The Mariners announced this evening that closer David Aardsma will have surgery on January 3 to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. It’s news that is going to put a halt to the M’s attempts to trade the right-hander, but all indications are that it won’t affect their 2011 season.
According to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, Aardsma will be ready to begin a throwing program just four weeks after the procedure and should be fully recovered by Opening Day.
He’s not going to be back to full health when spring training opens in late February, but relief pitchers only require a handful of warm-up appearances during the spring and it sure sounds like he’ll be good to go by mid-March.
Aardsma posted a 3.44 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 49.2 innings for Seattle in 2010, collecting 31 saves in 36 opportunities. If he’s not ready when the 2011 season begins, Brandon League will probably handle the ninth inning in his place.
Aardsma, 29, is likely to be shopped again in the summer if the Mariners do as poorly as expected. Despite carrying Felix Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, Seattle scored a league-low 513 runs and finished with 101 losses last season. They haven’t done much to improve the club this winter.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.
On Monday, we learned that the Mets offered to swap catchers with the Brewers, Travis d'Arnaud for Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers, as expected, turned that down. The two still continue to discuss a trade involving Lucroy, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
The Mets certainly could use some help at catcher. The club has gotten an aggregate .608 OPS from their backstops, the fourth-lowest mark in baseball, ahead of only the Pirates, Rays, and Indians. However, the Mets seem to be behind other teams — including a “mystery” team — in the bidding, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.
Lucroy, who took Thursday off, is batting .300/.361/.486 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 371 plate appearances for the Brewers this season. He can become a free agent after the season if his controlling club opts against picking up his $5.25 million option for the 2017 season.