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MODEST PROPOSAL
March 26, 2012
The Mariners made a nice pickup in December 2009 when they obtained Brandon League and a prospect from the Blue Jays for Brandon Morrow. When closer David Aardsma blew out his elbow last spring, League stepped into the role and saved 37 games, making the All-Star team along the way. This makes it the perfect time to trade League. Seattle is at least a season away from contention, and League can become a free agent at the end of the year. While the sharp improvement in his command, which helped him to a 2.79 ERA, may be real, League's strikeout rate was just 18% of batters faced; closers need to have a rate of at least 25% to project well, and League has approached that number just once in his eight-year career. There's an excellent chance that League's 2011 performance was a peak for him, so the Mariners should sell high. Under the new CBA it's unlikely that Seattle will get a draft pick if League leaves as a free agent, and signing him to a long-term deal would be a waste of resources. Flipping League now, before the strikeout rate catches up to him, is the best move.
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March 26, 2012

Modest Proposal

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The Mariners made a nice pickup in December 2009 when they obtained Brandon League and a prospect from the Blue Jays for Brandon Morrow. When closer David Aardsma blew out his elbow last spring, League stepped into the role and saved 37 games, making the All-Star team along the way. This makes it the perfect time to trade League. Seattle is at least a season away from contention, and League can become a free agent at the end of the year. While the sharp improvement in his command, which helped him to a 2.79 ERA, may be real, League's strikeout rate was just 18% of batters faced; closers need to have a rate of at least 25% to project well, and League has approached that number just once in his eight-year career. There's an excellent chance that League's 2011 performance was a peak for him, so the Mariners should sell high. Under the new CBA it's unlikely that Seattle will get a draft pick if League leaves as a free agent, and signing him to a long-term deal would be a waste of resources. Flipping League now, before the strikeout rate catches up to him, is the best move.

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