Mariners sign Chris Flexen
After a couple of days that saw a relatively good amount of player movement to start the week, Wednesday was a quiet day around the league on that front. There was the big news of announcing the minor-league alignment moving forward, which saw the Red Sox lose Lowell as an affiliate, but in terms of transactions there was really one move of any significance. That would be Seattle signing right-handed pitcher Chris Flexen to a two-year deal worth $4.75 million.
Flexen, 26, is a former Met who was drafted back in 2012 and played sporadically for New York between 2017 and 2019. In total, he has 68 career major-league innings under his belt in which he’s pitched to an ugly 8.07 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 54 walks. So why is Seattle signing that guy to a multi-year deal? Well, more recently than those innings with the Mets, Flexen spent last summer in the KBO. And there, he looked great. Pitching for the Doosan Bears, the righty pitched to a 3.01 ERA over 116 2⁄3 innings with 132 strikeouts and 30 walks. By all reports, his stuff tangibly ticked up as well.
This is the kind of move a team like the Mariners, who are still in their rebuild but inching closer to the point where they’re hoping to contend, should be making. It’s not a huge cost, and if it doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world. But if it does work out and Flexen really did hit a new level in the KBO that he can translate back to the majors, then Seattle gets a 26-year-old starting pitcher who can help them for years to come. The Red Sox are closer to contention and thus it’s a more difficult move for them to make unless they are very confident in the KBO performance, but the Mariners are in a position to take this kind of risk.