The Mariners’ search for another Kevin Millwood-type to hold down a spot in the starting rotation until the farm kids grow up added Saturday right-hander Jon Garland, who sat out all of last season recovering from a shoulder injury. He was signed to a minor league deal with an invitation to the major league camp in Peoria, AZ., that begins Tuesday. He has yet to pass his physical.
Also awaiting an exam is Joe Saunders, 31, who reportedly has agreed to a one-year major league contract worth $7 million.
In 12 years, Garland has a career record of 132-119 with a 4.32 ERA in 353 games, most during his eight seasons with the White Sox. He’s since pitched with the Angels, D-backs, Padres and Dodgers, before injuring his shoulder midway through the 2011 season.
Garland, 33, was 14-12 with a 3.47 ERA in 2010 with the Padres, and won 18 games in back-to-back seasons with the White Sox in 2005-06. He earned an American League All-Star berth in 2005 and finished sixth in Cy Young voting that year.
Prior to his shoulder problem, Garland was a reliable workhorse who logged 190-plus innings nine seasons in a row from 2002-10.
Garland joins former Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman among 12 non-roster pitchers invited to camp. Bonderman, 30, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2010 and is coming back from Tommy John surgery.
Behind Felix Hernandez and Hishashi Iwakuma and after the trade of Jason Vargas, the Mariners are searching for inexpensive but experienced veteran help.
Kyle Loshe is still available though he probably commands a hefty price tag. Surprised he’s still listed as a free agent on CBS.com. Is he hurt? Derek Lowe is also available. On the down side he’s 39 and his career has taken a downward slide the past couple years though pitching in Safeco could change that. Randy Wolf is also available. Wondering if a trade might be better for the club and go after someone to be the #2 pitcher.
Saunders and Iwakuma will decide the 2-3 slots, and the others you list aren’t worth the investments. Garland and Bonderman are enough reclamation projects.
I agree that the ones I mentioned aren’t strong candidates but I don’t see Saunders and Iwakuma as a legit #2 starter either. Or at least #2 for a team to challenge for the division title. Sadly, that seems to be a year or two away. Still. Building through the farm is always best but it seems as though that’s always the way of things for the M’s, only to see them reach their potential elsewhere.
Hopefully Felix won’t be like Ichiro and finally get to the playoffs at 38 in a Yankee uniform.