Editorials

Three Former Mariners Who Could Return this Winter

The Seattle Mariners have had a reputation of churning through players under the Jerry Dipoto era. But many of these players are headed to free agency this winter and a handful could potentially return to the squad this winter.

There really is no shortage of options for this list. A lot of players could make sense under the right set of circumstances and most players make sense on a 1-year deal. But there are some specific targets that seem to check a lot of the boxes that Dipoto has repeatedly stated the team will target this winter. With that in mind, let’s get started.

Alex Colome

Alex Colome wasn’t a Seattle Mariner for long, but he was quite good. In one of Dipoto’s best trades, Colome was brought into Seattle along with Denard Span for Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. Colome would make 47 appearances for the Mariners, and post a 2.53 ERA, a 3.76 FIP, a 9.5 K/9, and 2.5 BB/9. Seattle traded him to the White Sox two winters ago and he was once again one of the better relievers nobody talked about.

In 2020, Colome posted a 0.81 ERA, a 2.97 FIP, and was excellent at avoiding hard contact. He ranked in the 75th percentile in hard-hit %, 84th percentile in xwOBA, 84th percentile in xERA, 90th percentile in xSLG, 95th percentile in barrel %, and in the 77th percentile in whiff rate. For all of these great things, Colome did struggle to get his usual strikeout numbers, dropping from an 8.1 K/9 in 2019 to a 6.4 K/9 in 2020. As with any player, but especially relievers, the 2020 sample size is too small to formulate much of anything worthwhile, but Colome’s resume makes him a safe, late-inning option that could close out games for the young bullpen if necessary.

Steve Cishek

There may not be a more unnecessarily villainized player in recent Mariners history than Steve Cishek. The mere mention of his name elicits eye rolls and dismissive attitudes. But the fact of the matter is that when he was with the Mariners, Cishek was basically the exact same guy he’s been his entire career: a solid relief pitcher.

There’s nothing that’ll blow you away about Cishek, aside from maybe his funky arm angle. But despite the relatively boring arsenal, it has been incredibly effective for most of the past 10 years. Cishek had a bad 2020, there is no disputing that. But from 2011-2019, Cishek appeared in 569 games and posted a 2.79 ERA, a 3.23 FIP, 9.5 K/9, and a 3.4 BB/9. He’s also collected 132 saves, giving him some of the same backend bullpen experience that Colome has. Over the past 4 seasons, Cishek has remained consistently good, posting a 2.71 ERA and a 3.99 FIP. Cishek can still get big league hitters out and with his experience and unique arm angle, could prove to be a valuable member of the Mariners 2021 bullpen.

Brad Miller

Oh yes, the fan base sure does love and/or hate Brad Miller. But the Mariners could use an upgrade to their utility spot and somebody capable of doing the heavy lifting in left field until Jared Kelenic is ready. Brad Miller can do both. Miller has been a solid hitter since he left the Mariners, carrying a .234/.319/.442 triple slash. But those numbers get better when looking at the last two seasons where Miller has hit .247/.343/.510.

Mariners fans last remember Miller as a wild armed shortstop who dabbled in centerfield. But since then, he’s played all over the diamond and was used mostly as a DH in 2020 while getting one-third of his games at third base. Miller isn’t a great defender, but his back to back seasons of a 121 or higher wRC+ is tough to ignore. Miller is a solid bat who can play 3-4 times a week or more. It allows you the flexibility to give multiple players days off without giving up much (if anything) offensively.

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