Rotation Free-for-All

The 6-10 starters beat the 1977 M's rotation



So, tactically, here's what SSI is watching for in March:


=== Jeremy Bonderman ===

Tactically, we're watching for a freshly-minted willingness to mix his pitches less predictably.

Bonderman probably has less "pitchability" than any starter in the major leagues, and he has the career ERA-xFIP to show for it.  

With his hard swerveball, and his dancing slider, he should have had a career ERA+ of 110.  Instead, it's been 90.  He's the Brandon League of starting pitchers, coming in with the same 2-0 and 3-1 pitches time after time.  He's always stubbornly refused to change .... but he's had two years away from the game, and maybe he's a listener now.

Who knows.  We're just telling you what we're watching for.


=== Jon Garland ===

He won 10-18 games a year, racking up 200 innings per, for what, the entire decade of the '00's?  With ERA's around 105-110.   He ran Joe Saunders peripherals from stem-to-stern ... Saunders has a 103 ERA+ liftime, compared to Garland's 104.  They both get 5 strikeouts, 2+ walks, average HR rate.  Garland has been, functionally, a tall, pretty, right hand Joe Saunders.

Garland's coming off almost two years out and shoulder surgery.  Supposing he came back 100% and gave you a second Joe Saunders.  Would you want that?

Well, a 105 ERA+ isn't much for a #2 starter.  It is boring for a #3 starter.  But it's one whale of a #4 starter, and it's a championship #5 starter.

The tactical question is easy.  Is he all the way back from shoulder surgery, not only in velocity but in pinpoint location.


=== Blake Beavan ===

Tactically:  does he now have a forkball?

Kidding.  Remember now, he's one of baseball's finest pitchers right up until the point where the ump calls strike two.  And then he can't put away a hitter if his mother's kitty cat depended on it.

A putaway pitch?  His career, never mind his 2013, will depend on it.  

It could happen.


=== The Big Four ===

Paxton:  the front knee and the decel.  Gordon has talked about the fact that the Gio's and Kershaw's of the game are welcome to walk 4-5 men as rookies, for any organization other than the Seattle Mariners.

But even Dr. D wants to see that decel smoothed out.  Who knows - maybe it was always just the injury in the knee?


Hultzen:  Just the release point.  

It could kick in at literally any moment.  Why?  Because he's had the release point before.  ANY GIVEN MORNING during the spring you could read in the paper, "Wow, Hultzen is throwing the stuffing out of the ball."  Or not.  If you do, then off we go.


Taijuan:  Tactically, there's probably nothing to watch for.  I'm sure he'd finish 2013 in the top 20 in the AL in earned run average, if allowed to do so.  And I can't imagine he wouldn't do more than any other pitcher to justify the 1-year deals on Morales, Morse and Saunders.

There was some discussion at BJOL this week about HOF-qualified Davey Johnson -- he took Dwight Gooden at what, age 18-19, and said "He's one of my five best starters.  He's in there."  We all have predilections; a person's attitude toward a Taijuan Walker situation becomes a litmus test for him.  It's a good way to gauge what your predilections are.


Erasmo:  we presume that he has to foul up royally to lose a spot.  Erasmo Ramirez is not known for fouling up royally.  Am looking forward to six most heinous years of Erasmage.



Klat Categories: 


Great thread, Doc.

If Z is all in for '13, and if bringing in a Bonderman or Garland is all about finding a couple of cheap 40% bets and hoping one comes in, then Big Foug guys have to be part of the battle plan. Assuming that ERAM is a lock, that means that some of the Big Three must be in, at least, the 2nd wave onto the '13 beachhead. And there's a chance they will be in the first wave.

OK, so we open with Felix, Saunders, Erasmo, Iwkuma and one of Bonderman/Garland/Beavan. Beavan is a fairly safe bet to be decent but if Bonderman and Garland are each less than 40% rolls (and I think that's fair) then you still have, at best, slightly less than 2 out of 3 shot that one of them is a rotation guy on April 1st. It could be a 15% shot, something like that. That means that you have to be considering a Big Three guy, even now. Assuming that one of those three guys shines more than Beavan in Arizona. Not a longshot bet. I'll lay money on that now.

I haven't seen much indication of that from Z/Sarge, but the thought that a Big Three guy just might break camp must be there. if 2013 is all about 2013 and not 2015 then they can't really afford to not consider that. If we're only 1/2 in in April and May, you many get 20 starts out of 4's and 5's before we make a Big Three call-up. If Beavan stumbles then there could be a hole in that plan.

10 starts from a gouged Garland or Bombed Beavan or Blasted Bonderman may dig you a deep and early '13 hole.

Then the All In in '13 strategy collapses.

All In means just that Z. Make your move.



M's Watcher's picture

M's Watcher

Bonderman/Garland/Beavan may be just spaghetti for the rotation. I like giving the first two a chance to come back to the bigs, even if they end up playing for another team. The Bonderman/League reference is scary, and Garland could eat innings if healthy. Many forget that Beavan also ate innings in 2012, ~150 in Seattle and ~40 in Tacoma. I look forward to the prospects of one or more of the kids pitching great innings, not just eating innings. That's when the real fun starts.


zzdawg's picture


My hunch is two that will come through are Beavan and Smoak. Both get no love, but both are still young. Smoak worked out hard this offseason and I have this feeling he will break out. Beavan will never be a #2, but if these changes work in making his flat fastball not so flat, he could easily be a #3. Or a nice piece in a blockbuster trade. A successful Beavan, another starter and 2 good bullpen pitchers are a great place to start for a megabat trade with a few years of team control.


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mojicianI'm wussing out.3 hours 36 min ago
Tacoma RainIf Lloyd calls this just unlucky, and that the M's ran into a hot pitcher.... you can then put the fork in them DaddyO. If Lloyd raises hell about lack of effort and preparation... then maybe there is still a flicker4 hours 15 min ago
rick82In the postmortem, I think we'll say the season was lost when we failed to convince Cruz to sign with us. And it's too bad we weren't going after Chris Carter at the deadline.5 hours 5 min ago
MtGrizzly@shannondrayer: Line for Iwakuma 3 1/3 6H 7R 2BB 4K 70/47. Has given up 22 runs total in last 5 starts.5 hours 22 min ago
MtGrizzlyThe M's as currently constructed just can't have Felix and Iwakuma struggling for any meaningful stretch without dire consequences.5 hours 45 min ago
DaddyOWell that bases loaded, 3-run double by Pujols off Kuma puts a serious dent in any mojo the M's have left after the weekend series against Oakland. Albert fouled off pitch after pitch after pitch, then came through. 't would be nice to see Kendrys Morales provide even half of what a good cleanup hitter can provide.6 hours 6 min ago
DaddyONot a single deadline addition that has produced even at league average level.6 hours 46 min ago
DaddyOMariners deadline acquisitions as Mariners: Morales, .625 OPS, bat only contribution (or lack of same). Jackson, .564, but defensive contributions. Denorfia, .574, some defensive contribution. At the deadline, the Mariners needed offense. Jack totally whiffed. We're now suffering the consequences. And is there a single starting pitcher who is at the top of his game right now? Most are still pitching well but sputtering. Do it again M's. Prove me wrong, like you've done so far every time I've grown pessimistic about this team.6 hours 49 min ago
SABR MattThough that may be because our line-up has been pretty well constructed to bunch the would expect a team that has two big black holes in its line-up and places those black holes generally 7th and 8th to have a lot of hits bunched at the top of the order...possibly creating the hit clustering luck that's been written about for us in the past.14 hours 37 min ago
SABR MattFWIW, using a monty carlo simulator, a .677 OPS (the season average) generates about 3.7 R/G. We've been scoring "lucky" this season.14 hours 41 min ago
SABR MattSo basically...we're hitting the same as we always did...just not scoring as many runs.14 hours 46 min ago
MtGrizzly@GeoffBakerTIMES: #Mariners offense past 4 weeks: .235 avg, .670 OPS, 3.6 rpg. Entire season prior to that: .247 avg., .678 OPS, 4.0 rpg.15 hours 59 min ago
MtGrizzlyHe certainly should not be hitting fourth.16 hours 39 min ago
SABR MattMorales came to the plate four times yesterday...all four times he had people in scoring position. He left EIGHT MEN ON BASE. He has lost the right to his name. From now on, he is "fat, entitled slob" to me.16 hours 52 min ago
IcebreakerXTerrible day for Seattle sports. Crunched by the Chargers and barely a game against the A's. Boooring.1 day 8 hours ago
moethedogNice back to back plays in LF by Hart. It was bound to happen at least once. 2 times might have been the over under.1 day 10 hours ago
rick82Kendry Morales at DH. Hide your eyes. I'll take Brad Miller. Let's just forget this whole Morales thing.1 day 10 hours ago
moethedogCorey Hart is in LF today. Hide your eyes. Romero, for me, please.1 day 14 hours ago
DaddyOThis win today is crucial. Get it and we take the series 3-1, which anyone would have taken going in. Trouble is we're up against Lester. I agree, Matt. If we don't take this series, Saturday night may be the closest the M's get to the A's.1 day 14 hours ago
SABR MattUnless we win today, our odds of making the post-season are about 5%1 day 17 hours ago