Kuma And Ollie Coming Back

The Mariners hit free agency with the pitching staff in solid shape, thanks to keeping Hisashi Iwakuma and Oliver Perez before either hit the open market. Iwakuma got a two-year deal with a third-year option. Perez got a one-year contract with performance incentives.

I won't spend much time writing about either deal because there isn't much to say. Both Iwakuma and Perez finished 2012 strong and the deals will look nice if they carry their success into 2013.

Iwakuma was a logical fit in the rotation, given his familiarity with the team already, and his reasonable $6.5 million price tag annually for only two or three years. Iwakuma should join Felix, Jason Vargas, and Erasmo Ramirez as "locks" for the rotation, and the Mariners should be able to find an in-house option for the fifth spot from their minor league pitching depth. That projects to be a respectable rotation in my eyes. Felix is amazing, and everyone else should keep their team in games (provided the teams scores

Felix still needs a true sidekick for a formidable 1-2 punch before the Mariners rotation is really good. Iwakuma isn't that, but Taijuan Walker or Danny Hultzen might be in the next few years. Iwakuma can bridge the gap until the youth is ready to shine.

Personally, I wouldn't have signed Oliver Perez, but I'm not about to quibble over a $1.5 million commitment. Charlie Furbush established himself as the first lefty in the bullpen, so Perez is redundant - especially with Bobby LaFramboise and Brian Moran looking like serviceable bullpen lefties in AAA Tacoma for the league minimum. The Mariners did not need to bring Perez back, but I suppose he also costs next-to-nothing by MLB standards.

I will write more when the Mariners find themselves some hitters.