Spring Training Preview
With training opening, this is a good point to look at the team the M’s are bringing in and how things might break down.
SP-R Felix Hernandez
SP-L Jarrod Washburn
SP-L Horacio Ramirez
SP-R Miguel Batista
SP-R Jeff Weaver
Possible flux: without a job up in the air, it’s going to take an injury or total abject ineffectiveness to get one of those out.
Other candidates in that case:
SP-L Jake Woods
SP-R Cha Baek
RP-R J.J. Putz
RP-R Chris Reitsma
RP-R Julio Mateo
RP-L George Sherrill
Possible flux: Lots. The first three there have been described as “locks” already, with Sherill, RP-L Arthur Rhodes and Jake Woods described as “in”.
Candidates: That would still leave 1-2 spots for RP-R Jon Huber, RP-L Eric O’Flaherty, RP-L Ryan Feierabend and hopefully, if he’s able to come back, RP-R Mark Lowe (among others).
Starting lineup (9)
DH-B Jose Vidro
C-R Kenji Johjima
1B-R Richie Sexson
2B-R Jose Lopez
SS-R Yuniesky Betancourt
3B-R Adrian Beltre
LF-L Raul Ibanez
RF-R Jose Guillen
Possible flux: barring injury, this is the lineup they’ll go into the season with
Candidates: An outfield injury likely puts OF-L Jeremy Reed into a starting job for a while. You might hope for an Adam Jones appearance, but it’s not going to matter how well he does until the team has a manager willing to play him. It may be a question of whether he dislikes Jones or Reed less, which is always a great way to pick your lineup.
An infield injury could see DH-L Ben Broussard or DH-R Mike Morse, though it does still seem likely Broussard’s going to be moved. To fill a middle infield or third need, that’ll be UT-R Willie Bloomquist. IF-R Oswaldo Navarro, Bust-R Michael Garciaparra, and ?-L Bryan LaHair are all on the 40m, but it seems unlikely that they’d ascend. They’ve got about as much a chance as non-roster invitees 3B-L Sean Burroughs, IF-R Gookie Dawkins, or IF-R Rey Ordonez, which really zero.
With 21-22 roster spots already spent (5+7 or 8+9), this’ll be thin.
C-R Rene Rivera
Flux: possible. Reed may still get moved, say if some other team suffers an injury and the M’s sense opportunity. I thought C-R Rob Johnson might get considered for the backup catcher slot, but the team doesn’t really care about it, and Rivera’s already on the 40-man roster, so that’s less thinking the team has to do. Except–
Candidates: If there’s a fourth bench spot open, Broussard gets paid way more than Morse does. Broussard’s salary might be so large as to force Hargrove to only carry 12 pitchers.
What’s there to watch for, then?
Without position battles, we’re going to be hoping not to see gruesome injuries, first, but moreover, looking to see if the team was out of their gourd this off season:
Is Jose Vidro in good health and hitting as well as his peak form, as the team hopes?
Is Horacio Ramirez a solid middle-rotation starter with the potential to be a #1 starter, as the team hopes?
For Miguel Batista, nearly the same question.
If I’m reading the schedule right, the first broadcast game is March 15th. Until then… I guess we just hope.