mariners in 34 games started.
In the postseason, Gonzales has had mixed results. He went 2-0 with no earned runs allowed in 2014 NLDS as a reliever. In the NLCS, he gave up three runs in three innings for an ERA of 9.00.
Kikuchi had success in Japan and decided to come over to the Major Leagues before the 2019 season. Although he had several offers on the table, Kikuchi decided to sign with the Mariners.
His first season in Seattle did not go well. Kikuchi went 6-11 with a 5.46 ERA. He did get valuable experience with 32 starts and 161.2 innings pitched.
If Kikuchi can make improvements this year, it would greatly help the Mariners’ pitching rotation.
Sheffield is a 24-year-old who has spent time with both the Yankees and Mariners. He has an 0-1 career record in two seasons with a 5.82 ERA. Sheffield has gotten a little bit of experience in the big leagues, as he has 38.2 career innings pitched.
Last season, he started seven games and posted an 0-1 record. He finished the season with a 5.82 ERA, pitching 36 innings.
Sheffield has never pitched in the postseason. He would have to have a phenomenal year for the Mariners to get to the postseason this year.
Graveman is a veteran who has pitched for the Blue Jays and Athletics in his career. He has a 23-29 record with a 4.38 ERA. His best season was in 2016, when he went 10-11 with a 4.11 ERA. He hit a career-high in innings pitched that season with 186.
Since having Tommy John surgery in 2018, Graveman has not pitched at the MLB level. The Mariners are giving him a shot to see if he has anything left in the tank after surgery.
Walker started his career with the Mariners and is back to see if he can regain his form. He has a 31-31 career record with an ERA of 3.95. Walker had his MLB debut season when he was 20, so he has plenty of experience as a 27-year-old.
He has battled injuries the last few seasons with the Diamondbacks. Walker has been able to pitch in just four games in the last two years due to his injuries. This season will be a good opportunity for Walker to prove to everyone that he can stay healthy.
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