Relief Pitcher George Sherrill #52
34 years old, Experience: eight years
George Sherrill is one of those interesting cases that could have been like Carlos Guillen if Carlos Guillen weren't terrified at the prospect of putting on a Mariners uniform again and retiring in sheer terror. Sherrill was plunked out of the horrors of independent baseball leagues by the Mariners in 2003 and quickly made the squad in 2004. He posted some decent-ish numbers in 2005 and 2006 before finally showing his true mettle in 2007. Unfortunately, in those dark days of the Bill Bavasi reign, when you showed your true mettle you were often packaged up and shipped off in a deal. George Sherrill's fate? The dungeon known as the cellar of the AL East - the Baltimore Orioles. Sherrill was part of the pillaging that is sometimes referred to in Seattle circles at the Adam Jones trade.
Once in Baltimore, Sherrill acted as a lefty closer with a crappy team. He picked up 31 saves in 2008 and was elected to the All Star Team. He started out 2009 closing games again with the Orioles until he was traded mid-season to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He finished the rest of the season putting up pretty solid numbers as a situational leftie for the Dodgers, finishing with a 0.65 ERA in 30 innings pitched. In 2010, Sherrill began to struggle, posting a way too high ERA worthy of any bullpen (possibly except for the Baltimore Orioles) to the point of refusing a minor league assignment and clearing outright waivers. Sherrill remained in the Dodgers bullpen like a huge, bloated, professional toad glued to a dying log.
In 2011 a change of scenery was required and Sherrill signed with the Braves for a one year deal. The NL East proved to be where it was at for Sherrill - he was able to find his old leftie throwing striking out self, posting a 3.00 ERA through 36 IP. This year, Sherrill signed a one year deal worth a shade over $1 million with the Seattle Mariners. As one of the two left handed pitchers in the bullpen, Sherrill will be called upon again mostly as a situational leftie. His fastball has seen a slight drop in velocity over the past couple of years, and that is to be expected with someone taking firm footing in their mid 30s.
Sherrill is mostly a two pitch pitcher: a fastball and a slider. He abandoned his change-up (which he didn't use all that often) a couple years ago. He averaged the high 80s last year with his fastball, and uses his slider about a third of the time. He is another one of those pitch-to-contact pitchers that tend to thrive in Safeco. So as long as Sherrill remains healthy, he should put up halfway decent numbers. There is a good chance that most of his numbers might be a bit inflated, as Sherrill will tend to only face the best of the best of the opposing line-up. Such is the life when you are born with the disadvantage (or advantage?) of being left-handed and playing baseball.