The Mariners are looking at a pair of left-handed free agent relievers in Brett Cecil and Boone Logan according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.
The Mariners finished the 2016 season just barely outside of the postseason picture. At 86-76, the Mariners finished three games behind the Blue Jays and Orioles who owned both Wild Card spots for the American League. The Mariners bullpen finished ninth in the AL by FanGraphs’ WAR and battled adversity all season. Furthermore, of their top relievers, only Vidal Nuno is left-handed.
Cecil and Boone Logan are guys M's will take a look at. https://t.co/0Ggc6cQd0X— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) November 10, 2016
Cecil is facing the prospect of not being with the Blue Jays for this first time in his major league career. Relievers aren’t typically known for staying in one place for a very long time but the 30-year-old lefty has stayed with Toronto or in the organization for the entirety of his 10-year career.
Since being converted fully into a reliever in 2013, Cecil has enjoyed impressive success. Over those four seasons, Cecil has ranked 22nd among all relievers by FanGraphs’ WAR. However, he is coming off of his worst season of those four. In 2016, Cecil’s groundball rate took a hit and he gave up six home runs in just 36.2 innings pitched. Much of his struggles were a product of first-half struggles though, as his strikeout to walk ratio went back up to 6.6 in the second-half of the 2016 season.
Meanwhile, the 32-year-old Logan is coming off of his best season yet; and in Coors Field no less. Among relievers with at least 40 innings pitched, Logan recorded the 25th-best strikeout rate of the 2016 season with 30.5 percent; just one-tenth of a percentage point ahead of fireballer Kelvin Herrera.
Even better, Logan posted the eighth-best whiff rate in the majors last season, generating swinging strikes on 16.4 percent of his pitches. That places the lefty in more elite company, sandwiched between Kenley Jansen and Andrew Miller.
The Mariners certainly have the need to pursue an elite left-handed reliever. However, following current trends, relievers like Cecil and Logan may garner a lot of interest in the free agent market and could command longer term deals than ever before.