While there are some larger holes on the roster, the starting rotation is pretty well set. Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, and James Paxton all have locked in jobs, and we can likely say the same about Taijuan Walker. What's open is the fifth starter spot, with the top internal candidates being Ariel Miranda and Nate Karns. If the M's are adding a arm to the rotation mix, it's almost certainly going to be a NRI, or at least someone on a miniscule contract that makes cutting them palatable. Locking up a roster spot on someone is ultimately a depth piece is tough to do, unless the club truly isn't sold on either of Miranda or Karns. While the rest of this series of articles has included some options in the lower-middle of the market, this just isn't realistic for starters. So, I present to you, the bottom of the barrel:
Change of Scenery Candidates: Mat Latos, Tommy Milone, and John Danks
Milone was exactly the kind of pitcher the pre-crazy Jack Z regime would have targeted to fill out a rotation. He's left-handed, has been a fly-baller in the past, and is coming off a down year that's probably a blip instead of the start of a trend. Hopefully the current front office agrees with this thinking, because Milone was a solid back of the rotation starter just a year ago, worth a win-and-a-half in 23 games. Think of Milone as Wade LeBlanc, only not entirely shitty.
Latos is, well, a nutty person. He has an adorable kitty named Cat, and his career hit the toilet in 2015 at 27 years of age. Latos' peripherals were good in 2015, but the teams that banked on that didn't get a pay off; perhaps the Mariners can. If they see a small tweak that could help, he's worth a gamble.
John Danks was once a key member of the White Sox rotation, but ever since he got hurt in 2012, life just hasn't been the same. He was absolutely destroyed last year, but at least was worthy of a rotation spot the year before, and a move to a more forgiving ballpark could certainly help. Other teams will likely think the same, so he may have too many suitors.
This Person Technically Has A Working Arm: Lucas Harrell, Tim Lincecum, Jered Weaver
These are pitchers. But also no.
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If you'd like the Mariners to aim higher, believe me, I get it. It's not as fun to think about who we could hope doesn't suck, instead of locking in a more obvious upgrade. Finding a quality back of the rotation arm would be nice, but with Miranda and Karns in place, it's likely not the best use of resources. The M's aren't going to be perfectly built, but they are going to try to compete while they can. Sometimes that means things are going to need to go right because there's not a lot of depth to play with.