Rotation Free-for-All
The 6-10 starters beat the 1977 M's rotation

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

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=== 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.

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=== 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.

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=== 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.

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=== 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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Comments

1

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.
moe

2
M's Watcher's picture

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.

4
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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Shoutbox

Chat: 8/28/15 1:16pm
Interests: Environment Money Technology Baseball Politics (212680)
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-08-29 09:30

There is a lot of talent assembled here for 2016. Definitely find someone who knows how to establish order and confidence right off the bat. But we're going to have to really luck into it.

Failure to sign Cruz last season was the telling blow. Give Jack authority to do the move and we're talking something completely different this season. At worst, we're discussing how hard it is to maintain top level success. Jack learned from the Leuke fiasco (heck, he got us Jaso out of it). But ownership freaked on him - stupidly.

But leaving Gutierrez to marinate in Tacoma (playing in a AAA field no less) while we shuffled through Weeks, Ackley, and traded our catcher stoploss to pick up Trumbo, etc. - I didn't get that. We waited too long and the answer of what to do while Cano went through his thing was a short drive away - and freely available.

2015-08-29 08:56

Looks like they will be looking for youngish, analytical, super nerd brainiac to fill the void. luckily they are in #Seattle. This should help in the quest.

2015-08-29 08:14

OTOH I really didn't like the way he handled:
-The Morrow trade
-The Fister trade
Nor can I really speak to the interoffice #Politics Baker comments on.

2015-08-29 08:10

I don't get the Z hate (maybe hate is too strong but you know what I mean). He's been terribly unlucky.
-Guti woukd have been a multiple allstar at at glove position if not for illness.
-Really at least one of Ackley/Smoak/Montero should have worked out. These guys were universally recognized as top flight prospects (well Taro did have his doubts about Smoak). If even one had worked out or if a couple of them had become ML average we'd be in good shape.
-He tried to bring in Cruze in 2014. That would have put us in the playoffs last year.
-He brought in role players like Morse and Morales that picked their time with the Ms to have career worst/injury years sandwiched between years where they were solid contributors to playoff teams.
-Yes you can expect pitcher injuries, but *all three* of Hultzen/Walker/Paxton have spent significant time down which has also hampered their development.
-In a make or break year Cano has a career worst illness impaired 1st half. Back to normal now but too late.

Reply - anonymous - 8/29/15 8:13am
Ya, I'd day this goes far beyond 2014 though. Definately has had bad luck, but not the first year the team underperformed
2015-08-29 04:57

“I expect a better brand of #Baseball accountability, acceptance of young players" That's from Z's letter to Wak, a month before he canned him. Yet in '09 the only young (less than 26) fulltime players we had were Lopez (who had a very nice year in 613 AB's) and Wlad, who was given a chance and didn't come through. 22 year old Saunders came up late and had a 45 OPS. BTW, we were 10 games over Pythag that year. In '10, Saunders had LF handed to him, we got Smoak late and even Tui had 138 AB's. It was the veterans Figgins and Bradley who were deadly! Fister was youngish at 26 that year. I suppose Wak mishandled him, Z?

2015-08-28 18:55

Baker weighs in. Wow. http://www.seattleti...

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/29/15 8:16am
Really outlined the issue.. constant changes within regimes will not lead to prolong success
2015-08-28 16:52

Ah, thanks for clarifying, okdan. I understand what you're saying.

My take? Doc has his reasons for going this route. We just don't know what those reasons are. Perhaps if we DID know we would understand, perhaps we would even understand that it's best we don't know.

And there are real people behind the creation and maintenance of this site who you've gotta figure are doing the best they can. Admittedly they face some challenges.

2015-08-28 15:52

That was me - okdan.

2015-08-28 15:52

I am as big of a supporter / fan / devotee / reader of Doc as anyone. SSI has been one of my top 5 websites for nearly a decade. It makes me sad to see how the site has deteriorated. The frustrating part is that the quality of the #Technology and infrastructure doesn't do justice to the effort and quality content that Doc churns out. If anything, my frustrations with this site are *because* I respect Doc so much. There is no shortage of free website templates out there, that with simple configuration would be light years better than this one. And when you're talking about a simple blog, the hosting costs per month are not significant. I bet just between the frequent posters here we could easily cover it.

2015-08-28 14:48

And we both recognize that Doc is not following the dominant model. It's part of what makes Doc...Doc.

I agree with you that the new Klat site has brought some frustrations and unexpected complications. But to me (and to many, I hope) those hiccups are worth enduring because of the unique offering that is SSI. Of course, everyone has to decide that for themselves, and it's reasonable for someone to make a different choice.

I'm not trying to pick on you, just sticking up for a friend who I've never met but much appreciate.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/29/15 8:19am
Well put daddyo, I have not been on here long to see the changes and hiccups you are all outlining, but I'd stick with and see what happens
2015-08-28 14:40

DaddyO, when I say "free" I mean free to users. That's the dominant model. Even if ads are part of the financial side and pay for the operating cost of the service, users mostly don't pay on the internet. There are some exceptions here and there, but mostly that's how it works.

2015-08-28 14:36

And they have a big Netflix banner ad at the top. My "notice things" skills are definitely deteriorating!

2015-08-28 14:35

Well now that I scroll further down on SB pages they do have ads buried down there.

2015-08-28 14:34

Well, now that I look at SB Nation it looks like they do provide ad-free service. More power to 'em. More power to Doc too.

2015-08-28 14:32

All I'm sayin' is, Doc pays good #Money out of his own pocket to provide this place. No ads to offset his costs, or his labor. He provides his insightful and unique commentary for free. And it's a good thing he does, because I couldn't afford it if he did! I can't imagine anything appropriately called a "social media service" doing that.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/29/15 8:21am
Sounds like, from what I'm reading, I should read more Doc articles. Still learning ins and out of site.
2015-08-28 14:15

Almost all social media services are free. I don't think SBNation would just delete people's comments at random.

2015-08-28 14:11

HEY! Some really high class commentary by superior minds like us (heh heh!). Just GONE!

'Tis the WORLD's loss! 'Tis a cruel fate! 'Tis...'Tis...(DaddyO composes himself)...Aw, it's just some stuff we wrote off the top of our head that will be forgotten tomorrow anyway.

We have a RIGHT to demand more from a site where ... where ...umm ...uhh ...we don't pay ... a nickel...for so much...enjoyment. Hard to complain bout that!

Last evening in the sixth inning of a crucial game in the LLWS our cable went out for a few hours. And we pay a BUNCH for that service.

It's all good! Thanks Doc for the #Environment you provide for all us. For nuttin'.

2015-08-28 14:04

SSI used to be my first stop every morning, even before checking my email. Now, well... this site has made me not want to visit nearly as much as before. And that is saying a lot, considering how much I love Jeff's writing. I thought the initial clunkiness might be resolved, but apparently I was mistaken. Sorry to be so negative, and I realize that it is a free site and I am not entitled to anything, but seeing so many of today's shouts vanish sort of pushed me over the edge.

Reply - Richard - 8/28/15 3:52pm
Thank you for letting us know about the issue(s). We are working hard to improve performance and remove the clunkiness... I hope that you'll continue to let us know how we are doing.
2015-08-28 13:16

You can bet things will speed up.from here now that he is gone

2015-08-28 13:16

Yeah right today's shouts vanished.. was excited to see reaction to the Jack farewell tour

Reply - Richard - 8/28/15 5:32pm
The "lost" shouts are in the previous conversation - they were accidentally moved to last year. Sorry sports writers - we will try to not have this happen again!

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