Aardsma the Mariner

Padres sign Henry Blanco (1/750k)

The Cubs interest in acquiring a southpaw bat left Blanco in the cold, although not for too long. On a team with a good catcher, Blanco is a mighty fine reserve, on the Padres Blanco represents the best backstop option. Nick Hundley will get most of the at-bats as the Padres try to figure out whether he is an option heading forward or simply a stopgap. Thus, Blanco is casted as the “mentor” type who starts in day games. Since his starting stint with the Twins 2004 Blanco has been worth 1.5 wins in a similar role.

Brewers sign Craig Counsell (1/1 mil)

When the Royals signed Willie Bloomquist for two years and three million, general manager Dayton Moore described Bloomquist as a “Craig Counsell” type. Naturally, the actual Counsell would sign for one year and for a third of the money. This is a nifty signing for the Brewers thanks to Counsell’s still worthwhile glove. Over the last three years Counsell has average a win per season, suggesting he’s going to make the Brewers a profit this season.

Plus his batting stance is the most unique in this post-Tony Batista league.

Mariners acquire David Aardsma for Fabian Williamson

Williamson is a 20-year old lefty who spent 2008 in rookie ball, pitching pretty well, although having some issues with walks. Williams sits in the high-80’s, and apparently the new Seattle brass felt his ceiling wasn’t much higher than a situational type, and thus sent him to Boston.

Is Aardsma the next Grant Balfour or Matt Thornton? Probably not, but they do have some things in common; impressive strikeout totals, a reliance on a mid-90’s fastball, and issuing high rates of free passes. If nothing else, the following graphs are pretty to look at, and for Mariner fans, fun to imagine.

Aardsma is out of options, so expect him to get a look in the Mariners pen.

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6 Responses to “Aardsma the Mariner”

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  1. The Ancient Mariner says:

    Not quite so fun when you remember that Thornton suddenly turned into a good pitcher after the M’s dealt him for Joe Borchard . . .

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  2. HeirToKetwerp says:

    He’s definitely a better bet for the closer’s job than Mark Lowe or Aaron Heilman.

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    • philosofool says:

      I seriously doubt that at this point. Not knowing Aardsma except as the guy that’s always at the top of my fantasy draft sheet… when it’s alphabetical, I can’t say what sort of upside he has. However, Heilman is a solid reliever and I see no reason for the M’s brass to go with Aardsma’s upside (if it’s even there) over Heilman’s proven-commodity.

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    • joser says:

      Looking at their numbers on Fangraphs I have a hard time seeing any daylight between them. Lowe has publicly expressed his interest in closing; Heilman in the past has been vocal about wanting to start (but apparently would take closing over being an interchangeable reliever). If Heilman bounces back to his ’07 numbers he’s obviously the better choice; otherwise, it’s probably going to come down to whichever one Wakamatsu feels most comfortable with in that role coming out of spring training. He’s said he wants defined roles for the back of the bullpen and he doesn’t want a “closer by committee” but it’s certainly possible he won’t stick with one guy the whole season.

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  3. Joe says:

    Aardsma will definitely at one point drag you into thinking he can be a good reliever, but if history says anything he will go through periods where he is terrible at finding the strike zone. This is a good move because the Mariners aren’t looking at realistically being competitive in 2009, so if nothing else maybe Aardsma pitches very well and they can swing him at the deadline to help the team in the future.

    Fangraphs is a very informative site by the way. Rob Neyer refers to it sometimes, but I just recently began reading it, and added it to my “bookmarks.”

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  4. Nathan says:

    Is Nick Hundley by chance related to Todd Hundly?

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