Juan Ramon Nicasio
Height: 6'4" Weight: 255
Bats/Throws: Right / Right
Born: 08/31/1986 in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic
Family: Daughters Nicoles and Shane, son Juan
Acquired: Signed as a free agent (12/19/2017)
MLB Debut: 05/28/2011
Free Agent after: 2019 season
Signed to bolster a bullpen that was just average in 2017 and that had lost some oomph with the departure of Emilio Pagan, Nicasio brings a nice skillset and an eventful history to the Seattle relief corps. A converted starter, the Dominican righty showed real promise when he debuted with the Rockies in 2011. Later that year, though, he was hit in the temple by a line drive off the bat of Ian Desmond (poetically, now a Rockie) and fell to the ground, breaking his C-1 vertebrae. Emergency surgery repaired his neck with pins and a permanent metal plate, and the following spring he returned to action. It was a remarkable recovery, and though he wasn't anything close to dominant he was holding his own in an extreme hitters' home park until a more conventional leg injury shut him down again. He ended up with the Dodgers after that, who moved him to relief and encouraged him to bulk up a bit and lean on his hard fastball. It was a successful strategy that probably saved his career and generated a nice free-agent contract with Pittsburgh that offseason.
Though he did well as a Pirate, his Mariner career has been spotty. He throws hard and can be quite impressive, but he's also shown a tendency to serve up big fat meatballs that get whacked for extra bases. That wowza 13.5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio doesn't mean so much when it's accompanied by more than a hit per inning and a 6.00+ ERA. With the addition of Alex Colomé to the bullpen, Nicasio has been seen in fewer high-leverage situations, but he still evokes flashbacks to the days of José Mesa when he takes the mound, even in the middle innings.