So the Mariners traded essentially a nobody (pending scouting reports, but I'm going to trust that Zduriencik knows best on this front) for David Aardsma. Who is he?
Well he's been on and off Major League rosters for a few seasons now, essentially floating the exact line of replacement-level. He misses some bats, is about average on groundballs, but walks way too many people. When he gets the walks under a semblance of control (like in 2007), he's a marginally useful bullpen cog.
Pending word on what his option status currently sits at, this might just be a move for bullpen depth, stashing Aardsma, or some already in house clone of Aardsma in Tacoma as injury insurance. Perhaps it's a precursor to a Heilman trade. Maybe Z spotted something in him. We really don't know.
But for now, this stands as a minor move, but one with pretty much no downside. Yeah, there's not much in the upside category either, but hey, he's better than Sean White.
Jeff's note: I think it was about a year ago that Dave Cameron drew parallels between Aardsma and Brandon Morrow. Morrow, of course, has taken several strides forward since then, but at the time it was the right idea - Aardsma's always had a big fastball but too much inconsistency in other areas to become an impact player. That said, while the results to date have been less than impressive, he's a 27 year old with three pitches and the gift of velocity, so there's always a chance that he goes all Matt Thornton and turns into an asset. Relievers are unpredictable. They can blossom or fall off the map at the drop of a hat. Aardsma's got a non-zero shot at the former.
As a fastball/slider/splitter guy with below-average command, think of him as Injured JJ Putz. If he gets better, that's awesome. If he doesn't, then he'll hang around in the back of the bullpen until eventually getting displaced. In the meantime, this is going to be an awfully competitive spring.