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Chris Reitsma Signs with Mariners

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According to ESPN, the M’s and Chris Reitsma have come to terms on a one year $2.05 million contract (includes 2008 option buyout) with a club option for 2008. He also has the ability to earn performance bonuses in both 2007 and 2008.

Reitsma is similar to all the other pitchers the M’s have brought in so far this offseason, in that he’s nothing spectacular, is a groundball pitcher and has a lot of questions surrounding him. Last year, Reitsma sucked. Twenty five percent of his fly balls went for homerun’s and the guy struggled to get anyone out. His K/9 was a lovely 4.18 and his K/BB rate was an abysmal 1.63.

In July, he underwent a season ending surgery called ulnar nerve transposition to repair a condition known as ulnar neuritis which is caused when the ulnar nerve in the elbow becomes compressed and creates numbness and sometimes pain in the fingers. In this particular case, an ulnar nerve transposition procedure (which Reitsma underwent) moves the ulnar nerve into a new tunnel of tissue created from the flexor muscles in the forearm in the hope of relieving the pressure being placed on the nerve itself. Whether he battled the problem all year or not is obviously a concern, but one would hope that the issue has been resolved.

From what I understand, Reitsma should be ready for the start of spring training and if he can somehow rebound from surgery and his disastrous 2006 season and pitch like the pitcher he was in 2004 and 2005, he’ll be useful. He posted solid 6.78 and 5.19 K/9 rates in ’04 and ’05 (respectively) and averaged 3 K per BB over both seasons as well. Factor in the defensive infield upgrade from Atlanta to Seattle. Whether or not he can rebound from last year remains to be seen, but at least the M’s aren’t going to be paying him a lot of money to find out.

There were cheaper options out there, but knowing what we know about this FO, there was very little chance that they would've taken a cheap risk when they could've paid a little more for someone with some name recognition. Would I have signed him to the deal he got, no. But there were much worse options available.

He’s not going to replace Rafael Soriano in the bullpen, but at $2.05 million in 2007, he’s got a good chance at possibly being the best free agent signing Bavasi made this offseason. Which makes me wonder if that illustrates Reitsma’s possible potential or just how bad this offseason has been.