Okay, the news is out. Corey Brock has the scoop at the M’s official site.
The Mariners are on the verge of signing John Thomson to a one year contract, reportedly with an option for a second year. I’ve expressed my preference for one year deals for pitchers repeatedly, and Thomson is the kind of pitcher that is often undervalued.
By no means is he a great pitcher, but when he’s healthy, he’s an average innings eater. He gets groundballs, throws strikes, keeps the ball in the yard, and even misses bats occassionally. The big knock against him is health – he’s logged less than 100 innings each of the last two seasons due to various problems. He’s not the most durable guy, and at age 33, he’s entering the twilight of his career.
But, given the escalating costs of mediocrity, a short term deal for Thomson is a bargain. He’s basically Jeff Suppan’s less durable twin. They have the same skillset and similar stuff. They get their results the same way. Suppan is asking for $40 million over 4 years. The Mariners found a similar talent for a fraction of that amount.
This is how you assemble the back-end of a rotation. Sign John Thomson and Justin Lehr to give competition to the young pitchers, and use the money saved by not paying for experience to spend on position players.
John Thomson can help the Mariners, and for the price, it’s a good buy. Kudos to Bill Bavasi for finding one of the better deals in a crazy free agent market.