How about the bullpen? Is IT "All In"?


It ain't easy, looking at a roto base of pitchers, to suggest specific relief pitchers that --- > Jack Zduriencik could target for termination.  

J.P. Howell is a pending FA, fans 10 per game in setup, and Tampa ain't going to be able to pay a setup man $12-20M for 3-4 years.  (By way of comparison, ChiSox setup man Matt Thornton just signed for $6M per year, times 3 years.)

You hear about the Mariners trading Brandon League this year:  that's because League is a pending FA, an MLB Closer(TM), and is looking at $10M+ per year this winter.  You deal him or lose him for nothing.  Same with Tampa Bay's pending-FA relief men, like Howell.  

J.J. Putz had a big year closing for Arizona and he will be an FA.  He had an elbow flareup last summer.  What would you think of him as a rent-an-ace-reliever for one year?

Also pitching for the Rays is Kyle Farnsworth, who fanned 8.0 men last year, walked 1.9, and is a free agent this winter.  Guys like that.  Somebody with the Mariners will have a nice relief pitchers spreadsheet that they can sort by (1) CMD ratio, (2) service time, and (3) home teams' willingness to deal.


Q.  How about giving these guys a chance, first?  One game doesn't prove that Kelley and Sherrill can't pitch.

A.  It's like with Chone Figgins.  It wasn't the two games in Tokyo, dude.  The two games merely underlined what we already feared.

There's such a thing as patience.  The ballclub has shown patience with Michael Saunders.  Patience is when you have good reason to believe in a player's talent, and you stick with him through ups and downs.  Kelley, Sherrill, Kuo, Delabar, it sez here -- and has said since early March -- that you're in the category of "desperately hoping that problems fix themselves for you." 


Q.  Is Eric Wedge also fearful?

A.  We notice that in Tokyo, Game 2 ... Tom Wilhelmsen did not get up between the 7th and 8th innings.  He got up DURING the 7th.  This after pitching a full 2.0 IP the night before.  

Wedge hoped that Kelley could scuffle, and if a couple guys got on, he could grit his teeth and bring on Capt. Insano for 4-5 outs and save the day.  ... the game-losing homer occurred before Wedge was back down into the dugout.

Don't kid yourself.  Wedge is as white-knuckle here as Dr. D is.  Steve Kelley was Wedge's "lesser of all evils," the guy that Wedge hoped could hang on by his fingernails.

Then, you had the stirring visual of Sherrill's batting practice offerings.  Look, even in the best case scenarios, Kelley and Sherrill are not going to be plus.  The payoff for a dice roll, isn't.


It's easy to tell me, "Hey, it's two games, Dr. D.  Chillax."  But the clubhouse is thinking about it just like we are.  Wedge's own alarm over the early situation --- > was reflected in the rather shrill way he warmed up Wilhelmsen in the 7th in game two.


Q.  So, one more reliever to go with Capt. Insano and SrFrBoi?

A.  Two more.  

Pat Gillick came to Seattle, and first thing he did was make sure that Lou Piniella had four (4) relievers who were reliable.  "Lou needed more bullets in the gun out there.  Now he can use Rhodes and Sasaki one night, and Paniagua and Mesa the next night."

You cannot do it with two relievers.  Noooooo way.


Bear in mind, Tom Wilhelmsen isn't exactly a guarantee, himself.  It ain't like he's a proven setup man.


Q.  Maybe Erasmo?

A.  That would break code.  I'd do it, but they won't.


Q.  OK, but a good short reliever costs you like Brandon Morrow.  Remember?

A.  Unless you take a salary dump off somebody's hands.  What happened to the Prince Fielder money?  Not a dime of it was spent.  There's going to be some reliever, somewhere, who is too costly for his team.  Take $5M of that $20M and fix your bullpen.


Q.  Trade a Nick Franklin for a bullpen guy?  2012 isn't happening, anyway.

A.  Eric Wedge goes on the commercials -- this is the Seattle Mariner brand -- and explains, passionately, his "ALL IN!" culture.  Verry, verrrry important for Justin Smoak to eat egg whites and spinach, don'cha know.  This is important.  Friday's ballgame is what your life is all about.  We've had enough of half commitments and half measures, sez Eric.

Okay, does that go for the rest of the org, too, the ones who don't wear uniforms?  If they don't care about 2012, is it okay if we don't? 

/rant.  No, the point is simply this ... if it becomes obvious, early, that your bullpen is your season, well, that's the cheapest job you could ask management to fix for you.


Q.  Supposing they just decide to ride what they got.  Does SSI see any upside scenarios?

A.  We're almost as white-knuckle about Charlie Furbush as we are about Kelley.  Furbush has talent, but his Achilles' Heel is his location within the zone.  You're going to ask him to make a season out of locating his first five pitches of every game, before he gets a rhythm out there?

Luetge is as much of a rookie as Erasmo is.  Whether he were good or not, you wouldn't see him get the ball in April in 2-2 ballgames.

Delabar is exciting but raw - it's one thing to give him a chance here and there, another thing to make him the go-to guy when Beavan is ahead 2 to 1 in the 7th.

Maybe Hector Noesi could be OK as the #2 setup guy.  If he weren't in the rotation.  That's not appealing, but it's feasible.

It's a real issue.


Q.  SSI's fix would be what?

A.  I'd get Forrest Snow ready ASAP, and use him and Erasmo in tight games, but that ain't a MLB(TM) solution... 

Your internal solutions, the candidates for the 3-4 bullpen slots, are currently in the major league rotation.  Erasmo isn't an MLB(TM) solution as a late-game fireman, but he is an MLB(TM) candidate for the #5 slot in the rotation.  

How about Noesi and Beavan to pitch the tight games late?  Beavan can throw strikes off a cold start.  Then you have Erasmo to the rotation, and .... huh.  Can anybody think of any other pitchers you could put into the rotation?


Dr D




the first thing the mariners should do is sign a long term closer. someone who throws heat and is a laid back surfer dude who is not named barry or cj. then we should trade prospects for relief aces like all of the good teams do. unless. . .why is it against the law to use walker and paxton in the bullpen?
the mariners need a horse syringe sized injection of nastiness into their lower bullpen area. this "make the hitter beat himself" style does not mesh well with the death stars who orbit the american league west.


Robles is a lefty who can throw 94-96 and his change is probably better when healthy.
Pryor is a righty closer who can get that and even a little more.
Burgoon and Bischoff will both be in AA this year - both of them were college closers.
Butler's another lefty who could be converted and in the pen Wilhemsen-style this year.
Ruffin is a future setup man.
Furbush should stay in the pen, IMO, and could be dangerous there.
Maurer might move to the pen and he might be our best non-big-three starter in the minors.
Moran doesn't throw hard, but he has devastating offspeed stuff as a southpaw.
We have quite a few mid-90s arms or weapons in other ways.
But we're gonna need to promote the arms that are working out. We can't continue with the sort of mush we've seen so far from the Ms for very far into the season.
And I'd still trade for a good bullpen arm as soon as one's available. You really can't have too many, and leaving a few on the farm to season rather relying on an entire rookie squad to come through is a smarter plan, IMO.

Hit and Run's picture

Well I didn't see them. I listened to the spring training game and watched it on game day. Carter Capps was regularly throwing 98 and got a couple up to 99. He got a swinging strike on a change up and threw at least one curve. He was throwing strikes with both his FB and change. Among his two strike outs in three batters was righty killer Will Venable (who has USS Mariner stamp of approval). Hate to waste him in the bullpen but if you did break him in there he could give you multiple innings and he could soon be a closer candidate.
I hate to differ with G Money but Capps is my pick of non big three starters. Some time this year we may be talking about him being their equal (IMHO).
Stephan Prior threw 95 - 97. Didn't have quite the control that Capps had but like Capps got two strike outs in his one inning of work.


can you imagine if there's a dustup late this year or early next, and the bullpen comes roaring across the field -
Beaven 6'7" 240
Capps 6'5" 220
Pryor 6'4" 245
Delabar 6'5" 220
Wilhelmsen 6'6" 230
Snow 6'6" 220
and the shrimp -
League 6'2" 210
not too many years ago, that would have been a football line (with League at WR)

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