And Two Small Drips to Open Things
Time will tell if Buster Olney’s prediction for the M’s offseason holds true, but the opening dips into the market adhere to the pattern. Today, the Mariners claimed IF Sean “Rock the” Kazmar from the Padres (not my pun) and signed journeyman RHP Justin Miller to a minor league contract.
Kazmar spent the past two years with the recently-exiled Portland Beavers, hitting .235/.306/.314 his first year and .275/.326/.381 his second. Overall, you might look at him as Josh Wilson-type hitter, except he’s a bit smaller and doesn’t hit for as much power. The fielding data on both is roughly the same, though Kazmar is probably a bit better at second base. Neither are ideal, but both can fill in for a while. Kazmar just happens to be younger and might cost a little less.
Miller is actually mildly interesting. He was a 1.2 WAR pitcher for the Marlins back in 2007, but as he’s lost about three mph off his heater since then. The fastball/slider combo, however, is still working about as well as it ever did. Last season, his K-rate jumped back up to about 11 per nine, roughly the same as ’07, and it helped him run the best strikeout to walk ratio of his career. His xFIP of 3.32 was more than a run and a half better than his tour with the Giants the previous year.
Both will probably get invites to spring training, where Kazmar will compete with Wilson and whoever else and Miller has a chance to fill one of the bullpen roles that opened up recently.