|ESPN.com: New York Yankees||[Print without images]|
|In the race to sign Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka, don't discount Robinson Cano's Mariners.|
It's early on Tanaka watch. But constant theme from interested teams is: Watch out for #Mariners. Execs think they have one big move left— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) January 2, 2014
Seattle has a history of being a comfortable home for players from Nippon Professional Baseball and the wallet necessary to make the signing. And even more important, the Mariners have a pressing need for another top arm.
How bad was Seattle pitching last season? Despite starting with the No. 1 and No. 7 pitchers in the AL by Baseball Reference's WAR (Hisashi Iwakuma, Felix Hernandez), the team's ERA+ of 86 was the second-worst in the AL, just barely ahead of the Houston Astros. The Robinson Cano signing was huge, but outside of that, the team has only been able to engage in its yearly ritual of accumulating designated-hitter types.
Erasmo Ramirez may be the worst No. 3 starter in baseball, and while Taijuan Walker is a terrific prospect, he's still just 21 years old and has never topped 141 1/3 innings in a season