10 Most Important Mariners in 2017: #10 Yovani Gallardo

The 2017 Seattle Mariners have a new slogan: "Whatever it Takes". The Mariners have made it no secret, this year its playoffs or bust. The team appears better than its 2016 counterpart, but still needs several players to perform well if they wish to end the 15 year playoff drought.

[Yovani Gallardo Stats | Baseball-Reference.com]

The team will need Yovani Gallardo to perform well if they want to snag one of those 2 Wild Card spots, let alone the AL West Division. Gallardo, who was the only player who returned in the Seth Smith trade, must solidify the back-end of this rotation.

2016 was rough for Gallardo, posting a 5.42 ERA while throwing only 118 innings, his lowest total since 2008. His 6.5 K/P was the second lowest of his career, and 1.39 K/BB ratio was the worst in his career. But it wasn't all that long ago that Gallardo was a pretty good pitcher.

From 2009 to 2015, Gallardo averaged 191 innings pitched, while posting a solid 3.69 ERA. His ERA+ during that time was 109, making him 9% better than an average MLB pitcher. Walks will always be an issue, as his career 3.5 BB/9 indicate. His strikeouts have dropped significantly. From 2009-2012, he averaged 9.4 K/9, but since, his K/9 has plummeted to 6.6. 

The Mariners do not need Gallardo to be his 2011 form, but they need him to be closer to his 2105 form than his 2016. Gallardo will slot into the #5 spot of the rotation, and if he can provide 180 quality innings, the Mariners are in great shape. If Gallardo cannot, the rotation takes a major hit.

If Gallardo doesn't make most of his starts, the club will be forced to lean on the likes of Ariel Miranda, Chris Heston, Rob Whalen and Max Povse. 

Gallardo comes in at #10 on our list for 1 simple reason: stability. A healthy and productive Gallardo means the Mariners have a solid, playoff quality rotation. If not, the Mariners need one of the unproven pitchers behind him to become a capable #5 starter.