Mariners add reliever Todd Coffey on minor league deal

Harry How

Not great, not good, but maybe replacement level.

Throw another one on the pile. The Mariners have signed right-handed reliever and large human being Todd Coffey to a minor league deal, via Bob Dutton.

For a while Coffey was more famous for being large and quirky than being good, especially on a stint with the Nationals. Coffey's weight has fluctuated some, and it's unclear as to where he's at now, not that it's ever been a determining factor for how effective a pitcher is. Coffey's trademark is his dead heat sprint in from the bullpen to take the mound.

Coffey missed all of 2013 after his second Tommy John surgery, and when he's been healthy he's been decidedly average. Coffey is a ground ball specialist with a career 51.4% GB rate, part of what has led to him having a better career SIERA (3.64) than his ERA (4.10) and FIP (4.15). Coffey doesn't miss a ton of bats, he doesn't have particularly great control, but he does throw hard. Even in an injury-shortened 2012, Coffey still averaged 93 mph with his fastball.

Coffey has been the same pitcher for years now, essentially operating with a fastball/slider combination. In 2011, Coffey's last fully healthy year, he threw 44% sliders, his highest rate ever. Unsurprisingly based on his batted ball profile, his fastball is generally classified as a sinker.

At this point, Coffey is essentially replacement level for the Mariners, though given the poor depth of their bullpen and slow recovery of Stephen Pryor, that's just fine. Maybe Coffey will be bad, maybe he'll be decent. He almost certainly won't be good. But if the Mariners need a mop-up guy down the line this season, they could do a lot better than Lucas Luetge, constantly miscast in mop-up roles, facing far too many righties for his normal LOOGYing self. But with a full 40-man roster, it's hard to see who would get bumped for a player with no upside and an uncertain present.

If nothing else, fans in the Pen might be able to enjoy a Coffey sprint when the the game is out of hand and the Mariners have scored less runs than beers consumed by those in the pen.

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